Sunday, March 4, 2012

I'm a bit miffed: Gluten Free discrimination...

I am gluten free (and lots of other things) for my health and I am FED UP with the discrimination - yes, it is discrimination, there I said it.

I call it discrimination simply because of the lack of acceptance, this constant back and forth 'is it real or is it a fad?' is a bit like the challenges people with a mental health issue face - if you can't see it, it mustn't be real.

Well, I can tell you that the pain, discomfort and exhaustion I experience when I eat something I shouldn't is very, very real.

Now there are businesses who are embracing this new paradigm and the gluten free industry is booming, but there are still the naysayers who doubt and discriminate in their commentary and their businesses.

Last week I read an article that sought to put some perspective around the 'myths' and 'truths' of the whole gluten free 'thing'. Whilst the author did present two sides of the argument, some of the comments that appeared under the article, and the things that were missing, made my blood boil.

I think we need to start to see this whole debate in a different light and name it as 'choice' and see the people in the debate as real people, with real challenges.

For them this is not about choosing to have an allergy or intolerance (who in their right mind would choose that?), it is about having the right to make choices that keep you healthy, not make you sick.

The truth is that there is a divide in this country between people who choose wellness and those who don't.

In the gluten free debate there are people who choose not to consume foods that harm them and those who either are not harmed by it or choose to consume it anyway.

The very idea that the people who make a CHOICE (god forbid you get to make a choice in this democratic society) for wellness are being 'fussy', being 'precious' or 'making trouble', is outrageous!

When did CHOICE become a dirty word?

There are those of us who are deeply affected - and for some, harmed to the point of certain death or long term damage, by food.

We, because of this, choose NOT to eat certain things.

Let me ask you this, if you had the choice between eating a slice of bread and ending up in hospital, writing in pain on the floor, vomiting, coping with severe bloat or diarrhoea - or NOT eating it...what would you do?

Seriously, what would you do...or more importantly, what would you NOT the bread I would think!

This is a VERY serious issue for LOTS OF PEOPLE!!! This is not a 'fad', or a 'myth' or something that a few people made up and created. This is real and it is here to stay.

People who live gluten free are not fussy, nor are they 'precious'. In fact some people I know who live with allergies and chronic illness and manage their health through diet are some of the bravest people I know.

And even if people are choosing a gluten free lifestyle because it makes them feel better - not because they are a coeliac or have an intolerance, who cares, when did wanting to feel good become a crime punishable by name calling and discrimination - aren't we moving on from that?

The gluten free marketplace is rapidly growing, that's a simple supply and demand is creating new employment, new industry and new opportunities for businesses to capitalise...isn't that good?

We need to accept this new paradigm (choosing health that is) and embrace it, not constantly bring it down.

End the discrimination by conversation and choose health yourself!