Day 48 of Project 365: The gluten question.

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File Feb 18, 09 44 54

Yesterday I ordered a supposedly gluten-free dish from a menu of a local chain of Italian restaurants. We had never been to the restaurant before, so I relied on the menu and the server to be accurate. They weren’t. Today I felt miserable with all of the symptoms of accidental gluten ingestion, like coming down with a very short but intense flu.

Today I also read about how some conservative politician — a Presidential hopeful, natch — promised that he wouldn’t provide gluten-free MREs to the military.

After testing my digestive system with some certified gluten-free oatmeal, I determined that I could make it to a late dinner with friends at a restaurant I’ve eaten at several times before. On an extensive menu, there were still only a few choices for me, but I ordered something I knew would be safe for me to eat. “Safe” means that it will not cause me short-term discomfort or long-term physical damage. I even got to enjoy dessert, pictured above, and suffered no nasty side-effects.

I am lucky to have supportive family and friends who understand the medical necessity of my gluten-free diet, but some people don’t have the same support system. This is my periodic reminder that eating gluten-free is not a choice for many of us. (Considering how expensive gluten-free options can be, it is an expensive non-choice.) If someone tries to tell you that eating gluten-free is about losing weight or being politically correct, they are lying to you. Educate yourself.

Writing from: a no-longer-sick room in Marin. Listening to: my own irritated thoughts about that politician.