It’s the name. Gluten. It just sounds bad. Looks bad.
It’s possible because it sounds like ‘glue’. And who likes glue?
The word is from the Latin ‘gluten’, meaning ‘sticky substance’.
Gluten is not a patented compound of some multinational food giant, it has no ad budget or lobby in Washington. It’s a protein. Since when was that bad for you? The name is ugly. It takes no leap of the imagination to visualize gumming, binding, goo-ing and generally grinding to a halt the precious, sensitive machinery of one’s GI.
What’s in a name? How much happier and evocative are labels like “Splenda” or “Carotene”, or “Sweet ‘N Low”. Want scary food names? Why don’t people give Saltines a hard time? Or Spam. Or would you rather eat something with Cheese Whiz on it?
Dietitians’ cautions aside, has a single celebrity come out in support of this lowly protein? Has a single telethon in the name of gluten been held? Has ‘Save the Gluten’ been the byline in a single OpEd piece?
One might as well propose a rally in support of strip-mining.
Eating well surely extends one’s life to eternity as surely as gluten binds it to mere decades. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are ingredients you don’twant to know about, even more worthy of contempt:
1. Tatooten: Compels a woman to seek a fluorescent tramp-stamp on her lower back, a man a heraldic ‘Rosie’ on his chest.
2. Canoeten: Promotes desire to portage small boats across thin strips of land.
3. ChooChooten: Makes you want to take a train everywhere.
4. Ain’tGotAClueten: Impels one to dye one’s hair blond.
5. Hooten: Instills a craving to eat chicken wings, but only those served by women who’ve overindulged on…’Ain’tGotAClueten’.
6. Misconstrueten: Urges watching foreign language channels and pretending to understand.
7. Timbuktuten: Incites one to travel to exotic lands.
8. BlackandBlueten: Causes easy bruising.
9. Homebrewten: Induces one to ferment all liquids within reach.
10. HaveYourCakeAndEatItTooten: Yields a compulsion to have two things that can’t exist together. For example: ‘gluten lite’.
11. Mewten: Errant ingredient usually found in cat food.
12. Bambooten: Another errant ingredient, commonly found in panda food.
13. Overdueten: Prompts one to not return library books.
14. BootScooten: Causes one to walk in the style of country line-dancing.
15. Namuten: Known to prompt an uncontrollable urge to supplement one’s diet with seals and dolphin calves.
16. BradPittuten: Enables one to understand Chanel commercials.
17. Kangarooten: Drives one to hop, not walk, often with offspring held to the hip.
18. Sueten: Forces filing of frivolous complaints in Civil Court, and causes a secondary craving for the legal protein ‘Screwten’.
19. Vladimir Putin: Compels one to remove one’s shirt and direct the overthrow of former Soviet republics from a hang glider co-piloted by a Siberian tiger.
Gluten was just minding its business for the past 10,000 years, quietly binding the ingredients of bread together and enabling the miracle of the leavened loaf. Now it’s the poster child for reckless, thoughtless consumption, a politically-incorrect food group all on its own.
Best advice, if you’re still considering ‘bootin’ the gluten’…give up gluten for two weeks, then reintroduce it and see how you react, says Trudy Scott, president of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. “That’s a very powerful way to find out if gluten affects you.”
And the reason people give up gluten-free diets? They can’t stick to them.