Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gluten Free!

Gayle wrote yesterday about foods that make you look younger. How about foods that make you feel a heck of a lot older?

I’ve written before about my Darling Husband’s compulsory low-oxalate, low sodium diet. Also about my voluntary forays into low-carb and macrobiotic diets, as well as our thirty years of vegetarianism. People who screw with their diets like this when they don’t have to probably have a screw loose, but when you’re a foodie, you tend to believe that if you could just find the perfect diet, you might attain nirvana.

Julia Child probably had the right idea about food. Use the finest ingredients you can find, love the heck out of what you eat, and be happy.

However, we all have to live with our own neuroses. And as you get older, whether you like it or not, you also have to live with the needs of the body you’re stuck with.

A friend of mine was diagnosed recently with a rather intense case of celiac disease. This was not something she had considered before, so she suddenly finds herself at a - let us say, mature - age, having to totally rethink her diet.

She now has to eat gluten free, which means no more wheat. On her behalf, I asked the program person at my local Whole Foods Market about gluten-free products, support groups, and cooking classes, and he was very helpful He also gave me this little piece of information: as we age, we all develop gluten intolerance to one degree or another. Most people are not so bothered that they have to eschew gluten forever. But most older people would benefit from cutting down, and some should avoid gluten like poison.

How would you like to be faced with the prospect of never being able to eat biscuits and gravy again? If it were me, my future culinary life would stretch out before me like a great wasteland, I think. Of course, there are many kinds of alternative flours from which to make breads, pastas, and pastries, and often the resulting products are very good.

But just between you and me, a sandwich on rice-flour bread just ain’t quite the same.


Gayle said...

We have a friend who has to eat gluten-free. It's made me more aware of how many products are affected. I once saw a ham in the supermarket with a label advertising "now gluten free!" I thought, HUH? Would ham have gluten depending on what the pig ate? Confusing....

Marian Allen said...

It IS amazing. We have a friend who is intensely allergic to gluten, and he can't even eat mushrooms or strawberries, because they're sometimes grown in wheat straw.

Marian Allen

Donis Casey said...

Same with oats - oats aren't gluteny, but sometimes they're processed on the same equipment as wheat and thus verboten.