May 30, 2012

The Ooey-Gooey Gluten Debate. ~ Jody Berger

Ooh, gluten, you must be a dirty word.

At the very least, something seriously dangerous for all the drama you’re creating—and I’m not talking about any messy intestinal distress. No, the real drama is verbal.

It’s a nasty debate that surrounds you.

  Gluten-eaters, smug in their bagel-biting world, shout “Liar!” or “Poser!” at the breadless, as if going gluten-free were only a silly trend—here today and certainly gone tomorrow.

As for gluten-avoiders, they not only let the name-calling go on, they’re joining in.

In online discussions and magazine articles,“Celiacs” whine about their new found popularity and question the credentials of recent converts to the gluten-free life. Longtime sufferers moan and groan that they alone are special, they alone should forgo their daily bread and that recent arrivals only joined the wheat-free party because they heard Miley Cyrus might be there.

My initial reaction to the raging debate was “Who gives a …?” However, the question implied its own answer, constipation being a common effect of Celiac disease.

And yet, for anyone weighing in on whether gluten-freedom is only a fad, I wonder why?

The market for gluten-free goods is $6.3 billion and growing—which makes me, a gluten-avoider, happy beyond belief. Waiters know what I’m talking about and the grocery store offers a huge selection, clearly labeled.

I don’t have Celiac disease. And for those who think I’m ridiculous for adjusting my diet, I have to say, I just don’t care.

I had the test for the disease and the results were negative. But the test is notoriously unreliable—getting the answer wrong almost as often as right. Luckily, a different doctor—my doctor now—suggested an elimination diet, which proved instructive.

I went without gluten for a month, tried it again and felt like I’d been hit by a truck. All my joints ached. Turns out—surprise, surprise—that my body is the best, most reliable diagnostic tool there is for me.

I didn’t like the way I felt eating gluten so I don’t eat it. Simple, really.

As for everyone else, my advice is just as simple: eat gluten, don’t eat it, question other people’s illness or leave ‘em alone. I can’t see why any of that should matter to me, or you.



Jody lives and writes and bikes in Denver. An eternal optimist, she is also a fearless traveler who likes finding herself in faraway places.




Editor: Thaddeus Haas

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