Lifestyle General Warning: May Contain Nuts
Warning: May Contain Nuts


It was those smug, self-satisfied coeliacs that started it all. They couldn't be just a little bit starch-sensitive or even a tad wary of wheat. Oh no, while the rest of us try to be benevolent even through indigestion or flatulence, they shouted it from the rooftops. ''We're Gluten-Intolerant and we're not going to take it anymore – at least not in a sandwich.''

Wardell-Wendy-Ms-cropped Mar14130x110 Wendy Wardell

The Radical Wing of the movement would inspect menus at corporate do’s and demand their special dietary needs were met, under threat of giving other innocent diners blow-by-blow accounts of their digestive disturbances.

Today, everybody wants a piece of that action – to be special. Restaurant patrons are demanding that their meal is free of so many ingredients that it no longer actually exists in any more substantial way than an idea the chef once had. At least until the bill arrives.

It used to be said that the path to obscene wealth was to invent a religion. It just required a bit of charisma and a convincing display of channelling some loopy directives from a heavenly authority, often filtered through a thick layer of psychotropic drugs.

The net result was always the same. People gave you all their money and as much sex as you could handle. For the charismatically-challenged, there's another avenue. If you can't be a deity, be a dietician. The sex isn't as plentiful, but otherwise it stacks up pretty well.

Food scientists are always looking for the next disease-busting superfood – perhaps a new berry bursting with the delicious hope that while it nestles in a sugar-laden bowl of cereal it will restore youthful vitality and thin thighs.

However, because this may involve real research, it's way too hard; much better to just vilify things people like to eat, and suggest that their food is colluding against them. It saves all that bother of having to actually make and distribute a product, giving you more time to tout the 'ingredient x-free' recipe books on Sunrise and franchise a chain of restaurants instead..

Dave-Freeman-Dieters Oct14.300So, I'm on the lookout for the next thing I can convince people they're allergic to. It's getter harder. Let's face it, this gluten-free gravy train is already packed tighter than the number 73 bus to downtown Delhi. Fat, sugar, nuts, MSG, alcohol, artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives have all been declared dietary bogeymen.

The raw food fad has people grazing rather than dining and on the paleo diet you can't eat anything you haven't clubbed to death yourself.

I'm going to plump for pseudo-science and declare war on 'oxidants'. My research has involved reading in Woman's Day how good anti-oxidants are for our bodies, so it stands to reason that oxidants are evil and we must be allergic to them. I'm looking for a Medical Adviser – the only requirement is that you can cut a dash in a white coat while talking hokum on breakfast TV.

The money's good and if you can inspire some religious zeal there may even be fringe benefits