A Rant On Gluten

by Melanie Owens

It’s not that I hate you for having a gluten intolerance. I hate you for the supercilious fucking tone you use when you inform me of said intolerance. Also, you told me 5 minutes ago about this, and I don’t see why you feel the need to bring it up every time the word “food” is mentioned – we get it, you cannot tolerate gluten.

In recent years, there have been an uptick of people who suffer from gluten intolerance. Now in America we know the lessons of oppression all too well, so the rise of gluten intolerants could stem from the fact that society is now welcoming this community with open arms. We are inches away from having a Gluten Intolerance Pride week and parade.

It was not until recently that Pintrest took off and provided a platform for people to post pictures of gluten free chocolate chip cookies – which actually look a lot like chocolate chip cookies with gluten. But that GF stamp in front makes that food seem more like the pretentious health treat they are.

Having a gluten intolerance is an expensive lifestyle; only certain elite can afford it when a loaf of bread nearly doubles in price, if it is gluten free. Whole Foods has entire sections of their store dedicated to catering this demographic. Interestingly enough, if you go to your local Shoprite (Safeway, Foodtown, Vons, etc.) you will not see such sections. Perhaps there is one door in the freezer section housing gluten free vegan pizza (side note - gluten free vegan pizza, are you fucking kidding me? That’s like having dry sex).

So in order to maintain such an intolerance to gluten, one must be able to afford to shop regularly at Whole-Foods-type supermarkets, which may account for these persons' pretentious tone. No one going to Whole Foods says that they are going to the supermarket. Rather, they make sure to say, "I'm running to Whole Foods." This is done purely for the name drop.

We get it, you’re going to spend $4.29 on a 16 oz bottle of Kombucha that will “totally restore your temple of a body” from the 6 lines of cocaine and 8 tequila shots you had last night. Bums do not have the luxury of being gluten free: you don’t hand a homeless person a sandwich and have him/her ask “Is this gluten free?” This would yield the same reaction as a homeless person complaining about being on house arrest.

After having that Kombucha it is time to complete the restoration of the temple and head to Equinox in Lululemon yoga pants for some Vinyasa. It is much more probable that a person in Lululmeon workout gear has a gluten intolerance over someone suited up in Old Navy's $5 yoga pants. Just like this crowd is likely to be getting share houses in the Hamptons, rather than Belmar. Not only are we dealing with an intolerance but an indicator of a lifestyle one can afford to live, a lifestyle that most would admire (myself included, let’s be real – although I do enjoy my pizza and cookies gluten loaded).

The use of the word "intolerance" in place of "allergy" is also interesting. Even when someone is mildly allergic to peanuts, they never say "I have a peanut intolerance." No, they say, "I have a peanut allergy." But using the word allergy makes it sound like it’s something for tools wearing pocket protectors, not the crew rolling to Whole Foods and The Nox on the reg.

You can’t say “intolerance” without sounding Elite, which is why it fits so well with this community. People who have gluten intolerences state it the same way as someone who tells you they’ve won the Noble Peace Prize. They say this with an air as if they are sitting atop their high horse – with a stable in an Ivory Tower.

It is just astonishing that such a massive amount of people have endured humanity for the past 2000 years without these Pintrest boards, Whole Foods sections and Lululemons to guide them. What did they eat for being gluten intolerant was in vogue?

Based upon this information, the day I say I have a gluten intolerance is the day I know I’ve made it. As I will be able to afford to go to Whole Foods after my Equinox session in my Lululemon yoga pants, sipping on a Kombucha, pick up my gluten free products, park my X5 in my round about driveway centered around a fountain with coy fish and start putting my gluten free groceries away in my Viking fridge. Then I can go sit by my saline filled infinity pool, drinking a glass of organic white wine and nibbling on gluten free crackers while my pure-bred maltese sits in my lap with her hair freshly groomed with a pink bow from a day at the puppy spa and reading the latest edition to Oprah’s book club – that, my friends, is making it in America.

Melanie Owens | Elite.