Sunday, June 12, 2016

Kissing Without Gluten

Four years ago today, my husband took me on our second date. We were going to meet at Carrabba’s after I went to our local Celiac Support Group Meeting. He was working late anyway, so meeting for dinner after 8pm wasn’t a big deal. I said I would send him a text when I left so he could meet me there. I thought he worked right down the road from the restaurant so he would for sure beat me there because I was about five miles away. I made it to the restaurant, was seated, ordered wine, and had nervously checked my phone several times before he finally showed up. I was annoyed to say the least. As far as I was concerned, he was then late. I later found out his office was actually a couple miles down the road, and that he is notorious for saying he’s leaving work and then doing “one more thing” that takes much longer than expected.

I don’t remember what I ordered, but I do remember he got lasagna. I’m not sure why I remember that except that when he walked me to my car after dinner, he asked me if he could kiss me, and I told him he could not because he just ate gluten. He never ate gluten on a date with me again, and he began brushing his teeth prior to seeing me. Eventually, he just stopped eating it on days he would see me because it was easier. That turned into him rarely eating gluten when our relationship grew more serious. The poor guy eventually figured out gluten makes him really sick, so he’s 100% gluten free now too.

Why do I bring up this story? I’ve seen a lot of people asking about kissing those who’ve consumed lately. They question whether or not doing this can make you sick.

A recent conversation regarding kissing and gluten. 
There are no scientific studies on this matter that I know of, but I’ve always taken the stance that I’d rather be safe than sorry. When you eat, there is almost always at least some of what you’ve consumed retained in your mouth. Even a quick peck on the lips could transfer an errant crumb that remained on the other individuals lips. Go as far as french kissing, and you’re highly likely to wind up with some of their food remnants in your own mouth and then swallow them. Then, BAM, you’re sick.

There are different thoughts as to how to get rid of the risk, but it’s ultimately up to making sure the mouth is cleaned as thoroughly as possible if the other individual has consumed gluten. The actual method doesn’t matter so much as the thoroughness and effectiveness of the cleaning method. Did they simply brush for 15 seconds in an effort to “kill” that evil gluten with their toothpaste and make their mouth smell minty fresh or did they swish and gargle with water multiple times and then wash their face to remove anything that might have remained? In that situation, I wouldn’t kiss the individual who brushed, but I would the one who swished with water. Toothpaste can’t “kill” gluten (nothing can), and I don’t really care if their mouth is minty fresh--I care if all the gluten is gone.

I feel incredibly lucky that we have a 100% gluten free home when I see how many people continually get sick from cross contamination in their own home. I know a shared household is completely feasible, but I’m already a naturally anxious person and my anxiety level was always very high when there was gluten in my home. I also know that a gluten free significant other is not necessary.

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