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Mr. Wrong

Bellyaching

No ill effects on termites! Yow!

that’s exactly what I was doing in the “Mr. Wrong” column last week, complaining about my belly, right? Specifically about being drug-addicted to Lansoprazole, a “Proton Pump Inhibitor” that keeps my Acid Reflux from giving me agita.

In response to that column of aching about my gut, I received this e-missive from a Gentle Reader named Mike, who had this to offer:

Dear Mr. Wrong,

I’m going to guess that my email will be one of a chorus that suggests that to cure your acid reflux, try a gluten free diet. As an experiment, I’d recommend two weeks and see how you feel.

This is coming from a guy who had containers of mylanta, tums, and pepto always at the ready, a stash in my car, at my desk at work, and next to my bed. I lived the whole of my twenties fending off heartburn, acid reflux, and indigestion.

I went gluten-free three years ago and haven’t needed to touch the pink stuff since. It’s a quality of life issue.

So, take it from this unregistered shaman, if you want to avoid more costly medical procedures and exams, going gluten-free is worth trying. See how you feel.

Best,

Mike

OK, now, firstly, even though my new pal Mike (if that is Mike’s real name) has violated one of my most inviolable rules for closing a letter by putting “Best” in his closing (“Always Be Closing,” Nov. 9, 2005), I’m gonna let it slide, because as far as I can tell, there isn’t anything in this letter that could be like, a way for me to kill myself with this idea of being a De-Glutenized individual, so I will seriously attempt to Guinea Pig myself and be a Free Glutener for a coupla weeks and see what happens with my Acid Reflux. As long as I still get to eat food, how bad can it be? I already know this will put a severe crimp in my Pizza consumption, but there are a coupla places around Baltimore that do the Gluten-Free pies, so I won’t have a panic attack when I wake up in, like, Day Five of this experiment thinking I will never be able to have pizza again, shudder.

I know for a fact this place in Towson called Cheezy’s (1637 E. Joppa Rd., Towson, [410] 337-4992, cheezyspizza.com) has the Gluten-Free pizza crust (because I ate one), and BOP (800 S. Broadway, [410] 563-1600, boppizza.com) down in Fells Point, and the Sweet 27 Cafe in the boomin’ neighborhood of Remington (123 W. 27th St., [410] 464-7211, sweet27.com), is a Gluten-Free place, and even the giant Domino’s chain (order.dominos.com) does the Gluten-Free, so there must be something to it, eh? Domino’s of course has a whole thing about it on their Internets:

Domino’s® pizza made with a Gluten Free Crust is prepared in a common kitchen with the risk of gluten exposure. Therefore, Domino’s® DOES NOT recommend this pizza for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment in consuming this pizza.

Well, really, we all should exercise judgment in consuming all pizza, hah? As in, how many slices? I can’t eat an even number of slices, but also I can’t eat just one slice. This kinda behavior might have a lot to do with my bellyaching, I know. Anyway, Domino’s also has Frequently Asked Question answers about the Gluten:

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

What ingredients are in Domino’s Gluten Free Crust?

Water, Modified Rice Starch, Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Olive Oil, Potato Flour, Evaporated Cane Sugar, Fresh Yeast, Honey, Avicel, Salt, Calcium Propionate.

So that’s not bad, eh? Except maybe for “Calcium Propionate.” I looked that up on the Wikipedia:

According to the Pesticide Action Network North America, calcium propionate is slightly toxic. This rating is not uncommon for food products; vitamin C is also rated by the same standards as being slightly toxic.

OK, Calcium Propionate, “slightly toxic”! I’m ready to roll the dice on that shit for two weeks, doesn’t seem like it would kill me right away, or fuck me up like these Lansoprazole pills are doing, blocking my Vitamin B12, but then there’s this “Avicel,” I have no idea what that is, so I will Google that shit. Wow, the site wisegeek.org teaches us:

Discovered accidentally by Dr. O.A. Battista, avicel is a microcrystalline cellulose powder. Available both as a fine powder and a gel, it can be used to replace dry or fat-based ingredients in food preparation and adds no taste, calories, smell, or nutrition to the food. Wood is chemically treated to extract naturally occurring cellulose to create avicel. This purified cellulose can then be used in food preparation, makeup, and sunscreen products.

Battitsta made his discovery when working to develop a strong rayon tire cord. He thought that if he could break the cellulose into extremely tiny pieces that he would be able to use it to create a strong cord. Using a blender to mix cellulose and water, he hoped the smallest pieces would sink to the bottom after the electric blender had done its work. After a quarter hour rest period, the substance in the blender resembled thick white custard. These were not the results he was expecting, so he continued with further tests.

Cellulose, found abundantly in grass and trees, has no ill effects on cows, termites, and other consumers. It was tested to see if it could also be used in food for people, and eventually approved as an inert filler in food.

No ill effects on termites! Yow! I dunno, if my Gluten Free experiment has me jonesin’ for a pizza, I’m gonna check out some of these other local joints and examine their pies before I dial a Domino. The next step is a good Gluten-Free beer, and I’m all set for the self Guinea-Pigging!

Please listen to Jim and Joe’s Top-Rated Podcast (NSFW, Gluten-Free ), also featuring City Paper’s “Spitballin’” columnist Jim Meyer, on iTunes. Email wrongcolumn@gmail.com.

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