This column was first published in December 2015. It was so nice, we’re printing it twice:
Thanks for the milk and cookies … even though I can’t eat them. Next time you serve dessert, you really should ask about your guest’s dietary restrictions.
You see, for decades Santa’s suffered from various “mystery” symptoms including occasional bloating, fatigue and lower-gastric upset. You know that feeling when your cheeks are like roses, your nose like a cherry and how sometimes your belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly? I just thought that was because I was merry. Turns out, it’s an inflammatory autoimmune response to wheat, specifically the “Frankenwheat” in all those Snickerdoodles you’ve been poisoning Santa with this whole time.
That’s right, Timmy. Santa is now gluten-free. It’s only been a few weeks, but already I feel clearer of mind and spirit. Plus, all the celebrities are doing it. Did you know the Easter Bunny was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease? And I’m pretty sure the Tooth Fairy adopted his diet. I know they’re trying to conceive, so she’s definitely avoiding sushi, cold cuts, soft cheeses, any type of nut butter and all jerkied meats. Just FYI.
So, vis a vis the cookies … pure rolled oats are OK. So is flour made from rice, corn, sorghum, tapioca, quinoa, millet, amaranth, chia and/or teff. Bear in mind gluten-free baked goods tend to have an odd mouth feel. Elisabeth Hasselbeck suggests compensating with xanthan gum. Blizten lent me his copy of her book, “G-Free Diet: A Gluten Survival Guide.” Little known fact, reindeer love “The View.”
Now, I should also mention my naturopath thinks I’m allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, coconuts, chocolate — carob chips only, please — shellfish (except scallops, for some odd reason) and soy. Plus, I generally avoid beans, unless I know I won’t be in public later and it isn’t Santa and Mrs. Claus’ “night.”
Speaking of which, we caught a rather intriguing documentary on Netflix the other night, “Food, Inc.” Ever since, I like to know the complete narrative of anything I put into my body.
For instance, what type of eggs did you use in the batter: “Omega-3”, organic, vegetarian-fed, free-range, pasture-raised? These are important distinctions. Of course, Santa suffers from lecithin hypersensitivity, so I actually don’t eat eggs at all, except for ostrich eggs, which are very expensive and extremely difficult to find. But please, don’t put yourself out. I’m only Father Christmas. What did I ever do for you?
While we’re on the subject, I’m pretty sure I’ve got fructose malabsorption, too — I read all about it on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog — so no pawpaws, papayas, star fruit, figs, dates or fortified wine. Santa can, however, tolerate most Charles Shaw varietals. Man, I hope Trader Joe’s opens a North Pole location. There’s a Whole Foods down in Canada, but it’s not the same.
Oh, yeah. Santa’s also vegan, paleo, kosher AND halal, just to be safe. So I can only wash down those gluten-free, fructose-less, free-range ostrich egg cookies with rice milk. Unless, of course, you happen to have raw un-pasteurized goat milk? Santa would drink raw un-pasteurized goat milk like a boss.
On second thought, it’s going to be a long night. I’d rather have some coffee, if it’s not too much trouble: shade-grown, organic, fair trade and 100 percent certified carbon-free … and yes, I’d like to inspect the certification documents. Make mine a Venti skinny decaf sweetened with three drops of liquid stevia extract. You’ve probably noticed, Santa’s put on a few pounds in recent years. That mini triathlon isn’t going to train for itself.
Wait, what am I talking about? I forgot I’m following the Master Cleanse diet until I’ve detoxed from Advent. Santa’s still in the induction phase, which limits dietary intake to water and lemon juice. Although you can add as much cayenne pepper as you want, so it’s not so bad.
Anyway, Timmy, those are Santa’s dietary restrictions. But now we really must dash away, dash away, dash away, all. Lots of houses to cover, and I’m going to have to go through the same explanation over and over and over again. In retrospect, Santa should have just posted something to Insta.
P.S. Relax, I haven’t left you a lump of coal. From now on, all children — both naughty and nice — will receive solar panels in their stockings. Santa’s colon hydro-therapist mid-wifed for a VP at Solyndra; she got Santa a great deal. Only problem is, now he and Mrs. Claus are elves-deep in photovoltaic technology.
• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday.