Giving Up

The last five days I have been weaning off of wheat, which is also known as withdrawal, I mean awful. With more fatigue than usual I have canceled appointments and, thank God, been called off work. “All things work together for good for those who love God, to those called according to his purpose… and need to give up their wheat.” (Romans 8:28 Geneva Bible) 

The first time I gave up bread and all things gluten, I got pretty cranky on day three, maybe sooner. It was Labor Day and I couldn’t even get out of bed. Thanks to a friend who has professional experience in drug and alcohol rehab, I managed my symptoms with Diet Coke, which I otherwise avoid unless my husband is drinking one, in which case I have just a little.  Apparently, I developed a taste for Coke when I was a child. After my mother finished her Coke, I sipped the watery, icy liquid left in the bottom of the cup. At least she wasn’t drinking vodka.

Over the past few years since going gluten free, I have gotten a little sloppy with my wheat avoidance as evidenced by my jeans getting a little snug, eh, I mean, very snug, like right-out-of-the-dryer snug. So I have decided to clean up my diet, which means giving up wheat.  I was depressed by what the Wheat Belly Doc says: gliadin, the protein in wheat, acts like an opiate to the brain but unlike other opiates, gives no pleasure. It just causes us to eat more and more, and I don’t mean more salad.

My unconscious eating plan has been to eat like my ancestors did, which doesn’t mean Paleo. This meant eating vegetarian, like pasta, cookies and cake, which as you can see doesn’t resemble vegetables at all. Despite being raised carne-free, my diet seemed more vegetable-free than anything else. I really enjoyed eating my famous Mushroom Macaroni and Cheese topped with bacon, a recent addition to my diet. I loved making this casserole for potlucks and sharing it with friends, those who weren’t gluten free, that is. 

I also loved making Nanie’s Coconut Islands and chuckled about my sweet Adventist grandmother sneaking coffee into her cookies “to enhance the chocolate flavor.”  In my baby album, there is a picture of a little girl, faintly resembling me, standing on a chair in my grandmother’s kitchen, hand in the Coconut Islands. The love of chocolate (and wheat) starts early.

And once a year, I love a piece of Chocolate Prune Cake, which has been made famous by Loma Linda Market, right in the middle of a Blue Zone. Now this cake is made moist by the presence of prunes, a fact that is best left unsaid to the un-initiated. Better to just say, “How about a piece of chocolate cake?” and leave out the part about the dried plums. The other little known fact about Chocolate Prune Cake is that it contains rum flavoring. Yup, the Adventist teetotalers have to hide their rum in a cake.

So no more Macaroni and Cheese for me, no more Coconut Islands, and no more Chocolate Prune Cake on my birthday. Sad, very, very sad. Not that I have an addiction or anything….

But what I am looking forward to, once my withdrawal symptoms pass, is less enslavement to food, a healthier body, a clearer brain and most importantly, looser jeans.  

Now, I am going to go sip some Diet Coke.



GENEVA CHINNOCK is a writer and author of Becoming His Beloved: Journey into the Father’s Affection. Geneva has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master in Business Administration. In her spare time, Geneva loves reading, eating bacon and attending live theater. She lives in Southern California with her husband and blogs about matters of faith at