I understand you have created a reputation based upon your crass, sarcastic and thoughtless remarks, but I believe you took it too far this time. This time, you didn’t just diss Miley for inappropriate behavior. No, this time, you decided to pick on all the people who get incredibly sick if they eat bowlfuls of spaghetti like you so excitedly announced you had before calling Gluten Free living the “New Cool Eating Disorder.”
Let’s explore this for a minute, shall we?
An Eating Disorder is defined as “any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa)” which means that although it may begin as a choice, it takes over your mind, bit by bit until it’s an unconscious decision to not eat, or to eat and then emit the food from your body. An eating disorder, on average, takes three to five years of recovery with treatment. Unfortunately, without treatment, approximately 20% of people who suffer from an eating disorder can die. It is a very serious problem here in the United States.
In comparison, while the Gluten Free lifestyle is a choice for some, it isn’t a choice for everyone. I choose not to eat the homemade flour tortilla at my favorite Mexican restaurant — not because I don’t want them, but because it makes me feel yucky for days after I make that impulsive choice. You see, Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance can and do have a plethora of symptoms and related health issues, including, but not limited to:
We don’t avoid gluten to lose weight or because we want to look good; trust me. We’d like that quick and easy pizza fix from the local joint just as much as the next person, but the cons of making that impulsive decision far outweigh the pros. We didn’t choose for our bodies to reject gluten, but we know we feel and live far better when we avoid it altogether.
Did I want to have to pay exorbitant prices for basic things like flour, makeup or the safe gluten free pizza because they are made specially to adhere to my needs?
Did I want every trip to the grocery store or a restaurant to turn into an investigation so I can ensure my food is safe for my consumption?
I did not want to have to search through every food label for the rest of my life. Nor did I want to have to relearn how to bake and adjust every recipe to accommodate my need to avoid this ingredient that leaves me in daily pain and discomfort. The very thing my body decided to take offense at is what holds your bread together and helps pizza dough to stay elastic.
Jennifer, when you said what you did, for whatever reason you let it escape your lips — you didn’t just pick on a couple of people. You picked on roughly three million Americans suffering from Celiac Disease as well as about 18 million people living with Gluten Intolerance. That’s around 21 million people. It’s not some “New Cool Eating Disorder“. Instead, it is a serious issue for a significant segment of the population. One in every 133 people suffer from Celiac Disease, which can result in allergic reactions from cross contamination in shared kitchens. For example, if you put your knife in their jar of jam after touching glutinous baked goods; they could have a serious allergic reaction.
All of these statistics are to point out that the Gluten Free Lifestyle is more than just a choice; it is rather a necessity for those of us living with Gluten Intolerance or Celiac Disease. I choose not to wake up and eat honey wheat toast and or a cream-filled doughnut every morning. I choose not to load my lunch plate with glutinous spaghetti noodles. I choose not to order pizza from one of my local delivery establishments that offers no gluten free options. I eat differently every single day, because I am keenly aware of the consequences to my body if I do. I don’t follow a gluten free diet because it’s trendy or the “New Cool Eating Disorder,” or so that people like yourself can make uneducated statements about why I do or do not put certain kinds of food in my mouth. I do it because I like feeling my best. I do it because it is necessary in my world. In order to make that happen, I must eat Gluten Free.
Overall, what you said was inconsiderate and thoughtless. I’d suggest doing a bit of research next time before making a blanket statement about approximately 22 million Americans. I hope you have a wonderful day, filled with Googling unknowns before offering up opinions upon them.
** Jennifer Lawrence made some thoughtless remarks earlier this week. My letter is in response to that. If you haven’t read it yet, you can read the whole story here and here.