Anyone who knows me (or reads this blog) knows I am not the biggest supporter of the gluten-free fad. In fact, I am actively and vocally pro-gluten. Not that I am insensitive towards those with special dietary needs, which is why I chatted recently with Rella Kaplowitz from Chosen Bites to better understand why and how one adjusts to such a diet. Rella’s creations always look delicious, even despite the lack of gluten. So stay tuned for her gluten-free butternut squash mac ‘n cheese!
The short answer is, although I tested negative for celiac disease, gluten makes me really sick. I’ve had stomach problems my whole life, and up until about 5 years ago I figured it was just a way of life. Then a friend of mine mentioned trying a gluten-free diet, and within 6 months I was living “intestinal distress” free! I had also been severely lactose intolerant (like having to take 6 Lactaid pills to eat a scoop of ice cream intolerant) since I was about 15, and about 2 years after being gluten-free I was able to introduce dairy back into my diet. I’ve been eating loads of dairy ever since to make up for lost time.
What do you think about the fact that gluten-free is now sort of trendy?
There are pros and cons to the gluten-free fad. On one hand, being gluten-free is so much easier now than it was 5 years ago. The market is inundated with gluten-free products, restaurants are catering to gluten-free diets. On the other hand, many people fail to understand the difference between people who are gluten-free by necessity (i.e. gluten makes them severely ill) and people who are gluten-free because it’s a lifestyle choice. When I ingest gluten, I can feel the aftereffects for a few hours or several days depending on how much gets into my system. It’s not a joke—but some people think being gluten-intolerant is fake and aren’t as careful as they should be (like restaurants who serve gluten-free pasta but boil it in the same water as gluten-full pasta).