Since May is Celiac Awareness month, I am reminded how It seems we can’t go to a restaurant or down a grocery store isle these days without seeing or hearing about foods marked “gluten-free”. In fact, a well-known national restaurant chain recently had to clarify their “gluten-free” item may not be safe for people with gluten sensitivities. Huh? Now that’s a DSP kind of thing to do.
Apparently eating gluten-free is all the rage. You can find everything from bread and pasta to candy and catsup marked “gluten-free” nearly everywhere. It’s a far cry from 17 years ago when I first learned I had to go “gluten-free”. That changed my life, and what I eat, forever.
I share something with about three-million other Americans, including DSP DIXIE’S husband: celiac disease (CD). According to Celiac Central, a great celiac web resource, that’s a just one country; celiac and gluten sensitivity affects millions worldwide.
But then there are the wannabes. ”Is this kibble mix gluten free?” the lady holding the Chihuahua next to me in the checkout line asked the cashier (as if he’d know) “My Vinnie is gluten free, – that gluten is just terrible for his coat.” I wish I could blame my fine, thinning hair on gluten. But after 17 years on a gluten-free diet, I still have a less-than-lush coiffure.
Great uses and excuses
I was puzzled when a friend of an acquaintance informed me he’d gone “gluten-free” to enhance his libido. If that worked, I’m pretty sure Viagra would be out of business. With all the scads of new G-F products, who needs wheat, rye or barley in their life any more? Gluten-free alternatives are so plentiful, you can even get some gluten-free foods at the corner convenience store: Nestle’s Goobers, for example.
I’ve heard of people going “gluten-free” for various reasons- from getting rid of acne to getting rid of the boomerang 30-something son who routinely eats his Boomer parents out of their retirement savings. Gluten-Free is a handy term that’s now used for numerous excuses: ”I didn’t finish the report because that involved inspecting a wheat factory, and I am gluten-free, Mr. Manager.” Or: “I’m sorry we couldn’t invite you to the party- we know you can’t eat gluten, and we don’t know anything about cooking gluten-free.”
You know you’ve hit the big time when…
The gluten-free craze hit a high note just last month when it became a featured category on one of my favorite TV game shows, Jeopardy! One clue, for $500 was: This classic canned meat from Hormel that debuted in 1937 has no gluten. The correct answer: What is Spam?
Of course there’s no gluten in Spam- it’s crammed full of… whatever. I’m just grateful for all the variety available to me, my fellow celiacs and anyone else who wants to embrace the good life. No more deprivation for any of us! Thanks to all the hoopla about gluten free living, you can eat a gluten free pizza in a bar with a glass of g-f beer and fit right in. Of course, I could care less about “fitting in”; I am a proud Domestic Square Peg imperfectionist who just wants to live a healthy, exciting, gluten-free life! Viva la quinoa!
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