Couldn’t have said it better

Today I was again forced into the huge acronym dietary church. I stumbled upon an article that warns people about a food allergy that is growing more common among the gluten free set. Lupin is the culprit. Seems Lupin is a frequently substituted ingredient in gluten free food.

Ever hear of lupin? Me neither. That is, until last week, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning about this legume, stating that it can cause allergic reactions ranging from a mild case of hives to full-blown anaphylaxis (yikes).

Every time I see “gluten free” on a menu I start getting full blown hives. If I was hooked up to an MRI to map the electrical activity in my brain, the regions that light up when I read anecdotes in the manosphere, where team woman follows a rationalized pattern of behavior regarding marriage and divorce, that same region lights up like a Christmas Tree when I read about gluten and other acronym church issues. I sensed a connection. But I have peeve chasing to waste my time. Or, do I?

Lupin got me motivated. I had not checked the male to female ratio on celiac diagnosis, or more importantly, on celiac claims. More fundamental, I’d not looked for collated gluten mania debunking information. I started there.

In the article Is your gluten intolerance real? Study says gluten sensitivity is fake, the findings seem compelling. I’m not one who googles, posts claim, crosses arms, nods and hmmph’s as if that’s that, but this sounds pretty straightforward. An Australian Dr. fed a carefully controlled diet to self reported gluten intolerant patients. You can read the control details in the article. About the lab controlled diet fed group, the Dr. reported:

participants reported stomach pain and sensitivity even when they weren’t eating gluten. Each diet had patients reporting pain, bloating, nausea, and gas after their baseline treatment, Real Clear Science reported.

The outlet suggests a “nocebo effect” is at play. Only eight per cent of the participants had “gluten-specific effects,” according to Gibson’s study published in the journal Gastroenterology.

He concluded:

Some supporters of the gluten-free diet may say that they feel healthier with better digestion since adopting the diet, but the latest findings suggest that if you aren’t suffering from celiac disease, your intolerance is likely in your head.

Elsewhere I read something from a geneticist who spoke to the fact that celiac or celiac reports have a gender imbalance. It ranges from 2.3/1 to 3/1 female to male. As an inherited condition this makes no sense. It would make more sense is the skew was closer to 1/1 or to 100/1. Here is one study about gender and gluten. All we need is for one of these doctors to become ensconced in manosphere type thinking and we would have a full expose on our hands about what is really at work here.

Bringing it all down to my level, I found one of those articles that had me doing mental fist pumps. No, its not really peer reviewed, and I know, I know, some may agree that this condition is over reported but your own gluten intolerance is a real as toe nail fungus, but it was fun to read these quips.

How do you know if you are gluten intolerant?  Elaborate assays?  DNA? At least a blood sample?  Nope, you just have to give up wheat and say you feel better and you are allowed to claim you have it. And proponents have even scarier numbers – they claim 97 percent of the people who have Celiac disease don’t know they have it, so their ranks are really much bigger.

Brilliant in its creation of a circular reasoning trap. Not quite Kafka, but It’ll do.

Maybe fashion disease people grew up in the 1990s when teachers wanted all kids to be labeled ADD, or they are the types who go to parties today and determine 80% of other party-goers have Asperger’s.  They are used to having something.  They need it. (My emphasis)

The author tackles ancillary benefit claims of gluten free dieting like weight loss with sarcasm that has me looking for where I can sign up to read more:

there being no scientific evidence that going gluten-free causes weight loss, other than any sudden shock to your system causes weight loss – if Lady Gaga went on an all Meat Dress diet she would also lose weight. Heck, some studies even show that if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. Modern dietary science is downright revolutionary like that.

He also links ideology and in group thinking and lays out a fantastically wry illustration of the irrationality of herd behavior.

So it would seem, at least according to trends about other beliefs.  Along with believing more in UFOs, psychics and astrology than right-wing people, left-wing people also believe they are hyper-sensitive to food. That could be genetic and may lend credence to often-dismissed kooky claims that they can taste GMOs or are allergic to them.  Same with vaccines.  Anti-vaccine people are overwhelmingly left-wing; while a right-wing state such as Mississippi is almost at 100% vaccination, left-wing Washington State is sinking below herd immunity levels and  kindergartens in Seattle report 25% non-vaccinated children.  Maybe they don’t need vaccines the way genetically inferior right-wing people do. It could be that left-wing people have co-evolved a much stronger immune system to go along with their super-smart brains. Well, except for celiac disease, they have a super-strong immune system.

