It’s more than just fussy eating habits.
You’re ordering dinner at a restaurant, and your companion goes, “Does that have gluten in it?” Before you roll your eyes and start on your theory that people have been eating gluten forEVA without even realising it, and they’re just fine, thanks, here’s something for you to chew on (chya!).
Gluten is one of the most commonly consumed proteins on Earth, often found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is created when glutenin and gliadin come into contact and hit it off. Tangibly, gluten is the culprit for the rich, thick, yummy sauce you spread on your linguine, the springy chomp-chomp sensation you get as you bite off a slice of thick crust, and the bouncy effect you feel as you pop in a piece of butter cake (gimme). But as much as you may inwardly detest the person across the table from you for asking to get rid of this purportedly magic protein, she may have good reason for doing so.
Celiac disease is a chronic disorder that affects the way our bodies digest gluten. This can result in you feeling pretty crappy after practically inhaling that spaghetti carbonara or going overboard on your toast at breakfast. The discomfort is caused by the inability of the villi (the small finger-like projections you loved to draw in Form 1 bio, that break down all the elements in food in preparation for digestion, c’mon) in our small intestines to break down the protein. On the contrary, if you suffer from celiac disease, the presence of gluten in your system tends to flatten out the villi (yes, we’re sure we don’t mean the Veela), thereby reducing the surface area through which your body can absorb food. Think about it like a used toothbrush: once the bristles start to flatten, the effectiveness of the toothbrush is lost. Similarly, once the villi start to flatten, your body’s capacity to breakdown nutrients in food lessens, which often results in feelings of pain and discomfort in the short term, and your body’s strength reserves and growth capacity weakening in the long run.
For sufferers of celiac disease, being exposed to even the slightest bit of gluten can trigger an overwhelmingly powerful reaction. In an article on the rise of gluten in modern consumer culture, The New Yorker affirmed, that “eating in restaurants requires particular vigilance,” because, honestly, your waiter may not give a crap about your allergy and then you’ll spend the rest of your night feeling lousy. So give your dinner buddy a break and forgo your magic gluten for the night. And don’t get into a long dissection on celiac disease. Be the bigger person and let the girl enjoy her dinner.
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