Gluten is the new evil

Do you remember the 90's? When it was socially accepted to claim "She wants to become a top model" when someone would go on a diet and/or turn down a dessert? Well, I deeply regret saying it's not like that anymore. Food intolerances and new lifestyle diets are the new black, while dieting to change your silhouette is considered anti-feminist, fat-shaming, and overall not empowering.

not gluten free

I came to realise this change in the coffee room at woek, when a girl opened her restaurant-prepared lunchbox and, after a quick look, dropped it shouting: "OH MY GOD! GLUTEN!" The restaurant people put some bread inside the bag to go with her lunch. Bread. In my head that's an appropriate reaction only after finding a dead rat or a spider inside the said box.

Apparently my expression was very eloquent because a common friend had to whisper to my ear that the girl was coeliac, aka gluten intolerant. Immediately the whole situation made sense. Still, I couldn't help but picturing the same scene in my own alternative universe, where gluten is the new evil. People who still eat bread and pasta are the outcasts of society, blamed for their poor judgement and tagged as sinners who could only be absolved by kale and goji extreme detox diet. All their meals have to be weighed on the meritocratic scale of Instagram: if it is still warm after the perfect picture has been taken and/or has less than 200 likes it cannot be eaten. Bonus points if it's raw.

Stigmatising is not so easy when it comes to real social situations. A couple of months ago I was hanging out with a new group of meat-lovers and heavy built friends. The plan was to go out for dinner to a pork ribs all-you-can-eat, which sounded too good to be true, in fact our table finished the restaurant's reserve! My plan, on the other hand, was to lose a couple of centimeters around my waist to fit into last summer shorts, so I accepted the invitation to hang out without the food part. 

The only issue was, how do I explain it to the guys? 

Should I tell them I'm on a diet because I want to become a top model, taking the hypothetical blame for being superficial and "Oh one of those girls"? Or should I set the topic on an ethical level and tell them I'm vegetarian? Knowing them they would not dare to begin a discussion on such a sensitive topic, just as religion and politics, and I would be left alone in my foodless corner. 

Since either motivation would be frowned upon I ended up explaining them my internal debate, which did not spare me their face-palms but luckily they understood and still invited me to a BBQ a few weeks later.

The moral is: eat or diet as much as you want but don't make it all about that. So, for now, I'll keep enjoying my bread. 

Pardon: gluten.

 Image: via

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