Mandy Nolans Soapbox: Gluten revenge

Mandy Nolans Soapbox: Gluten Revenge

For years I have made jokes about gluten-intolerant people. They’re unkind jokes that refer to that particular group as rather depressed despondent people huddled over hard blocks of angry bread. Bread that refuses to be cut. Bread that can’t be chewed without snapping a tooth.

I say in my routine that this is the $10 bread of misery and depression. Special bread for special people. People who make everyone’s life hard because they can’t eat stuff. The people who make cooking a simple meal problematic. These people who must constantly be considered at every morning tea. Who need special plates of dry rice crackers wrapped in plastic organised ahead of time.

My joke is simple. Stupid really. I say I have just found out that I am gluten intolerant… intolerant. I can’t tolerate gluten-intolerant people. People actually cheer when I do this joke. That is how much they dislike the GF tribe.

In the years of writing ironic comment and doing my gags I have received some rather terse and at times very unfriendly letters and emails from gluten-intolerant people who don’t find my jokes funny. Some have been downright abusive. You might even say ‘intolerant’. They have poured out their stories of gluten pain from their gluten intolerant hearts and bleated on to me about how hard it has been. How much they suffer.

I have read those letters without compassion in a detached kind of amusement knowing that these gluten-intolerant people are behaving exactly like the people in my joke. Humourless and angry. Well my Mandy Nolan hating Gluten-Intolerant Friends, I have happy news. Revenge Is Yours. Nolan has fallen. You bloody gluten-intolerants have won. I now appear to be gluten intolerant. Of course I haven’t had a test. That would be conclusive. I just can’t eat gluten any more. It’s a conspiracy!

Some gluten-free bastard has made a wheat doll of me, a yeasty voodoo Mandy Nolan, and has stuck long pins into my bread-fashioned gut. How ironic, that she – the teller of the GF jokes – should become GF. It’s cruel.

I love bread. And when I say love, I mean that there was a time when a fresh steaming loaf of home-cooked bread would have me breathless with longing. I was a gluten warrior. But now I can’t eat the stuff. Just a single mouthful and I bloat up like I’m 38 weeks pregnant, and then I get three hours of stabbing abdominal pain. Followed by some rather unspeakable bathroom activity.

Gluten creates The Swollen Nolan. I have had no choice but to spend the last five months totally gluten free. I had to give in and give up. No gluten equals no pain. It’s a bit of a no brainer really. And while I understand the glee of the gluten police at my digestive digression, I have to admit I do find it rather amusing. It’s afforded me an insight I was previously denied.

I am now the fuckwit I used to make fun of. I am that idiot in a restaurant looking at a menu, then asking in a passive aggressive tone ‘do you have anything gluten free?’ I understand the rage now of the glutetards.

I have sat in a fondue restaurant in Paris surrounded by baguettes and melted cheese. There is little joy in Paris without a breadstick. To be gluten free in Paris is to deny joy. Their entire culture celebrates gluten. There’s not a moment of the day when you’re not accosted with a big crunchy baguette. And the pastry. I couldn’t smell a croissant without weeping into my sad flat omelette. I became dark and resentful. I found myself scowling at people thoughtlessly enjoying cake in front of me.

And then one day it occurred to me. I needed to lose the resentment and the anger. That is no way to live. The only way to live in my gluten-free universe was to accept that I was better than them. I had evolved. I was FREE. Gluten Free. The gluten-free people will inherit the earth. Unfortunately though, it is an earth without good bread.

14 responses to “Mandy Nolans Soapbox: Gluten revenge”

  1. Jude says:


    BUT: have you considered that it’s not the gluten in the bread but the carbohydrate.. ie is it a FODMaP situation?? You need to be properly tested.. see a good dietician
    Good luck. And lol.

    • Judy. Schaefer says:

      It is not all that bad really..It is like life, you can choose to be part of the. problem, or part of the solution..
      Be imaginative in our cooking..
      And most of all keep that thing called sense of humour. NEVER let it go.
      Do what I did become vegetarian. Man that sets off a few sparks.

