The Intelligence in "Gluten Free-dom"


“Is that gluten free?” I hear myself ask the waiter, and practically have an out of body experience doing so. Who am I, and what have I become?! “Is that gluten free?”

I understand the social association with my inquiry, how it compromises my alpha definition and robs me of being able to portray that apathetic coolness that most of us carry over coveting from adolescence. Instead, I hope that maturity on the heels of more suffering can soften the humiliation of personifying this awful cliché, and I await his answer. Is it gluten free or what?

A (relatively) famous acupuncturist in New York consistently cites as dogma: “Diet is at least 50% of every disease.” This doesn’t mean there isn’t a genetic and/or karmic component to every illness; just that no matter what your condition, you would suffer from it at least half as often with half the severity should you ingest exactly what you are meant to. Surely we would all sign up for such a reality.

My observation of the formula to make change is: Suffering + Knowledge x Will. Subtract any one of these components and you've got the hamster wheel of stagnation we see in most people in the world. I don’t know if gluten allergies are necessarily scientific. I’ve heard conflicting conclusions, which logically results in each side siding with the side that confirms his/her suspicion and placates their own intellectual ego. Totally understandable. However, if there’s one thing scientific evidence has proven over time, it’s that scientific evidence isn’t so “scientific,” as it has back-peddled over erroneous goofs more times than racist college football coaches in press conferences. Few things are more subjectively complex and mysterious than human physiology, yet so often “Science” insists on objective conclusions, surely with honorable intentions, yet such minimal logic, ironically.

One scientific practice I do whole-heartedly support is that of experimentation with diet and behavior. We can never know how certain things or practices might be impacting our body unless we play with their additions and omissions over extended periods of time. Be it meat or dairy, sugar, salt, alcohol, caffeine, television, spices, sauces, gluten or any other indulgent substance that isn’t vegetables or water, it is only logical to try.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, which means if it is, attempt a fix. I like to think I am not broken, but I am imperfect and still suffer with occasional symptoms of my imbalances more than I need to. Worst of all is my Gout, which came last year in the form of a (literally) crippling six month attack that drained all of my energy, spirit and back account in doctor’s bills, also invigorated me with a new determination of will power to do whatever is necessary to avoid a lifetime of said pains. I’ve cried, literally: I’ll do anything to beat this!

I love bread. I’m part Jewish and Italian, but even more importantly is just that I’m from New York. Bagels and pizza, pasta and pastries have been running (sludging?) through my veins since birth, and while I don’t know whether affinity for a food group would qualify as an addiction, I’m sure I’ve ingested gluten on more than 90% of my days on the planet, which is almost reason enough for a break.

I’m not sure that Celiac disease is not at least partially psychological, but then again, is anyone sure that every disease is not at least partially psychological? One thing we are sure of is there is an intimate relationship between the central nervous system and cortisol and the digestive system. Another thing we are sure of is that bread and pasta convert more quickly into sugar in our bodies than almost any other substance, which makes them some of the most inflammatory foods. Hypothetically, even if “gluten allergy” isn’t a real thing, inflammation is (a real thing that causes Gout), and avoiding its triggers is a good idea. While I’m sure my joints would be fine with bread in moderation, I frankly don’t know if I have the discipline to eat bread in moderation; and what’s more, if there is an allergenic component to any of my pathologies, only complete abstinence could inform as much.

As of today it’s been six weeks. Is my Gout all cured and energy incredible every day?

Obviously not yet, but at the age of 38 I am presently having the best and most consistent bowel movements that I can ever remember having in life. They’ve been perfectly predictable in arrival, departure, shape and appearance, and a true joy to deliver. So, what?

One criminally unintelligent implication of modern medicine is in its neglecting to highlight the potential domino effect that good and bad things have on our bodies. For example, a hypothetical “side effect” of a medication does not exist in a vacuum, which means said side effect is practically guaranteed to engender more repercussions. Conversely, if my bowels suddenly become such objects of physiological perfection for years to come, who knows what the positive “side effects” could be? Amazing.

Of course I miss bread. I fucking love bread. Though I don’t miss it nearly as much as I miss the perfectly harmonious physiology of childhood. The dietary unconscious and faux-alpha folk might argue: You’ve got to enjoy life!

Agreed. That’s what I’m trying to do.

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