Dietary laws.

It seems half the people I know are going gluten-free. Gluten is the new sugar, no, the new lactose — something you can claim a vague “sensitivity” to and give up, thereafter proclaiming you never felt better. While I know that celiac disease is real and that people actually suffer from it, I’m a little dubious about many of my newly gluten-free friends’ health claims. But I have a prejudice. When I was in fourth grade, the teacher asked us to speculate on what is meant when bread is called “the staff of life.”

I raised my hand. “That you’ll die without it?” The teacher chuckled and called on someone else, but I stand by my contention. Life without bread not only lacks a staff, but a point.

Alan was a health reporter for a time, and brought his deep skepticism to the job. It’s his contention that 99 percent of all self-diagnosed food allergies and sensitivities are b.s., that for every person who goes into anaphylactic shock after eating peanuts or shellfish, there are 99 who claim “allergies” that basically boil down to being a picky eater. If ice cream makes you fart, that does not mean you’re lactose intolerant. (Bloody diarrhea is another matter, and yes, you’re welcome for that observation. I suppose there’s a middle ground where you’re confined to your room until you stop smelling like a dairy that’s been abandoned during a heat wave, but everything’s a spectrum.)

But this gluten thing is sweepin’ the nation. Just a brief scan of the celiac disease entry on Wikipedia makes it sound nearly crippling, and no one in my circle who’s given up gluten can really claim to have had it, but may I digress and gross you out some more? From the wiki:

The diarrhoea characteristic of coeliac disease is pale, voluminous and malodorous.

That’s as opposed to the scant, sweet-smelling diarrhea, I guess. Ha ha.

Crunchy Rod, between posts on economic catastrophe, the Benedict Option and the usual mania, posted a while back that his house has given up gluten and casein (milk protein) and they’re all feeling better. (I only wish this was reflected in his writing.) The post attracted the usual comments, wherein some people claimed that making one change in their diet led to clearer thinking, retraction of an autism diagnosis, etc.

Speaking as one who has always had a cast-iron stomach, who can eat virtually anything with no ill effects whatsoever, who has never even experienced heartburn, whose sum total of bad dietary outcomes boils down to “no matter how good it sounds at 2 a.m., White Castles at closing time are almost never worth the morning-after misery,” it is perhaps hard for me to empathize. If one doesn’t have celiac disease, how can cutting one food from one’s diet make that big a change? Maybe if you replace it with something healthier, more complex carbs or whole grains, I can see it. Otherwise, I’m still skeptical. I note how many people are diagnosed with these conditions by “alternative” doctors, and trash the AMA all you want, but I used to sit next to an alt-medicine crackpot at work, and I formed my own opinions, particularly about iridology.

The U.S. is a far more diverse place than it was when I was a kid. Different ethnicities bring different genes into the mix. I’ve heard it said that Asians can actually smell white people, that we reek like aged Cheddar to noses that don’t mess with milk past the breast-feeding stage. So I won’t rule it out. But can anyone tell me what a mixed-bag-of-European-genes person like me has to gain from giving up her twice-weekly loaf of rustic Italian bread?

The question to the crowd today: Gluten — threat or menace?

So, bloggage:

One of the trainers at my gym is trying to sell two Final Four tickets. Great seats (he says), all three games, $2,000. Yesterday it was $2,500. I don’t know what this means — the price reduction, that is — but I hear through the grapevine that there are still seats available. Everyone blames The Economy, but if you’re in the market, yo, I can hook you up.

Jeff TMMO posted this to Facebook, and as of five minutes ago, so had two others, so heads up for the hey-martha story of the week and probably the month. The headline alone is a classic: Police charge man with OVI after he crashed motorized bar stool. And there’s a picture!

Brian mentioned Google’s invasion of privacy a few days ago. A too-perfect story along those lines, that we won’t bother to check out further.

Hey, John Rich: Screw you, too. Love, Detroit.

Off to the gym. Times like these require all my strength.

Posted at 9:52 am in Current events, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |
 

59 responses to “Dietary laws.”

