I Was Born That Way Lady Gaga – Were You?

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.

Comments: 7

  1. Gluten Dude August 20, 2012 at 11:52 am Reply

    Well done Erica. We speak pretty much the same language. Just be prepared to catch some hell from celebrity-backers who think the exposure is a good thing. They’re out there…believe me.

  2. Sheila August 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm Reply

    This honestly pisses me off too. The bad thing was recently I was at the hospital with my husband and we were talking with several staff members about it, nurses and radiologists, because my husband is very supportive and is constantly raising awareness in our community or daily life 😀 Anyway the several staff members chimed into my husband’s conversation with, “yeah I’ve been on that diet before, too hard to do for too long, and, I heard that is a great diet bit I haven’t tried it yet.” I was about to speak up, which I rarely do lately because I now hate sticking out because of this, and my husband said, “no you don’t understand, she can’t eat it, she has Celiac”, which I never did get a positive test result back except for with food elimination, he was mad for me!! Most people just said oh and changed the subject, but I think maybe they were a tad ashamed of themselves for being so flip about going GF as a “diet”!! Does this mean my husband remembers that when he eats and drinks things with gluten that he remembers every time to brush his teeth before kissing me lol NO……baby steps here……I’ve only been GF since April….

  3. Chantal August 20, 2012 at 11:30 pm Reply

    Yes, yes yes to this!!! Finally somebody who agrees with me!
    I think it’s good that Celiac/Gluten Free is slowly getting more knowledge in the world. But the way it’s done, I really done like.
    I just don’t understand people like Gaga, Miley and Kim saying they lose weight with this diet. Okay, yeah sure, if you go from fastfood to eating nothing, then it’s normal you lose weight (Even I would lose weight). But that hasn’t anything to do with Gluten Free food. I wonder if all those celebs realise how much sugar there is in gluten free food.
    Idiots.
    It’s time that Celebs with Celiac stand up and talk about their diet. So they can make it more famous. In a good way!

  4. Deena Ellson August 21, 2012 at 7:00 am Reply

    I love what you wrote. I total agree. I am tired of people thinking that eating GF is a fad diet. If they had to feel the pain or watch their child hurt form gluten I am sure we would hear a much different story. I guess all we can do is stick together and keep writing our blogs and FB post and keep people educated. Be blessed my celiac friends!!!!!

  5. Nyota Muhammad August 27, 2012 at 8:37 am Reply

    Thank you for this!

    I am all for a person doing what makes them healthy, but this is why I am called the “picky” eater when I dine with people. They think it’s like a handbag; fashionable. I can’t wear this when it suits me.

    @Sheila – health professionals really have to set up their games. It’s a shame that nurses would comment on the difficulty of this “diet.” I am so lucky that my doctor listened to my systems and diagnosed me properly. I have never felt better.

  6. Jewel's Cupcake Shop August 27, 2012 at 10:45 am Reply

    I agree with you Erica. Many restaurants will want to jump on the band wagon to gain profit in the meantime making sensitive people sick. My daughter went to work for such a restaurant and was appalled at the GF practices. She questioned the owner and he said it was just for fad dieting not for health reasons. She quit to say the least after getting no where. I hear it all the time when people get my desserts. ” Oh, this is healthier.” In some ways it is, but is it not lower in calories or fat. Eating processed, bleached, and GMO wheat is not good for anyone. In that respect, I think avoiding wheat is standing up to big government and asking them not to mess with our food. I agree that avoiding high carbs is what these people should state instead of going GF. I have been on the Paleo diet for a month now with my pregnancy and have lost a few pounds of water weight and feel so much better. Keep it up.;) PS. I have some Kind Bars for you… And I read you may be craving a cupcake after your trip….

    • Erica August 27, 2012 at 10:59 am Reply

      YES YES AND YES! I am badly craving a cupcake! I’ll email you to arrange a time and place! 🙂 I would love to go Paleo…something I’ve been working on for a while, it’s just getting the discipline!

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