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Where can I buy food with extra gluten?

August 3, 2013

If you ever mention anywhere on the Internet that you have computer problems, within a short period of time you will receive the very useful advice to "Get a Mac". A similar Pavlovian response occurs if you mention the diet fad du jour, as people (often self-diagnosed) with dreadful allergies and food intolerances tell you about the dangers they face and the unbearable burden they carry of having to be aware of what's in what they eat. As I have Type 2 diabetes and have to look at the ingredients of everything my usual response is "So what?", but it seems that I'm not a special enough case to understand the terror they face daily.

When I did the shopping this week I noticed that the supermarket had put a "Gluten free" message on legs of ham. I posted the following message to Twitter and sat back to wait for the fun to start.

I must congratulate Coles on having gluten-free ham. I hope the pineapples are low on cholesterol too. Then I'll be really healthy.

Someone suffering from lack of a humour and sarcasm-detection gene asked if I was serious about the pineapples and cholesterol. Well, of course I was – I like to be assured that all vegetable matter I eat is free from chemicals that only occur in meat. As for the ham, the meat is cured using salt, sugar and some nitrate or nitrite salts. There is nothing in any of these or in the raw pig meat that can possibly be a source of gluten. The sign on the meat is there to reassure people who have no idea what gluten is or where it comes from that they can safely eat the meat without suffering from acute nocebo effect. This leaves them free to worry about catching Lyme Disease from ticks that are not found in Australia and to scratch their arms where the Morgellons is erupting.

I was in a restaurant in the Blue Mountains, food fad capital of the world. Almost everything on the menu was either gluten-free or could be served that way. I ordered the vegetarian eggs and mushrooms (vegetarian eggs?) served on toast. As the dish was optionally gluten-free (I assumed that meant "toast free") I couldn't help my self and I ordered it with extra gluten. Someone in the place had a sense of humour, so it arrived with two slices of toast.

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