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All This New Food, And Still There’s Nothing To Eat

January 13, 2012

Upon first finding out I had Celiac Disease, many people I talked to or read about who had suffered with the disease for years all expressed to me how lucky I was.  Their lines were always something akin to “Back when I was diagnosed there were no gluten-free foods!  And everywhere we walked, it was uphill!”  Sorry for the snark, I couldn’t help myself.  I mean, it’s tough when you’re just diagnosed to feel lucky.

But I do understand.  Even in the last couple years since I was diagnosed the number of gluten-free products on the shelves and the number of restaurants with at least an attempt at a gluten-free menu (I’ll rant about that later) has exploded.  Cookies, cake mixes, crackers, pasta…all available to the celiac.  Especially those with less discerning palates.

But another thing I found when I looked at all the new recipes and products was that many of them went far beyond gluten-free.  Dairy-free, soy-free, casein-free, lactose-free, nut-free, etc.  Now, I understand that many Celiacs suffer from other allergies and sensitivities.  Though I must admit that I’m a bit cynical about all that as you will no doubt learn if you continue to read this blog.  But, good Lord, eating gluten-free is difficult enough without adding all those requirements on top of it.  Gluten-free is morphing into allergen-free.

On top of that, you have the food nazis to contend with.  I have a book written by Jane Brody, food critic for the New York Times, published in 1990 called “Living the High Carbohydrate Way”.  Twenty years later that sounds crazy.  Carbohydrates are evil.  As is fat.  That leaves protein, I guess.  As long as it doesn’t come from red meat.

Ok, fine.  I’ll roast a nice chicken breast, have a salad with a sparing amount of vinaigrette, some glazed carrots and…water.  Nice.  Fine.  Hm.  What am I gonna have tomorrow?

And even that’s not enough for many people.  They’re gonna roast a boneless, skinless chicken breast that will be so dry you’ll need another glass of water.  And they’re gonna use some partially hydrogenated soybean oil spread that’s 60% water to glaze their carrots.  And they’re not going to use nearly enough salt on any of it because salt is, you know, evil.

So even with all this food available, we insist on further limiting ourselves.  Eating well is no vice.

I love food.  I love the taste, I love the texture, I love the smell…I love the layers of flavors you get from a well put together dish followed by a really good wine.  And, thanks to the incandescent light bulb of gluten-free cooking – the gluten-free all-purpose flour blend – I can have it in innumerable forms and fashions.  I do not have other food allergies, and I am cynical about everything modern science tells me.  So I eat well, I eat fresh and I eat delicious.  I certainly could eat more healthy and more balanced and I’m striving to do better.  But to me balance means using real butter on my glazed carrots.

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One Comment
  1. I very very much agree with this post. Eating gluten free for me is restrictive enough without making silly decisions about removing other foods from my diet on a whim. I guess I should be thanking my lucky stars that I am not lactose intolerant. I sometimes have to quickly run to the bathroom after having milk but the doctor has tested me and I am not lactose intolerant so I am not cutting out dairy. Too hard.
    But a few months ago my Dr said I have to cut down on sugar and eat low GI because I have an autoimmune per diabetic condition. How annoying and it is so hard!
    And to top it off, the only meat I eat is chicken and white fish because I chose to be vegetarian for years (but not now) and now I can’t eat most meats. I wish I could as I hate my restricted dietary lifestyle.
    Thank you for this post. Oh, and I love cynicism!

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