Being a Jerk at Dinner

My mother-in-law Melody inspired this blog post. We do Sunday lunch at her father's house a couple times a month, and Melody is most often doing the cooking. She works hard to provide a meal for a wide variety of palates, let alone a daughter-in-law who is a Nutritional Therapist and constantly experimenting with her diet. 

I never expect anyone to cater to my dietary needs, especially when they are not 100% consistent .  And most of the time, I am very good about asking what's on the menu before going to anyone's house for a meal, so I can be prepared to bring my own food or know to eat ahead of time. But this day, I was not prepared at all. So we got to lunch, and as the food was being served, I found out that the beautiful fish she baked was made with breadcrumbs.

Boy, did I feel like a jerk. As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I am not 100% gluten-free 100% of the time, but I had been completely gluten-free for several weeks at this point, and I was feeling SO GOOD! And not ready to give that up. 

Luckily, Melody was wonderfully kind about my choice. In fact, she asked if I would send her more information about the detrimental effects of gluten, because she had read that gluten is not something to worry about avoiding unless you have Celiac Disease. 

I decided to take the opportunity to write this blog post about her question, because I figured it could be helpful to two groups of people: those who also want to learn about the effects of gluten on the body, and those who are gluten-free and want to send this information to their friends and family to help better understand why they are being a jerk at dinner. 

The following information is directly from FOOD: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Mark Hyman, MD.

"Many more of us are afflicted with NCGS- non-celiac gluten sensitivity- which is essentially an extreme inflammatory reaction to the same protein. Even those of us without celiac may damage the cells of our intestinal lining when we eat gluten. Today, the most advanced research on the subject has concluded that nobody- not one of us- can properly process gluten. But because we may not show any obvious symptoms, we could all be doing harm to our bodies without knowing it."

"Scientists from the University of Maryland discovered the existence of a protein called zonulin, which is produced by our bodies whenever we eat gluten. Zonulin creates a leaky gut by opening up the tight junctions between intestinal cells that are normally stuck together like Lego pieces so that food and microbes can't 'leak' into the spaces between cells of the small intestine's lining.... If those foreign food and microbe particles leak through our protective gut lining, they activate our gut immune system. That's when inflammation and disease happen".

This is a great book by someone I respect, and I highly recommend reading it if you have an interest-- this excerpt about gluten is just a small sample of the information provided. 


Do you have any awkward, uncomfortable, maybe funny stories about having to explain your "weird" eating habits to a dinner party host? Or how about tips on how to handle it? I'd love to hear from you!