  1. Connie said on March 31, 2009 at 10:18 am

    My DH’s cousin – in and out of jail for dui offenses – got arrested for driving his tractor on the road while under the influence. His license was taken years ago, so he took the tractor to the liquor store. Somewhere in rural Wexford County Michigan.

  2. Laura said on March 31, 2009 at 10:27 am

    My mom has celiac, as does my SIL (both medically diagnosed). My son has a freakishly high number of serious food and environmental allergies (again, medically diagnosed. The depth and breadth of his allergies even amaze his allergists–never a good thing, lol). I generally don’t eat food Abe is allergic to in front of him–it’s a solidarity thing. That said, I fail to understand why most people would avoid foods they don’t have too, especially those containing gluten. I never heard of any legitimate benefit from avoiding wheat, barley, etc.

    Re: the boom in food allergies: Alan is wrong. Something happened with this generation of kids that has made the whole allergy thing explode. I believe there are far more allergy skeptics (like Alan) out there than there are crazy parents who make up allergies. My two cents.

  3. jeff borden said on March 31, 2009 at 10:42 am

    I wrote a business case study for a graduate school near here that dealt with a bakery offering gluten-free foods. The founder is the son of a woman with multiple sclerosis, whose symptoms were aggravated by her diet. She began making tasty brownies and cookies without glutens because she did not have such a bad reaction from them, and he used her original recipes to launch his company.

    I’m neither nutritionist nor doctor, but if eating these gluten-free foods helped an MS sufferer in some small way, it’s a good thing, right?

  4. Rana said on March 31, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Laura, I don’t disagree with your son’s situation – if the doctors are concerned, it’s obviously an issue.

    I was reading something off some magazine in the stands recently (Newsweek? One of those sorts) and it speculated that the spate of allergies might be a combination of better diagnoses, a tendency to mistake sensitivity for actual life-threatening allergy (itchy rash versus anaphylactic shock), and exposure to increased levels of environmental toxins after childhoods spent in relatively sterile environments. (I wonder too, if there’s a class element to this too – I remember reading about an uptick in asthma among children in roach-infested homes, but I don’t remember hearing about food allergies in any but middle-class children.)

    One thing that I thought was interesting is that doctors are beginning to re-think their treatment protocols. Specifically, the current tendency is to remove all forms of the irritating substance from the allergic person. The emerging thinking is that, for persons who are sensitive rather than deeply allergic, a course of de-sensitizing treatments is preferable, so that a child who is dangerously allergic to a single peanut becomes able to tolerate the occasional peanut-butter cookie without risk.

    I’m lucky myself – I come from a family of decided omnivores, happily eating peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread while drinking milk – but having discovered the miseries of mold- and dust-mite-related allergies after moving to the Midwest, I can’t be too complacent.

    What I think gets me more than the drama over food allergies, real or imagined, is the way this country revels in food faddism – first fat is evil, then carbs, then gluten, and now we need to have omega-3 in everything (something I view with mild alarm, as it inhibits clotting which can have… interesting… results for menstruating women) and so on.

    It’s about this time that I break out the Michael Pollan and start thumping on it.

  5. Leslie said on March 31, 2009 at 11:05 am

    As the parent of a kid with celiac disease – medically diagnosed – finding gluten free options when eating out in particular is a pain. I doubt most people would do it just for the fun of it. That said, there are a lot more people out there with serious allergies these days and I suspect we’ll find it linked to a variety of ways in which we’ve challenged our immune systems through a messed up overly polluted environment. Many people with one food sensitivity develop more because their immune systems are over-reacting to the one thing and that produces other problems. My understanding is that it’s common for celiacs to develop dairy tolerance problems because they often start out with a leaky gut while still eating gluten- that is, their small intestine is irritated enough to leak proteins into their bloodstream – something that doesn’t happen to healthy people and that produces additional immune responses. Dairy proteins are complex enough that if they’re getting where they don’t belong they can cause problems. Avoiding foods that give one trouble can help avoid other foods become problematic. And celiac disease in particular is much easier to diagnose today because there is a blood test now so one doesn’t have to go through the fun of an upper GI biopsy to find out. Hope this is useful.

