Valley Voice
Soy-, egg-, gluten-intolerant vegans

Diner in San Francisco is so complicated! Everybody seems to be allergic to something or other. What on earth’s going on?
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We all know that there are two phases in life. Up until you’re thirty, you spend all your money on alcohol, parties and junk food.

In the second half of life you invest every cent in fixing all the damage wrought by alcohol, parties and junk food. Maybe you even take up golf. This rule applies almost everywhere in the world except for Silicon Valley.

The Valley only knows the second phase. Engineers, designers and everybody else love beauty sleep and good food – not only for the fun of it, but also because that means you can work more. If you’re still hanging around at a bar at 10.05 pm on a Monday evening, it’s because you either just lost your job or you’re already an alcoholic. If you don’t go to the gym or run, surf or bike, you’re just not invited to the party. Extra points if you don’t drink at all, own a Labrador and raise beets in your backyard.

Kurz und schmerzhaft: alle Kolumnen

Kolumnenkabinet

Suddenly you find yourself in the weirdest situations. The other day I was having dinner with a friend. We sat down talked about stuff, the waiter came and we started by ordering drinks. I decided to start the evening with a Chardonnay, my friend just asked for a glass of water. He must be thirsty, I figured. But when I selected the duck breast and he opted for just tofu and salad, I started to worry. What was wrong with him? “It’s fine,” he said. “I’m vegan, alcohol- and gluten-free.”

I was sure my friend was an exception. But a week later, another friend said: “Didn’t I tell you? I’m dairy-free now.” And when one of my neighbors told me he was “raw and nut-free,” I realized it is no longer “you are what you eat” but “you are what you don’t eat”.

I have to admit that I too have some allergies and have to check my food which isn’t much fun. So why is everyone else doing that too? And how about when you invite people over for dinner? Do you have to ask whether they are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free, wheat-free, vegan, vegetarian, and whether they eat seafood or red meat? And anyway, what about how all these different things react with each other?

I went down to the grocery store today worrying about where all this vegan-no-soy-gluten-free stuff was leading. And there, on the shelf, I found the answer. Superfood cereal.
Weighing 8 ounces, costing $7.99, best of all, the pack had only one piece of all-important information on the back. Instead of lists of ingredients about allergies, intolerances and reactions, “Superfood” just said: “No weird stuff added.”

Es gibt auch eine deutsche Version dieser Kolumne.

Immer Dienstags schreibt Britta Weddeling, Korrespondentin für die Themen Internet und Netzwirtschaft des Handelsblatts im Silicon Valley, über die neusten Trends und kleinen Kuriositäten im Tal der Nerds.

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