    • Catherine Barlow says:

      Right. Also that the wheat has been hybridized to the extent that the protein is indigestible. There is bread out there that is edible, but it is trial and error.

  2. Fiona says:

    Oh we’re all gluten intolerant, you’re simply ahead of the pack in recognising it! Feeding our microbiome a diet of good tucker to make it ~ and our brains and bodies~ zing unfortunately requires us to avoid certain foods that damage our tight junctions (r-e-a-l-l-y!!) and gluten is the numero uno badass here. Shame about the croissants though…

  3. Jim Beatson says:

    How come the almost always brilliant Mandy in not on National TV and giving a small % of her expected large income to some worthy cause like glutten free cook book publishers.
    For my money Mandy has only one challenger to world’s funniest comedienne and that is Urzila Carlson.
    Mandy, should we all be writing letters to the ABC, saying give Mandy a go.
    Then again when living in England, on several occasions I wrote to cartoonist Michael Leunig asking’ Can I be your international publicist agent?’, thinking how easy it would be to get his cartoons into major North American and European publications. Sadly he replied saying the last thing he needed was to become an international icon. I did the same thing for cartoonist Bruce Petty, and I loaned my copy of Petty’s Money Book, to the Arts Editor of The Economist, who returned it saying “I don’t understand his cartoons?”

  4. Stepper52 says:

    Dear Mandy
    I have been one of those GF wankers for many years but I still found your diatribe amusing. Perhaps not all GFs are humourless miseries. Come to think of it, now the GF brigade contains the queen of mirth herself !!

  5. peter barnes says:

    Mandy try some quick eze. They work extremely well for me. My Dad used to suffer from acute indigestion for many years—until someone told him to try Quick-eze. He could not believe something that in those days only cost 10 pence could give so much relief. Since then he would never leave the house without them. Definately worth a try, as they are harmless.

  6. Ann Hembling says:

    Good gluten free bread IS available. You won’t find it ready made in the shops, but the ingredients to easily make it yourself are readily available. I have been making it for several years.
    Perhaps someone will enlighten you one day, but it won’t be me. Lol.

  7. Colleen Green says:

    Poetic justice. Maybe there is a god after all. As a Coeliac person (not merely an intolerant one) I extend a modicum of sympathy. But gluten lurks in far more delicious edibles than just crusty bread. I would strongly suggest you get tested for C.D. In the name of revenge I wish you a positive result

  8. Kratos says:

    Ha bloody ha, but seriously, it may be the carbohydrate groups.

    If you aren’t a Coeliac Disease sufferer, some doctors disagree about “Gluten Intolerance” even being a thing. If Gluten doesn’t affect your tTG and IgG levels (indicators of intestinal wall permeability causing antibodies to attack the villi of your small intestine), it’s worth checking out FODMaPs.

    Otherwise, go get an endoscopy done and they’ll biopsy your small intestine.

    You’re Welcome.

  9. Hugo says:

    I agree with Jude, (I think,)
    Try the ketogenic diet,

  10. Mark says:

    Coeliacs isn’t a choice someone makes. Only a dickhead would decide to be gluten free, its not a healthy choice over a good normal diet. We don’t want to cut out healthy food. Nor do we want to pay more for food but there’s no choice.
    There’s a bit more at stake than gut pain.

  11. Lithy says:

    If you are only intolerant and not coeliac, you could try spelt flour. Still has gluten but it is digested differently and is tolerated much better by the gut. Spelt bread is almost as good as the usual bread and the flour can be used the same as plain flour. Spelt pasta is also available and tastes just as good. Then you can make your own croissants!

  12. Kathryn says:

    Karma! You are probably the person who loudly proclaimed to her whole table of friends when I, at a different table and alone, asked for a gluten free menu, ‘Gluten Free is all in a person’s head, there is no such thing as gluten intolerance – research shows that it is imaginary’ you practically shouted to the restaurant! – so, how’s YOUR IMAGINATION doing these days??? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA! On a kinder note, do get an endoscopy and have it checked – if you do have coeliac or a strong intolerance, you’ll need to look after your poor, sore gut forever! Oh, and get an ap. for you phone so you can scan foods and ensure that they really are gf!

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