    I’m a relatively recent reader but you’ve become one of my daily habits!

  6. LA Mary said on March 31, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I work with two self diagnosed food allergy guys. One has a gluten allergy. His proof that he feels bad if he eats gluten? He went off his gluten free diet last week and had three big macs and he felt bad. The other guy is intolerant of lactose, citrus,spices. He avoids mayonaisse because he thinks it has dairy in it. He will drink four margaritas in a row without any problem, but he can’t eat an orange.
    They are both full of shit. Both of them are in their twenties and are hypochondriacs. My fifty six year old bod holds up better in flu epidemics, cold (for LA) weather, and eight hours of job fair. They’re wusses.

  7. nancy said on March 31, 2009 at 11:22 am

    The problem with self-diagnosis is, it screws things up for people who have been diagnosed by actual professionals. I know Tina Fey and I are soul mates when she writes a line like this for “30 Rock”: “With the help of WebMD, I was recently self-diagnosed as a sex addict.”

    He will drink four margaritas in a row without any problem, but he can’t eat an orange.

    I’m still laughing. This reminds me of the vegetarianism fad that sweeps through teenage communities from time to time, always forgotten when someone carries a pepperoni pizza through the room.

  8. Rana said on March 31, 2009 at 11:29 am

    always forgotten when someone carries a pepperoni pizza through the room.

    I’ve known many vegetarians who openly admit that they will make an exception for bacon.

    (Insert required “Mmm… bacon!” comment here.)

  9. jeff borden said on March 31, 2009 at 11:32 am

    mmmmmm. Bacon.

    Or, to quote another Homerism, “Doughnuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”

  10. Laura said on March 31, 2009 at 11:39 am

    LA Mary, I think your self-diagnosed coworkers are attention whores.

  11. LA Mary said on March 31, 2009 at 11:43 am

    They do make group lunches in restaurants all about them.
    Speaking of bogus medical stuff, yesterday’s LA Times had an interesting article about people opting out of vaccinating their children and thus making the possibility of nasty diseases coming back. The fear of autism, especially at schools here in LA that cater to alternative education, overrides fear of measles, whooping cough and mumps.

  12. Laura said on March 31, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Rana, there are plenty of poor kids with food allergies, btw.

  13. Laura said on March 31, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Jeff, re: Homer quotes, don’t forget “Here’s to alcohol, the cause of—and solution to—all life’s problems!”

  14. nancy said on March 31, 2009 at 11:53 am

    There was a great “This American Life” on the vaccination thing a while back. The show’s theme: “Ruining it for the rest of us.” Really well done, and not about the vax/autism question at all, but how the herd immunity that once protected objectors is now evaporating, and what actually happens in a measles epidemic. I was startled to hear about children with 105-degree fevers, etc.

    And Laura, I think the quote is, “Alcohol, cause of,” etc. At least, that’s the way I always quote it during toasts.

  15. jeff borden said on March 31, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Beer and doughnuts while we watch a “Simpsons” marathon, anyone??

  16. Joe Kobiela said on March 31, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    A dairy abandon during a heat wave made me laugh. My job during my high school years was working on a dairy farm. We had some unique smells there. I still love the smell of fresh cut hay and fresh silage when it comes out of the silo. Spoiled milk not so much.
    Why the cut down on John Rich? I thought the song kind of summed up how most of us feel, and I think he meant it as compliment to Detroit. I like some of his and Big Kenney’s music, they have a great song and video called the 8th of November, about the 173d airborne in Vietnam. Although I enjoy a little harder edge to my country music, Think Ray Wylie Hubbard, Hank jr and Hank-3, I still enjoy Big and Rich.
    Pilot Joe

  17. Laura said on March 31, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Duly noted and corrected, Nancy.

  18. moe99 said on March 31, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I have allergies, but those of the sneezy type. I got them in the fall in Ohio, and here in Seattle they come with the budding of the alder trees. I take allergy shots (one of the only homeopathic remedies allopathic doctors agree on) and one Zyrtac a night during the heavy season.

