Gluten-Free, Schmuten-Free

Gluten-Free, Schmuten-Free

Gluten-free is a ridiculous food trend. I’ve held back on writing about this because according to Kelly’s doctor, she’s developed an intolerance to gluten. While it’s not Celiac disease, it does make her faint, so naturally I understand why she avoids gluten. Then there are the half dozen other friends who diagnosed themselves as a weight loss plan (one famous friend actually whispered this to me after asking our waiter to make sure there was no gluten in her salad). Ironically, gluten-free foods are actually higher in fat and calories. I’ve consulted three doctors, and they all told me the same! Still, with all this fanfare, I thought it was worth further investigation.

My hubby pointed out a new, gluten-free bakery, the perfect place to explore the options. It was a simple, no frills kind of place with just three freezers of bread, muffins, and dough. There weren’t even price tags, but I thought, how much could a few pieces cost? It’s not like I had walked into Hermès or Chanel! I picked up just four things – a pizza crust, a small ball of cookie dough (as in, you could make three cookies from it), a tiny loaf of five-grain bread (And by tiny, I mean my nine-year-old could eat it in one sitting with a stick of butter. Damn the doctor who told me that babies who eat butter end up smarter – now he loves it!), and a handful – less than three ounces – of “mix.” When I asked what the Chex Mix style concoction was, the teenage salesgirl simply said, “all the healthy things you want in a yummy mix!” Helpful.

I handed her my items, and pulled out a $20, expecting to get the change I needed to pay the boy (anytime he takes a photo of me that goes on social media, he makes a $1!). Then came the shock – “Your total today is $57.” WHAT THE WHAT? 57 American dollars?! Three thoughts ran through my head: 1) She made a mistake. 2) Tell her you changed your mind and walk out. 3) WTF?! The dinner I had with three friends at the Thai restaurant next door (WITH a glass of wine) cost less than that! I just meekly gave her my Amex and left, though.

Believe me, I understand snobbery. The name of this blog says it all. But the gluten-free movement is just stupidity. Before you leave a comment below, let me say that having a gluten intolerance or seriously debilitating disease like Celiac of course demands a gluten-free lifestyle. For people using it as a weight-loss diet method, though? It’s just not necessary! Not to mention these foods taste terrible. Have you ever had a gluten-free cupcake? The sand cake my son makes at the beach has more flavor. When I’m in Italy this weekend, you can bet I won’t be asking the chefs if they have gluten-free pasta. I look forward to my linguini vongole. As they say, everything in moderation!

Gluten-Free, Schmuten-Free

Gluten-Free, Schmuten-Free

Photo Credits: The New York Times

29 thoughts on “Gluten-Free, Schmuten-Free

  1. so a blogger snob or snobbish blogger? turned internet celebrity is now a medical doctor and nutritionist ready to give advise to people who suffer from a gluten intolerance? how incredible arrogant of you. shame on you is all i can say.

    • She wasn’t, you twit. She was commenting on the thousands of impressionable ninnies who demand gluten-free foods for no legitimate reason. Why don’t you try reading something through before commenting upon it.

    • Tina Craig on said:

      Not at all, Claudia. I specifically state in the article that unless ones has Celiacs or a serious intolerance of glutens (like Kelly does)- using it as a dietary measure is not that effective and actually quite expensive. I consulted doctors (because I am certainly not one and do not claim to be) and was told gluten free foods are usually heavy on fat and sugars. But really the post is about my indignation of being robbed of so much money for bad tasting food. :) thank you for reading! Tina

  2. Thank you for this. It is amazing how a legitimate illness has become the fad du jour for doctors to diagnose and people to admit having. My Grandfather had Celiacs. He was studied at Cleveland clinic for it. All these “sensitivities” and sudden “intolerances” of gluten are utterly ridiculous. In a few years a new fad will come to pass and we will learn that gluten, much like the egg, is not an enemy . Trying to figure out what the next one will be so I can cash in early.

    • Tina Craig on said:

      Hi Jen, I am with you. Please let me know so I can get in on the next one, too! xx Tina

    • Jenn B… just an FYI as a physician myself, a gluten-free diet is NOT “a fad du jour for doctors to diagnose.” I do not know a doctor who would make the diagnosis of celiac disease without the appropriate testing. Physicians, including myself, may recommend a gluten free diet to patients as a test to see if their gastrointestinal symptoms improves. If people want to try a gluten free diet on their own without a medical opinion, that is their freedom of choice. But I humbly and respectfully request that you not to put words into our mouths.

  3. I think many people confuse “gluten-free” and “grain-free” when it comes to wanting to use GF products as a diet trend. For many people with an allergy, eliminating foods with gluten has positive health benefits. For those without an allergy, it is just a healthier lifestyle change.

