Fine, I’ll weigh in on the Lady Gaga thing because everyone else seems to be, and God knows I don’t want to miss another chance to give my two cents on celebrity gossip. I’m sure you’ve heard but Lady Gaga is the most recent celebrity that has gone gluten-free not for health issues, but as a weight loss trick. Oh, awesome.
I was born this way, for sure, with the genes of a Celiac. Like the song, I am proud and beautiful in my own way – wheat or not. If you were born that way, Gaga, I’d be so stoked. I love Lady Gaga and have been a fan since very early on. I don’t think this will change because of it, but it does make me cringe a little. It irks me when celebrities pull something like this – not for her specifically – but for her millions upon millions of fans. Undertaking something like this without a medical sensitivities, ethical stance on the horrible super wheat production, etc – and just calling it a weight-loss device bums me out.
Why don’t celebrities call it like it is – going Paleo (if that’s the case), or going low-carb (or in the case of those celebrities that splurge on real cake/cookies as a treat on a gluten-free diet, “low-gluten” or what I like to call “seriously annoying”).
Now some gluten-free people are saying “but why don’t you love this? Lady Gaga is a big name celebrity and if she does something, many many people will follow her and do what she does. With all those Little Monsters following her, the world will be forced to accommodate more gluten-free diet demands. Doesn’t this ultimately mean more food and availability for us?” Well, technically, yes – random person replying to me that I just made up for this article. However, here’s a few reasons why I hate it.
1. No one cares about cross-contamination
I adore the coverage that the Olympic athletes got about their struggles with gluten. Why? Because they addressed their very real sensitivities and intolerances to the stuff. Granted, there were athletes who go gluten-free to enhance their performance and then splurge on pizza after their big race, but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about those athletes that have to pack their own snacks and lunches to everything like we do. These are the types of role models that we need to have – those who are overcoming odds despite this disease, the ones that talk about their struggles before going GF. Granted, Gaga probably has her own staff of a million chefs – but regular people don’t have that. Us plebeians have to do all of our own cooking or rely on trained restaurant staff to do the cooking for us. Nowhere in the article did it talk about her struggles dealing with cross-contamination at some of the top restaurants in Beverly Hills, but cross-contamination is something we all have to struggle with as soon as we get out the door. With articles like this (and the million that followed about it), it minimizes the risk and caution that we all have to partake in to be safe. New to gluten-free? It’s easy, even Gaga did it! Wrong – get informed about cross-contamination. It worries me too, as hopping on the bandwagon for restaurants generally doesn’t include getting prepped and informed about how to prevent contamination. GRRRRRRR.
2. I don’t want to look like a trendy jackass
I have now started saying, “I am a Celiac and have severe allergies to gluten. I will be ordering gluten-free because of that. A severe allergy to gluten, yes – wheat, rye, and barley” instead of my typical “I’m gluten-free.” Why? Because of all of these trendy dieters that just order something off of the gluten-free menu and don’t care about cross-contamination and ingredients. Guess what, trendy jerks, if I order the same thing without alerting them of the very real danger I have while eating out, they might be tempted to slack off on their strictness when it comes to what it touches, etc. After I say this to servers, their ears perk up. They listen to what I say. You know why? They’ve probably met people who eat it to be trendy and they order GF pasta and then order a full-gluten cake for dessert. That right there minimizes our struggles while we’re eating out. You’ve now made it harder for me to stand out from the crowd of people who are doing it to lose weight or because it’s the new “it” thing. Guess what, salad has always been gluten-free! GRRRRR!
3. I gained weight
I gained weight when I went gluten-free, as do many Celiacs. I was malnourished and wasn’t getting as many nutrients in. I gained like 10 lbs and although it really sucked I was suddenly not anemic anymore. Awesome! However, when you stress gluten-free as a way to lose weight, it’s giving people false information. Yes, if you too ate nothing but protein and vegetables and cut out all carbs and sweets besides a GF cookie when you were a really good girl, you could probably shed some hefty pounds. However, doing a direct substitution – like many people who eat gluten-free do – you’re faced with more calorically-dense food and you’ll put on the lbs. Do people think that gluten-free bread is something magic that contains zero calories and will make your ass shrink 2 sizes overnight? Apparently. I troll the interwebs for people talking about how the gluten-free diet helps you shed lbs. I correct their statement and say that mindful eating and calorie consumption helps them lose weight. Protein-heavy (and just happen to be gluten-free) grains like quinoa and spaghetti squash over pasta are great substitutions. But they’re also found in the paleo diet. STAY OUT OF MY GLUTEN-FREE LIFE, guys. If you want to diet, say you’re dieting. But saying you’re on a gluten-free diet when you’re trying to lose weight minimizes my personal struggles. And you’re probably pissing the majority of us off that have gained weight trying to find good substitutions for our favorite foods that we can no longer eat. You know, the ones that you’ll go right back to eating as soon as your “diet” is over that we’ll never get to taste again. GRRRRRR.
Okay, I feel better now. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments about Gaga’s bad romance with gluten. Don’t just give me your poker face – you should weigh in on this diet whether you were born this way or not. I’ll be sitting on the edge of glory, waiting for your responses.