Gluten Free At Last

11-16-2013 10-10-17 AMLately, I see so many physicians that I remember only what they do to me. For example, Dr. “Mac” of Huntsville wears a glove on his right hand and he isn’t pretending to be Michael Jackson. I like Dr. Mac, he’s my urologist and keeps my plumbing functioning.

“I’m gonna make you live forever,” he said to me. He wrote the name of a book on the back of the prescription pad. “It’s Wheat Belly. Read it and get on a gluten free diet and within two weeks you’ll lose belly fat and will feel like a 16-year-old.” Feeling like a teenager appealed to me. I could stay up all night, sleep all day and chase cheerleaders.

11-16-2013 10-08-46 AM copyMy side kick and sometimes red-head, Pat, was with me. I was ready to get gluten free and start my journey back to age 16. We purchased Wheat Belly, then stopped at Earth Fare on University Avenue and purchased $20.00 of organically-grown, gluten free groceries for a mere $100.00. Longhorn Restaurant was nearby. Before getting started on my new diet and journey, I wanted to engage in one last orgy of my favorite sin – gluttony.

The book cover depicts six bagels stacked on top of the other with “Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health.” I wanted to do all three. I wouldn’t give a nickel for a bagel, but as long as I could eat biscuits and cornbread I figured I could follow any diet. According to Wheat Belly, people have grown fatter and become less healthy since the introduction of dietary guides in the 1970’s calling for less fat. Diabetes is more prevalent than before. Why? Dr. Davis, a cardiologist, opines that it isn’t the fat, nor sugar, or our sedentary lifestyle that is causing obesity. It’s wheat! Wheat is no longer the staple of life as it was when we were children.

“Today’s wheat has been genetically altered to provide processed food manufacturers the greatest yield at the lowest cost,” according to Dr. Davis. “This once benign grain has been transformed into a nutritional bankruptcy… that causes blood sugar to spike more rapidly than eating pure sugar and has addictive properties that cause us to ride a roller coaster of hunger, overeating and fat.” That’s exactly how I felt, and all the time I thought it was because I was drinking too much wine and eating too much chocolate. I ate gluten-free cereal the following morning with almond milk, banana and toasted bread made from pumpkin seed and other stuff. It was good!

When Sunday morning rolls around, I like a good southern breakfast of biscuits, home fries, eggs, bacon and Maxwell House. It was 9 a.m. and I was hungry when Pat called and said, “The biscuits are in the oven.” I jumped in my pick-up and was still slinging gravel when I pulled into her driveway. I could smell hot biscuits and bacon frying. Boy howdy! But my breakfast didn’t look quite right. Cholesterol-free eggs, baked potatoes – not home fries – and bacon so thin I could see through it. The coffee was decaf. “Here’s your gluten-free biscuit,” she said and dropped one on my plate. It sounded like someone had thrown a rock through the window. My countenance fell. I’d been thinking about a fluffy biscuit since 6 a.m., my usual time to get up and write. That’s when I have my only cup of real coffee allowed by my cardiologist. I savor it like expensive wine. But I cheat. I use a large mug instead of a cup.

Pat threw the biscuits out to the raccoons. They threw them back on the porch. She toasted our new loaf of bread made from organically stone-ground, brown rice, flax seed and millet. It tasted pretty good. One evening she cooked gluten-free cornbread, and it was delicious and tasted as good as Mama’s.
I’m getting used to gluten-free foods, especially the almond milk. But I wonder, how do they milk an almond?

Publix and Walmart carry gluten-free food. I’ve only been on my gluten-free, (well, almost free) diet for one week and can tell the difference. I have lost a few pounds and my energy level has shot up. Dr. Mac was right. I feel like a teenager. I’ve been circling the courthouse square, hanging out at Limestone Drug soda fountain and drinking Coke floats and reading comic books. Another week on my diet and I’ll be cruising around Kreme Delite like I used to do with my arm resting on the window, playing Elvis Presley on the radio and whistling at girls.

The wonders of a good diet! Now, if I could just grow some hair on my bald head…
By: Jerry Barksdale