“I went to faculty luncheons and I looked six months pregnant after eating pasta,” said Rankel, who was teaching high school math at the time.
Her husband, Steve Rankel, became a convert when his allergy symptoms disappeared after he gave up gluten and dairy for six weeks before their wedding.
Eating gluten-free now is much less challenging than when they began, both said, because they’re used to it now, and gluten-free products have gotten tastier and more plentiful in recent years.
“There is no suffering on my part,” Steve Rankel said.
Genieve Rankel said she’s never going back to eating gluten, because she feels so much better now, and because she likes that extra attention she has to pay to her diet.
“In a lot of ways I feel lucky to be gluten-free and dairy-free,” she said, “because it makes you be mindful of what you’re putting in your body as opposed to throwing stuff in.”
Reducing our overall gluten intake could have long-term benefits, according to Fasano, of the University of Maryland.
Cases of celiac have roughly doubled three times in the last 50 years, Fasano said. That’s likely because industrial food production since World War II has dramatically increased our exposure to gluten.
“If we use rather than abuse gluten products, like our grandparents used to do, maybe we . . . can reverse this celiac epidemic,” he said.
Karen Weintraub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.