Okay, given the title of this post if you thought I was going to go a little Hedwig than sorry to disappoint you — and quite frankly while I do have the legs for it we’ll just leave it at that. It is just that I keep seeing so many online conversations linking a gluten-free diet to a “healthy” lifestyle. Yes, we have all seen one celebrity or doctor or “doctor” tout the benefits and often miracle transformations that take place when one simply removes gluten from their diet. I mean after all wheat (and all gluten) is of course enemy number one. In case my sarcastic tone is not coming though loud and clear let me clarify.
Perhaps it was my recent annual physical that had me taking a good look at my lifestyle habits — particularly when it comes to food and you know where I landed? I am actually extremely happy with the choices I have made. You see, as I look up from my Vermouth on the rocks (see what I did there) it doesn’t matter that I am a diagnosed Celiac. It doesn’t matter that I am hyper-allergic to all shellfish. For you see, in a perfect moment of reflective clarity I realized, I would live my life exactly the same way whether I had those added restrictions or not.
Yes, it seems obvious that I would be living one way or another because quite frankly the other option really stinks — but I am talking about the choices we all make. I choose not to really exercise. I choose to indulge in chocolates and sweets. I choose to have a cocktails. I choose to eat wonderfully medium rare red meat. I choose to eat perfectly salty chips. Now I am also not saying that I do any of the above in mass quantities and I more often than not make somewhat smarter choices when it comes to what I eat. But those are all lifestyle choices and having celiac disease is not a choice nor is living a gluten-free lifestyle — it is out of necessity — and to be completely honest if I could trade-in my diagnosis and allergies I’d do it in a heartbeat. I also take a proactive stance on my personal health with regular physicals to monitor what’s going on and make any changes that need to be made.
Will I ever be the epitome of perfect fitness — nope — it’s not who I am. Have I sometime been criticized for eating less-than healthy gluten-free replacements? Abso-freaking-lutely! Even if I did not have to live a gluten-free life I’d still be eating the same exact things just full of gluten and that’s just fine. As adults we all make our own choices and if they sometimes come with future consequences well than guess what — we also have to be accountable to no one but that person looking back at us in the mirror.
Oh, and back to my physical again, after the usual battery of tests were completed an analyzed my doctor was happy to report that given my lifestyle there is a 2% chance that I will drop dead of a heart attack OR as I prefer to look at a 98% chance that I won’t. I mean I live in New York City after all — I could be struck-down crossing the street by any number of moving vehicle types or delivery guys on bicycles and I do not want my final thought to be Boy, I wish I had that gluten-free burger for lunch. So as someone who lives and breathes data and analytics in my day job, I’ll take that 98% thank you very much!