Last week my mother cut out an article from the New York Times touting how a gluten-free diet is dangerous to your health. It frightened her because I eat gluten-free. And, for goodness sakes, it was the New York Times, so it had to be true.
I had to explain to her (again) that a gluten-free diet is NOT a grain-free diet, nor is it a fiber-free diet. I eat plenty of grains, as well as seeds and nuts, fresh vegetables, fish and fowl. When I explained it to her (again), she understood, but the vague sense of alarm remained with her. After all, I don’t carry the same clout as the New York Times.
It’s not an age thing, because my younger sister reacts the same way. She thinks I’m gluten-free because it’s fashionable, that the discomfort below my navel was stress-related, not food related (she’s a therapist).
Could that be part of it? Of course it could. However, if it was just a coincidence, a creation of my mind, that my chronic GI tract issues disappeared after clearing gluten out of my diet, I Don’t Care. My symptoms cleared up. Period. I’m not going to get tested for it and risk ruining the illusion.
Anyway, the last I heard, in order to get tested for Celiac Disease, you have to have gluten in your diet for a period of time. Ouch. When I checked my calendar, I couldn’t find a chunk of time I wanted to spend living like a hermit and devoting myself to the bathroom.
And, I already know when I do cheat, my symptoms come back for a couple of days.
There is another upside of being gluten-free – all processed foods are suspicious if their ingredients include something like “Natural Flavors.” That means no flavored chips, cookies, pies, cakes, puddings, cereals, breads, crackers, gravy, bagels, candy… which has been great for my waistline!
I have to admit, the newspaper, and all other media, do their job very well. These types of mis-informative articles are design to scare people into returning to their former consumption of gluten (i.e. bread) by interchanging the concepts “gluten-free” and “grain-free.”
The article definitely alarms the population in general, and my family specifically, so why do it? Who cares if some of us don’t consume gluten? Certainly the wheat industry cares, but I try to avoid GMO (genetically modified organisms) anyway, so gluten-free or not, I’m not eating wheat anyway.
However, in a couple of months, I’m travelling to Europe where GMOs have been banned and extra gluten is not added to the foods the way it is in the USA.
Am I going to eat bread when I get there? You bet I am!
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