    Here’s something to brighten your day. Matt is a Seattle native:

    http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/?fbid=UavIFc1nWPf

  19. Jason T. said on March 31, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Actually, Nance, the lyrics to Mr. Rich’s song are fairly sympathetic to the working man, I think:

    Cause in the real world they’re shutting Detroit down,
    While the boss man takes his bonus pay and jets on out of town
    And D.C.’s bailing out them bankers as the farmers auction ground

    Well, that old man’s been working in that plant most all of his life
    Now his pension plan’s been cut in half and he can’t afford to die
    And it’s a crying shame
    Cause he ain’t the one to blame

  20. Connie said on March 31, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Those lyrics remind me of Mellencamp’s Scarecrow, back in the 80s.

  21. LA Mary said on March 31, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I love bread far too much to give it up without very good reason. This morning I had multigrain sourdough toast with apricot jam for breakfast. I had real butter on it too. Everything in moderation.

  22. paddyo' said on March 31, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Don’t know much ’bout food allergies, but since you brought it up, Nancy:

    Perhaps it IS the economy’s grip on Motown, but I wonder if that odd reduction in the price of tix to the Final Four (in the city where most will be cheering on the Spartans, right?) has anything to do with the NCAA’s blatant greed at putting a game meant for arenas into gigantic enclosed football stadiums?

    I’ve never attended a Final Four in a stadium (I DID do some non-sports “color” reporting once inside Denver’s old 17,171-seat McNichols Arena when the FF came to town — I think it was 1990, and UNLV beat Duke in the final). But even the long-since-demolished “Big Mac” (smallish now as B-ball/hockey arenas go) had a packed, excited, on-seats’-edge feel.
    In 65,000-seat Ford Field, the distances must require binoculars and a radio, no?
    Ditto for 72,000-seat U. of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona where the West regional just took place. Zero intimacy, and zero chance to rile and rally the “crowd” (even 20-30K fans looks sparse in a stadium) behind one of those few-and-far-between underdogs.

    $2,000 to $2,500 just to “be there”? No thanks.

  23. Catherine said on March 31, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Mary, local public radio talk show (AirTalk, KPCC) is just now doing a follow up piece about the trend toward opting out of vaccinating children. Apparently there is a charter school (on LA’s Westside, naturally) where over 50% of the typical incoming K class does not have all their vaccines. Herd immunity doesn’t happen until you get to about 95%. This is all based on parental hysteria about dubious scientific connections with autism. Madness!

    My oldest was exposed to whooping cough when she was about 18 months old, in a mommy-and-me class. She never had a single symptom, and was up-to-date, anyway. Apparently, a child in the class had an older sibling whose immunity had worn off (happens around 10), and contracted it from a recent immigrant who was unvaccinated. The whole family was exposed, and thus all of us in the class. This was how we found out that one of the other parents in the class had decided to hold off on many of the vaccines. This decision did not endear her to us. You have never seen anyone hie themselves to the pediatrician as fast as that chick. Delaying those vaccines is all well and good until you are actually faced with the consequences.

  24. brian stouder said on March 31, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Well, public schools won’t admit kiddos without their up-to-date immunization records; I’d expand that requirement to social security cards, library cards, and drivers licenses.

  25. crinoidgirl said on March 31, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Bacon is a gateway drug for vegetarians.

  26. Jason T. said on March 31, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Brian @ 24: Many states allow parents to “opt out” of immunization for “medical” or “religious” reasons. (See 28 Pa. Code 23.84, for instance.)

    Alternative-medicine whackos professionals make a point of telling their victims patients how to get the necessary forms.

  27. michaela said on March 31, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Brian, here in Maine parents just have to submit a letter saying they didn’t vax for philosophical reasons and, bingo, the kid can go to school.

