I have a confession to make: I eat weird. And yes, this will relate back to writing.
A few years ago, experiencing some non-life-threatening but huge bummer health problems, I desperately visited a nutritionist to adjust my diet and see if it helped. My first assignment was to give up both gluten (still can’t tell you what it is) and dairy (know it intimately) cold turkey (the figure of speech, not the deli meat). Despite unintentionally becoming very diet-trendy, I did not deal well with the shift.
“Maybe we can find gluten-free, dairy-free macaroni and cheese,” my husband (then boyfriend) suggested on one grocery run, sensing my dejection at the dinnertime options. I melted down right there in the natural foods aisle of the grocery store like I had just watched the opening credits of the movie Up. It was the saddest thing I’d ever heard.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how badly I want a slice of normal chocolate cake or pizza at any given moment, the diet helped. It’s been about six years now and I no longer weep at the mention of delicious foods marred by eliminations and substitutions. But I was thinking about this the other day in relation to my current novel odyssey.
There have been similarities. The need for a change. The slow, difficult adjustment of long-enjoyed habits. The meltdowns. The same hapless man dragged along for (er, under) the ride (hopefully there will be an acknowledgements section to thank him in this time).
The conclusion is this: Discipline. Is. Hard. But it gets easier over time as new habits become rote and I don’t have to try so hard to keep them going. Do I bend the rules sometimes? Yes. That second season of Crazy Ex Girlfriend wasn’t going to binge-watch itself. But I’m starting to get in a groove with my ten-hour writing week. I don’t crave distraction quite as much. I’m more productive in each sitting. I Up-cry in public less.
In closing, I recently came across some notes I wrote to myself in the first few weeks of my diet adjustment, when I had ideas of starting a food blog about my experience. That blog never came to fruition (P.S. it says the word fruit in there – extra points.) so I thought I’d share some tasty excerpts here. Now, back to the novel.
Today I discovered something you likely already know: when you open a jar of all-natural nut butter, you’re greeted with a paddling pool of nut oil atop a hard pack of nut, and you have to carefully but vigorously mash the two together to get the promised “butter.” This is basically impossible to do without sloshing oil all over yourself and the surface you’re stirring on. It’s especially not a good idea to attempt this alchemy at your desk using a plastic knife, as it results in an all-out mess. Though, if your perfume of choice is Eau-de-nut, go crazy! You’ll be very popular with dogs and small children.
For my part, I’d rather not have just nut-buttered my work clothes.
I came to work today all “yeah, I’m the pop princess of health, I’m a veggie ninja, I’m kicking this elimination diet where the Sunkist don’t shine” and I went to the kitchen to get a napkin (or a tarp) in preparation for today’s banana and nut butter snackventure, and there…. were six boxes of donuts and five bursting bags of bagels, up for grabs and spilling out onto the cafeteria tables like a veritable overflowing cornucopia of gluten and processed sugar, gilded with tubs of cream cheese. The smell alone gave me the “O” face.
I did the right thing, people. But it. was. not. easy.
Seriously, if you understood my feelings about dairy, you would know that if I can do this, you can do it. I love dairy. I live for dairy. When I say to my boyfriend, “I want fajitas for dinner,” what I really mean is “I want sour cream with some other stuff under and around it for dinner.”
I’m going to be like Morgan Spurlock and this will be my Super Size Me, except in reverse, and not as extreme, and not a documentary movie, and not as well-researched, and not in the least bit lucrative, and basically not at all like Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me in any way shape or form except that there’s food involved. So… yeah.
2 thoughts on “excuse me, is this novel gluten-free?”
I love your writing. I hope you end up with a novel, but I’m happy just to be along for the ride as you blog about it. I think sometimes it’s nice to know what your readers liked specfically, so here are my favorite parts:
“I melted down right there in the natural foods aisle of the grocery store like I had just watched the opening credits of the movie Up. ”
“That second season of Crazy Ex Girlfriend wasn’t going to binge-watch itself.”
“I Up-cry in public less.”
“When I say to my boyfriend, “I want fajitas for dinner,” what I really mean is “I want sour cream with some other stuff under and around it for dinner.”
Please keep writing, even if you need to have an Up-cry now and then.
Joan! Thank you so much for reading and for the kind feedback. I wish you all the real-deal mac & cheese that life has to offer.