    I agree that many people are oblivious to the “diet” aspect of it. Just because it doesn’t have gluten does not mean its void of carbohydrates, calories, etc. As someone who chooses to eat less gluten, I realize that even corn flour, rice flour, and tapioca flour have carbs and calories, they arent miracle grains. If you are attempting to use GF as a weight loss option, your best bet is eliminating the grains (rice, pasta, bread) from your diet all together, or reducing them to little amounts.

    I will say, $57 is ridiculous. Let me know if you need REAL reccomendations on TASTY GF products that leave more money for bags :)

  4. Jennifer Q on said:

    I am with you Tina!!!! Everything in moderation!!

  5. When you’re 95lbs and have a gluten intolerance, weight loss is definitely not a concern. But when your body mistakenly attacks the foods you eat and you can’t function; it’s not a fad, it’s a necessity. My theory is that it isn’t the gluten itself but in the manner in which it is produced. My doctor, who I’m glad is very open minded to diets as a form of medication, believes it’s all the GMO dairy, corn, soy, wheat that is brought and produced in the US that leads to these intolerances. Don’t tell me using pesticides and hormones in your foods is safe for anyone! Europe prohibits any GMO foods entering the countries–so maybe when in Italy, eat away! However, food can be your poison or the best form of medication ever. You are what you eat.

    • Tina Craig on said:

      Sarah, I have been reading about GMO foods and have cut corn and most dairy out of our daily diet. And yes I will indulge in Italy- food just tastes better in Europe to me, maybe it’s because of GMO prohibition! Never thought of that. Thanks! x Tina

  6. Mary Jane Henderson on said:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your post …. and agree 100%. (Although I do love the gluten-free crackers that my secretary buys at Sams – probably b/c they are crunchy and salty.) Love from Richard’s cousin Mary Jane in Florida

    • Tina Craig on said:

      haha, hi Mary Jane! Kelly does have a real intolerance to glutens, she faints anytime she eats it. Going out to dinner with her is complicated at times, especially if we want to order our favorite vodka. She makes everyone order potato vodka, just ask Rich, lol. Happy New Year! xx Tina

  7. Stephanie on said:

    Plenty of gluten free foods don’t cost that much.

    It’s like going into Chanel to buy a purse and assuming all purses have the same kind of price.

    I agree that this wasn’t an well thought out post.

    Besides the GMO’s, many people have found that eliminating certain foods, such as gluten, help a lot with a variety of things, including ADHD, energy levels and autism.

    Having more and more people avoiding the GMO’s ( wheat) makes life much easier for people like your friend Kelly.

    You don’t have to buy it at all and you definately don’t have to buy it there.

    It does seem ironic though, that you brag about spending lots of money on other things but complain about this- or that you felt the need to name
    Drop in a way.. And use only that person and this one bakery as enough research and evidence to blast what other people choose to do.

    This isn’t really the place for stuff like that- it’s a purse blog where you make money when people click and buy the stuff you tell them to… Not a nutrition site or even just the musings of someone.

    Please stop. Or do a lot more research or even pretend to be open minded and ask people what they think instead of just claims like this

    • I agree with you Stephanie. Complaining about a GF bakery’s prices while promoting unnecessary luxury bag purchases is pathetic.

      Working with an integrative physician I was diagnosed with sub-optimal thyroid and advised to cut wheat and dairy. I learned how to make my own bakery products using almond and coconut flours – it’s crazy to think that this would be a weight-loss scheme, even though they are GF/wheat free they’re still loaded with calories (hello, sugar). From a health poerspective however, going wheat and dairy-free was remarkably beneficial for my health! I lost 15lbs and my skin is luminous.

  8. Another thing to note is regardless of an intolerance, GMO wheat products are simply not good for us anymore. Many people develop various food allergies and become intolerant due to the pesticides and other cr*p that is in our food, soil and water.

  9. You should read the book Grain Brain… I had the same perspective as you until I learned about what gluten actually does to your body and how it’s linked to causing all sorts of brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Check it out… From one skeptic to another… It’s worth it.

  10. I feel the exact same way. Expensive gluten free pastas, pizzas and tasteless desserts. What’s the point unless you are ill? Thanks for pointing out this ridiculous fad in diet.

