Banana bread for us. No apologies needed.
Out there in the cold cruel world, Darling, some folks apparently (still) view our gluten-free lifestyle through a jaded foodie lens, believing, first of all, that gluten-free anything is never going to taste anything but awful, and second, that this whole gluten-free trend (their word not mine) is a fad not worthy of serious consideration and compassion. Apart from the standard (and always brief) lip service that non-afflicted food writers, non-GF bloggers and journalists pay to celiac disease, adhering to the medical treatment that is a gluten-free diet is degraded- for that sexy topical hook- to a "bandwagon". An eating disorder.
A diet by choice.
They dub it a controversy.
As my seventeenth (!) year of living gluten-free begins in earnest, I find myself reflecting not upon the decade plus years living gluten-free, but upon the ten long years prior to shunning gluten- the decade it took me (no thanks to the medical profession) to determine that gluten was the culprit behind my early onset autoimmune cataracts, mysterious low ferritin levels, skin rashes, migraines, fat malabsorption and impressive marathon stints in the loo- I feel the slow, sad burn of anger those of us who are dismissed experience.
Two bloggers referenced the gluten-free diet on a social networking site recently, bragging about their "iron stomachs" and their ability to chow down on everything (this implies that those of us unable to ingest gluten merely have "sensitive" digestion). I was reminded of a previous post I wrote in response to a (famous) blogger's remark that gluten-free is "too precious".
Ignorance is bliss, indeed.
Here's the thing. It's not a sensitive vs iron stomach issue. It's not an I-can-eat-anything-so-bring-on-the-butter-and-bacon-and-haggis issue. It's not about macho appetite. Or virtue. Or squeamishness.
It's not philosophical.
It's not emotional.
It's not about preciousness.
Or garnering attention.
Or skinny jeans.
It's about a cruel quirk in genetics.
If you won the luck of the draw in the genetic lottery and escaped- by no effort of your own- inheriting HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8, the two genetic haplotypes that predispose you to an autoimmune disease that triggers your body's defense system to attack itself, destroying the nutrient-grabbing lining of your small intestine, be humble. Be thankful. Your body works. You do not have to be vigilant about every crumb that goes into your mouth. In your world gluten does not increase your risk for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A bagel is not dangerous. You can eat what you crave when you are hungry. You can wing it when you travel, feeling carefree and adventurous. You can sample new cuisine on a whim- without asking about the ingredients. Food for you is fun. Romantic. Perhaps, even a passion.
Thank your small intestine.
And while you're at it, thank your pancreas, too.
Because those with Type 1 diabetes (another genetic autoimmune disease, one that destroys the insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas) must also be vigilant about their diet. Along with injecting insulin, Type 1 diabetics must also limit (if not shun) certain foods to protect their health, making careful, low glycemic choices day after day.
But maybe that's a fad, too. Maybe their pancreases are just sensitive. Maybe a diabetic child is merely craving attention, just like her celiac cousin. Maybe a mother learning how to cook a meal with low glucose is coddling her child, too. Maybe all autoimmune diseases are just a silly trend.
I hear celiacs and diabetics are wicked sexy.
Well, that part may be true.