Just because an article says something doesn’t mean it’s suddenly true: The Gluten Free Debate

Dear people who insist you know what’s best,

I don’t want to hate you or your insistence that you know what’s best for me, but that’s mostly because I don’t want to hate. I don’t like to have animosity toward anything because that anger isn’t useful, it doesn’t bring anything to a world that already has enough of that.

However, I need you to know that you are wrong and you don’t know the first thing about what’s going on just because you read the title of an article and have decided that your ability to read approximately a sentence has clarified or solved all the mysteries about this one particular problem. However, what you forgot to do was read the entire article or go back and look at any of the research that could have helped make you more insightful about said issue.

Anyhow, let me not be vague about todays topic: Food allergies/intolerances.

I am one of those people. One of the ones that comes to your restaurant, your dinner party, your moms house, your casual dining experience and requests Gluten/Dairy Free and often Soy free products and you get huffy and on your high horse about… “ugh… I hate that I always have to accommodate these requests” and “does she actuuuually have a problem with these things or am I going out of my way for nothing?”

My response to this is:

1. I do actually have a Dairy allergy and nooooo I really can’t have it because I get sick, like reaaaaal sick and I’m in pain for days until my body finds all the necessary ways to expel it from my body. No, it’s really not worth it.

2. I am apparently wheat intolerant. A lot of articles have come out recently that suggest people that say they are gluten intolerant may not be. I will discuss that at further length in just a moment.

3. I don’t actually expect you to go out of your way or make anything special for me because I’m used to the fact that most people don’t need to eat the same way I do. I eat this way in order to feel good, to feel like my whole self. I am totally okay with bringing something to your party/brunch/meal thing or just ordering off any menu (that’s not Italian).

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about why I’m bringing this up. In the last few weeks article after article and person after person has assaulted me with their “data” about how gluten intolerance isn’t something that one can be reactive to unless they actually have celiac disease.

“This means you can eat (insert any wheat product here)!!!”

Oh man, wouldn’t it be a glorious thing if I could just read an article, it tells me that gluten intolerance isn’t a thing and then all of my symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress, backaches, headaches, etc, just suddenly disappeared because the words on the page tell me that what I’ve been telling people isn’t true.

That would be fucking fabulous!!! I would looooove to eat regular, fluffy, soft, moist whole grain Oroweat bread again because I sustained myself on that shit for decades. What about some waffles doused in maple syrup or any breaded product, aaaaany fucking breaded product? And what about pizza? You know what I mean all of you people out there that can eat any of the wheatiest, cheesiest delicacies on earth. What about Pizza? Imagine your life without it.  I guarantee you if this article could change all the things my body feels when I eat these foods I would be on it right now!

Please feel free to make fun of all the people that don’t know what gluten actually is, you can do it with Jimmy Kimmel here via Huffington Post . However, after going through a year long nutrition program I already know what gluten is and just in case you don’t and you’ve been making fun of people just because they’re not sure, here you go.

Gluten: is a protein composite found in a few different foods like wheat, barley, rye, and spelt and it gives these foods that awesome elasticity, which is what makes their texture so amazing.

Okay, well I can’t just dismiss the fact that there has been a recent study that discusses gluten, so I decided to actually read the study.

Here’s a short article that summarizes some content:  Real Clear Science

Full Text Article from Gastroenterology

In case you don’t want to read either of those  Mark Sisson does a really great recap of what all of this means.

Let me simplify: 

1. Is gluten sensitivity real in non-celiac patients? No  AND  Yes.

A majority of non-celiac patients had  no actual response to gluten, but let’s be clear that this was only the gluten protein introduced without anything else, no wheat, no barley, no anything.

A couple of people, 6 to be exact or 16% of study participants did seem to have a reaction to a gluten intake, so… there does still seem to be a possibility that gluten can affect those that aren’t celiac, but are you one of them? (There were only 37 participants in this study).

What does this mean for people that have been feeling better due to reducing gluten intake? Well… what has been noted in this study and previous studies is that people that often think they are gluten intolerant having a problem processing FODMAPS ( FermentableOligo-Di-Mono-saccharides And Polyols).

This just means that there are certain carbohydrates that the small intestines have a problem digesting. This can cause mild to severe symptoms in some people, which can include pain, bloating, gas, and other abdominal issues. Top offending foods:

Fructans: wheatryebarleyoniongarlicJerusalem and globe artichokeasparagusbeetrootchicorydandelion leavesleekradicchio, the white part of spring onion,broccolibrussels sproutscabbagefennelchocolate and prebiotics such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS), oligofructose and inulin.*

Galactans: Pulses and Beans.*

Polyols: are found naturally in some fruit (particularly stone fruits), including applesapricotsavocadosblackberriescherrieslycheesnectarinespeachespearsplumsprunes,watermelon and some vegetables, including cauliflowermushrooms and mange-tout peas.*

For some people there can be other distress that doesn’t show up in the gut for which they may be unaware such as headaches, anxiety, fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia, autism, etc. More studies are now being done in order to see if there are correlations between gluten and disorders that some think are unrelated and research is finding that there are some correlations. I don’t want to be on any one side of these until more research comes out.

So most of these people feel good because they cut the wheat out, hmm… interesting? So while they may not be gluten intolerant, something actually is bothering them and it’s likely issues with digesting certain food products.

What I know is that I experience a variety of symptoms when I eat gluten containing foods or… should I say wheat. I believe that I and many others may have to change our conversations with people about what were really are intolerant of, however it comes down to the fact that: We may still seem annoying and it’s okay!!! If not including something in our diet makes us feel better, then there is no reason to include it! Just because research came out saying that gluten can be consumed doesn’t mean we can suddenly consume all the gluten products we want because you may know that you won’t be able to have a normal poop in weeks.


So once again people that insist they know what is best for me. I sincerely am glad that you care enough about my ability to consume these offending foods that you would tell me, but is it really in my best interests or yours? Are you just annoyed that you have to keep seeing Gluten and Dairy Free all over menus around your dear city? You may feel like until there is enough research to support going gluten free that no one should, but honestly all diets are different for all bodies. My suggestion is that no matter how annoying it is to see any “diet” labeled all over our stuff not limited to but including, “vegan, paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, etc,” let’s just let us all express our eating habits in whatever way we want and feel healthy in the ways that make us feel healthy. As long as we are doing it consciously then we are doing what is right for us as individuals.


* Sourced from Wikipedia


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