In the most recent issue of The New Yorker, there's the cartoon with the caption: "I've only been gluten-free for a week, but already I'm really annoying."
Such intolerance for the gluten-free (or gluten-sensitive or gluten-intolerant) is widespread.
"Your allergies will be considered, then probably ignored if they're suspect if you're gluten-free (and say that rather than 'gluten-intolerant'), or a vegan, and roll into a steakhouse or someplace similar thinking you're in the clear... you're definitely eating something with chicken stock or gluten. Or both. Sorry. And don't fool yourself into believing you're doing your body a favor with that gluten-free, vegan scramble: it still has about 1,870 empty calories in it."
Vegan is usually a choice: you decide, for moral/ethical/health reasons, to avoid animal products. I respect the choice, it's not mine, but it is a choice. If a vegan eats a slice of roast beef, it may be nauseating to him/her, but it's not likely kill the person (incidentally, and this is no laughing matter, I knew a guy in the Seventies, a vegetarian, who tried to commit suicide by eating a ham sandwich; it didn't work).
Gluten-intolerance, like lactose intolerance, is not a choice. In the case of those with celiac disease, eating gluten can be a death sentence. So for this server in Thrillist to imply that the serving staff might just serve you gluten even if you say you're trying to avoid it (for whatever reason, and perhaps medical), well, that attitude shows not only incredible contempt for the customer but incredible contempt for human health.
Incidentally, the server in the Thrillist quote mistakenly believes that the gluten-sensitive are avoiding gluten for the purposes of weight loss, which I don't believe is a common motivation for avoiding gluten in the diet. And most "scrambles" are probably gluten-free anyway, but whatever.
We had some family visit last year, and one of them was advised, by his doctor, to avoid gluten (he gets terrible migraine-like headaches when he eats the stuff). To accommodate him, we bought a bunch of gluten-free bread, pasta, etc. When he left, we were left with a bunch of gluten-free products. We decided to go gluten-free for a few weeks while we ate through all the stuff. After one week, I noticed the afternoon nap I'd taken at 3:30PM for the past 30 years or so didn't happen. Was it because I wasn't eating gluten, or perhaps because I was eating few carbs (which I'm not actually sure I was doing). I dunno. But if people feel they benefit from avoiding gluten, I tend to respect that.
I find that people many times assume that gluten-intolerance means people just don't like wheat…or that they're looking for special treatment and trying to be a pain in the arse. That's just not fair. Admittedly, some prima donna types make unreasonable demands on restaurants, but if someone is trying to be a more conscious eater, that's a good thing. And from the restaurant perspective, I think it is very reasonable to expect the gluten-sensitive to give the restaurant some advance notice about their preferences.
If people don't want to eat gluten, it seems unreasonable to begrudge them that option, whatever we may believe about their motivations.
[PS. One personal intolerance of mine is when people misplace the use of "only" as a modifier, as the artist of the above cartoon did in his caption. It should be "for only a week" not "only gluten-free."]
Answer Book 2017
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