    Before actually having a kid I wavered about whether we’d vax… then I learned that the anti-vax crowd basically relies on everyone else getting the shots to create herd immunity. That doesn’t seem a particularly ethical approach, so, yeah, my almost 3-y.o. has had her shots.

  28. LA Mary said on March 31, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Looking at the LAT story, my kids former elementary school is on the list of schools at risk, with 8 percent of the kindergartners unvaccinated.

  29. michaela said on March 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Sorry for the cross-post, Jason T.

  30. Catherine said on March 31, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Michaela, exactly. There are often a significant percentage of kids who can’t be vaccinated because they’re immune suppressed or are legitimately allergic to ingredients in the vaccines. These kids, particularly the immune suppressed ones, *have* to rely on herd effect, and they are the ones most at risk when others are not vaccinated.

  31. mark said on March 31, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Rich’s lyrics are sympathetic, but not sufficiently so. He didn’t mention me.

    Just yesterday I heard my president tell me that I, too, am a victim of decades of bad decisions for which I am not responsible. Like all the Detroiters and many others, I live in one of those auto industry communities. Rich cares nothing about me. President Obama does.

    Soon there will be a special czar to cut through the red tape so I get my compensation right away. I look forward to meeting him, and discussing what I am owed. Perhaps I can get a job making one of the new automobamas in that big plant here in Fort Wayne, once they sweep it clear of the failed policies of others for which I bear no responsibility.

    Or perhaps there is an opening for someone to pick up all the red tape that all the czars are cutting through.

  32. Randy said on March 31, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I have a co-worker with legit celiac deisease, and she says the worst part is how radically diminished her choices for alcohol consumption have become. Anything grain-based is out, so I think all she has left is, uh… what would there be, anyway? I know there’s something…

    We have friends who have opted not to immunize their children. The topic cannot come up in conversation, because they completely lose it on you if you question their stance. And they think if you immunize your kids, you’re just another conformist drone.

    To quote Liz Lemon: “Blergh.”

  33. Joe Kobiela said on March 31, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    automobamas,(rotflmao),
    Mark the man.
    Pilot Joe

  34. brian stouder said on March 31, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    “Autism” is a somewhat nebulous term, and then on top of that people don’t deal with probabilities and averages very well.

    http://www.nsc.org/research/odds.aspx

    I remember when Chloe was about 36 hours old, I went with her to have a blood draw done. Good God!! That was awful! She wailed and I blanched; the whole thing might have taken 3 minutes – and by the end of it I was covered with perspiration. By way of saying, I ‘get’ the reluctance to do subject one’s defenseless little ones to these things…but the immense good so far out weighs the minute possibility of bad that it’s still a no brainer.

    Having electricity in your house is more a threat to your kids than an MMR shot

  35. jeff borden said on March 31, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Pilot Joe,

    Ray Wylie Hubbard is a god. My latest musical fixation has been “alternative country,” which we developed a taste for while driving back and forth from Chicago to Ohio while my dad was very, very ill. There was a channel on XM Radio called X Country (Cross Country), where we were exposed to Ray, James McMurtry, Twangbangers, Neko Case, Tift Merritt, Mothertruckers, Antsy McClain and many, many, many more as we rolled through the most boring terrain in America. We still walk around the house singing “Snake Farm.”

  36. Mike said on March 31, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Randy @ 32; the quick answer would be wine.

  37. Rana said on March 31, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Randy – or vodka (potato based). Actually, most distilled alcohol should work, shouldn’t it?

    Catherine – having spent the good part of a month nursing an adult through whooping cough, I am boggled at the idea of anyone thinking it’s a good idea to NOT be vaccinated for it. It is terrifying and unpleasant for all concerned – the thought of a toddler or an infant going through it is horrifying. And, according to our doctor, pertussis infections are on the rise, because so few people get regular vaccine boosters after about the age of ten or so.

