Flowzario’s Wellness Rant Part 2: Gluten Chronicles
June 7, 2018Rosario Chozas
To gluten, or not to gluten? But also who the fuck cares what I do with gluten?
I have been gluten free* (from here on out it will be referred to as GF) for the past 5-6 years. The reason I became GF is because I struggled with the very not cool symptoms of auto immune diseases and basically felt like shit for 3 years. Migraines, arthritis, the WORST tummy aches, incredibly low energy etc., i.e. SO not cool. Ever since I have been GF it has been amazing to observe how people react to the GF person in the room, GF people in general and how much knowledge is lacking from the general population as to what the actual f GF means.
So let’s cover some simple bases here:
What is gluten? I don’t REALLY know, nor do I care. I’ve always thought about it (loosely based on the info I have read) that gluten is a component or part-of a thing. Like how Spinach has iron, well wheat has gluten. The thing is, the gluten can be extracted and used in other things, just like iron can be added to a multivitamin. When you have a tummy that is sensitive because your intestinal lining was created that way–or because you have raging anxiety and you have actively destroyed your intestinal lining or just because you’re a delicate flower and that’s OK too–gluten becomes a thing that you have trouble digesting, absorbing and metabolizing.
So your body is like, “oh hell no” and then your intestines get inflamed, pissed, and all around not happy which makes your body have to deal with that inflammation. Maybe when you’re younger, that’s not so hard for your body to handle because youth, but when you get older your body can easily decide “yeah, no we’re not into this anymore, k?” and then you feel like dog shit when you eat bread, simply get a puffy tummy or–in the most extreme cases–need to be hospitalized.
Why people choose to not engage in gluten?
Cause they don’t feel good when they eat it. Plain and simple. OR they want to lose a few pounds and heard that gluten helps you do that (which by the way, sure it will definitely de-puff you and make your tummy slightly flatter, but as with anything, everything goes back to where it was if you don’t stick to it AND ALSO its not a magic solution and wont reeeeaaally change the game). Either way, just like when people choose to join a crossfit gym (someone would have to put a gun to my head to do this), juice for a week, (also, gun to the head) or become vegetarian (I’m Argentine, momma don’t play that game) it’s a choice, and it doesn’t belong to you, so lets all just chill out on bashing GF people, k Susan?
What to do if you’re choosing to live a GF lifestyle (for whatever reason):
A) Invest. Invest your time, energy, brain space, creativity and love for life and magic in finding the BEST GF options in the supermarket, online, all around you, etc. Check out blogs, Instagram feeds, the directories and top 10 lists (that do exist) of the best restaurants and cafes in town with GF options. Then go there, try the menu items, see what you like and what you don’t. Become your OWN directory of amazing, delicious GF alternatives – breads, cookies, pastas, chips – because they are out there waiting for you to live a non-puffy life.
Then also B) become the most efficient, practical producer of your gastronomic life. If you’re going on a trip, plan ahead. Bring snacks that you can eat, google options of where to eat where you are going. Make it an amazing thing about yourself – “Susan, the gal with the amazing snacks and great food recs”. If you are going to a dinner party, bring a dish that you know you can eat so you guarantee there’s food for you and you don’t have to be the annoying person who has singlehandedly ruined the dinner for everyone else (because they had to change menu options, order things last minute or just feel overwhelmed because they have no idea what GF means).
This can also lead to making the entire dinner conversation around YOUR eating habits (you will find this becomes annoying, draining and very unattractive) which then rolls into comments about someones aunt Karen who is vegan and had pneumonia that one time. I know, not related but a true story and speaks to the lack of general knowledge around me. Essentially, the best way to live a GF life is to become great at logistics. So be great at logistics. Get organized and keep it together. It’s not the worst thing, but if you don’t take it seriously you will be left without meals. Or even worse, with an insane tummy ache and migraine on your vacation or right before a presentation.
What to do if you know someone living a GF lifestyle:
GET THE FUCK OFF THEIR NUTS and see if maybe you can be supportive, resourceful or even just neutral about it. For years I have experienced eye rolls, scoffs, completely uninformed comments (gluten free does not mean organic/vegan/vegetarian or relates to anything religious or spiritual. I know, it’s crazy I even have to write this) that have nothing to do with anything. It’s been most amazing to see how directly people associate GF with being super pretentious.
A quick reality check for you all: being GF means having to pay 30% more for your food items (that’s a whole different bag of comments that I will save for another rant), having to spend 30% more of your day thinking about food (where to get it and how to prepare it and what you can order at a restaurant) and constantly run the risk of a holiday weekend, summer vacation, friend’s wedding or your own birthday being completely ruined because some waiter didn’t give a fuck and was super casual with your GF request. For anyone who has ever been mindful about their friends eating lifestyle: THANK YOU. You get it and it means more than you know.
In not-so short, if you stop and think about it people choose to modify their diet because there’s something they are seeking to improve. Health, diet, overall happiness, a croissant, ANYTHING. So don’t be judge-y Jennifer, no one is questioning YOU on what you ate when you got home at 2am trashed and don’t want to tell people. Be a hommie, ask some questions, get some info and if there’s an opportunity for you to choose a place that has more options for your GF friend to eat, take it and feel like a good human. You did a good thing.
Places with D-lish GF options in Miami (there are many, many more):
Ironside – amazing pizza
Dirt – healthy amazing food / breakfast-lunch-dinner
Poke OG – BOMB poke bowls
Glam Vegan – Also vegan and delish
Della Test Kitchen – Amazing GF and vegetarian bowls (make your own, go buck wild)
Taquiza – Amazing Mexican
Bunnie Cakes – all the goodies your munchies or birthdays could ever handle
Rosario Chozas is the hilariously amazing soul behind @flowzario, and Prism’s resident Account Manager and internal Wellness Guru/Big Sister. She’s also the badass entrepreneur behind the sustainable workwear line, BAMMIES.