Here, in Eyeing a gluten free revolution another writer may not realize it, most do not because they are themselves caught in the wild eyed trends they report on, but he offers a glimpse at reality.

“There are a lot of people on a gluten-free diet, and it’s not clear what the medical need for that is,” said Dr. Joseph Murray of the Mayo Clinic and co-author of the study and a member of NFCA’s Scientific/Medical Advisory Council. “It is important if someone thinks they might have celiac disease that they be tested first before they go on the diet.”

There are simple reasons behind the over the top claims of gluten intolerance. People get fuzzy feelings, there is EMPATHY

“I get hugs, and every time I’m reduced to tears,” she said. “I’m certain that will continue.”

And there is profit

As for Moreland, her work is ongoing, noting college campuses and senior living centers as target areas for gluten-free education.

“We’re at the tipping point in this gluten-free culinary revolution,” she said.

Gotta wrap it up. Wife came out ready for church wearing all beige. I asked her if she could go change into something “less Mao, more now”. Pray for me today.







22 thoughts on “Couldn’t have said it better

  1. Lupin? Really? So they replaced gluten, something that is theoretically bad for you, with lupin something that is actually very bad for you when prepared incorrectly? That’s like replacing hormone treated beef with pufferfish meat. You can expect proper preparation on a small scale, but not on an industrial one.

  2. That sound you hear?

    That’s lawyers cackling in glee as they anticipate a flurry of lawsuits stemming from all this.

    On a serious note, well done Empath on assembling this post. Wasn’t sure where you were going at first, but it all made sense by the end.

  3. First, great post. From a blogger who is always posting pics of gluten filled delights, this is sort of comforting.

    Second, one of the reasons people might feel better when they give up gluten is because they go “paleo”, and start eating more fruits and veggies. So the improvement might be real, but not because they gave up gluten, but because they increased nutrition across the board. Moderation. Who’d have thunk it?

    Lastly, the whole paleo thing is pretty big in the manosphere from what I can tell, isn’t it?

  4. Donal

    Its tough to stay brief and use all those dispersed sources. I also am only flirting with the idea that there is linkage in this whole swirling mess of things, such that even women who are strident men-blog-friendly writers, and men who write blogs we like, are caught up in it. It falls on its face if I simply state what would seem like an indictment of so called “everyone”.

    My experience in being a suspicious skeptical pessimist shows me that women drive these trains, but men build the trains first. Simplistically it would be easy to say men are sending women off on crusades that ultimately end up benefiting (profit) the men, but there is also Lift chasing involved and as always the desire people have to set themselves apart. A little bit like Game, where you can’t pin it down, but a different method. With this , unlike game, the method is solipsism entirely in the “well I don’t know about others, but I know that I am gluten intolerant”.

    I asked my wife if she had any friends professing this. Yep……Mary (not real name). And how does Mary know? She eliminated foods and felt better. What are the odds that one woman would be skeptical of another on something like diet when one women will not even ask for information about alleged abuse or other rationale for divorce for example? Slim to none.

    I said these things are symptomatic of our culture (which is empirically provable in the dearth of gluten issues in the 3rd world, even where there is an abundance of gluten). My wife retorted that my obsession with learning about the farce is a similar symptom.

    Perhaps, but I have no agenda beyond peeve. The last article I linked reveals in a serious way the agenda in gluten gospel. The sarcastic one reveals the ideological and group think motive in a wry manner.

    I just want to keep weaving the thread through them even if just to record my thoughts for myself. I also would assert that for Christians this stuff simply ought not be what it is. That there is inherent dishonesty in it even when we lie to ourselves.

  5. Lastly, the whole paleo thing is pretty big in the manosphere from what I can tell, isn’t it?

    Yes, and to be consistent, I classify a trend as well. But with a forgiving twist. Paleo evangelists and gluten free tent preachers suffer at root the same “naturalist fallacy”. That something is good or bad is more packaged in the idea good = natural …..bad = not natural. That package clearly sells.

