Monday, 28 April 2014

"I've gone gluten free,"

someone announced to the knitting group. Homemade biscuits, delectable homemade biscuits, were being passed around. (Cookies to the Americans reading this.) She declined.
"Oh, have you been diagnosed?" someone asked sympathetically.
"No, I just decided to do it. It's obvious."
"What's wrong with me. I feel heaps better already."
"Oh, how long have you been..."
"Since Wednesday."
The exchange sparked more discussion but the person who had asked the question about "diagnosis" looked at me. We both knew what the other was thinking. If you don't feel well, get yourself checked out.
There are people who need to be gluten free. I know someone who actually needs to keep a separate kitchen for herself. Her husband cooks his own meals. She has a severe gluten intolerance and accidentally ingesting any can land her in hospital. Very few people are as intolerant as that.
But the exchange at the knitting group was topical because there is also a short piece in this morning's paper about the way in which foods which are labelled "gluten free" tend to be (much) more expensive. The gist of the article? Some things are naturally gluten free but label them as such and the price goes up - for everyone. Some gluten free foods may also contain extra sugar or other ingredients in order to make them palatable. Labelling something gluten free will not necessarily mean it is good for you.
I avoid the gluten free label and buy the cheaper version.
I have been told by more than one person that they do not like the "gluten free" bread. Nevertheless the insist that they need to it. Some people insist that it is a way of losing weight - although I have yet to meet anyone who has lost a lot of weight and kept it off by keeping to a gluten free diet.
The odd thing in all of this is that someone else I know has gone on a diet. He desperately needed to diet. He was morbidly obese. He has, to date, lost almost 40kg. He wants to lose another 40kg. If he succeeds he will still weigh considerably more than I do - and I am not as slim as I should be. Yes, he was grossly overweight, 
He did not go "gluten free". He sat down with someone and made a list of the things he should not be eating - cake, sweets, sweet biscuits came at the top of the list.
He is eating bread - good quality wholegrain bread in limited quantities. He is eating a good balanced diet in limited quantities. It is the sort of diet he is going to be able to maintain. He is reaching the point where he can now do some exercise with it - when he could not even reach his front gate without an effort.
Perhaps this gluten free diet works for some people but I look at this man and I have a feeling that the "limited quantity" diet might work just as well. 
You see, he tried "gluten free" and just put on more weight. 


Anonymous said...

And gluten free tastes terrible!

catdownunder said...

I have not, knowingly, tried any gluten free bread - or anything else but, unless there are good health reasons, I think bread should be bread!

jeanfromcornwall said...

My daughter had a colleague who self-diagnosed the need to be gluten free - and declared that she couldn't eat Chinese food because of the "monosodium-gluten-ate". Hmmm! Then there is the daughter of a friend, who, if she ate just one mouthful of pasta, would have repercussions that lasted for days. The answer is that food intolerances need the advice of a doctor - and a specialist, at that. Vague discomfort can usually be helped by smaller helpings.

catdownunder said...

Oh yikes Jean! Sounds like someone I know who has decided she is allergic to a range of things - and looks positively ill.
I feel very sorry for those who are genuinely allergic to something. My niece in law is allergic to nuts and carries an epi-pen. Even her children (still pre-schoolers) know to warn her that something has nuts in it.