The Hip Life of Gluten Free

At a recent Before Morning Breaks concept meeting, I didn’t have much to contribute toward  new blogging ideas. My staff, Mr. T.Vulture is more the silent-but deadly type—so Mr. Pasty Flour wrote a blog about his cool cousin who’s almost as famous as the Fandango sack puppets.  Gluten-Free flours have splashed onto the SuperStar gut scene.

SubWay does it. Trader Joes, too.  They’ve named a pasta after it at the Spaghetti Factory. And when the intestinal hero arrived at Outback Steakhouse, Gluten Free got its own designer menu—including brownies.

Why?

Seems that about 10 % of the U.S. population has a condition known as non-celiac gluten intolerance (NCGI), or gluten sensitivity.

Only 1% of the population has an actual celiac disease and MUST avoid the gluten proteins in wheat, barley, and rye.  or their upper and lower intestines cage fight until one of them is damaged and bleeding. Add in rounds of headaches, fatigue, rashes, joint pain, and a slew of vague maladies caused by the gut throwing in the towel and saying, “Screw it.  I’m not gonna absorb anymore.”

The widespread NCGI is the flimflam cousin. Suckering your doctor by giving you the above symptoms without testing positive for celiac disease. Sufferers feel like they’ve been hit by a busload of  bloat, sinus infections, hair loss, sensitive skin, and fatigue. Usually, after going on a gluten-free diet, many feel better within a week.

“Gluten is fairly indigestable in all people,” says Daniel Leffler, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “There’s probably some kind of gluten intolerance in all of us.”

This explains those gassy grilled cheese sandwiches we received as kids.  Obviously, we weren’t lying when a good-sized toot escaped our little bodies, and we giggled, “I just can’t help it.”

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About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in A Laugh, Change, Choices, Humor and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to The Hip Life of Gluten Free

  1. Silva Gang says:

    Those photos are great. The first photo made me laugh. Looks like a great night of gluten-free festivities! 🙂

    Like

  2. Hi Barb,
    my hubby has coeliac (the Aussie spelling) disease. He was only diagnosed at 50 years old (2 years ago). He had diarrhea for over 20 years (every day) and couldn’t gain weight ever, no matter what he ate (always weighed around 120lbs), light for a man. He had a dislike for certain foods without knowing why, but still ate them (like pizza, bread and pasta and pastries). Unfortunately I am of European descent, so I cooked alot of pasta, pizza, and pastry dishes (I made my husband sicker and thinner). Now we all eat gluten free in the house, my hubby has put on a healthy weight, and now realises how sick he has been all his life, now he knows what feeling well is like. Lots of folks over the years have never been diagnosed, it does shorten people’s lives, sadly.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      I’m so glad you posted and told us this side of the story. It’s amazing that eating (what we think is everyday-food) made him so ill. Thank heavens he found a way to relieve the pain and become healthy. Thanks for sharing, hopefully folks who suffer like you husband did, will take the steps to check out this possibility.

      Like

  3. pegoleg says:

    I don’t understand why so many more people have gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance and especially peanut allergies, than did 50 years ago. Have we circumvented natural selection with modern medicine so more people are living with these maladies than used to? Is there something about our food supply that is different?

    Very interesting – thanks, Barb!

    Like

  4. Storm Rider says:

    Wow! Din know there was a disease called Celiac… Hey and I thought subway was real healthy..

    God, there are so many do’s and don’ts in eating.. I feel the best way is not to overdo anything. Eat everything to it’s limit.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Subway has a gluten-free bun. That’s what moved me to do this blog. As I stood in line at Subway, I noticed the employee who got the GF order had to change gloves and they couldn’t touch ANYTHING except that sandwich. Someone had to open the oven door for them to put it in the oven and take it out. No cross contamination.
      I’m glad you’re eating everything to the limit. Please eat a croissant for me. It’s not he gluten that gets me, but the calories.

      Like

  5. Red says:

    I have a cast iron stomach (So, I will test your new cookbook…except for rodent…do not do rodent), but a temperamental gut. The doctor tried to foist this off on me, but nothing doing. Dropping bread, wine, pie, donuts, cake, Danish, crackers, fried/breaded foods and every other staple in my diet did nothing but make me more irascible than ever.

    The reports are right, though. If you are gluten intolerant, it takes less than a week to notice the difference. In less than 72 hours, gluten clears the system.
    Red.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      So…did you continue your wayward eating and suffer, or you give the diet a weeklong twirl?

      Like

      • Red says:

        I did not need a week. It was not the problem. Fat was the problem. I cannot digest it, which makes many foods a complete no go. I have to curb meats and oils, but other than that, I am good. The funny thing? I can eat anything I want raw (which is why sashimi is such an important staple for me) and veggies to my heart’s content. The cooking process makes it all bad.

        I think it has been years since I needed meds for it. I consider that a victory!
        Red.

        Like

  6. Nisha says:

    I always read about gluten-free this and gluten-free that, but never got off my lazy butt to find out about it. So thanks for this info Barb!
    Although like Tom, I’m also beginning to wonder about my gluten tolerance. But like you said maybe I’m reading too much into it.
    Still, maybe I’ll try a gluten free diet for a week and see how I feel. I luuuuurve my pasta and white bread though so don’t hold your breath for me…

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Google a list of celiac symptoms. Just about everything you’ve ever experienced is on that list (maybe not hangnails). That’s why it’s so hard to diagnose.