    The forgiving twist is that higher protein lower carb diets are easy to defend with contemporary studies. But that’s boring, defending the diet wont sell it. Nothing sexes it up like the image of doing what Ugg, the paleo dude, did back in his day. This is the naturalist fallacy. Similar to organic food and homeo medicine, the macro data would suggest no one wants to go back there. But in similar thinking that allows a woman with kids to get around the fact that divorce harms kids as she files, folks are smitten with the romantic notion of the simple cave man diet.

    Artery disease was found in a third of 150 mummies examined. It wasn’t the paleo era but it was unquestionably natural. However, I would never get into a debate on this where it involved competing studies because people who embrace religious diets, or diets as religion, have lots of cool distracting science even while having a dearth of other info. This tedious exposition is how things like one thing shown in an the article I linked come to happen, where 25% of children in grade K in Washington state are not vaccinated. They also have cool science reports. As do people who like to, conversely, oppose man made things in general like plastics and chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

    That there is a health problem in the U.S. We now place somewhere between 35 and 50 in life span in the world. That’s easy fodder for religious diet sellers. But the details matter. Paleo diets and gluten free food will not heal our population. Frankly nothing will. That which has us waddling in our obesity is perversely the same thing that has already healthy people becoming Ponce de Leon. Too much ease and comfort, too short of attention span to bother being skeptical rather relying on subtle appeals to emotion.

  6. Elspeth:
    Keoni Galt is a big advocate of paleo-diets. I like him and his blog, but personally I think most of the health benefits of paleo-dieting just come from the fact that the food is fresher. That, and the sheer amount of exercise one would have to expend preparing such meals! LOL

  7. “Kindergartens in Seattle report a 25% non-vaccinated rate.”

    Not surprising. The fork-bearded, beanie-wearing aspies here who swoon over anything ‘Green’ are going to make the PNW the epicenter of a pandemic yet. These morons even banned traps within city limits a few years ago, and now look:

    ‘Liberalism is not a political belief, it is a mental disorder.’—-Michael Savage

  8. @ Eric:

    I am a big fan of Keoni’s. Read all his stuff, and actually agree with a lot of what he has to say about the connections between the FDA and the food industry. Of course, common sense should dictate to any thinking person that fresh food eaten as close as possible to the way God made it is better than stuff from a box. We shouldn’t need a full on movement for people to *get* that.

    As for the gluten issue, we eat our fair share, but 90% of it is freshly made in our kitchen by me or my daughter. In other words, we know what’s in our stuff. When you commit that “I’m only going to get a cookie if I bake cookies”, you eat less cookies if you’re too busy or not in the mood to bake.

    I’ve engaged in all of these trends to one degree or another at some point, but in our house it doesn’t usually last for long because I am not afforded the luxury of dictating to my husband what foods are not allowed in the house, and he likes his fresh baked breads and cookies.

    So we practice moderation rather than omitting whole food groups in an attempt to get thin quick or live forever, LOL.

  9. We started to eat mostly (say 80%) out of the refrigerator and the rest from the pantry. My grocery bill stabilized; the girls and I feel a whole lot better and we snack less. Nothing’s verboten and, interestingly enough, we are eating a greater variety of foods – even my younger daughter who has the habit of turning her nose up at the unfamiliar seems to be developing a more refined palate.

  10. I prefer my spam gelatin on a lightly toasted sunflower seed bread. How is that for refined? Of course when the zombies make the scene we’ll be fighting over gluten free Alpo.

    This dietary neurosis is just a sign that our country has neared the top of it’s pendulum swing towards the worst traits of women. They don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from so they are spending all of their time worrying about what it might be and what might be in it. Food insecurity is a condition of the heart, it shows up on issues like this.

    I could quote half a dozen scriptures on this subject. I’ll refrain.

  11. @Elspeth.

    When I make cookies I make quadruple batches. So when I eat cookies, I EAT COOKIES! I have been sticking with homemade sweets. I even have an ice cream maker so I could do that in theory.

  12. Good heavens, Sir, I did manage to make that sound snooty, did it not?

    I rather meant that she’s learning to make distinctions based on specifics rather than reject whole groups of foods – for example: Younger Iseult would declare that fish was gross. Older Iseult has found that “although fish is mostly gross, some is not and would I please make jerk fish tacos for dinner”. Salmon is still gross. As are swordfish and monkfish. Catfish, if fried exactly the way her grandmother fries it, is not.