    That’s part of the puzzle that these non-vaccinating parents don’t seem to get – there is a small risk associated with vaccines, true, but the actual diseases can kill you. Not only is it socially ethical to immunize your children to help protect the herd, it is just common sense in terms of protecting your children from the nasty things that happen when some member of the herd infects them with a deadly or potentially deadly disease.

    It’s one of the unfortunate side effects of a successful immunization program – people get complacent and have no personal experience of the things that such a program was created to fight.

  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 31, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Note to self: do not read Nancy’s blog right after lunch.

    Self: says thank you.

    [Randy — this is why God created Grey Goose Vodka.]

    Update: Randy, i’m embarrassed to learn that most vodkas available in this country, including Grey Goose, are wheat based, and even Bombay Sapphire Gin is wheat based. You’ve indirectly taught me something today!

  39. Laura said on March 31, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Randy, tell your friend that gluten-free beer can be found at celiac-friendly stores (I don’t know where you are, but in Central OH, that means the Raisin Rack, among others). I have no idea what it’s made of, but my mom says it’s yummy.

  40. Danny said on March 31, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    My favorite Simpsons’ quote is only understood in context. The scene is Otto losing control of the school bus and, thinking he will die, delivers his last earthly utterance: “Zeppelin Rules!!!”

    Well chosen, Otto. Well chosen…

  41. Sue said on March 31, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    My experience with vaccinations was colored by a couple of things: mommy-guilt and being too imaginative a reader as a child. Mommy-guilt – if I made the wrong decision and my children were destroyed either by the vaccinations or the diseases they would SURELY get as a result of my neglecting to have them vaccinated, how could I live with myself? Imaginative reader – I don’t know if it was unusual for my time, but it seemed I read a lot of in-the-past books and got extreme heebie-jeebies by the many ways children could die before penicillin and vaccinations. I read the usual, Little Women etc. (stay away from that baby, Beth!), plus a few really memorable ones, including a frontier book (I can’t remember the title), where the mother watches all her children die over the course of several days, from diphtheria. I vaccinated because I was more afraid of the dread diseases than the vaccines, but it was all fear-based for me, all of it.
    And as far as childhood books go, The Velveteen Rabbit is just criminal. I’m surprised Hans Christian Anderson didn’t write it.

  42. Jenine said on March 31, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I’m with you on The Velveteen Rabbit. I think it’s the people who have never read it who think it is a cosy cuddly childhood classic.

    I figured that since I was vaccinated for everything under the sun and survived the process, my kids would get through it too. I looked into delaying or staggering the MMR doses but wasn’t persuaded that it would offer an advantage.

  43. moe99 said on March 31, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    when the media was the media:

    http://newstalgia.crooksandliars.com/gordonskene/when-it-was-relevant-meet-press-1974

  44. Jolene said on March 31, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    [P]eople get complacent and have no personal experience of the things that such a program was created to fight.

    Some years back, in an essay-writing class at the Bethesda Writer’s Center, I wrote about my sister, who was born in 1951 and got polio when she was 16 months old–just before the vaccine became available. When we discussed the essay in class, I had to explain what polio was and could do. Most of the people in the class were younger and had no idea.

  45. moe99 said on March 31, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Yeah, mark, we did so well under a ‘hands off’ type of president, that’s why a majority of Americans still seem to think Obama is just all right with them.

  46. Dexter said on March 31, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    A very wealthy man from Auburn, IN got busted for DUI years ago for operating a golf cart while drunk; he was peacefully driving on the side of the road…everybody saw him do it all the time…the cops overreacted…but the motorized barstool deal …38 mph…was too much!

    Mickey Redmond was sick for a long time, really lousy, until a few years ago he got his DX of celiac. Now gluten-free, he never misses televising a home game for the Red Wings.

    While it is true the Vietnamese people could smell us, and we smelled like shit to them, they smelled like fish and spices, and I’ll throw this in: the women “mamasans” who cleaned the buildings and hootches were always after us to “you go PX get me Salem!” . Those people loved Salem cigarettes.

