What is Gluten-Free?
I am sure there is a lot of confusion about what gluten-free means. With the media doing spotlights on gluten-free celebrities, athletes, and diets, people may not be sure whether this is a diet individuals choose to maintain, or a diet that they have to maintain.
To end this confusion, I am going to spell a few things out…
Apparently, gluten-free is…
Trendy. It seems that every day a new celebrity is tweeting, Instagramming or blogging about their gluten-free diet. So does that mean they all have Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity? Nope.
Dieting? Miley Cyrus and Lady GaGa attribute their recent weight loss and tight bods to eating gluten-free so that means everyone on a gluten-free diet will lose weight, right? Nope.
Vegan. I see a bunch of packages at the store that say all sorts of free-this and free-that, so they must all be the same thing. And that girl I follow on Instagram that takes pictures of her food always hashtags vegan AND gluten-free, so clearly vegan IS gluten-free…at least I think so? Nope.
Paleo. I don’t know what the paleo diet is besides the fact that they give up a bunch of food and instead have to make everything all on their own, substituting this and substituting that. So, I bet that’s the same thing as what gluten-free people do. Nope.
In reality, gluten-free is…
A lifestyle. Those that maintain a gluten-free diet are not in it to lose weight, be hip, or to have something to Instagram. They do it for their health, meaning that this diet is not something that they do for the time being. It is FOR-EV-ER.
Not a choice. Those with Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity did not choose to go through years of pain, stomach aches, and horrible symptoms. They did not choose to have to spend $5.99 for a loaf of bread or to learn what xantham gum is. The gluten-free diet is for health. It is hard at first, but after these people realize how it benefits their mind and body, the diet doesn’t really seem that bad anymore.
A community. It is truly amazing how tight-knit the gluten-free community is. We want to help one another, whether it be guiding one through the diagnosis process, beginning the diet, or simply helping by sharing recipes. We are bound together by our diet restriction and instead of letting it bring us down, we help to bring each other up.
Me. Gluten-free is anyone that has Celiac Disease of Gluten Sensitivity. It is the recently diagnosed middle-aged man or woman, as well as the toddler whose parents finally know why their child has been so ill. Gluten-free is who we are, and who we will be. It is something we are committed to. It is two words our friends and family have heard over and over again. Our kitchens have been dedicated to being gluten-free, and our toasters have been segregated in the name of it. Gluten-free is me, you, and all of the future Celiac’s and Gluten Sensitive individuals. Gluten-free is love.