Crap (sorry – no pun intended). I saw a gastroenterologist the other day and received devastating news. OK, maybe not devastating but it’s a huge bummer (sorry again). This brownie-loving, latte-dependent (adult bubbas in my mind), pizza-pasta-cheese enthusiast needs to try and give up (uh-oh. I’m already using non-committal language) gluten and dairy. Oh. My. God. Noooooooooooo.
My heart-burn and acid-reflux issues (which make me look like I’m six months pregnant, a big advantage when you need a seat on the bus, a parking spot close to the grocery store entrance or if you want to terrorize your husband i.e. honey look – I’m pregnant. The jaw-dropping-eye-popping look of horror is priceless) will improve massively, apparently, simply by eliminating gluten and dairy. According to Dr. Chen, they’re the two biggest gastrointestinal irritants out there.
Sigh. Despite my discomfort, I’ve resisted the gluten and dairy free band-wagon fervently, with one hand tightly gripped around a cinnamon bun and the other around a hot, frothy beverage. Who would want to give up gluten and dairy? Cornerstone ingredients to so much of what we consume?
Uhhh – not me.
The problem is, it’s a doctor telling me to put down the fork of plum tomato and basil coated spaghetti and pick up a bowl of rice. And when I say doctor I mean a doctor rather than a “doctor” (you know the ones I’m referring to – they often wear hemp clothing, sandals in winter and sometimes don’t look very healthy themselves. We’ve all been to them). A specialist no less i.e. super-knowledgeable.
It’s way harder to say “whatevah” to one of those folks.
I’m dragging my feet primarily because I’ve tried it before. Several times. Most recently in June when my GP suggested giving up the devil-gluten and its evil brother dairy, to help alleviate my stomach problems. I lasted 19 hours and 36 minutes.
I started off with a committed flourish, purchasing gluten-free everything. I didn’t flinch at the humongous grocery bill (inflate bill but deflate belly – a reasonable trade-off). For dinner that night, I substituted gluten-free fajitas for the wheat-based ones and faux did-NASA-make-this-rubbery-tasteless-oh-my-god-it-bounces cheese for the Tex-Mex variety. I even managed to consume those replacements without choking, a testament to my rock solid commitment (and belly). For dessert I crunched (a generous description – grinded is more accurate) on cookies that cost me an arm and two legs (as well as my teeth, almost) and were frankly not worth the investment.
In fact, it was so so bad it made me think where are the Conspira-sphere dwellers on this gluten and dairy-free cultural wave? Can anyone not see the motivation for turning us off gluten?? The substitute is a marginal, at best, product with fewer nutrients, questionable ingredients and, here’s the kicker, it’s being sold for a gazillion times the price of its gluten-laced counterpart. Hello?! Can you say stroke of genius. Somebody is making a killing. Tapioca starch and xanthan gum manufacturers everywhere are rejoicing. Cha-ching!
Or maybe it’s one of those terrorist organizations trying to make us physically weak and emotionally vulnerable?? I know I felt like crying last time I ate some of that stuff.
Who knows but bottom-line maybe we should spend less time worrying about Dick Cheney’s role in legalizing aspartame or whether UFOs have crashed in Roswell and more time worrying about who’s behind this clearly deleterious initiative.
Food for thought anyway.
My commitment to the dietary change waned the next morning. I left the house without having my usual breakfast of steel-cut oats – which I love. I was rushing to an
appointment, meeting ok – a shopping trip with my daughter (very unusual for us. Truly) and I needed some food. The food venues at the mall were, of course, all fast ones and the only option really was oatmeal at Starbucks (home of the latte!). It wouldn’t be truly gluten-free (oatmeal is often processed in plants where wheat is processed) but I’m not a celiac so I felt it would be OK. Unfortunately they were out of oatmeal. But they weren’t out of lattes. Or breakfast sandwiches. Oh well. It was fun (so not fun) while it lasted.
I think it’s time for a second opinion.
I’ll keep you posted.
P.S. Gluten-free diets don’t benefit everyone. In fact, they can lead to mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Leslie Beck RD has a great article on her website and in the Globe and Mail on gluten-free diets.