  11. Tina, I love your post, thanks for sharing your opinions. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there that thinks this way. It seems just as popular today for people to claim to require a gluten-free diet as it was for people to claim to have some sort of metal illness in the 90′s just so they could be on Prozac. I completely understand the need for people (especially those with legitimate health issues) to be health-conscious and concerned about the ingredients in foods, but some hypochondriacs seem to take it to a level of madness. Like you, I’d rather eat a traditional gluten-laden cupcake that tastes like a slice of heaven than an everything-fee cupcake “alternative” that tastes like a bar coaster :p

  12. Let’s all take a step back and a deep breath. Yes, I have celiac disease. At first I took offense to some of the statements in the blog but I’ll leave that to writing style. If you don’t have a disease or an intolerance, you should rethink going gluten free. If you think you have a sensitivity or an intolerance, you should be tested. The foods on the market are indeed expensive and some of the foods are horrid. But I have no choice and therefore I am very selective. My life has changed dramatically since going gluten free. I can’t tell you how amazing it is not to be constantly ill. Educate yourself and have a Lola Granola Bar. They’re not expensive and yummy :)

  13. Ah, the gluten craze. These things always get ramped up near the New Year. I’m a personal trainer, with a background in nutrition, while not an MD, it does give me some cred. Here are the facts: some people do have an inflammatory/allergic reaction to certain foods (peanuts, dairy, gluten, shellfish, sulfates, etc) If you feel ill after or have any swelling, then yes, you might have a full on, or moderate reaction to these foods. There is also a growing feeling that GMO adds or exacerbates this reaction. For those people, avoid, avoid, avoid…..

    For all the rest of you who are jumping on this proverbial band wagon, stop. I am now going to give you the BIG SECRET to diet. Ready…if it looks like it was alive, eat it. If it looks like several chemical processes had to occur before the food product existed, question it, or proceed with limited ingestion. That’s it…oh, and stop snacking and eating too much at meals.
    You’re welcome-;)

  14. MaryAnn Casey on said:

    I work at a pizza buffet. My boss is trying to come up with a gluten-free crust due to the many requests we get for it and is having a heckuva time. There are many issues to deal with. Taste, obviously, but gluten-free dough isn’t very pliable and he has the darndest time shaping it! So what he’s doing is experimenting. He’s putting the mis-shapen pizza out there and having the customers critique it for him.

    It’s not going to be a menu item because every time he makes it the size and shape is so different he wouldn’t know what to charge. But once he has the recipe all he has to do is figure out how to make a perfect circle shape! I’ve tried it out of curiosity and it’s not too bad, but it has to be eaten hot. It’s terrible when it cools off and leftover pizza the next day is not an option.

    I’ve tried some gluten-free chips and some taste better than the ones with. But I agree on the gluten-free desserts-nasty!

  15. I do not have celiac disease but those who do are not the only people who are sensitive to gluten. Whenever I eat gluten foods I puff up like and angry turkey and get all farty and become incredibly fatigued. That is a legitimate reason to cut gluten out of my diet. I LOVE gluten products and therefore have found, after much experimentation, some gluten free products that are just as delicious as what my taste buds are truly craving. Eating GF foods from ONE store and proclaiming that all GF products are flavorless and unworthy of consumption is pretty dramatic. And the assumption so many people make that GF is just a silly fad is a poorly formed and flimsy claim. Some people are deathly allergic to things and some people are just sensitive to them. MANY people have become sensitive to gluten due to the genetic modification that goes into it and even organic gluten products don’t seem to be able to avoid aggravating sensitive tummies. GF is not just a fad, it is a lifestyle that million of people had to make due to the governments refusal to update agricultural laws because it makes lobbyists million of dollars. Maybe this article is just based on your ‘opinion’ but much of what you said sounded more like a proclamation that was unresearched and a little offensive. Commentating on the lifestyle of millions of people is vastly different than talking about the shoes you think are cute. You are a lot more likely to hurt people’s feelings when you make negative comments about a huge part of a persons life: what they eat.

  16. Tina, I read your blogs for entertainment–and yes, to read about 20 year olds with an obsession for buying USD10,000 handbags who get so upset by being told that there is a waiting list that they then have to go pay a re-seller triple that amount is rather funny to those of us who have owned Hermes and Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent for years–as in the fact that I am a 4th generation Hermes client! However, I am not reading you for your medical knowledge and commentary

    • Oops,must have hit a word limit or something.
      I am proud that France, UK and other European countries forbid GM foods while your agribusinesses in USA ignore the potential harm. Personally, I wish we could get rid of floride and other chemicals too.
      However, your comments re gluten free foods are both snide and uninformed–you protest too much about your friend Kelly. I am allergic to milk and to glutens and have been since childhood. Before there were specific tests doctors here used the process of elimination from our menus–if the gas and bloating stops when you stop eating wheat or baguettes you are definitely sensitive and feel better when you stop eating glutens or milk or tomatoes. Yes, manufacturers scam and charge outrageous prices for “healthy” food—how else can you justify the extra charge for canned fruit WITHOUT sugar while fruit with natural juices costs more!But you think you know everything about everything so goodness knows why I even have bothered writing this!

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