leah mcfall

When I gave up gluten, my sugar con­sump­tion dra­mat­i­cally flat-lined. So did my per­son­al­ity. Boy did I get titchy!

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS -

Iquit sugar. I quit sugar so you don’t have to. I went to­wards the light, even though you’re not sup­posed to, and here’s what I learned from my brief voy­age to the other side: un­der no cir­cum­stances quit sugar. Do Not. Give Up. That Shiz.

It’s quite the thing now, deny­ing your­self, isn’t it? After­wards you’re sup­posed to feel cleansed, en­er­gised be­atific. You might as well get your teeth whitened as well, be­cause from now on you’re go­ing to smile a lot, and look bet­ter in clothes.

Also, when you get up in the morn­ing, your hair will fall nat­u­rally into hot-tonged ringlets. I don’t know why this should hap­pen, but it does.

Best of all, you’re go­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence the weight­less­ness of the mo­ral high ground. Like Buzz Aldrin tram­polin­ing on the moon in his marsh­mal­low suit, you’re go­ing to scis­sor-jump in slow mo­tion, high over the heads of peo­ple who don’t eat as cleanly as you. Su­gar­less-ness is next to god­li­ness, af­ter all, and boy, are you go­ing to pros­e­ly­tise! From now on, it’s go­ing to be ex­tremely im­por­tant to tell ev­ery­body what you’re no longer will­ing to put into your mouth.

What? No, I didn’t quit sugar on pur­pose! It was an un­in­tended con­se­quence of giv­ing up gluten. I didn’t want to have to give up gluten be­cause it turns out that I re­ally liked gluten. I liked gluten be­cause it was best friends with sugar, and sugar is my soul­mate.

But now I have coeliac dis­ease (bor­ing snor­ing) it turns out ev­ery­thing I en­joyed ca­su­ally eat­ing – cake, cho­co­late, French pas­tries, foil-wrapped pra­lines – are now off-lim­its.

When I gave up gluten, my sugar con­sump­tion dra­mat­i­cally flat-lined. So did my per­son­al­ity.

Boy, did I get titchy! Here’s the first out­rage: be­ing moved along by a traf­fic mon­i­tor out­side school.

My front wheels were on some cross-hatched yel­low lines. My back wheels were in­side the drop-off zone. My kid was out of her seat-belt. I was out of the car, about to help my kid dis­mount. But no! This was not enough for the traf­fic mon­i­tor!

“Can you re­verse, please?” she asked me, with what most peo­ple would clas­sify as a win­ning smile. I can’t tell you how fu­ri­ous I was. My fury went off the chart and ripped a zig-zag across my field of vi­sion. I was so an­gry I snapped my key-ring in my weaker right hand. As Ge­orge might say, “Hulk gets big and green. Hulk smash.”

I re­versed.

Soon af­ter­ward I went out for a meal with a friend. In def­er­ence to coeliac dis­ease, we chose one of those restau­rants which serve sil­ver beet on hand-thrown pot­tery and charge you 25 bucks. Also: there are al­ways hazel­nuts.

Can I put a pin in this and tell you that as a coeliac, I must now rule out restau­rant crit­i­cism as a side­line? This is be­cause now I can only ever have the risotto or the grilled haloumi.

Who can prop­erly re­view such te­dious dishes? Grilled haloumi is like lick­ing a salt brick, and all risot­tos taste the same. (In­ci­den­tally, don’t be­lieve any­body who tells you that a risotto is com­pli­cated. It’s the easi­est thing in the world! A chimp could do it!

All you do is lean a hip against the stove, scroll the Mail On­line’s show­biz news on your phone and when­ever it men­tions a Kar­dashian-Jen­ner, give it a stir. Then add frozen peas at the end and grate half a block of cheese on top. Call it some­thing Ital­ian and stud it with olives if you must, but the sorry fact is, when push comes to shove, it’s boiled rice.)

Back to this restau­rant. It only booked large groups and sev­eral ta­bles were empty. When the maitre d’ in­formed us that we could not be seated, my com­pan­ion said: “With all these empty ta­bles?”

Granted, as a less as­sertive per­son, I would never have said this aloud. But this is what the gen­eral pub­lic does: the gen­eral pub­lic pushes its luck. We nee­dle peo­ple; it’s our job. There are cour­ses in how to deal gra­ciously with the gen­eral pub­lic. This is why I will never work on the front line with the gen­eral pub­lic, es­pe­cially now I’ve quit sugar, be­cause I don’t want to get 10 years without pa­role.

The greeter’s re­ply was with­er­ing. “Thank you for point­ing that out,” she said, with a cold­ness that could have frozen warts. Then she gave us such se­ri­ous side-eye, that we left.

I was deeply shocked by her rude­ness. The puff quite went out of my lungs. I couldn’t pos­si­bly eat their mi­cro­greens af­ter that and may never go back.

Still, I felt a cer­tain sym­pa­thy be­cause it was beyond doubt that she, too, had quit sugar.

I’m back on it now. I love ev­ery­one!

“Here’s the first out­rage: be­ing moved along by a traf­fic mon­i­tor out­side school... I can’t tell you how fu­ri­ous I was. My fury went off the chart.”

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