by Jenna Verhoeven
So you have just moved into a new share house. Gone are the days where you could stealthily ‘borrow’ a piece or two of your housemate’s toast until your next adventure to the local ALDI. You just can’t do it. Not out of a new found respect for your housemate and their baked goods, but because there is nothing to steal. Either you can’t have gluten or they can’t have gluten, and therefore there is no bread to steal.
Gluten; love it, hate it, Switzerland about it – either way, we all have an opinion, and I am sure many of you are finding it hard to make up your minds. Now that you have moved out of home you get to decide what foods you choose to eat. I’m sure many of you are questioning the foods you were fed whilst you were growing up, and wanting to make some decisions for yourself now.
In this day and age there seems to be a ’50 shades of gluten intolerance’, a scale where most people sit. Please bear in mind, this is not referring to coeliacs. Coeliacs, in my opinion, are a no ifs, ands, or buts; no gluten for you (said with “Soup Nazi” vigour). Everyone else sits on the 50 shades scale ranging from; ‘I could eat a pizza sandwich on a white loaf of bread with a side of pasta and wash it down with a beer and not be bothered in the slightest’ to, ‘I’m not coeliac, but just looking at that fresh dinner roll makes me look eight months pregnant’. In between there are those of us who, if we eat one sneaky slice of cake we’re okay, but if we then had a sandwich as well as cake, we get stuffed up sinuses and a touch of vertigo for a couple of days.
So I ask you, fellow uni-student, how does it make you feel? If you are not bothered by it, keep doing what you’re doing. There is no point removing something from your diet if your body seems happy with what’s going on. If you get a bit bloated and gassy, then maybe it’s time you reassess your diet and symptoms and pinpoint what’s going on. If, dear reader, after eating gluten you are in pain, suffer fatigue, or are losing weight; perhaps you should seek medical advice – pronto.
You get to be the grown-up now. It’s truly about knowing your body. Listen to what it’s telling you. Be receptive of the messages it’s sending you. Don’t subscribe to something because Men’s Health or Cosmopolitan has suggested it, follow health habits that work for you. Don’t be ashamed if you ask for ‘no toast’ when out for Sunday brunch, or if you check that the gravy on steak is gluten free; equally important, don’t be ashamed to eat gluten proudly if it does your body no harm. You don’t owe any one any explanations, just be your glorious gluten-free or gluten-y self!