Going gluten-free is a battle. A battle of the many emotions involved with learning an entire new way of eating. The battlefield is similar to the one that Rick, Carl, Maggie, Daryl and the others face on every episode of The Walking Dead. How do the two journeys relate? Well, let me explain…
1. What the ______?
When Rick woke up in the hospital he had no idea what was going on. Where was his family? Were they infected with this new ‘disease’? What just happened to life as he knew it? These feelings are similar to the ones someone experiences when diagnosed with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance. They are confused about their new condition. How did this happen to them?
2. Stay Away!!
On The Walking Dead, the group did not know exactly what the zombies were or how they got that way, but they did know to stay away from them. This is similar to when someone first gives up gluten. They do not fully understand what this binding protein is and how it is in SO many different types of food. BUT, one thing is for sure, they know to steer clear of it.
3. They’re Everywhere!!
In the postapocalyptic world, everyone knew they needed to stay away from the zombies, but they were overwhelmed because there were so many. They were constantly running from Walkers, and would settle somewhere thinking they were safe only to be blindsided by MORE zombies. A version of this happens to someone going gluten-free as well. Just when they feel safe with a food, or think they finally have the ‘hang’ of the gluten-free diet, they are glutened. They may feel as though no matter what they do, or how much they prepare, they’re not safe because gluten seems to be hiding around every corner.
4. Learning to Stop the Walkers
With each episode of The Walking Dead, the group gets better and better at killing the zombies. Although they are still unexpectedly bombarded from time to time by Walkers, they know what they must do to prevent being bitten and have learned the proper way to ‘kill’. The same thing goes for someone going gluten-free. The longer one is on the diet, the better they get at reducing their chances of getting glutened. They know how to prevent cross-contamination, and what ‘secret’ ingredients to look out for.
5. Always Watch Your Back
Currently on The Walking Dead, the group knows how to fight off the zombies. They can easily kill off Walkers (unless unexpectedly bombarded at a prison), preventing any bites or scratches. Even though they may be confident killing Walkers, they still always have to watch their backs. No matter how knowledgeable they become, they must always keep their guard up. This is exactly how one is while on the gluten-free diet. No matter how long someone is gluten-free, they still must continue to read labels like a crazy person. Even though they think a food is safe, they must always be on the look-out for an unexpected ingredient, and make sure that food preparation is contamination-free.
So there you have it. Those on the gluten-free diet have a lot in common with the characters on The Walking Dead. The good part is, we can control our situation much easier than Rick Grimes can. I am also quite happy I don’t have Merle coming for me with his knife hand.
You can watch The Walking Dead Sundays at 9pm on AMC. I also highly recommend having The Walking Dead marathons on Netflix.
Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009. She reviews gluten-free products, restaurants, posts simple recipes, and writes about gluten-free experiences on www.gfreelaura.com. Laura also blogs for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery. You can follow Laura’s young, wild, and [gluten] free updates by finding her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.