    But, what do I think is a refined palate – I’d say it’s one that can tell the difference between a quality ingredient and a not-so-quality ingredient (and let’s face it, a fresh off the vine tomato beats one that’s been sitting in a warehouse for a couple weeks). I don’t know if that’s being snooty. I guess “quality” can be a somewhat subjective term – your meat/my poison, etc.

  13. GIL, I agree. This is a full on female thinking primacy thing. Its control of the home, the food, the safety, etc. Its micromanaging period, and it is done for a very simple motive. It creates feelings that are desired.

    We have talked about this, you, me, sojourner, in the past, elsewhere and here. The health aspects of food, as well and the foodie drive when it becomes a kind of in-group thing are represented in another way, that being the ad pics of the contented woman, white couch, while throw blanket, white drapery billowing in the background, maybe a blue chamois or hewn shirt and white capri pants, legs curled under, gripping a steaming thick white mug of something.

    In that pic and its variations are contained the seeds of all of the stuff of the church of acronyms. the woman in the picture has a perfect environment, temperature, safety, clean, somewhat “natural” looking, she looks deeply content. She has

    Shopped at Whole Foods
    Eliminated gluten and other evil things
    Donates to causes like “ban Bis A and GMO”
    She recycles
    She hand ___________ everything (fill in the blank with food prep or Martha Stewart Crafty thing but using sustainable raw materials)
    Todays meal has been shopped and prepared, farm to fork no less and NEVER buy two days worth of its not really farm to fork
    Treats illness with herbs and spices

    but most of all

    She can sit around with any group of women and not be out-organic’d of homeopathy’d, or whatever.

    Like so many things, if you’d ask, what is the end game? What is the goal? What do you fear? Why must you control but use fads as the metric? There is no answer that is functional. The answer is the process and the feelings it garners.

    Moms used to get those same feelings a few generations back by preparing hearty things that the main concern was, were they tasty and filling. That mom’s image was flour dust covered, an apron, tired and long suffering, and staying to the background about food and its preparation. Swapping recipes for pie was then, swapping studies and fear mongering while claiming to have alleviated symptoms therefore everyone ought to do it is now.

    i know some scriptures that speak to this as well. Its why I am so strident on this. Its an insidious deception, not that there is sin, per se, in chasing healthy food and lifestyle, but that there is sin in how far this dominates one’s persona well and deep beyond what, in other cases, we’d call idolatry. I didnt even want to say that because it creates an image of someone poo pooing anything anyone is enthusiastic about as idolatry. But good grief. If there isnt a beheading or some big news like that, the news will always be geared to appeal to women about food and food danger.

    Some men share the obsession. Some men placate their wives on it. The thing is, do what you wanna do, just stop evangelizing or worse advocating laws and rules about it. I dont care if someone likes to eat only snail droppings. getting that as the only approved school lunch is over the top

  14. I feel totally inadequate next to the woman you described. Besides taking care of my husband the only womanly thing I do with supreme excellence is baking sugary, gluten filled junk. Oh, and gluten filled bread.

    And every pair of white pants I’ve ever owned was stained beyond usability after the first wearing, LOL.

    Levity aside, I appreciated what GIL said about the obsession with what’s in the food since we don’t have to worry about whether we’ll get any food at all. That was really a light bulb comment for me, even though I’ve never really been one to obsess a whole lot over such things. At least not for any length of time.

    I can’t even really take credit for that being true.

  15. LOL – I can actually be plenty snooty (I have this on good authority).

    I’ve actually been giving this some thought (it’s been sort of stuck in my mind like a song I can’t get rid of 🙂 ) – and I’d have to say that it’s one which discriminates; which can tell the difference between the good and the excellent. It’s something one cultivates through exposure. I don’t mean it as a synonym for pretentious, though.

    A personal example – once upon a time shrimp was shrimp. Then I became accustomed to the shrimp my FIL, a commercial shrimper, would bring home. I can’t eat the grocery stuff anymore; I can tell the difference in taste and texture between the stuff that’s just caught and the stuff that’s “fresh frozen” – and everything you get in a grocery store unless it’s labeled “local” or “wild caught” has been frozen and thawed (and they can still call it fresh – go figure). But I can tell the difference every time – with a single bite. I can tell what was farm raised and what was caught out in the ocean. And now the only shrimp I can eat is fresh off the boat (and thank heavens I have access to it here).

    It is an interesting question, though, isn’t it – what is a refined palate?

