Tuesday, September 16, 2008

#19 on my list, Read 15 new books (#5)

I just finished my 5th book on my list. Gluten Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern. It's just after midnight, but I had to start writing before I forgot what I wanted to say about this book.

Originally when I was reading this book I started to feel like the author was a bit preachy with her specialty shops and organic oratories, for I too know the benefits of living in the majestic North West, but what I was really reacting to was the knowledge that I, and I alone, have not been taking the necessary steps to take care of my own self with celiacs disease. I do the best that I can with what I have, but knowing that there are other things that I should, or at least could, be doing to take better care of myself left me feeling irritated and frustrated with myself over the facts that I wasn't aware of, and should have been. Like root beer. I love root beer. Brown cows (root beer floats to the rest of you) are one of my favorites, and yet until tonight, while reading the very end of the book, I had no idea that the malt used to make the root beer contained gluten. How many times have I had root beer since being diagnosed 2 years ago? I don't even know. You see I don't have health insurance right now and so all of the research that I've done has been on my own, and nothing that I've read up until this point has ever mentioned anything like that!

Restaurants have been another on going issue for me. I'm always wary when going out with friends. My friends are great though (shout out for the girls), but as careful as I try to be, also because they watch me like hawks, I always feel apprehensive about the fork full of food that I put in my mouth, not knowing what it has been near. Even this past summer at the chain restaurant that my friends and I ate at, and even though the waitress we had did understand the disease and did her best to accommodate me, I still had to wonder about that first bite since I don't know what was going on in the kitchen. However, thanks to the authors husband, who cooks gluten free, I now have a new restaurant that I'll have to try, which, if I go, will probably be the only one that I'll attend for awhile. I say it like that since the menu looks a little pricey. So why do I got restaurants if I'm afraid to eat? Because I refuse to let that fear captivate me and take me away from spending time with those that I care about. All that I can do is the best I can with salads and meat filled meals (no fettuccine Alfredo for me). I simply refuse to let the hesitation I have about those places hinder me from a good time. Now I have even more tools take with me the next time I walk inside a restaurant.

But as well crafted as Shauna's tale is, it is not simply a story of someone with celiacs disease. It is, in my opinion, a love story. A story of someones love for food, love for themselves, love of life, and finding love when no one wants to deal with obstacles such as this one. Celiacs disease can be imposing for most people to deal with, for it's always in the forefront of the mind when traveling or going out. But somehow amidst the losers who couldn't see past the static she found someone who not only was willing to look past it, but could accommodate her needs as well. For you see only God could put together something as charming as someone who loves food, as well as being challenged by it, to someone who can cook it. For as I stated earlier she got to marry a chef! Life is full of irony. However, my favorite part of the book was the end. Not only does Shauna's tale come to a happy conclusion, but she talks about the lengths that he goes to in order to keep her safe, which were things that I never thought of. None the less I was touched by the chivalry and care that he took to make sure her system is not tainted. Like, he will brush his teeth before kissing her after eating something with gluten in it just to make sure there is nothing left on his breath that could contaminate her. Now it's been a long time since I was kissed like that, but I can fully appreciate the gesture and tenderness that he must feel for her in order to put her well being before his libido. I mean who would think that something as delicious as a kiss could harm the one you love. Are there anymore of those out there? A girl can hope, right?

I highly recommend this book. Not just for those that have this disease, but for those that love those with it as well. Though Sahuna's story is unique to her, you can get a sense of what the average person goes through and the anxiety they face, in certain situations, with this disease. Shauna embraced her disease with fervor, which honestly I've had trouble with. I miss my breads, and now I know I'll miss root beer too, but knowledge is power and it's good to know that I can continue learning how to make myself better and heal my body so that one day I can take care of not just myself, but my family as well (whenever I get one).

1 comment:

M.H. said...

Sounds like a good book. I'll have to see if our library has it sometime. We often don't think about what we're exposing our spouse too by what we eat or cook. I pray that if something ever happens to Scott or myself that we would remember to consider the other person in our actions. I kinda feel that way with Caleb right now. When I choose to have milk products I'm choosing to bring him pain. Haven't completely narrowed it down to all the specific things that bother him yet. Sure wish he'd take formula or something. I even tried soy formula, but it's a no go. Doesn't like baby food either:(

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