Dear Bread: I Love You, You’re Killing Me.
This is a letter I wrote in April of 2012 to a dear friend of mine: bread. It was one of those letters that you write but are too afraid to send.
You see, I made the choice to go grain- and sugar-free back in April, and the thought of giving up bread was terrifying. It’s been nearly a year since I wrote and sealed this letter, and I’m so glad I did.
“The end is nigh.
Our 22-year relationship is crumbling beneath us. I’m sorry that I wasn’t gifted with a more resilient genetic makeup that could withstand your havoc. Perhaps we could’ve stayed together.
No, I wasn’t so gifted, nor have you ever changed your ways. We’re at a crossroads, and I’m afraid I’ll have to take a step in the other direction.
You always knew how to comfort me when I was down.
As a child, I remember curling up with a hot bowl of macaroni and cheese, and even if it only lasted as long as the meal, my comfort was real, and warm, and full of Velveeta cheese. Pizzas passed through my mouth like water. Sugary treats delighted and inspired me. I fell in love with the taste of a cherry-soaked pie crust. You name it, I loved it: lasagnas, spaghetti, pizza, cookies, cakes, brownies, deep-fried cheeses, and chicken wings.
When I think of these things, I’m sad knowing that I will perhaps never indulge in them again. Slowly, I am coming to terms with the fact that our relationship has become toxic. I saw my own grandfather die from cancer after being riddled with health issues for most of his adult life. With type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, he ate what he wanted but payed the price later in life.
At this point in my life, I’ve matured enough to know the difference between good and bad. Generally speaking, eating ten cookies is a bad idea. Ten pieces of broccoli? Good! But what about just one cookie? It doesn’t seem like it would cause much harm in the end. It’s just one cookie, anyway, and “balancing” its effects with salad or a plate of carrots seems to make sense. Right?
But what if there is a “good” and a “bad” that nobody ever told you about? Ideas that seem to be counter-intuitive to what you’ve always heard seem scary. Yes, ten cookies are bad. But so is just one. The things that you’ve been told to eat your entire life because they’re “healthy” end up being the things that cause you most harm. In this case, it doesn’t matter if it’s a cookie or a piece of whole wheat bread.
That, my dear bread, is the problem I am faced with when I consider you: everyone around me kept saying that you were there for me, and that if I had you in my life, I’d be healthy. When I first read about going grain-free, it was as if someone had slapped me across the face and finally told me what nobody else wanted to say: THOSE FOODS ARE BAD FOR YOU! They’re going to end up hurting you in the end! Just stay away!
Now, bread, don’t get me wrong. I do love you. At least, I think I do. Honestly, I’ve got no experience without you in my life. You’ve always been there for me, and I haven’t ever thought that you wouldn’t be. In fact, you provide a level of sustenance for people around the world that other foods cannot come close to. Put simply, you’re not completely horrible. As rice, you feed 1,000 people, while a cow could only feed 100, maybe. That’s admirable. Isn’t it?
Really, I don’t mean to pick on you, bread. I’m cutting my ties, and it’s only for the betterment of both of us. Well, okay, so you’re not really going to be better off with or without me. Kind of like cigarettes. They really don’t feel the difference either way. But I will. I know that I may feel a void opening up in me that I haven’t felt before. I know that, given time, that void will close again. As my dad once posted as his status for Skype, “we have to let go, to know what we were without it.”
Yeah, okay, so Skype statuses aren’t typically goldmines for bits of wisdom, but in this case, I think it’s both fitting and enlightening. Bread, I have to let you go. I don’t know what I was–if I ever was–without you. There is truly only one way for me to find out.
So to you dear bread, I raise my last glass of beer, my last slice of real pizza, my last spoonful of mac’n'cheese.