Gluten-Free Simplicity

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Way #31: Grieve the Loss of those Gluten-Contaminated Dietary Favorites and Move On In A Healthy Way Toward Gluten-Free Simplicity

Posted by nepeht on December 19, 2008

Way #31: Grieve the Loss of those Gluten-Contaminated Dietary Favorites and Move On In A Healthy Way Toward Gluten-Free Simplicity.

  Does anyone remember the movie, “M*A*S*H“?  Well there was a scene in which one of the characters claimed he wanted to kill himself, so in order to vanquish that ambivalent desire, his friends cooperated in a staged fake-suicide before which he fully grieved his reasons for suicide, then after which he found reasons to live and then he moved on from there.

  The point is that sometimes, regardless of the subject matter or reasons, sincerely grieving a loss can help one move on in a healthier way.

  Call me a wimp if you want, but when I had to give up Gluten, I was at a loss.  And as time went on and over the years I realized one-by-one just how many of my favorite foods I would have to give up, I was totally depressed.  I needed to grieve.  I have been a pizza lover since I made pizzas back in the early 1970s and I have always been the one at the table who asked for more bread… please.

  There is a great model to use for this task:

“The Kübler-Ross model first introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying”, describes, in five discrete stages, a process by which people allegedly deal with grief and tragedy, especially when diagnosed with a terminal illness. The stages are known as the Five Stages of Grief.”” from Wikipedia.

  These stages do not really have to go in a fixed order, nor are they like a course where you complete stage One, then move on to stage Two — never again visiting stage One.  While the stages may go in the suggested progression, this is a very flexible model and in my experience tends to go in cycles, occasionally revisiting elements of earlier stages as I need to.  These stages are:

“Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what is going to happen/has happened.”  from Helpguide.

  All I am suggesting is that people who have been diagnosed with Gluten-Related health problems can possibly help themselves (and those around them) if they grieve their losses in a healthy way.  And furthermore, for Gluten-Sensitive people, this might mean grieving each item (i.e., pizzas, birthday cakes, French bread and pancakes) separately or in lumps.

  How does one grieve?  Go0d question.  It is probably different for each of us.  Some of the ideas that can help with grieving according to HelpGuide are:

“– Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way.  Write about, talk about it, cry if you need to.

 — Take care of yourself physically. 

  — Don’t let other people tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either.

  — Plan ahead. ” 

  As you go through it, learn to recognize the stages you are in as they occur.  Here are some examples of what might show up:

  • Denial Stage:“Oh I can eat egg-rolls because the Chinese use rice flour, rather than wheat flour.”  Sometimes, this might not be true.” 
  • Anger Stage: “I am going to go ahead and drink a few beers because I am fighting with my girlfriend and it doesn’t matter anyway.”  “If those *&*%^(&()@@^&*(& manufacturers and retailers would charge a fair price for Gluten-Free foods then I could eat a healthy diet.”
  • Bargaining Stage:“Maybe if I get extra sauce on that spaghetti, the volume of the sauce will outweigh the volume of the pasta such that I won’t get sick.”  “I would have had the Gluten-Free pizza but it cost more.”  “Oh, it’s OK, I can eat white bread.  I just can’t eat wheat bread.”
  • Depression Stage: “It is just best if I stop eating all together because there is nothing that I can eat and I am withering away anyway.”
  • Acceptance Stage: “Maybe I should make a list of foods that are definitely safe to eat and start buying only those foods for the house.”

  Each of us can probably recognize something of ourselves in this. 

  The key however, is that we keep gradually moving toward Gluten-Free lifestyles.

  And of course, relapse might happen.  But that is really just another part of recovery because this process is non-linear.  It could help to recognize which stage of this process I was in as I relapsed.  And it will probably be even more beneficial if I also explore some of my feelings and circumstances around this stage and the relapse that occurred.

  And then I can move along until I find another acute space in my process where I feel a natural and all-too-normal painful twinge of the grief it takes to let go of yet another Gluten-Contaminated dietary fave.

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