die maschinen
I have had it up to here with all the anti-gluten-free nonsense I've been seeing flung about on social media.

Let me put it in perspective. I have an allium intolerance. Onions, garlic, shallots, chives, leeks, all that good stuff will make me feel sick if I eat it raw or eat too much of it. I get headache-y, stomach-achey, gassy, bloated, grumpy, and tired. I feel sick for several hours to a day or more, depending on just how much I consumed, and how raw it was. I can have some -- cooked -- and am generally fine, so I still eat it pretty regularly because it's delicious and not eating it would be a total pain in the ass. But here's the thing. I have never received an official doctor's diagnosis for this condition. I have never had a blood test to confirm that I do in fact have an allium intolerance. It's something I figured out myself. And yet when I tell my friends about it, they're all really respectful of it, because they're awesome.

Gluten intolerance is NO DIFFERENT. So why, when someone says they're gluten intolerant, do people laugh at them? Why do people insist on knowing the gory details of what happens to that person when they consume gluten? Why do they insist on an official celiac diagnosis or this person must be lying/making it up/enjoying the attention? Why do they insist on having numerous scientific studies to back up this person's claim that avoiding gluten makes them feel better? And for the love of everything, why do they think that sneakily feeding gluten intolerant people gluten is a HILARIOUS way to prove that that person is "full of shit"??

NEWS FLASH: You are not entitled to anyone's medical history. You are not entitled to a readout of someone's list of symptoms when they inform you they can't eat something. You do not get to judge for yourself how severe their condition is. That person knows their own body way better than you or anyone else possibly can. When someone tells you about their food intolerances or allergies, your response should be empathy (because truly, food intolerances SUCK) and a desire to help them find something they can eat. Anything else is at best selfish and at worst cruel and potentially dangerous.

As for me, I have a near-diagnosis of celiac disease. I've had three different blood tests and they all show that I have antibodies that indicate celiac. I haven't had the gut biopsy yet but I will at some point. I guess this makes me "lucky" in some respects because when you say you're celiac, people actually take you seriously about the gluten thing.

But all this anti-gluten-free rhetoric that's been bandied about the past week still hurts me. It hurts me because it's creates an in-group-out-group dynamic around who can and can't eat gluten. It creates societal antagonism towards anyone who says they can't process gluten. "Gluten" becomes a dirty word, even if you follow it up with "but I'm celiac!" See what I said earlier about no one being entitled to anyone else's medical history: I shouldn't be required to disclose my medical diagnoses in order to be taken seriously. Furthermore, these articles are read by people in the restaurant industry - servers, cooks, etc. - and who could blame them for taking away the idea that they don't *really* need to be careful when a customer says they can't eat gluten. That shit is downright dangerous, especially for celiacs for whom the stakes are much higher than you could imagine.

Having food intolerances, especially for things as ubiquitous as gluten, is a total pain in the ass. I can't imagine why anyone would go GF "for the attention". It is not fun. On top of feeling like shit because your body is rebelling against a common ingredient, it is socially isolating to not be able to eat the same things as the rest of society. It's subtle. You watch a tv show and the protagonist is eating a slice of pizza, so your ability to relate to that protagonist goes down a notch because you could NEVER eat pizza. You go to a potluck brunch and can only eat the dish you brought because everything else is french toast, pancakes, waffles muffins, croissants, etc. You can't eat your grandma's amazing biscuits any more. If you're working at the shop with a bunch of friends and need to eat, you can't just get in on that burrito run because *you can't eat burritos*. You stop favoriting your friends' beautiful pictures of sandwiches because it hurts and is a reminder of what you can't have any more. Food is intensely social, and being excluded from eating it socially feels like being left out by society. Ever notice how vegans and vegetarians form their own communities? This is why. Life is better when you eat the same food as your friends and family.

And so, when I'm scrolling through my friends list on facebook or twitter and repeatedly see people -- FRIENDS! -- posting "LOL GF IS DUMB" articles, it hurts. It makes me feel even more ostracized than I already did. So I ask you, why would you do that to your friends? Fundamentally, all the "LOL GF is dumb!" rhetoric is an insidious form of bullying. It's it's no different from poking fun at the skinny kid with glasses with a perpetually runny nose. You're not 10 years old any more, so why are you bullying vulnerable people?

Now don't get me wrong. If someone makes the jump from "I feel better when I don't eat gluten" to "You should stop eating gluten" or "Gluten is poison and no one should eat it" by all means you should ask them for more information: scientific studies, sources to back up their claims, etc. But you don't get to tell them what they should eat any more than they get to tell you what you should eat, and you should keep your rhetoric civil. Ultimately that person holding those beliefs has zero impact on you and your life.

