o you read the last post and you’re still wondering what took me so frikkin’ long to make it to the Cheese Board. It’s because of this: Pretty much everything about pizza goes against Bill’s diet. There’s a lot of publicity out there for embarking on the journey of overhauling one’s diet, but there’s not a lot from the perspective of the partner of the person following those diets. Not that my husband’s Specific Carbohydrate Diet prohibits me from eating out (Have you seen my Instagram??), but as far as spontaneous meals go, when one of your local eateries’ offerings can’t be eaten by your housemate, you’re just less likely to hop over when leisure allows.
What is SCD (in Layman terms)? My usual response:
It’s like Paleo, but a little more specific. No grain, no dairy, no processed sugar.
For whatever reason, people hear that and freak out with, “So, can he eat meat?”
Deep down, I know they’re just reacting to the very idea of cutting something – anything – out from the proverbial world of menus, so I hold back. I have yet to retort with, “Bitch, when did I say ‘no meat’? No GRAIN, no DAIRY, no PROCESSED SUGAR.”
People. Bill eats meat. Have you ever eaten with us? He gets the best cut of fish at the restaurant. He roasts chicken once a week. He orders his In N Out Protein Style. HE EATS MEAT. I DON’T SEE HOW NOT EATING FLOUR CONSTITUTES NOT EATING MEAT.
Example! Here are the Cheese Board Collective ingredients that don’t work with Bill’s diet:
- heirloom tomato (no nightshade)
- mozzarella and Grana Padano cheeses (no soft cheeses)
- dough (has flour, is dough)
If there was salami on that pizza (and if Cheese Board baked beyond vegetarian slices), Bill could eat the salami. Supporting any and all lovely leading lady toppings: dough. Not only does Bill not eat gluten, his stomach straight-up doesn’t handle grain. For whatever reason, the whole “grain” and “gluten” thing about starting with the same letter “g” throws everyone off. I can’t tell you how many times we’re invited to a potluck and a friend goes, “Oh, I got gluten-free buns for Bill!” and he silently, politely passes over any variation of bread because most people don’t distinguish between grain-free and gluten-free.
They mean well, I know. No host can plan for every specific diet of their guests (The irony of this being that SCD stands for “Specific Carbohydrate Diet.”), and I worry that they feel disrespected when he doesn’t reach for that bun. But as The SCDieter’s wife and self-appointed chief supporter, I wince on the inside every time he feels othered. The first two years of seeing him try to build confidence in being That Guy at the restaurant asking for substitutions simply made me more sensitive to the Everyday Luck I have stuffing whatever I want into my body.
Yes, I just said my stomach is privileged and I view supporting my husband in his best diet ever as a compassionate endeavor.
To this day, our own families cannot keep his diet straight. His family forgot to accommodate his diet in our wedding day breakfast. (There’s a lot going on for everyone when a wedding’s involved.) With the ESL status of some of my family members (I am only able to master one language, so calling out their command of two is not a slight.), the phrase “he doesn’t like it” gets swapped in for the original sentiment of “his stomach can’t handle it” all the time. Food is so central to Chinese socializing, though, that I have to remind him from banquet to banquet that he will always be asked what he can eat. For thirty-one years, my parents react like they just found me on their doorstep every time I decline their offer of mushrooms.
“Just be glad you’re not my vegan cousins,” I say to him. (Hi, Channa!)
I know Devil’s Advocates and Mainstream Sheep alike love to go toe-to-toe on the legitimacy of self-imposed eliminations of gluten, grain, and the like. (Let’s talk about how incredibly condescending it is to call yourself “Celiac by Choice” – WTF is that??) I’m not here to get political. I’m here to ask what do you care what someone else is eating?
Controlling his diet is what makes my husband healthy. Years of tinkering with food intake wiped out his need for monthly hospital treatments (He was in for some four-dollar sign-a pop shit.) – and any prescription medications at all.
So, you’re welcome for not having to pay taxes into another person unwilling to adapt their diet to their bodily limitations.
I don’t follow the SCDiet myself, but with Bill being such an excellent cook, I’ve slimmed down just by virtue of enjoying his meals. What a perk! For a modern woman who’s never taken actionable steps to lose weight (I make poor work-life balance decisions.), shedding superfluous pounds doesn’t hurt.
And really, our ongoing commitment to each other has opened my eyes. To my privileged stomach. To this compelling feeling of protecting my partner. To educating others without preaching. To sniffing out ill-read contrarians enough to walk by and forgo the tortillas and opt for my go-to Chipotle burrito bowl.
Finally, as a lover of SCDiet foods, everything based on grain, and even vegan pastries, I have got to say gluten-free foods are regularly disappointing. Please don’t reserve those for us. I’m sure others will enjoy them. Thanks!