I’m sure all of you are aware of the latest craze to hit the supermarket shelves – Gluten free.
I believe there is an attitude that once we see a product that is free from something or low in something that we associate that something with being bad – It’s happened before with fat. For the average person, gluten is neither good nor bad. It helps our bread and bakery products to rise and have a springy texture and makes or pasta feel good in the mouth but outside of that, it passes through the body relatively unnoticed and that’s that.
Now for a coeliac, the story is very different. The gluten is not readily broken down by the body and when it passes through the small intestine it damages the villi which are responsible for absorbing nutrients from our food. This is both detrimental to health and can be painful and make these people very sick. It is not an illness to be ignored. Now a gluten/wheat allergy is different again symptoms of this can range from mild comfortableness to death. Like any other allergy, this should not be taken lightly.
People who suffer from an intolerance or an allergy to gluten often have separate food preparation surfaces, cooking utensils, equipment and bakeware. The mission to control cross-contamination of food with gluten is a serious and life-long battle.
Now the third type of person who consumes gluten-free products. It’s the everyday person who can consume gluten with no issues but has either attributed a combination of symptoms to be an intolerance or believes that gluten is the enemy and removing it from their diet will help them to be healthier. Now all due props to these people removing gluten from your diet is no easy feat and are very expensive! But at that is a big BUT this is doing no one any favours.
Has anyone ever looked at the ingredient list on a loaf of Gluten free bread? No food should have an ingredient list that large. (Forgetting the fact that the slices of bread are so small, what’s up with that?!!)
Now for the person who cannot consume gluten. Eat and be merry, these products are often fortified with nutrients that you may be lacking from not consuming everyday gluten-containing products, and less face is a life without bread what kind of life is that anyway. For me, in this case, the pro’s way outweigh the cons! For the everyday man. Just why? These products do not taste as good, they are loaded with preservatives and unpronounceable chemical additives and they are often higher in fat and lower in nutritional value. The person who is obligated to eat these “imitations” would not do so if they had the choice so why would you?
Is it because somehow it has become fashionable to have a dietary illness? Will it be diabetes next? Will we start routinely injecting ourselves with insulin with no evidence of diabetes other than – “I just felt funny when I ate carbs?” Having a dietary illness is nothing to laugh at it. The person who is a coeliac has to face every meal as a constant battle against cross-contamination, suffers crippling cramps and embarrassing gas. Eating out is a chore and a constant source of anxiety.
Now to the really important part the presence of the gluten-free “fad” is weakening the case that coeliac and people with gluten allergies are making every day. The knowledge that so many people have joined the gluten-free train without any diagnosis had spread through to kitchens in restaurants all around the country so much so that some believe that ensuring that the food is gluten-free isn’t all that important. This results in many reports of people with an intolerance to gluten being “glutened”.
Please if you have joined on the gluten-free train – Get off. Enjoy bread and plates of pasta which is soft and free of chemical additives. Enjoy bread that doesn’t have to be toasted to be palatable and that can fit the average slice of ham without it dropping out the sides. Enjoy eating from the same breadboard and cupboard as your family. Enjoy all the delicious gluten-laden treats that restaurants have to offer. Enjoy them in the knowledge that you free of a life-altering dietary illness that so many people are living with. Enjoy them knowing that you are not contributing to their pain and illness by eating their imitations and – Enjoy your extra spending money