lifestyle

Stop pretending you can't eat gluten. Just stop it.

Jennifer Lawrence

 This post originally appeared on The Glow.

By KATE SPIES

This morning I very nearly shed a tear when I read a quote from a recent interview Jennifer Lawrence, 24, did with Vanity Fair magazine. Everyone’s favourite Cool Girl told the American glossy that gluten-free eating is, “the new cool eating disorder”. Adding, “It’s basically, ‘I just don’t eat carbs’.”

Wow.

I fan-girl over J-Law as much as the next living, breathing female, but today…not so much.

Jennifer (yes, I’m using her full name: I’m angry) has me pissed. Really pissed. The one thing Jen forgot to mention during her food shaming, is that for people who do actually suffer from coeliac disease, like yours truly, it’s not just a fad diet. It’s not fun (it’s actually really bloody boring). It’s most definitely not just an excuse to avoid carbs. And it’s not cool.

And you know what’s even more uncool than running scared from anything that has come from a bakery? When people – who won’t get violently ill if they nibble on a bread stick – avoid gluten just for the sake of it (“I feel a teeny tiny bit bloated when I eat a loaf of bread”, “I think I once saw a pimple on my face after I ate pasta for 30 days in Italy”, “Gwyneth doesn’t eat bread, so neither do I”).

And you know what, there are so many people with occasional/convenient “gluten-intolerance” that it is a Thing now. The world does just think that the majority of gluten haters are following this diet to get thin or to be a fipster (food-hipster, definition: someone who follows diets just to appear en vogue). Even my girl JLaw thinks it.

And that’s why I’m angry at her, because while she’s focusing on all the fakers, she’s forgotten about all of us who are suffering a very real, very annoying condition. She doesn’t get it.

While everyone is worried about analysing whether JLaw’s comments are her throwing shade on (gluten-free enthusiast and her new BF’s ex) Gwyneth Paltrow, I’m stressing out if her remark will mean a hospital visit for me after the next time I eat out.

You see, every time a faux sufferer enters an eatery and says “Does that, like, come in gluten-free, I’m not really doing wheat right now,” or “Um, sorrrrrrryyyy, I can’t eat that brown rice because I’m gluten-intolerant,” another chef adds an extra tablespoon of flour to their sauce because they assume said person is just another, like, totally on-trend fipster. (Newsflash: there’s no gluten in rice.)


Most waiters will tell you that people claim food allergies when actually they just don’t like something, and when it comes to gluten it’s no different. If I had a new gut for every time a waiter scoffed at me for asking for the gluten-free option, I would have been miraculously cured years ago. They assume I’m just a carb-denier. That I’m overblowing the extent of my illness. That a bit of gluten won’t actually hurt me.

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Dropping the c-word used to help, but saying you’re a legitimate Coeliac doesn’t even have the same cut through anymore. People just don’t really believe you, particularly when you’re a young woman who looks like she cares about eating healthily.

There’s so much distrust and cynicism surrounding food allergies these days. And I’m laying the blame firmly on you, you liar. The more you fib about being allergic, or even worse, actually admit you’re avoid gluten “just because”, the more you make it extremely difficult for people like me.

Studies undertaken by Monash University found only 14 per cent of people on gluten-free diets were actually told by a doctor they should stop eating it. In fact, almost half of GF people just stopped eating it because they “felt” like it. Lucky for them, they can decide to enjoy the cake at a friend’s wedding, or eat the biscuits given to them as a gift if they “feel” like that, too.


If you’re one of the 14 per cent, things are a little different.

I can (kinda) handle the snide judgement from strangers who don’t believe I’m actually suffering, I can even handle not being able to eat the same thing as everyone else, but I can’t handle the fact that I never really know if something I eat in a restaurant is gluten-free or if it will make me sick.

Case in point: not so long ago I was promised by a waiter that some tempura veggies were battered with rice flour. They weren’t. I spent a night at RPA. How do you like that, fipsters?

I might get hats printed, or a t-shirt. Anything with a huge C on it that will make people believe that I’m not talking shit when I say I really can’t just have even a sliver of cake. But in the meantime, I appeal to the fipsters of Australia: please stop using my disease to be hip.

Please stop telling the world that being gluten-free is something you can switch on and off. And most of all, please stop being so convincing in your trickery that even Jennifer Lawrence now thinks that all gluten-intolerants are just cool dudes in disguise.

In the words of Jimmy Kimmel, ”Some people can’t eat gluten for medical reasons, which that I get. It annoys me but I get it.” I can forgive him this quip because he went on to say…”But a lot of people don’t eat gluten because somebody in their yoga class told them not to.” And that my friends, is so not cool.

These are some celebrities who are gluten free and their reasons why.

Do you know anyone who “pretends” they’re gluten-intolerant? 

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