Today we are trapped in the world of grains; constructed around us by the generations of sedentary agriculturist societies of early State. The stability of the State in the ancient fertile crescent relied on a population held captive, by the geography and by diet. While the more nomadic peoples of the world enjoyed access to a wide variety of foods and the freedom to move more freely as weather and climate changes and better sources become available elsewhere. As well as the practices of changing the environment to support the plants and animals people liked to eat, using emery-efficient methods such as forest clearing by fire (a practice older than humanity itself, as evidence for the mastery of fire as a landscaping tool was evidently used by other hominids before modern man). The peoples of the State were held at the mercy of an arduous and inefficient method of subsistence for the bulk of their daily caloric intake.

Fixed-plot grain based agriculture is the primary fuel for the State today as in ancient times. Agriculture, that is the changing of the environment for the mass growing of a few (usually) grain species. Grains are annual and visible, quantifiable, and dividable, all making them an ideal material of taxation, unlike other foods like potatoes, for example, which could be hidden from a tax collector in the ground until they’re eaten. With control of the environment for dastardly deeds by the State, the people of the State were trapped in a land and lifestyle focused entirely on grain production.

So for myself, living in the world of the Industrialized State, in the Mesopotamian-analogous Sacramento valley it is with a tongue of contempt I eat anything grainy, like Cheerios. A standard box of cheerios, truly the beveled bowl of the industrial State.

The humble oat is a friend to any celiac sufferer, but like some friends oats can be two-faced liars. While oats are naturally gluten-free they are usually cross-contaminated with other gluten-containing grains, which are typically grown in the same fields during different parts of the year, and harvested with the same equipment. So when buying a product made with oats, and no other gluten-containing grains it’s important to check that the product is specifically gluten-free. Gluten-free oats are usually grown and processed in gluten-free environments, but General Mills apparently does thing a little different.

Because of the sheer number of oats turned into cheerios daily General Mills boasts; if they wanted to they could consume the entire supply of certified gluten-free oats in a matter of weeks. In an act of mercy General Mills instead mechanically separates errant barley, wheat, and rye grains from their regular oat supply. This method may seem dubious to celiac-sufferers, like, it sounds like the gluten is still rubbing up against my oats before the grains are ejected. Although, the box of Cheerios boasts General Mills as a proud sponsor of the Celiac Disease Foundation, so I suppose the foundation can’t really afford to criticize General Mills if indeed their method is ineffective. To be fair to the grainy corporation, it’s practically impossible to avoid relatively harmless traces of gluten in your diet anyways, so it’s probably fine. Despite all this I’m sure eating cheerios is fine for celiac-sufferers, I haven’t noticed any reaction myself for whats it’s worth (nothing).

Cheerios are still a classic cereal, and I appreciate them for providing a simple delicious bowl of puffed oats. Although Cheerios are the classic “bland choice” that can be appreciate in the morning, especially to those with tumultuous tummies .The flavor they do have is humble, toasty, and satisfying as a breakfast or snack, and the sweeter flavored varieties are, while less bland still very reserved in their sweetness, unlike the typical candy-adjacent cereal options in the breakfast isle. Cheerios are a meditation on a modest grain, imprisoned like we all are in a labyrinth of pretty stupid approaches to food production and societal management.

Important note: Not all Cheerio varieties are labled as gluten-free so be discerning while you shop. I imagine General Mills doesn’t sift their entire oat supply but I havent found a clear answer so it’s unclear if they are all safe for the celiac sufferer.


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