I’ve been gluten-free for about two years now. I’ve developed a mildly apocalyptic reaction to wheat, and I do my best to steer clear of it. Although it’s a definite physical reaction (I won’t bore you with the colourful details) it’s amazing the number of people who assume that I’m doing it because being gluten-free is in vogue at the moment – like I’ve jumped on some dietary bandwagon. Don’t be stupid. Being gluten-free isn’t a lifestyle choice – it’s a mess. I loved wheat. I loved donuts. Hamburgers. Cream cakes, Danish pastries, cinnamon swirls and chocolate gateau. But I can’t eat them any more, because I’ve been dragged against my will towards a healthy diet. It’s tragic. I always dreamed they’d find my body face down in a dessert cart.
Although my wife eats wheat, I don’t begrudge her the fact that she can pound down the occasional chocolate eclair, because she has her own dietary issues. She’s a vegetarian. I should probably add that she avoids meat not because she likes animals, but because she can’t stand them – she doesn’t want anything to do with the ‘furry little fuckers’. That said, more animals survive – my wife remains healthy – it’s probably the most positive dislike of living creatures I’ve ever witnessed. As for me? I love animals. I love meat. I don’t care what doctors and dieticians say about it. As far as I’m concerned, being a vegetarian doesn’t make you live longer, it just makes your life feel longer.
The ironic thing is, the one friend of ours who can eat whatever she likes, is the one who’s always trying out some new diet or other. It really irritates me. She’s slim and healthy – always has been – but insists on cooking the latest ‘neutrino-free’ recipe that appears in the Sunday supplements. She’s always cooking without carbs, or caffiene, or intelligent conversation, just because of the mumblings of some dietician in LA. ‘Oh, you should try the Morgan Wilshire diet…a friend of mine lost three kilos in seven minutes.’ Yeah? Why don’t you try the Kim Jong Un diet – eat as much as you like, then just shoot any one who’s skinnier than you.
Anyhow, tomorrow I’m going on holiday for three weeks, and I’m taking a whole bunch of gluten-free food with me just in case they don’t have much of a selection out there in the land of the normal. And it’s really annoying my wife – it’s completely ruined her packing plans. My wife is super-fastidious about most things, but borderline insane when it comes to packing. She’s the kind who packs four days in advance – who pretty much renders a 3D, computer generated schematic of the bags before she gets started. She’s now got boxes of gluten-free pasta and cereal to throw into the equation. You see, even in something as relatively minor as this, gluten-free is an irritatingly poor lifestyle choice. It’s hard to travel. I mean, where would the great explorers have been? Roald Amundsen vomiting and farting his way across the South Pole because they forgot to pack the gluten-free husky burgers.
Then I’ve got the gluten-free meals on the plane journey to look forward to – which are the worst excuse for food-shaped matter ever conceived. Admittedly, plane food isn’t great at the best of times. I remember watching that movie, Alive, about the South American rugby team that crashes into the Andes – who got so hungry they ate the dead passengers. And then the in-flight meals. Adding gluten-free to this mix is just, I don’t know, it’s like Satan was bored or something. So please, when someone tells you that they’re gluten-free, don’t think that they’re following a trend, or even trying to be healthy. They’re gluten-free because their body has decided to be a complete bastard about things. So much so, in fact, that I’m tempted to feed bread to my body, just to piss it off for being so irritating.