Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Gluten-Free Bandwagon

After much resistance, I'm jumping on the Gluten-Free Bandwagon. Mind you, it is just for a four month trial period. "Gluten-free" is the latest fad, guaranteed to cure celiac disease, autism, rheumatoid arthritis and countless other ailments that plague everyone on the planet, although I'm not sure it is touted as a cure for HIV....yet. And, I am just not all that convinced that going gluten-free is the magic solution that will fix all our physical ailments. But after a finger that has swollen up like a painful sausage for several days in a row, on two separate occasions, I'm willing to give it a try. Four months of my life is not forever. I can do this, its only for four months. At least, that is what I keep telling myself.

Gluten, for the uninitiated, is found in wheat flour, and wheat flour is in just about everything, or so it seems to me. Its in all of your breads, cakes, cookies, pies --- most desserts period. (Well, except for ice cream, which happens to be my favorite dessert, so maybe I'll survive.) They use it in all kinds of things you would never french fries. Why they need flour to make french fries is beyond me, but for some reason, they douse the uncooked potato sticks with wheat flour before frying them. It is in many cereals, but not all, and of course, it is the main ingredient in one of my favorite foods - pasta. Good bye Italian, hello Asian. Good thing I love rice and know how to make a perfect rice, thanks to the jasmine and basmati varieties, my Asian friends and my perfect-every-time rice cooker.

Going "gluten-free" seems to be a current fad. Even boxes of Rice Chex are touted as "Gluten-free", in bold letters on the front of the box. They now have gluten-free cookies sold right in the aisles of major grocery store chains. Go to Whole Foods and you can find gluten-free pancake mix, and even gluten-free pasta. These products are made with rice flours and other kinds of "flours", which are made from grains that used to be plentiful on the planet, until we blanketed the bread basket of the United States with a single major crop for making baked goods - the ubiquitous wheat grain. We also grow lots of corn in the midwest, but most of the corn we grow is fed to feed animals, our sacred cows, which are bred to put steaks on our dinner tables and hamburgers in our fast food restaurants. Read "An Ominvour's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and you'll thing twice about not immediately converting to vegetarianism.

Several years ago, the available gluten-free products tasted like...shit. Literally. Several years ago, eating gluten-free muffins made from a packaged mix automatically stimulated the gag reflex. I know because, several years ago, I tried some of these products. You see, one of my sisters, the one with the long grey hair, has been gluten-free for a number of years, and of course, has tried to get the rest of her family to see the wisdom of the gluten-free way. Now, I am the fourth family member to try this new religion. That's how converts are made - one at a time, converted by someone they trust. But, is this new way of living a cult, or a religion? We shall have to wait and see if any miracles are observed by this Doubting Thomas. Check back with me in another four months...from tomorrow that is. I have granted myself a New Year's holiday weekend reprieve, one last weekend of glutenous bliss, before embarking on my new way of life.


  1. I am not so sure that radical dietary changes are good for a system. I think that cutting back on things can sometimes be as effective as cutting it out altogether.

  2. this is a test of the blogging "post-a-comment" system

  3. I agree with otin...but I think that there are definitely some better options available today - as compared with days past. At least you can say that you tried it - whether or not it works.