Cheat Day – a day where you can eat anything you want. No prohibition applies. I was recently reminded of that strategy when I heard on the radio that McDonald’s now offers gluten-free hamburgers in Austria! Wow! For me, who has been suffering from celiac disease (gluten intolerance) for 10 years, a message as good as Christmas and Easter together, especially because I live near the Austrian border.
As soon as my therapy allowed it and I felt reasonably good, I headed towards Austria, the new Mecca of all people with gluten intolerance. Although I had been far from being a loyal McDonald’s customer before my celiac disease diagnosis, is it precisely the forbidden fruit that fuel our desire.
I joined in the cue when I arrived – absorbing the characteristic fragrance mixture of French fries, hamburger sauce and roasted meat. Besides me, a 5-year-old boy, floundering excitedly back and forth at the hand of his father, leaping from one foot to the other – full of expectation. When his father ordered a gluten-free burger for him, I realized that this was probably the premiere McDonald’s visit in his life – understandable that he could not wait. That’s how it was for me, as well. I ordered a triple (yes TRIPLE) Cheeseburger – three times meat and three times cheeses. No, I must admit, I ordered two of them. Just to make sure that if I had not had enough after the first, a second one was right at hand. Besides, it could be that that the gluten-free burgers sell out fast so better not take the risk.
It is hard to describe what a treat the first juicy bite was. After 10 long years, rediscovering this distinctive taste trilogy of Hamburger Sauce, chewy meat and cheese. Wonderful. No, I was not satisfied after the first, I ate the second one as well. All night long I had terrible heartburn – but it was worth it anyway. And then you look forward to a lot of fruit at the breakfast table much more.
I think a Cheat Day makes perfect sense.
Author: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Gaenshirt