Gluten. It lurks like criminals out to do you harm. It invades like the flu virus, wasting your body and leaving it an empty hull. It’s like the 11-inch long ascaris roundworm parasites found in the digestive system of the recent North Korean soldier who defected under fire, or the hundreds of bullets his comrades fired at him, striking him five times. At least the whole kernel dried corn found in his bullet-spayed stomach was gluten free. His limited diet, of cattle quality corn and ascaris eggs were evidence of a healthy gluten-free North Korean diet, though I daresay he should be more careful about the lead in his system, because lead, anyway you internalize it, is universally agreed to be unhealthy, particularly when injected at high velocities. Gluten, as insidious as it is, works quite a bit slower, though is perhaps just as deadly….so they tell us.
True, some people have celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disprder occurring in perhaps one percent of the population. The link will tell you more about it, but the skinny is that gluten is unable to be processed in the small intestine of celiacs. The Mayo Clinic says this:
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications
While the Mayo Clinic is a heavyweight player on the cutting edge of health care, this is true only if you have celiac disease and eat gluten-laden foods, or perhaps drink beer, because wheat and barley deliver the freight on gluten, and wheat and barley are the bacon of the beer world, with more than a mere skosh of hops being an artsy irritant to the palette; after all, some of us like Miller, Coors, Pabst, and Budweiser and despise skunky-though-trendy expensive craft beers. I suppose the more expensive the beer the more the wheat and barley has been processed out of the beer, as I am certain I have met some militant anti-glutenists who like their beer. Perhaps they eat hops for breakfast. A hint of hops is one thing; a bait of it is another.
I sat down at a local artsy-trendy pub.
“Pull me up a draft beer, please, in a frosted mug,” I say when the bartender asks me what I’ll have. By the way, it has been studied and found to be that those employed as “barristas” feel better about themselves while making a whole two dollars an hour less than “waiters” or “bartenders”.
“We have our own Fat-Boy-Bicycle-Tire-Rubber-Amalgum-Cyanide-Reserve-Exchequer-Ale, or perhaps our Cesium-Radon-Chocolate-Latte-Hops-Horse-Choker lager.” he proudly proclaimed.
“How about Budweiser?” I asked.
“Michelob,” he rolls his eyes and says with somewhat of a sneer, as if I was at a French restaurant and had ordered a cheeseburger. He grabbed a glass and poured up the Michelob.
“Frosted mug, please,” I reminded him.
He slid the beer down the bar to me, the beer glass stopping just beside my right hand, not spilling a single drop. His skill at this was admirable, but whatever admiration I had for him vanished like the skim of foam on the beer.
“We don’t have frosted mugs. All of our beer is served at room temperature to bring out the true flavor,” he said in that impatient tone that implied as if the burden of educating the illiterate dullards of the world’s masses, who increasingly irritated him by passing through the doors to drink in this paryicular pub, was his and his alone. I was being educated, dullard that I was.
“Then I’ll have a Coca-cola with ice,” I said.
“Hey, pal, I’ve already served you the beer,” he sneered.
“But you’ll have a hard time collecting for it since it is not what I asked for and the money is still in my pocket,” I replied, somewhat sneering back. Food snobbery was as unbearable to me as food commonality was to him. They’d probably run me off the premises if they found out I liked Velveeta. I hoped the subject of cheese would not come up in coversation. I added, to make me seem smart, “And make that a gluten-free Coca-Cola.”
He grudgingly retrieved the beer and poured me up a Coke.
“Is this gluten-free Icelandic mantle-fresh, spring-water ice, or is it tap water feeding your ice-maker?” I asked. He just looked me as I began to expound on the glories of Icelandic mantle-fresh spring water and denigrate the local arsenic-laced, leaded, amoebic, choliformic local tap-water. I sipped my Coke. It was good. And it was gluten-free even if it was not Icelandic.
Nowadays, many products tout themselves as healthier choices because they are gluten-free….excepting this: A recent study, one of those pervasive, invasive, unwelcome and unappreciated studies, shows that gluten-free diets among people who do not have celiac disease may lead to heart disease. A link to the study is not important. If you think it is, then look for it yourself. You’ll find it among countless studies indistinguishable from advertisements.
I have been reading of the health benefits of the spice Turmeric and its main beneficial ingredient, curcumin. Its use in Aryuvedic medicine is ancient. I like turmeric, so I bought a bag of fresh ground turmeric and use it liberally on my food. Debbie does not like it, but I even put it on scrambled eggs. Someone who apparently knew much more about it than me told me that I would never get enough curcumin to be beneficial by simply using turmeric as a spice, that I needed to take dozens of special concentrated curcumin capsules three times daily to get the health benefit. You reckon a thousand years ago the Aryuvedic practitioners had special gelatin encapsulated concentrated curcumin extract? If not, then how did they grt enough curcumin know of the health benefits?
Maybe they just sprinkled some turmeric on their whole wheat gluten-laden bread and ate a clove of garlic with it.
Best wishes and good luck celiac patients,. I am not making light of your autoimmune disease, but I am poking fun at all the people who, for no reason at all, have decided that the food that has fed mankind for millennia has recently turned bad.
“A loaf of bread, a Miller High Life, and thou beside me….” said the poet.
Maybe that’s not how that went. I’d better look that up.
By the way, corn bread is gluten free, though it may contain bacon fat.
©2018 Mississippi Chris Sharp