It started in the kitchen of a 54-year-old woman with Celiac Disease. It quickly spread throughout her Thornapple Court neighborhood. Now the ban on gluten, an ingredient found in wheat and some other grains, has spread to cover nearly a quarter of the City of Mequon.
While some hail the ban as a progressive nod to improving the health of a community, others resent the idea of banning bread, hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls and Twinkies. In fact, because gluten is often used as a thickener in products like ketchup and ice cream, some might interpret the ban as criminalizing the simple act of publicly licking an ice cream cone.
While enforcement of the ban is currently limited to the selling and public consumption of gluten, one can see a day when a Mequon grandma baking cookies could be wrestled to her kitchen floor, cuffed and incarcerated. For now, anyone in the eastern aldermanic districts of Mequon faces the risk of fine, restraint and intestinal bloating when consuming gluten-rich foods.
And it all started because one woman, let’s call her Lenore (of 11509 Thornapple Court), discovered that her lifetime of digestive dysfunction was caused by gluten. As Lenore spread the word through her book club, many others in the neighborhood discovered they had experienced similar symptoms, and that a grain-free diet relieved them. While some may attribute the reaction to mass hysteria, an active core of believers insists it is gastric enlightenment.
Coincidentally, as this groundswell of gastric activism grew, a trend toward “paleoism,” a belief that adopting the lifestyle of our Neanderthal ancestors can dramatically improve our health, has dramatically grown throughout the country. The paleo lifestyle presumably includes eating mostly meat and naturally fatty foods, eliminating or restricting consumption of grains and sugars, and living in cold, damp, poorly lit environments.
This perfect storm of visceral health concern and lifestyle shift has resulted in one of the country’s most restrictive dietary zones. However, Eastern Mequonites who wish to enjoy a donut on a boat can take comfort that gluten consumption at least 20 feet off the eastern shore of Lake Michigan cannot be restricted.
Editor’s Note: There is no record of any arrest or citation issued due to the ban. The ban has not yet been confirmed by any governmental or law enforcement agency. The Coast Guard has announced no public policy about onboard pastries.