That’s what I visualised when I was preparing to move. Gaz and I will eat dinner at the table! I’ll tidy the kitchen every night before bed! I’ll read more! Run more! Think more! Bump into less stuff and offend fewer people! Look out world!
The first bold move upon entering the new chapter of my life was to try and attend to my digestive needs. I’m vaguely aware I have an aversion to something edible, seeing as every time I eat I have to have a little lie down and it looks like I’m six months pregnant.
But trying to sort it out never looked like fun. The idea of eliminating dairy, then meat, then gluten, then wheat, as some of my friends had been told to do upon seeing doctors for their own digestive ailments, sounded about as social as not drinking. I don’t want to be that girl at a party. Think of the horror! If I go to someone’s house for dinner, I want to gobble what I’m given gratefully, rather than dare be seen as a fusspot. Even if I do cry on the way home.
(This did actually happen after a lemon posset once. But I hear the host’s missus also cried so perhaps I’m not alone in finding it hard to digest a pint of double cream.)
I’d been at the new house a few days when it was time to order food. Rather than get the usual from Tesco and suffer the consequences, I took advantage of my new penchant for being a better version of myself (while it lasts) and visited the website of Ilumi – the gluten free gods.
Patting myself on the back for looking after Number One at last, I ordered two weeks worth of their delights and sat back, ready to receive the delivery a few days later.
Then I forgot all about it.
So when the delivery arrived, headed up not with my name but with the name of the person from Ilumi – Rosie Van De Laden, or something equally fancy – I got very confused indeed.
‘Nope, no one here has ordered any food,’ I said, assertively. I think I’d remember if I had. I do love food, afterall. It just doesn’t love me.
The delivery driver looked befuddled. Right house, right address, right phone number. There was only one logical conclusion.
‘I’ve never heard of Rosie Van De Laden,’ I said. ‘But she sounds old. Could she be our ghost? GARETH! Our ghost likes us! She’s ordered us some food!’
Gaz and I agreed it was plausible – it’s a 17th century house, we want a ghost, a friendly ghost. One who orders us food to make us feel welcome.
So we took the order inside, congratulating ourselves on having a friendly 17th century ghost called Rosie who buys us food.
I later remembered I had spoken to Rosie on the phone just days before and it was in fact I who had ordered the food, not the ghost. Nevermind, Rosie the Friendly Ghost will no doubt find other ways to show herself.
My two week trial of the gluten free lifestyle began.
Not only were the Thai red chicken curry, Moroccan vegetables and the lamb Rogan Josh meals delicious, but it was also loads of fun watching Gaz fend for himself in the kitchen for a fortnight.
(Does that count as me being a better version of myself? ‘You’re on your own boy!’ while eating a meal-for-one and poking him with a wooden spoon. Definitely me at my best.)
Day two, Gaz attempted to make himself beans on toast. He spilt a bit of bean juice on the floor, declared he hated the kitchen, cooking, beans, saucepans, tin openers and me, for not cooking for him, in roughly that order. I really like this diet.
Luckily for Gaz, on Day Four I had to bake this cake, so he was able to live off practice-cake while I continued to go the gluten free way. His belly swelled while mine had never looked more Gwyneth-Paltrow.
I never felt hungry and – crucially – never felt full, in the proper sense of the word. The sense I’m so used to. Wailing on the floor, undoing top-buttons, crying, promising to never eat again. That stopped happening, which was nice.
The gluten free lifestyle is criticised by some who think it’s bandied around too much. I haven’t been diagnosed as suffering from coeliac disease, a condition most in need of a gluten free life. And I’m not a doctor, but I do know that I have felt bloody great the last fortnight. And by way of a controlled experiment, I had a gluten-rich weekend just now and after two glorious weeks of being bloat-free, I watched my tummy expand like a balloon. Take that, skeptics.
So maybe gluten is my poison. It’s certainly great news to know that I don’t have to now trial a sugar free diet, a carb free diet or a meat free diet. Lest I’m known as a fuss-pot. I’m going to continue to eat the gluten free way now that the trial is over.* There can be no greater endorsement than that. That and my new found flat stomach.
*Except at parties or whenever anyone is watching. As far as you are concerned, I have no health issues whatsoever, am super laid back, cool and fun, okay? Don’t ask about my secret part-time environmental vegetarianism. That’s a dietary choice I save just for my carnivore husband.