On more than one occasion, I’ve heard comments expressing annoyance at gluten-free dieters, that they’re taking away legitimacy from people who truly “need” gluten-free accommodation.
My question is, who has enough of a problem to “need” to eat gluten-free?
- Must one be a card-carrying Celiac?
- Does a diagnosis of gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity count?
- Are you disqualified if, by whatever non-medical method, you’ve become aware that your body reacts to gluten in a pretty miserable way?
- Should one stay away from the gluten-free section of the store if he’s merely uneasy about the growing practices and composition of modern wheat?
To some, The Mister could be classified as one of those people who annoys the people with serious problems or a true-blue diagnosis, whatever that means. But at this point, he doesn’t need a doctor’s diagnosis to know that gluten causes two weeks of skin rash, digestive problems bad enough to interfere with his day-to-day, inflammatory joint pain, debilitating fatigue and a severe case of the grumpies.
That’s no way to live. So, he very carefully avoids gluten.
He’s not willing to get tested for Celiac because the test requires gluten in the system, which means he would have to wreck himself for a while in order to be told he needs to avoid gluten.
In other words, he would have to stop the remedy to be given the same remedy. Or not. That doesn’t make sense now, does it?
So, would someone like him have the “right” to question the waitress about the soup? Or is he just being annoying without a good reason?
My personal opinion is that anyone who wants to go gluten-free should do so without guilt or criticism, without so much as an eye-roll.
Beyond Celiac’s Disease, information about the body’s reaction to gluten is just now coming to light. The complex interplay between genes, the immune system, effects on the digestive system and the brain are being researched further and better understood each day. Even Celiac’s Disease is being researched in more detail because gluten has become sort of a buzzword in the world of health and fitness.
Awareness goes beyond the scientific community. The more that people ask the waiter about gluten-free recommendations, the more practice he gets at making accurate ones. Similarly, food companies tend to respond when more and more people request gluten-free versions of products, which means more variety will be available for those who “need” it.
People arrive at the gluten-free lifestyle for different reasons, none of which I may judge.
Maybe someone tried avoiding gluten to lose weight, and found that they weren’t dealing with clinical anxiety like they were before. Perhaps someone began the diet as a result of an article about gluten and fatigue, and found that their IBS cleared up soon after starting the diet.
It’s not an easy lifestyle change to make and maintain, so if someone is going that route, there’s probably some serious motivation behind it.
Whatever the reasons are for going gluten-free, let ‘em be. What a person puts in his mouth is his business and his business alone.
What do you think? Does the gluten-free “fad” de-legitimize Celiac disease and gluten intolerance for those who suffer?