book club

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I recently finished reading this book by Shauna James Ahern, the voice behind the Gluten-free Girl blog -- possibly the best-known, most widely-read blog for those with celiac disease.

The book is mostly a memoir, with a few recipes sprinkled throughout. I like Shauna's writing -- the way she describes food is absolutely hedonistic (and this helped me overlook the parts of the book that seem a little too sentimental or too I-hate-my-parents-for-raising-me-on-packaged-convenience-foods ranty). I love her positive outlook and the way she turns a diet that most people likely view as limiting into a tool to explore new cuisines and ingredients.

Also, I can't wait to try out her Roasted Cauliflower with Smoked Paprika and Cocoa Powder recipe. (Doesn't that sound like the most random combination of ingredients ever? I am totally intrigued.)

But overall, the book has left me with one distinct feeling: Guilt.

Yes, that's right. Maybe this is silly and I am just letting the recovering Catholic in me take control of my feelings, but I feel guilty because I don't need to be gluten-free. Until I read this book, I had no idea how absolutely debilitating celiac disease is, and I feel embarrassed that eating gluten-free is more of a choice for me than a mandate. (Although I guess my nutritionist would argue otherwise.) It sort of makes me feel like a big poser or like I am taking it for granted that I really can eat things like ramen or pie without being completely destroyed/bedridden/chained to a toilet for several days afterward.

However, this is not to say that I don't have a reaction to gluten. In the past month, this is what I've noticed: I am significantly less bloated when I'm not eating gluten. My digestion is better. And -- to put it very bluntly -- I fart less and poop more.

And honestly, folks, what is more satisfying than a good poo?

(Dear Shauna James Ahern: Please do not be offended by the fact that I have written about your book and my poo in the same post. Thank you.)


Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I have a friend with celiac and she has to pass up on so many yummy, good things because of it.

I think that "gluten-free" eating is kind of the latest THING (not saying that's a bad thing) but it just makes us forget how hard it is for the people who actually CAN'T eat gluten!

Sounds like an interesting book!

Michaela said...

I totally agree, Amber -- gluten-free is definitely the new diet trend. (Hell, Vogue recently did an article on it!) I've also known people who have used the whole gluten thing as just another reason to not eat something.

But at the same time, I think America's diet as a whole relies really heavily on wheat products (and meat -- but that's another story). If we all just cut back a little and ate more veggies, I think we'd be healthier.

And I do think people have wheat/gluten sensitivities, though they may not have full-fledged celiac disease.

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