Gluten Hoppers


In my imagination, this cleverly drawn little rock hopper looked more impressive as a headliner.

Your best friend loves White Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake. For her birthday you make one. From scratch. No Betty Crocker, no canned frosting. Only the best and freshest $15 worth of ingredients for your BFF.
“Surprise!” you say. “I baked you a cake!”
You sense something is wrong by her sheepish grimace and pained eyes.
“Oh, thanks awfully,” she says. “I guess you hadn’t heard I’ve gone gluten-free.”

The next year you scavenge the internet for gluten-free recipes. You find one and buy $25 worth of ingredients to make wheat-free cake. You box it up and wrap with bright ribbons and shiver in anticipation of her happy face and happier intestinal tract.

At her birthday dinner she eats every roll in the bread basket and orders fried chicken. Which is chicken dipped in flour. Wheat flour.

“Can you eat that?” you ask, as she requests a refill on the rolls. “Aren’t you gluten-free?”

She scrunches up her eyes as if trying to recapture some faraway memory. “Sort of. Sometimes. Look! They have White Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake! Want to split one?”

You actually want to split the $25 gluten-free cake over her head. The following year you get her a gift card from Bath and Body Works.

Some people really can’t eat gluten. Really. They may have Celiac’s Disease and gluten does nasty things to them. Some are severely sensitive to wheat and its cohorts. They read food labels with more fervor than a bookie analyzing the point spread.

Then there’s the rest of us—not so much gluten-intolerant as gluten-irritable. We don’t resist gluten on a consistent basis; it’s more like an open marriage. Some days we are true to our vows. Wheat will not pass our lips. We trust our guts and our guts feel pretty decent. But when a bagel rolls by, winking and crooking its finger at us, we slather on cream cheese and we eat. We are happy. Deliriously so.

Until the regrets—the bitter fruit of Yielding to Temptation. It starts with a feeling in the pit of the stomach. Gurglings and rumblings, headaches and fatigue, or just garden-variety guilt. It reminds us for hours and sometimes days that gluten is not our friend. And we swear to once again avoid even the appearance of any dalliance with that yeasty, aromatic, mouth-watering…sorry.

Gluten-hoppers are annoying. We admit it. We are inconsistent. Truthfully, some of us aren’t even absolutely positive that the stuff giving dough its delightful elasticity is the stuff that makes us feel lousy. So we hop from rock to dietary rock trying to escape Mt. Vesuvius as it threatens to erupt in our innards.

We just want to feel good. Be patient with us in our quest to find the Mt. Everest for digestive systems. When we find it, we hope it will have White Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake.

4 thoughts on “Gluten Hoppers

  1. This is too funny! Check out It’s an absolutely hysterical you tube video poking fun at the gluten free craze. I have gone gluten free myself to see if it relieved some of my symptoms, and I have family who take the whole gluten free business very serious. I love how you word things, Anita, and how you aren’t afraid to poke fun even at yourself. 😀

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