    (also I love Pop Tarts, so there’s that)

  16. Empath,

    I know you’re not a doctor, but I was wondering your thoughts on the marked increase there seems to be in food allergies. I have a friend whose son cannot eat anything. Not wheat, no dairy, no soy, no nuts, no eggs. And if something gets in there by accident. his reaction to it is swift and severe. There is no ambiguity about this kid’s allergies.

    He’s an anomaly of course, but I see more and more kids with all kinds of food allergies. Our children don’t have any that we know of, except our one daughter doesn’t do particularly well with dairy, which isn’t all that unusual within our ethnic background.

    Oh, my question: Do you think it’s environmental or the way foods are processed now, or what?

  17. I’d have to say that it’s one which discriminates; which can tell the difference between the good and the excellent.

    I would disagree simply because it is all subjective. One man’s trash another’s treasure kind of thing. There are a very limited number of things that can be objectively called excellent, and they have nothing to do with food, or quality of goods (cars etc). In a relative sense one may sort using good and excellent, for instance among athletes. But true excellence is embodied only in the things of God. Ironically we can all know that, profess that, then keep on yammering about stuff, food, cloths, sports, movies, music, whatever. What do you/we actually dwell on? was it a thing of excellence , a block of time last evening, that I shared with my soon to be 9 year old as we were preparing her for bed, praying, and sleep? When we laughed and hugged and later I slip in and see her perfect skin and contented breathing and I feel something amazing inside? here’s the truth. Out of ten times I have that experience, several of them have my crowded thoughts blocking my appreciation and pondering of that excellence. I’m sorry to be heavy here. But i wonder then, when and if I see something, food, goods, whatever, that I consider “excellent”, how much do thoughts of those times with my daughter (as example) crowd out my envy, coveting, or even just dwelling in appreciation of that thing? Here is one root of the Christian objection to all of these food obsessions.

    Another root is regarding the old church saw about knowing someones priorities by their checkbook and calendar. Who would be the better servant….a mother Theresa who took food as merely fuel to serve, assume for a moment its boxed and microwaved stuff for efficiency of time, or the VERY COMMON bible study group that meets and invariably INVARIABLY the topic of food is prominent in each meeting, and with gusto. But, they will organize rides and meals for the family with someone ill, or with a new baby. And that will morph into obsessing about the delivered food and its ingredients. Is gluttony only manifest in overeating? I’m being intentionally provocative in these exaggerations. I am not a curmudgeon.

    I’m skeptical about taste tests in general. Since Wine magazine had to swallow hard and print an article about a study done on wine tasting where when not identified, and of course leaving off extremes like Night Train or Thunderbird (my high school favs) there was zero taste correlation provable among a set of wines from same grapes or same blends, using a group of professional respected tasters, and cost/reputation. HOWEVER, through a complicated set of tests, when price or repute was revealed or even hinted, bam, huge correlation. Then, there was the study last year that proved exactly the same thing about organic food. I mean, how can I argue when someone says they taste the difference? I doubt it, except in extremes, but who knows. I wonder the same about things like farm raised fish vs wild, etc. The comparison folks use is to have an anecdotal result or two, but all the while being aware the origin. rather than price, like the wine, on organic food , farm to fork, like that, and maybe the fish, there is a bias in knowing. It may taste better because “everyone knows fresh is better” sort of thing. When in reality it may TEND to taste better but in the aggregate, only a little.

    This makes me a boring tourist, boring date, boring guy. I am unmoved by reviews of the arugula salad at “new stupid priced trendy restaurant everyone likes” and tend to stay away unless forced.

    I think after this comment Ill go eat worms

  18. Elspeth. The taste difference could be anything. It could also, SHOULD also be present from region to region in fresh food, or in fish even because the fish eat differently in fish farms or in real lakes streams and ponds, in different places. If someones palate was so discerning they can reject packaged or frozen no matter what in lieu of fresh or wild, then necessarily they should even more be able to tell you, hmmmm, this corn was grown in Nebraska or Kansas, last weels came from Alabama.

  19. I am currently in my kitchen baking 100 gluten free, dairy free mini cupcakes for a Christmas party. I can’t help but laugh at the idea that I (with my gluten and dairy loving self) am actually doing this. Then I remembered your commentaries on the subject.

    Merry Christmas, Empath!

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