What’s all the hubub, bub??? The great gluten free backlash


We are about one week away from our big move to Tennessee.  I am not only facing big changes in location, but in food and eating as well.

On a similar wavelength, there seems to be a lot of discussion on the gluten free trend as of late.  The focus seems to be whether giving up gluten if you don’t have celiac disease is just a fad, or misguided attempt by people who are misinformed. Or downright dangerous. There is quite a bit of backlash toward the whole gluten free phenomena.

There have been several recent articles on the debate.  One stated that one should not “lie” to one’s waiter that one has a food allergy if they really don’t have an allergy.  Taking the part of the wait and kitchen staff, I am sure they are frustrated no end by people who say they can’t eat gluten and then ask for a bread basket, or can’t eat dairy and then order ice cream. That they can “cheat a little”.  If you do have a legitimate allergy, the kitchen has to prepare all of your meal separately which wreaks havoc on the delicate dance that is the restaurant kitchen.   While I agree that there are those who are uneducated about food allergies and use that excuse to avoid certain ingredients, I wonder if those of us with food intolerance would be better served by playing the allergy card.  Will wait and kitchen staff really take us seriously if we say that we only have an intolerance?

Up until this point, I have not been sneered at by wait staff for claiming gluten and dairy intolerance.  But there was a quote in a recent article in which a waiter quipped “do you mean gluten intolerant or gluten intolerable”.  Because of celebrity trending and dietary ignorance, those of us with gluten issues are being ostracized, sneered at, eye rolled at, and just plain made fun of.  Gluten free is becoming a billion dollar business, and also becoming the new leprosy.

Ignorance is not limited to the restaurant alone.  I am sure we have all heard “oh a little bite won’t hurt you” with the accompanying eye roll of frustration when we politely decline a “smidge” of Aunt Jane’s apple pie.  Most people don’t understand that a gluten and dairy free diet is extremely complicated, time consuming and downright frustrating.  Sometimes I feel completely out of the loop and separated from the herd.  Every morsel of food has to be analyzed for possible hidden gluten or dairy.  I really don’t understand why anyone in their right mind would want to give up gluten and dairy if they didn’t have to.  You won’t lose weight; and you will really feel the pinch in your pocketbook.  If anything gluten and dairy free foods have more calories and are not any healthier.  Going out to eat will be a nightmare to the point of sweating and paranoia.  And pray that you have an understanding family like I do.  I’m lucky to have children that have this same disorder and a wonderful husband who will eat anything I put in front of him, with a smile.  Even if it’s horrible.  That my friends, is true love.

We will be moving into our new place three days before Thanksgiving, and I am planing on throwing together if not a grand feast, at least a decent one at home this year.  I have had a lot of practice.  I can perform miracles with one sauce pan and one frying pan, and I’m sure several trips to Walmart.  Going out to dinner is alas, not an option.  We have done so in the past, before I went on this crazy ride.   Not this year.

I am hoping to be able to find my gluten and dairy free needs met in this new, strange place.  It will be a challenge.  But it will also be fun.  And that my friends, is the key.

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