Civilization as we know it is just about to come to an end. I came across a new piece of evidence of this just last week. At the Passover Seder I attended, guests actually had the option of regular or gluten-free matzos. Let me repeat that phrase: "gluten-free matzos." For thousands of years, Jews have been able to eat regular matzos without there being a problem. I don't believe that any medical study has determined that the incidence of gluten related digestive problems spikes every Passover. However, now that it's 2012, there has to be gluten-free matzos. I guess soon we'll be reading in a new version of the Bible that Moses led his flock to the Red Sea and said, "Okay, everybody stop. If you're gluten-sensitive, remove that unleavened bread from your backs and return to slavery in Egypt. For the rest of you, have I got a surprise about what I'm going to do with this Red Sea."
In case you're wondering, yes, there was a person at the dinner who was lactose intolerant. We're used to that. On the other hand, Gluten intolerance is relatively new to us. A while back, hypoglycemia was all the rage. What happened to that? Did all the hypoglycemiacs disappear?
Don't get me wrong. I have complete compassion for people with medical problems who require a special diet. I'm thrilled that a change in diet can be a lifesaver for them. Gluten is a protein in wheat and some other grains that certain people just can't tolerate. For them, it can be very dangerous to eat foods that contain gluten.
However, in addition to those who actually suffer from dietary conditions, I have a sneaky suspicion that there are a whole bunch of people who suffer from the condition that I'll call, "Hey, maybe I have that."
So, there are two distinct groups of people. One group consists of those who have had medical tests and/or their doctors have told them that they have some food intolerance. The other group consists of people who think they have this condition because their cousin told them they do, or because they read about it in a book that was on a shelf next to a book like, "Eat Watermelon for a Month and Get Taller."
A particularly annoying feature of those in Group Two is that they talk loudly and incessantly about their alleged condition. I'm pretty sure that those who really have dietary problems don't shout about them in restaurants or monopolize the conversation by talking about them at dinner parties.
Those who would take umbrage from my saying that they might suffer from "Hey, maybe I have that," may say that if they don't really have that condition, why do they feel better on their lactose-, gluten-, or whatever-free diets? The simple answer is that they are probably eating healthier now. Maybe they've eliminated a great deal of junk or fattening foods. Even if it is based on an illusion, eating better is a good thing. I'm happy that they're getting healthier. Just stop talking about it.
I'm really tired of hearing a waiter tell me a restaurant's specials and have him say things like their cream of mushroom soup is dairy free. In addition, I certainly don't want to know what artificial ingredient (that we'll soon learn is dangerous) has replaced milk in that soup.
It's gotten completely out of control. There is actually a website called testyourintoleranceusa.com. For a mere eighty-five dollars, they will test you for 600 food and non-food intolerances. Of course, they won't test you for an intolerance to all of these intolerances.