I’m still no fan of “The Diet”. It’s like belonging to a cult, a spiritual sect, a cricket mommy’s WhatsApp group. I love, however, knowing about it. It keeps me curious and knowledgeable, makes me feel young and healthy and sexy. It serves me well – at the gym, at work, at a cocktail party.
Now, I can rattle off names too, with swelling pride and belly – Atkin’s, Paleo, Keto, gluten-free, vegan, eggetarian, pescetarian, no carbs after five, no raw after four, Rujuta’s rules, Jennifer’s PH balance, organic…cold press…. God bless our delicate digestive systems.
Ok, so here’s why I did have a go at one of them, many moons and many spare kilos ago. Four spare kilos in six days to be precise.
One minute, I weigh a fifty-one and joyfully kayak my way down the Seine. The next, I am a puffy-faced fifty-five. The face puffs, the body puffs, the French boyfriend huffs and puffs. I am mortified. My past weight gains have been a gentle, meandering stream. This one rages like the roaring rapids.
Desperate measures call for Zero Carbs. No bread, no potatoes, no pasta, no rice. No weight loss. Instead a weight gain! I return to India, trundle into the doctor’s clinic, a blubbery mess. “Hypothyroidism,” he states matter-of-factly.
“Many Indian women suffer from a thyroid disorder,” my doctor reassures me. "An under-active thyroid will make you gain weight but nothing that the good ol’ meds won’t fix.” He scribbles on a prescription paper. “Oh and you have the type called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.”
“Hashimoto! My cousin Roopa in America is married to Eddie Hashimoto! I Google my cousin... uh, my illness. Rheumatoid arthritis-bound fingers chill at the computer. Auto-immune disease. Auto-immune disease. Auto-immune?!!?Isn’t that when your cells split and break, and divide and multiply, and ultimately destroy your body!??!
A phone call from my good friend Uma intercepts a paragraph on Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and gluten. I pour my heart out to her.
“We have something other than French food in common,” she says gently. “We need to get off the gluten.”
I let out a hyena-like yelp. “You have Hashimoto’s?!!? Omigod, I’m so happy! Of course I’m not…. but I am!”
“You know, my cousin’s married to a Hashimoto….”
Three weeks and a 100mg of Thyroxin later, I lose the kilos and regain my sanity. And so begins my journey into the world of gluten-free foods…
Pritha will be back in a fortnight with more adventures in "The glutton gets off the gluten".