At the time of writing this, it’s coeliac awareness week in the UK. Having been diagnosed with the disease around 12 months ago, I know how often I’ve had to explain it to people – and how little fun that can be (particularly if they ask you about the symptoms – eek). My solution – write a poem about it of course – which I hope people can share to explain the causes, symptoms and frustrations in an un-cringey – and hopefully entertaining – way. Job done, and back to my expensive maize-based substitute products. Yum.
Gluten is Lovely
One day, my body said “Right! No more gluten!”
Why would it DO that, that’s what I’m disputing!
Gluten is LOVELY, it makes dough elastic,
And cake nice and cakey, and croissants fantastic,
The human immune system’s really quite cracking,
But mine is a numpty, it needs a good smacking,
It sends forth its troops to repel yummy biccies,
And crackers and gravy and buns, soft and sticky.
So if I have shreddies or pasta or beer,
Or if one grain of flour has come ANYWHERE NEAR,
My body says “Got this!”, attacks my own guts
And banjaxes my brain – antibodies gone nuts!
So my “glutened” utensils were binned by the drawer-full,
It’s three pounds for bread now, and man, it tastes awful,
And I ALWAYS read packs – I’ve found gluten in cheese,
Jelly babies and chips, stir fry veg – I mean please!
And restaurants are fun, as I question each dish –
“Was it fried in the fat with that nice breaded fish?
Are your chopping boards safe? Do you have separate butter?”
“This woman’s a nightmare!” the waitresses mutter.
But… one crumb of gluten – one smear on a knife,
And let’s say… the bottom falls out of my life,
I am laid up for days, not in dreams, but in pain,
And for weeks, i will not be quite normal again.
I have panic attacks, I have aches, I have chills,
And the long term effects are more frightening still,
“It’s just CAKE, stupid coeliac body!” I cry,
“Now come on! Sort it out! Cos I REALLY miss pie.”
© Nina Parmenter 2018
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Photo by Abele Gigante on Unsplash