      Like

  7. mj monaghan says:

    Hmm, very interesting, Barb. Do you think the Harvard dude is saying we should all avoid gluten products?? Great post – love the wit and educational value! 🙂

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Nope, I think it’s just the opposite. Some types of meat are difficult to digest, but that doesn’t mean we should all become vegans (although some would argue with that.)

      Like

  8. I may sound even more bitter and twisted than usual here. It seems to me that having food intolerances/allergies is fashionable so many people climb aboard and claim sensitivities with no medical evidence. Such behaviour serves to negate or trivialise the very real suffering that people with genuine allergiesand/or intolerances suffer. Growl. Hiss and spit.

    Like

    • Red says:

      I am with you, EC. When it dies down, just like lactose intolerance did, those who are left with the real McCoy will be back to finding ways around it.
      Red.

      Like

    • Barb says:

      Actually, I love it when you growl, hiss, and spit….obviously…so does Red.

      Like

      • Spectra says:

        I actually approve of people jumping on the allergy or food sensitivity bandwagon.And here’s why: They more demand trendiness creates for gluten and dairy and egg-free products, the easier it is becoming for those of us with life long sensitivities to obtain the foods we need. Now, you say Subway has finally added a GF roll! Awesome! I have soooo much trouble when trying to eat out. Salads may be the only safe foods, and don’t they go and throw something bready in there every time, or I’d forget to have them hold the cheese? Grrr.

        New Jersey has the nations highest incidence of autism, 1 in 94 – which is aggrivated by the many food allergies the affected kids and adults have – an ailing immune system, really. One school mate said on Facebook that she went GF for a year, because both her kids have forms of autism, but it was too hard, and so she just shrugged it off and began feeding her kids their poisons again. It wrecks their guts and produces nuerotoxins in their brains. SO the more trendy vegan eating and Gluten Free gets, the easier it is for me to find egg-free Veganaisse mayo, and Bobs Red Mill GF flours at the market, and now a few restaurants with GF breads. I am really grateful for shallow, tendy, self-centered human behavior. For once.

        Like

        • Barb says:

          I’m sorry that you have this condition. It is hellish. I’ll think of you each time I have breakfast at Bob’s Red Mill. Bob is often there playing piano in the mornings, then driving off in his Model T. May you long live gluten-free

          Like

        • Spectra says:

          Wow. He’s a bit of a hero in the GF world. His products are pretty great. If you can get me an autographed piece of gluten-free bread you’ll be my hero.

          Hey – did you get your lambie?

          Like

  9. souldipper says:

    Two people in my life became critically ill and it took ages to diagnose that it was gluten intolerance. One of the people does not how long her respiratory system will be able sustain her so lives knowing she may literally lose her breath.

    Both these people are highly grateful that this condition is being brought to light. Neither want other people to have to go through the agony they have each suffered.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      I’m so sorry. Although I take a lighthearted approach, I understand that it makes some sufferers’ lives far beyond miserable. I’m also amazed at the number of folks who say they feel better almost immediately after going on a GF diet. Who would’ve thought? And it’s such a large crop in our sustenance system.

      Like

  10. Al says:

    I could never give that stuff up, even with all the gastric discomforts. I guess you might say I’m a gluten for punishment.

    Like

  11. Barb, I didn’t think that I had a problem with Gluten, but now I’m not so sure…

    Like

    • Barb says:

      I know….it’s like reading a Psychology 101 textbook. Every symptom you come across, you’ve experienced in your life time. Perhaps Moma’s dose of wine is the best solution?

      Like

  12. dan says:

    Considering that last statement in the entry, I must have the king of gluten allergies. My Indian name is Chief Thunder Butt. Probably TMI.

    Like

  13. I can eat anything, and it all loves me, especially my belly.

    Like

  14. moma escriva says:

    How can an Italian live without pasta and artisan bread? Yeah, I know whole wheat stuff, but I just counter it all with olive oil and nuts. Works for me.

    Like

  15. Julie says:

    I remember having a grilled cheese sandwich, fries and a coke everyday on vacation when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I still love all of the same things. Though I’ve tried to scale back quite a bit, I’m still paying for it!

    Like

  16. Sigh. I’ll never be one of the cool kids. Wouldn’t you know it, I’ve never had a problem with gluten.

    Like

  17. Roxie Matthews says:

    I am willing to endure some gas and fatigue in exchange for a hot yeast roll torn open and slathered with butter. Heavy, starchy foods are my idea of comfort. A big plate of pasta is the perfect counterweight to any flight of fury. And if we cut out everything that might be bad for us, we’d starve to death. Hope your upper and lower intestines don’t often engage in cage fights.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Roxie, I’ve never noticed a problem,…but then perhaps I attributed any intestinal disturbance to bad beans instead of deadly wheat stalks?

      Like

  18. One of my friends darned near died last year before the doc finally diagnosed celiac disease. Sixty-six years old, and she had no idea up until then that she had a problem with it. And another friend almost died from it ten years ago or so. He did some scientific work at Chernobyl, so we were concerned his illness was caused by that. But nope. Gluten. Still, I had no idea gluten intolerance was so widespread. Maybe we should all avoid it.

    Like

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