    About twenty years ago a friend at work was told by his doc to eliminate all dairy. This guy obeyed doctors.
    He was a cold cereal addict, however. His solution? He poured Kool-Aid on his flakes. Double YUCK ! , anyone?

    Pissed off at myself story: I reviewed the HBO programming for Sunday night and saw that everything is done, and new stuff is on, some series about lady detectives ..so I just decided nothing was on and I set to blogging…only to realize abruptly at 3 AM that I MISSED BREAKING BAD!!
    I found out it is on “On Demand”. Well, not for Time Warner customers, godammitt!!! 🙁

  47. Catherine said on March 31, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Sue, I think you’ve diagnosed me, too, as a too-imaginative reader. Remember in Little House in the Prairie when Mary gets scarlet fever? And the time they all get what is apparently malaria? And how Almanzo almost dies of diphtheria?

  48. Leslie said on March 31, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    The only alcoholic drink celiacs can’t have is beer – distilled stuff is fine according. And there are a number of gluten free beers out there now.

  49. coozledad said on March 31, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    I became a vegetarian for a few reasons, but primarily laziness. I’m not fastidious in the kitchen, and would be certain to kill myself by failing to cleanse the cutting board properly. My wife has been a vegetarian much longer, but she would prepare various meat dishes for me anyway. She drew the line at liver pudding. It’s an obscure North Carolina delicacy served on toast with a 3/4 inch slab of hot white onion to mask the flavor.
    Also, something had to give because I quit smoking and took up beer and French fries and traded my 125 pound anorexic rocker body for one resembling Frank Black from the Pixies. Vegetarianism just made me think about what I ate, to the extent that I started doing most of the cooking. But I’m an ovolacto vegetarian, which means my arteries are just as clogged as anyone else’s. There are Belgians who consume less fat than I do.

  50. Joe Kobiela said on March 31, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Jeff Borden,
    After the take over by serius, they changed x-country to outlaw country, added D.J.’s and have just about ruined it. I e-mailed my complaint and received the standard canned reply. It’s still better than regular radio but not near as good as it was.
    Pilot Joe

  51. Dexter said on April 1, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Joe…you catch Fred Imus on Outlaw Country or is he gone already? I only listen a little to that station, but besides ch. 58, the Springsteen station, I listen to 18, the Elvis channel a lot…that GK is hilarious…the oldtimers and their previously secret Elvis stories make it a great channel.
    Here’s one: Elvis ended a show and he had the women all crazy…they came up on stage and ran Elvis off…Elvis ran into the john and hid in a stall with his feet up on the bowl rim…they found him and stripped him nearly naked…ripped every stitch off his body except his undies. Finally security got Elvis out of there.

  52. Old Lino Operator said on April 1, 2009 at 1:24 am

    White Castles may be bad, but Powers were great when working overtime at 2 a.m. in the composing room at 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne. We blamed the morning headache on the six-pack, from Henry’s, left behind the left front tire of the car.

  53. basset said on April 1, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Not sure if this is actually true but it could be… Nashville is the only city with both White Castles and Krystals, aka “sliders.”

  54. Dorothy said on April 1, 2009 at 8:20 am

    My mom had diphtheria when she was 16 and missed a whole year of school. Her heart was not in good shape while she was sick, but she eventually recovered enough to have ten healthy children. Her childhood doctor saw her out in public once, when she was in her 30’s, and he made huge fuss over her and told perfect strangers how sick she’d been, but went on to have a big family. Maybe he was trying to take credit for it and drum up new patients?

    BTW Mary is still healthy and well, and will be 87 in July. She’s coming out to spend a week with me on April 26th.

  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 1, 2009 at 8:25 am

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/business/media/31paper.html

  56. velvet goldmine said on April 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve been working on the GFCF (gluten-free, cassein-free) thing for several months now, because my son has Tourette’s Syndrome and there’s some thought that eliminating gluten and dairy is helpful. Verdict is still out, because I’m trying to do this on a budget, so when I don’ have time to grind brown rice or lentils we just buy whole wheat bread for school lunches. Also, the medication has been so helpful that I’d hesitate to just decide going without gluten will make all the difference. But I’m interested to see, ultimately, if it turns out that it can make a measurable difference in his life to make these changes now.

