Gluten – that elusive protein lurking in wheat, rye, and barley, the bane of celiacs and the trendy darling of the wellness crowd. It's the ingredient that's simultaneously holding your sourdough together and making your aunt Judy swear she feels 20 years younger after ditching the bagels. But before you dive headfirst into a gluten-free frenzy (or polish off that entire baguette in protest), let's sift through the facts, debunk some myths, and have a little fun along the way.
First, the science bit (no, it won't hurt, promise!). For our celiac friends, gluten is like a frenemy throwing a raucous party in their intestines. This immune-system shindig leads to flattened villi (think deflated finger puppets), making nutrient absorption a major drag. Symptoms? Think bloating, ouchies, and a general feeling of “ugh, gluten, why you gotta do this to me?”