Gluten free-dom

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I’d like to declare today as my 1,000th day of gluten free life.

I’m definitely not counting the days, but I am counting the number of pieces of chocolate cake or fresh baked muffins or Oreo Sonic blasts that I’ve passed up in the past three years (millions). These 1,000 days of course exclude holidays where any flavor of pies or leftover batters are concerned. Fortunately, allergies don’t apply during celebrations or vacations, right? Besides, if my tummy actually believes I can walk into a house greeted by the smell of freshly baked pumpkin bread and not sneak a slice (or worse, frozen pizza) for the fourth fall in a row, it doesn’t know me at all.

Anyone who tells you eating gluten free is easy is certainly lying to you. I know from experience, but mostly from failure. You “get used to it,” but for nearly 20 years of my life, I binged on Life cereal and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cones. Those addictions are hard to curb.

What’s more is you’re never just gluten intolerant. Once you get allergy tested again, you’ll find allergies to corn, dairy, soy, and all sorts of things pop up. So now even if you do buy gluten free bread, you can’t slather on butter or jelly because you’re allergic to dairy and high fructose corn syrup.

Ultimately, I struggle.

I saw a plate of biscuits the other day. They stared straight into my soul and dared, nay, begged me to taste their fluffy, warm perfection. The temptation permeates every second of my day.  My co-workers have Wheat Thins and Twinkies prominently displayed on their desks for snacking. Even in a gluten-free apartment, I only need to open my computer or turn on the tv to be tortured by the ways of this world.

Becoming gluten free is a lot like becoming a Christian.

Something inside you changes dramatically, but the world keeps spinning. Sin is rampant like the scent of bakery clouding around you. As often as you resist, you fail. It isn’t an easy path. Someone hands you an animal cracker and you just eat it without thinking and without guilt. You used to eat animal crackers every day after all. With every failure comes pain, physical and emotional, as you wonder if this kind of life is even possible.

But there are glimmers of hope. One day you’ll find Udi’s Gluten Free three cheese frozen pizza at the grocery store and your heart will feel reassured that amid all darkness in the world, there’s still a small force for good. One day a friend will bring gluten free brownies bites to a party so you don’t feel left out. One day you’ll find a community of gluten-free friends who will complain about running out of Cinnamon Chex or share their Glutino pretzels.

I will never be perfect in my spiritual life or my food life. The grace of Jesus and the healing power of probiotics reignite my faith that one day all the pain will disappear. Until then, I’ll take the good with the bad, the successes with the failures, and the delicious with the bland. Besides gluten free, Jesus-full life makes you healthier and happier, no matter how many bowls of Cap’n Crunch the world uses to sway you.