Last night, I walked in the door, threw my stuff on the table and walked into the kitchen. Immediately, I grabbed a potato out of the pantry. Then I turned to the refrigerator and grabbed a couple carrots and a small head of broccoli. I put the plates back on the George Foreman and pulled out the Cavendars seasoning. I quickly washed the produce, pulled the cutting board and knife out and began chopping. I threw the produce into my steamer and pulled the chicken from the microwave. I seasoned each piece and strategically placed it on the foreman to ensure all four pieces would fit. I pulled the cottage cheese out only to discover it had gone bad. I worried over whether the boys would eat. I thought about what I would eat with my chicken because I don't even like chicken.
And then I went to my bedroom to get out of my uncomfortable work clothes and into something more homey.
This is my reality. We ate at 6:30. Dylan takes a bath at seven and is ready for bed by 7:30. Timing is everything. And from now on, there will be no, "I don't feel like it." Or "let's just eat PB&J tonight," or "Can we just throw some breaded fish in the oven?" It won't matter how exhausted I am. It won't matter what time I get home. There is no mac & cheese. There are no hot dogs. No bread. No pasta. No. No. No.
Yes, yes, I know there are alternatives. But have you ever read the labels to those alternatives? I already try to stay under six ingredients with a goal of five. In an effort to produce foods that are similar to the gluten varieties, there are added chemicals, preservatives and sugars. Oh my! The sugars! I do my best to steer clear of HFCS. I try to limit food colorings. I try to avoid things like BHT. Have you looked at the ingredient label on a box of "gluten-free" Chex? Sugar, Fructose, Molasses, mixed tocopherols, and BHT. And Udi's Gluten-Free bread? A whopping 19 ingredients.
It's true. I know a lot about food. I know more than most. So it makes sense that people conclude that this transition might be easier for me than others. But here's the rub. I can't forget all the other things I know. I can't say, "Oh, well, it has HFCS, but it's gluten-free, so it's okay." I cannot do that. It's like the "low-fat" craze. I don't buy low-fat cheeses or sour creams or cottage cheeses or pretty much anything because they have to substitute the good-tasting fats with other stuff equal or worse for your body. Usually worse. I don't buy shredded cheese because of the cellulose and preservatives used to keep it from sticking together. I grate ALL my cheeses.
So while I know the biggest burden of this whole thing is being placed on Ethan because he will have to deal with this his ENTIRE life, I am going to be a little selfish right now.
I don't want to do this. I don't want to put in all the extra work it's going to take to keep our foods as close to natural as possible AND gluten-free. I don't want to inspect every ingredient EVERY time I shop. I don't want to think about whether the ketchup has gluten in it. I don't want to find alternative desserts to feed his sweet tooth that are healthy AND gluten-free. I don't, I don't, I don't. I don't want to have to think about it all the time, every day, every meal, every outing, every birthday party, every this, every that.
But I'll do it because I have to.
I've never been great at staying the course. I can do a few weeks, a few months. Beyond that, I slip and slide around until I regain traction. And that's what sucks. There is no slipping and sliding because every bite of gluten my son ingests will damage his gut. And so my selfish rant is nothing more than that. A rant. I rant at the unfairness of it all. A rant at the fact that parenting and working and staying healthy are hard enough without the added pressures of watching every tiny bite we ingest and knowing every hidden gluten ingredient on the market. Yes, I'm thankful we discovered it, and yes, I'm thankful we CAN do something about it. However, that doesn't make it suck any less.