I did a guest post over at Do These Kids Make Me Look Crazy, in which I lay out my suggestions for my BFF Tara’s New Year’s Resolutions. I expected people to see me as bossy and arrogant while still witty and insightful.
Instead everyone’s all “You’re so sweet!” and “Wow you’re such a beautiful, loving person!” and “OMG you’re the funniest person I’ve ever encountered in my life!”
But the thing is, I really pride myself on being kind of grouchy and misanthropic – though I can’t argue with the perceptive people who recognize my comedic talent.
So I feel the need to balance my image with a post where I’m a complete asshole.
It’s all about Yin and Yang and managing expectations. So here’s my asshole rant. Feel free to chime in with your own major pet peeves – consider this an asshole safe space.
I really don’t want to be that person.
You know the kind. One of those superior and self-righteous and “my way is the only good way to do things”people.
Because I’m not – at my core – one of those people. I don’t believe my way is the right way, about anything, but especially when it comes to my diet and specifically being gluten-free.
I’m not one of those extreme evangelical people shouting about how gluten and sugar are the new asbestos and no one is safe. If you can process gluten and sugar without any issues, then more power to you.
(And there’s always a but, isn’t there?)
BUT. So many people complain of health problems that have a recognized connection to gluten sensitivity, and yet they refuse to even try a gluten-free lifestyle. These people drive me fucking crazy. In large part, I readily admit, because if they only have to go gluten-free, and not sugar-free as well (like me), they really have very little to bitch about.
It’s not like it was 15 years ago when my sister was trying to find gluten-free products for my nephew. That was an expensive and time-consuming endeavor which still yielded limited products of questionable taste and texture.
But now, you can walk into basically any grocery store, not even specialty grocery stores, just regular old Food Lion or Safeway and find at least a handful of gluten-free products. If you shop a higher end store, like Wegmans or Whole Foods, you will find a cornucopia of gluten-free products. You can go online to Amazon.com or glutenfree.com and order just about any product you can think of for reasonable prices, and 95% of the time they are delicious and the other 5% of the time they are still fully edible once you get used to the texture.
Some restaurants are better than others (CPK I’m looking at you – I appreciate the special menu, but I miss my BBQ Chicken Pizza!), but pretty much every restaurant I’ve been to since going gluten-free offers at least a couple of options, if not a whole gluten-free menu.
Yes, you do have to be a little more aware of what you’re eating or what your access to food will be like at events like weddings and parties. Yes, occasionally you will need to carry your own food with you or go hungry at these types of things. But I always consider those times to be failures on my part to think ahead and be prepared. And for the people who have subtle or manageable reactions to gluten you can totally indulge in that wedding cake/Christmas cookie/grandma’s famous baked ziti. If I eat gluten I act like I’m drunk for several hours and then feel like I have the flu for 12 more hours. So almost nothing is worth that to me. But if your reaction is manageable to you, then you have even less to bitch about.
The bottom line here is that being gluten-free is just not a tragedy, and to those who act like it is I say “put your big girl/boy panties on and let’s find something real to get upset about. Like the fact that people exist who take Rick Santorum seriously.”
If I hear one more person say “Gee, I always feel kind of icky after I eat bread products,” or “Wow, your symptoms sound a lot like me… But I just don’t think I can live without pizza…” my head might explode.
But as much as the gluten whiners bug me there’s one thing that actually drives me even more crazy.
I haven’t met any of these people personally, but I see their posts on gluten-free chats and Facebook pages ALL.THE.TIME.
They all go something like this: “I think I should go gluten-free, but I have no idea where to start?!?!?! HELP!”
Again, I really try not to pass judgement on stupid people. Maybe they’ve lived a really sheltered life. Maybe they are one of those people who grew up thinking “fast” and “frozen” are two of the major food groups, and have no idea that food comes without a bun or from a source other an a box.
Maybe they have been living in a cave or ashram in the desert for the last 5 years and have completely missed the fact that everyone and their grandmother is talking about gluten in one form or another and thus really have NO IDEA that gluten is in wheat. And that wheat is in flour. And that flour is used to make all bread and pasta products. It does, eventually, get more complicated than that, but as far as where to start?
STOP EATING BREAD AND PASTA.
How about we start there? That’s what I did. My doctor suggested trying a GF diet just for shits and giggles, just to see if it might affect some of my chronic health problems, and so the next day I had yogurt and fruit instead of cereal for breakfast, soup instead of sandwich for lunch, and chicken breast and veggies for dinner. Repeat. And when I started to feel better, then I started looking up more information about a gluten-free lifestyle and looking for recipes and trying out gluten-free products from the grocery store. But first? I just ate things without flour in them. Because getting started really is that easy.
Seriously, I want to find sympathy in my heart for these poor confused souls on these message boards. I want to believe that their story is more complicated than just the usual combination of stupid and lazy. Even as I write this I imagine offended and outraged people responding with explanations of lives spent in fallout shelters and deep-seated fears of foods that comes out of the ground. And to those people I imagine myself saying:
OK, but have you heard of GOOGLE? I know you have a computer, and I know you are familiar with the internet because you’re here posting on this message board on this website about being gluten-free. OH WAIT, or you could just read the f*&ing website you’re posting your “Where do I start?!?” question on. Hmmm? How about you just start with that?
And then I imagine the person crying and saying something like “You don’t have to be so mean!” before running off and being forever incapable of asking for help with their gluten-free lifestyle and then dying either of starvation or of a disease caused by gluten toxins.
And then I think of Darwin and I stand by my position.
I’ve held this rant in for a long time. Because I know sharing these feelings does kind of make me one of those people.
Maybe its the sugar withdrawal, maybe it’s because I’m not watching enough reality TV and judging all those people all the time. But I just couldn’t keep quiet any longer.
Just don’t hate me because I’m judgmental.
Hate me because I’m mean.