Stories

IT AIN’T EASY BEING GLUTEN FREE

Gluten Free

Recently, it seems to have become trendy to label yourself gluten free. Regardless if you are coeliac, intolerant or just sad, being gluten free is de rigueur… Case and point: Tesco’s Christmas ads, featuring some ill-informed family who needed to cater for the ‘gluten free Latimers’. Yes, light bulbs are gluten free, in that they are also inedible…

For us in the [real] free-from camp, being misunderstood is standard… Seeing as most people don’t even know what gluten is (a mix of proteins that helps to give elasticity, shape and texture to baked goods, found in wheat and most grains), what gets quantified as ‘gluten free’ is often laughable at best… With your meal being the butt of the joke…  At a wedding, I had a plate of roast lamb and potatoes removed from in front of me, only to be replaced by a plate of steamed yellow veg (specifically yellow); I have been given a grilled courgette as a meal- Just. A. Limp. Courgette. I also used to hold the nickname of ‘gay vegetarian’ in one of the kitchens where I worked… FYI, the ‘gluten free’ option on cattle-class flights has been lumped into a general ‘gluten and dairy free’ combo, as if your life isn’t already bad enough… Four grapes does not a dessert make!!!

And I am lucky enough to only be ‘gluten intolerant’ which means I won’t die if I eat gluten, but I won’t be very much fun to be around either. Basically, my body isn’t able to break down these proteins, so when I eat gluten, my stomach swells up so that I look like I’m 8months pregnant (classy), I need to lay down, and my ability to digest food will be fucked up for a couple days… But I don’t have it as bad as coeliacs; that shit is an actual lifelong autoimmune disease…

When you’ve gone through this physically debilitating and publically humiliating process a few times, you realise that you don’t care how much of a picky bitch you sound like, because you will gladly tell every waiter that approaches your table that you are gluten free; you will stand in the middle of supermarket aisles and read ALL of the ingredient on the label in the name of figuring out if it’s ‘safe’; and you will literally prefer to eat nothing than that amazing, still-warm-from-the-oven French baguette… Peace to ice cream cones…

So why, oh why, do people believe this is a cool lifestyle choice??? Gluten is neither healthy nor unhealthy- it’s just gluten. And it’s in EVERYTHING; Rice Krispies contain gluten, fizzy strawberry laces contain gluten; pretty much all drunk-food takeaways still open at 3am contain gluten!!! Oh yeah, and beer = GLUTEN!!! Why someone would choose to castrate themselves like this is beyond me… I’ve built an entire business around the concept of delicious gluten free baking because it’s no secret that 80% of all gluten free cakes taste like ass… Take a second to think about that: 80% of all birthday cakes you will now be given will TASTE LIKE ASS… And you will be expected to smile and act grateful because someone went out of their way to consider your special needs you gay vegetarian!!!

Riddle-me this Batman: what tastes as good as proper wood-fired Italian pizza??? NOTHING, that’s what…

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