T.G.I. Fridays has a gluten-free menu. This is great news for all the people out there that were saying “You know, I *really* have a taste for a 10 ounce rib eye with ‘generous marbling’. And I like that I can get my meat with a side order of ribs, because my favorite side dish to meat is more meat. And when I’m done with that, I really like to tuck in to an ice cream sundae with chocolate and caramel sauce and whipped cream all washed down with unlimited Coke refills. If only I could have such a delicious meal gluten-free!”
Well you lucky bastard, it’s like Friday’s marketing team just did a little bippity-boppity-boo for you — because each of those things are on Fridays’ amazing gluten-free menu. It’s super-thoughtful for Friday’s to offer these options, because 1 in 133 people in the United States (about 3 million individuals) have celiac disease, which is a nasty auto-immune disorder. Oh, wait. While 3 million people sounds like a lot, that’s less than 1% of the US. So, it’s pretty unlikely that you’re part of the population afflicted. And it’s even less likely if you’re not white. Yes, that’s just another example of black privilege in this country.
But don’t feel left out. Because while it’s unlikely you have celiac disease, it’s pretty likely that you’re fat. Because while one percent of the population has celiac disease, more than 34% of American adults are obese. That’s three million people vs. seventy-eight million total, or the difference between the population of Nevada and the population of TWO Californias. Two big fat Californias – and one of them is letting their giant arm hams spill over onto your space on the plane, except you don’t notice because you fell asleep and it would’ve been ok except for you’re wearing a t-shirt and they’ve got big arm-hams which means they’re wearing a sleeveless shirt and you wake up and your arm is STUCK to their arm-ham and what’s the polite thing to do when that happens?
Anyway, what I’m saying is that it’s really unlikely that you have celiac disease and much more likely that we’re going to be stuck to each other on a plane. You could have at least bought me dinner first. Hey! Maybe we can go to Friday’s, where we can both enjoy the gluten-free menu!
Maybe you don’t actually think you have celiac disease. Maybe you just think you have “gluten-sensitivity.” That mean protein in grain makes your tum-tum hurt. Stupid lousy gluten comes in and wrecks your system which would otherwise be happily digesting the meat with a side of meat, trough of soda, and sweet, sweet fatty sugar covered with sugary fat. How is it that you’re concerned enough about what you eat that you know what gluten is, but not so concerned about what you eat THAT YOU STILL EAT AT FRIDAY’S?
Gluten sensitivity is like sexism. Five years ago, I never heard of it and now everyone is acting like it’s this big deal. Eleven percent of American households reported buying gluten-free foods last year, spending more than 10 billion dollars on a disorder that researchers firmly concluded “may exist.” Are you telling me that Americans wasted all this money and changed their behavior because of something that “may exist?” What next? Are we going to a big building on a weekend morning to ask for gluten’s blessings?
Eating gluten-free seems like it’s just the latest incarnation of our scapegoating of grain. Grain: it’s the Homosexuals of food. The devil wheat gets blamed for everything. Do you think I’m kidding? Two of the books on the New York Times’ “Food and Fitness” best-seller list are Wheat Belly and Grain Brain. Two of the other books on the list are Wheat Belly Total Health and The Grain Brain Cookbook. And then there’s Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple. If you’re counting, fully half the books on the “Food and Fitness” suggest that the magic bullet for a losing weight and leading a healthy life is avoiding wheat. What’s weird is that the last decade’s big grain-blaming diet fad, the Atkins Diet, turned out to work because participants ate less.
But who the heck wants to eat less? Or for that matter, exercise? This is America. Did you notice that none of the popular food and fitness books are about, you know, fitness? Anyone think that The Impotence of Being Earnest Presents: Take a Walk has a shot at the best-seller list? No? What about the sequel: Impotence of Being Earnest: Use the Stairs? According to the Grain Brain website, that dastardly wheat is responsible for low energy levels, depression, and “brain fog.” Which is more likely? That after 10,000 years of being eaten, wheat is finally getting its revenge, or that “binge watching” is now a thing we admit to, and 22 straight hours of House of Cards will probably cause low energy, depression, and whatever the hell “brain fog” is.
According to her website, Danielle Walker cured herself of ulcerative colitis by changing her diet and being adorable. What did she eliminate from her diet? Dairy, wheat, gluten, and legumes. She’s perfect candidate for the Grain Brain Cookbook, which the leading Amazon review raves “is high-fat and low carbohydrate.” Indeed, Walker’s website helpfully links to the Grain Brain page, which tells us that our brain “thrives on fat and cholesterol.” I definitely want my brain to thrive, so I will absolutely eat more of those – better to have a meat ass than a grain brain, I always say. Or I will now, especially when my so-called doctor tries to tell me that high cholesterol correlates with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, two of the top five leading causes of death for Americans.
Really, how lucky can we be? We Americans love to eat meat AND it turns out that it’s the key to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle! It’s almost like these books are successful because they tell us to do exactly what we already like doing! Forget the fitness books I was going to write. I’m writing a book for teenage boys called How to Get Into College By Masturbating.
But first, I’m going to clear my brain by eating this giant, delicious steak.