  57. Mark Gisleson said on April 1, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I’ve never been very picky about food, although I like good food better than junk and good beer better than Budweiser. Six months ago I would have agreed with you about people who go gluten free. Except I went wheat free for a few days to see if it would help my worsening psoriasis, a very real and not imaginary skin disease. No impact on the psoriasis but to my astonishment my knees stopped hurting.

    I’m a 300-lb, six footer who lives in a third floor walk up, and I was getting set to see the doctor about knee surgery. Without wheat in my diet, I go up and down the stairs like a teenager.

    Yes, a lot of people are really whiney and inflict all manner of bizarre diets and regimens on themselves. I’m not one of them. I’m just a guy who made the supreme sacrifice and gave up Imperial I.P.A.s (the closest Man has come to brewing God beer), bread, pasta, etc., and in return my joint pain has practically vanished and what little is left can usually be traced back to some minute amount of glutens I ingested.

    But if it’s a social gathering and it would be rude to refuse something, I’ll eat whatever, no matter how bad my knees hurt a few minutes later. And I don’t drink special needs beers. I still have some dignity (that and distilled spirits contain no glutens, hence the big bottle of vodka permanently residing in my freezer now). But many people are more intolerant than I am, and whereas I get some pain, they get a lot of pain from a dietary error. That’s not funny, and it’s not someone being whiney.

  58. Halloween Jack said on April 2, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    My theory on why radically different diets work, at least to take off a little weight for a little while, is that you’re paying attention to what you eat for once and therefore aren’t just thoughtlessly stuffing whatever comes along. Of course, eventually the chronic glutton finds a workaround for this. (An article on bariatric surgery that I read a while ago said that some people who underwent stomach reduction–a dangerous, painful, and downright gruesome procedure–ended up regaining a lot of the weight because they found out that they could get past the physical limit of their new stomach (about the size of a coin purse) by letting ice cream melt before they sucked it down.

  59. Christine said on May 1, 2009 at 8:06 am

    So, I actually came across your post doing some googling about gluten and symptoms. I am on my second round of going gluten free. I was somewhat self-diagnosed though and I can tell you that I did feel better and a break-out that would not go away (the origin of the research) suddenly disappeared. I was tested for Celiac (sort of, more on that), but it came back negative. After a year I got lazy and started eating wheat again and I proclaimed with great hubris that it was b.s. and I could eat whatever I wanted. But lost a ton of weight and the breakout (on my face, and I am vain) returned. Whatever, I shrugged, stress. After a few months of this, I decided to try and cut the wheat again. I did it, but not with a ridiculous level of commitment. What I found was that suddenly trace amounts were making me really sick I won’t list the symptoms here–let’s just say it’s diagnostic enough for me. After some more research, I found out that the test they gave me (a genetic test that looks to see if you have the same to DNA strands as 90% of Celiac sufferers) isn’t entirely accurate. Meaning I could be one of those 10%. Celiac is not easy to diagnose, so there are some of us walking around saying what’s WRONG with me?

    Anyway, my point is, I guess, that you can be one of those people who just seems like a picky eater at first. I even thought this of myself and have struggled a bit over the past few months thinking I was a crazy hypochondriac. Then along comes the proof.

    Every time I go to a restaurant, I put my life into the hands of the person who is serving me. If they think I am a faking it or even if they just don’t understand ALL the shit gluten is in and give it to me, I will be out of commission for at least one day, sometimes up to three.

    If your friend say they feel better, trust them. They feel better. Those of us who discover this allergy tend to think gluten is the absolute devil. And they may not be telling you about all of their symptoms–as you know, some of them aren’t dinner table talk.

    velvet goldmine–gluten stays in the system for weeks, so even if your son is only getting the occasional bread, it is never actually leaving his system.