I welcome scientific inquiry in this area. It's clear that we've only begun to scratch the surface of understanding what's going on with gluten. I enjoy reading articles about the science of food intolerances. Please do post them, but consider their tone when doing so. Is it an article presenting the facts of the study? Or is it a bullying click-bait piece? What I can't stand are the articles that skim a study's abstract, pick out the parts they think justify their bullying, and write screeds on how people who claim they can't eat gluten are attention-seeking, psuedoscientific idiots. (Not to mention the hundreds of similarly vitriolic comments those articles generate.)

Take this latest study that's been going around. I've seen a few balanced articles, but I've also seen a lot of articles that seem to think the takeaway is that non-celiac gluten intolerance isn't real and therefore anyone who claims they have it is an idiot. But if you actually read the study, you'll understand that "non-celiac gluten intolerance isn't real" is only part of what it's saying. What it's actually saying is (paraphrased): "In our small study, it seems that people who claim to be gluten intolerant do not react to gluten specifically. However, they do react strongly to a category of ingredients of which gluten sources are a huge part (FODMAPs). Therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect that when these people reduce their consumption of gluten, they reduce their consumption of FODMAPs and thus feel better." So maybe non-celiac gluten intolerance "isn't real" but the effects of eliminating gluten are positive -- just not for the reason we thought. If science didn't even know this until like yesterday, how is your average person supposed to know it? Furthermore, what person is going to go into the details of these studies when trying to explain what they can't eat to a restaurant server? No one. "Gluten-free" is a convenient shortcut, so stop demonizing it.

Preheating our new home

I can't remember if I've mentioned it here, but lately I've been making what I call "video snapshots" -- short silent videos of gatherings of friends. It's a lot of fun.

The day we got the keys for the new house, we had an impromptu gathering to "pre-heat" our home. Here's the video snapshot I made of the event:

This time, I made a long version with sound. This isn't typical, but there was so much laughter in the footage that I really wanted to include it. It makes me happy.

Preheating Our New House from Heather Lynch Hunsinger on Vimeo.

It's official!

It's official! @edrabbit and I are now homeowners! Pop the champagne, let's celebrate :)

Ed and I are now homeowners! Pop the champagne, let's celebrate :)

Keys obtained! @mooflyfoof and I are now owners of a small slice of San Francisco!

Jul. 31st, 2012

manatee smoosh
In case you haven't seen it yet, you really ought to check out the live cam of brown bears fishing for salmon at Brooks Falls in Alaska:


It's become quite the phenomenon. It's been all I've been talking about on twitter/facebook the past few days ;)

May. 22nd, 2012

anger turtle
Wait, really? I haven't gotten a chance to read lj in a couple of weeks so today, being at home sick and bored, I decided to get caught up on it. I got to ?skip=250 and it wouldn't let me go any farther back. Really? I can't read my friends list more than 250 entries back? What purpose does that serve? What if people actually used this site like they used to? That would barely get me a day back. Hrmph.


Puppy! by mooflyfoof
Puppy!, a photo by mooflyfoof on Flickr.


In the interest of trying to post more, here are a couple of videos of me playing some Balkan tunes on the accordion. I'm not that great yet, but having a lot of fun!

Ti Da Mi Dojdes (from Bulgaria or Macedonia, not sure):

Makedonsko Devojche (from Macedonia):

Well holy crap!

hay guys
Two days ago was my 10 year livejournalversary! I can't believe it's been so long. I should really post here more often. I do read my flist almost every day!

Life is good. Too much to report really. I work at an awesome company, my marriage is great, we have three cats and live in an amazing apartment in the heart of San Francisco. We travel a lot and do all manner of fun things. Umm... to properly bring things up to speed would take too long. Instead, have some photos. (Each of these has associated sets -- click through to flickr if you want to see more.)

I look roughly like this now (and am taking pics of my daily outfits and posting them on flickr):
Dailywear, 3/5/12

Read more...Collapse )

Well, that's a (very) brief overview of the last year of my life. I guess it's better than nothing!

Car for sale

I'm selling my car - anyone interested? I want to check with friends before going to craigslist. It's a 1997 Honda Civic HX, manual transmission, 145k miles, red 2-door coupe with a spoiler. Comment if you're interested and I'll give more details. :)

New post on Mooflyfood

I've finally gotten back in the habit of cooking!

Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken pot pies

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May 2014


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