One of the most popular — and controversial — columns I’ve ever written on this site was just a few weeks ago: “Would You Pop a Pill to Eat Gluten Again?” The responses from readers were passionate and divided. To get a sense of this, take a look at the comments under that post. There were also many people who wrote to me directly to share their feelings on the matter. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“Going gluten-free has opened my heart and mind to a healthier lifestyle both in food and in exercise. I would not take a pill or a vaccine just to eat gluten again. I am healthy and happy, why mess with that?!”
“I would like to have the option to take a pill OCCASIONALLY but probably not on a regular basis, as I am quite pleased with my new diet and the many gluten-free products available.”
“I would NOT go off my GF diet and use a pill. The only exception might be when traveling to locations that are not familiar with this kind of restriction. The other exception might be a wedding or special event where having a piece of cake would be part of the celebration.”
“Since we dine out almost every weekend, I order GF foods (mostly broiled) as much as possible, but I am not always 100% sure it is GF, so it would be nice to have a pill to take for just in case purposes; otherwise, eating GF during the rest of the week is something I would continue.”
There was a response on the comment thread that I found very poignant:
“I’m actually shocked that I am the only [one] that responded saying that I would definitely take a pill to enjoy a meal and not have to ask a million questions about what is in it and how it was prepared. I’m in my late 20’s and having celiac has really taken a toll on my social life. I attend meetings and events almost every night for work and am not able to eat anything. Food is the center of our social get-togethers and it really sucks to ‘be different.’ Even when I do go out to dinner, while everyone else is enjoying warm French bread, I have to sit there and watch. When I go out with family and friends we can only honour where I can eat and I hate putting that burden on everyone else. Yes the diet can be a healthier choice but I would trade in the diet for a ‘normal’ diet that can still be healthy.”
That column was prompted by a story I was interviewed for in Allergic Living. The piece “The Future of Celiac Disease: Celiac’s Next Act,” written by Lisa Fitterman, has just been published in the magazine’s Spring 2010 issue. Unfortunately the story isn’t currently available online (though it may eventually be archived on the Allergic Living website). It’s a terrific, well-researched piece, and I’d encourage you to read it. I was already familiar with the research into the celiac vaccine in Australia and the celiac pill in Baltimore, but I had no idea that researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands were also working on a pill. It feels like it’s just a matter of time until one is on the market.
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If you’re interested in my crime fiction, I have a couple of new short stories that have just been published. “Fetish” appears in Beat to a Pulp, and can be read online for free. “The Black Widow Club” is in the newly launched Needle: A Magazine of Noir, which is in print only, but can be ordered online.