Having a fair amount of experience with disability, I realize that one of the biggest barriers is never the disability or the disabled person, but the bizarre attitudes that permeate people’s minds about anyone who is a little bit different. (Note: eating is considered a major life activity and to the extent that gluten-intolerance either limits an individual’s access to food, causes collateral consequences, or creates a perception in others that the gluten-intolerant individual cannot participate in certain activities, the person fits the definition of disabled. Not that I’m necessarily even trying to say that this is a disability issue, as much as I mean that the reaction in others reminds me of how many people tend to react to disability.)
Personally, I find gluten-intolerance to be rather liberating, to be perfectly honest. I really like cooking, and most gluten-containing products are really junk calories. A gluten-free diet is in many ways a fundamentally healthier diet. One reason to avoid the expensive substitutes and eat other types of food instead.
Of course, it is hard to explain that to many people, and when I mention that I am gluten-intolerant and explain what that means, they can’t imagine what or how I eat.
Realistically, most cultures, even European cultures, did not use wheat as a stable product until the mid-1800s. It was either unheard of (and remains so today in many places) or it was a luxury product of the upper classes, periodically enjoyed by the middle and working class as well.
So, yay for rice, oats, corn, potatoes, other root veggies, nuts, nut flours, beans, candy, ice cream, and all the other yummy stuff I eat a lot more of now. Yay for feeling full and satisfied on less food, yay for being a healthier me.
Yay for embracing who I am and what works for me and not fussing too much over people who really can’t think it through.