I Gave Up Gluten for Lent! (Pray for Me.)

Cool Mum gave up gluten as part of her diet overhaul when she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. After having Cool Newbie, she stuck with her diet and has been gluten-free (‘GF’ to those in the know) ever since. I’ve supported her decision, aside from a few (or many) complaints when it came time to pick what to get at a restaurant or grocery store.

Gluten-free is great…for her. She’s never pushed her diet upon me; I’ve been my pizza, cookie, and bread-loving self. But when we talked about what to give up for Lent, the question came up: What about gluten?

“What ABOUT gluten?” I wanted to respond. “It’s fine! I don’t have a problem! I can stop whenever I want! You’re not the boss of me!” The image of a rising crust DiGiorno pizza in the oven ballooning and browning played in my mind’s eye. Regardless, I prayed about it, and the idea baked to a golden crisp in its own right.

I confirmed to CM on Tuesday that I was giving up gluten for Lent. A couple of friends have had incredible health turnarounds from giving up gluten, including skin and digestive issues, so who knows what medical miracle it might do for me. That optimism lasted only the night.

When I woke up on Ash Wednesday, I was hungry for my trusty Trader Joe’s Maple Shredded Wheat cereal, the go-to breakfast that’s fast, filling, and slightly sweet. But then I remembered that it was the first day of Lent. MAN! My reliable bowl of gluteny goodness that powered my every morning now wasn’t an option. And so were my quick dashes into pizza joints when I was hungry in Manhattan. And so was my favorite French bakery in Queens.

I began to file an appeal with CM (as if I couldn’t take it up with God myself), telling her that I didn’t want to give up gluten. I would instead give up watching and following pro basketball! I watch NBA highlights and read about my Boston Celtics every day, and that adds up to a fair chunk of time. It would be so RIGHT to give that up, to free me from the distraction.

CM didn’t try to talk me into or out of anything. She just encouraged me to figure out what I should do. I grumbled for a bit, but stuck with the original plan. To my relief, I survived the day with no gluten. I had oatmeal, lettuce wraps with turkey, cheese, yogurt and fruit, and stir-fry over rice (though my favorite teriyaki sauce contained wheat and was ineligible for use). This morning, I had a balanced breakfast of turkey bacon, cheese, lettuce, and an egg.

I admit that this isn’t that bad; I have plenty of options. And if I suffer severe pizza withdrawal, there are places around the city where I can grab a good gluten-free slice.

So, I’m ready to face the next 39 days without wheat. And that’s NOTHING compared to what Cool Mum gave up…

Menu