We want to be a part of something, pill a tribe, a pack, a family. Church used to be a good place for that but fortunately for all of us, fewer people are going to church. The problem is that church and religion are being replaced with stuff that can be more dangerous. Bad science and bad information.

Man, I miss the good old days when religion dealt with invisible bullhockey instead of tangible bullhockey. It was so much safer then. (Within my lifetime, that is… The crusades and Spanish Inquisition seem like it was a pretty unsafe period.)

Food Allergies, specifically WHEAT, seem to be a growing religion.

Like the environmental religion, food allergies have some connection to reality. There are people who are truly allergic to wheat. The gluten in wheat is what the unfortunates who suffer from Celiac disease are allergic to. Take a couple bites of bread, pizza, etc., and there is a possibility that you die. It’s a serious allergy.

“Crap-Based Medicine” (thank you, Dr. Steven Novella) preys upon people who “don’t feel good”, as it’s such a wonderfully subjective complaint. Wonderfully subjective complaints are best treated with wonderfully subjective cures.

First off, a “wheat allergy” can be responsible for weight gain!!! Cutting out wheat will help you lose weight. No, really? Here’s the thing: Simply focusing on what you eat is an important part of losing weight; keeping a written record of your diet is one of the first things an evidence-based dietician or doctor will suggest you do to lose weight. The success of many diets like Atkins, is that you are removing something from your diet. If you can’t eat carbs, you can’t grab a muffin at 7-11 after work… you’re eating fewer calories. Remove wheat, you remove A LOT of calorie-opportunities from your life. If anyone removes wheat from their diet, they’ll lose weight. (Does that mean that we are all allergic to wheat? Google “wheat allergy” and you’ll find a couple of folks who actually believe that to be true.)

Thanks to the placebo effect, if you’re “not feeling well” and you’re told by someone you respect that x will help, you will most likely feel better. The wheat allergy diagnosis is also accompanied with the “Big Bad Food” and “Big Bad Chemical” arguments with a bit of conspiracy thrown in: The food companies sell you things that most people can’t “process naturally”, mainly bread. Plus we all know about those chemicals they indiscriminately pump in to our food so if you remove wheat from your diet, you will feel better.

By cutting out wheat you:

  • are doing something
  • have a special diet
  • are standing up to something larger than yourself
  • are beating “them”
  • are no longer part of the crowd

each one of these have a religious analog… david/goliath, chosen one, dietary restriction, etc. You’ll also be exposed to literature you’ve never been aware of before… you’ll have a “good book”.

It’s been said over and over, so I will join the club and say that with all of the information out there, it’s really important to be able to tell the good information from the bad information… the, er, wheat from the chaff, as it were.

The genius writer, Eddie Gorodetsky, coined the phrase “comedy-like in nature”. He’s talking about something that has the look and feel of comedy; it sounds or looks funny but isn’t. (Hello, redundant!) Sitting around and repeating the catch-phrases from Saturday Night Live is “comedy-like in nature”. You’re not doing the work, you don’t have to even understand what is funny, you only have the appearance and the result of the work.

Saying you have a food allergy is science-like in nature. It sounds like science. It sounds like you know what in the heck you’re talking about but you might as well just say “Quantum” or “E equals M-C Squared!”. And, with so much science around us, we want to feel like we know what the hell is going on. But science is difficult and boring. A control group isn’t exciting won’t get you the attention at a restaurant that a food allergy will.

I think that if you want to be a part of a special club, actually joining a special club is the way to go. A softball team is so much better than a club who spreads bullhockey.