Going Gluten-FreeApril 6, 2011

A Gluten-Free Quandary

I am in a quandary. I received a bag of chocolate-covered gluten-free pretzels from a candy company. The company makes other chocolate-covered pretzels and crackers, but none are gluten-free. In fact, this is the only product in their 60+ product line that says “gluten-free,” and there’s a big disclaimer on the label, warning me that the product is made on machinery that also produces items containing wheat. Never mind that I have celiac disease and cross contamination will make me ill, the company sent the product to me as food editor. They want me to tell others. You see where I’m going with this? 

Am I alone in thinking that the booming gluten-free trend is placing us in harm’s way all over again? Sometimes I feel like we’re back in the gluten-free Stone Age where we can take nothing for granted, a place where we must ask questions of every restaurant, every manufacturer. I, for one, was becoming complacent, wading in gluten-free heaven, a place where seemingly everyone was catering to those of us with gluten sensitivity. Now, I’m not so sure. 

We make certain assumptions when a company calls out “gluten-free” on the label. We assume they have researched the term and they know what’s safe for the diet. If someone has taken the time to put “gluten-free” on a menu or a product label, we assume they’ve also taken the time to understand that barley malt is a no-no and oats, if used, have to be free of wheat.

But last month, I ate in two fine restaurants in two separate cities. Both claimed they had a gluten-free menu. The Phoenix establishment served me croutons in my salad followed by sea bass on a bed of faro. The restaurant staff and I had already had a discussion and they were apologetic, even took the meal off my bill. At some level, they got it. I suspect they will not make such mistakes again.  

Then I ate another meal in a swank NYC restaurant. We chose this place because we were celebrating a special occasion (my son’s birthday) and they touted a gluten-free menu. “Trust me, my wife has celiac disease,” was the implied message from the chef/owner. I did. I trusted him all the way to the grilled scallops served on a bed of kamut. When I explained kamut was not gluten-free, they showed me a listing on an IPhone that said, “Safe for a wheat-free diet.” I had them scroll down further to a line that said, “Not safe for celiac.” But they didn’t seem to care. “The chef has a celiac wife. He knows,” they insisted. Without apology, they left the dish on the table and charged us for it. While the Phoenix restaurant experience could be chocked up to an honest mistake, I could not even extract any good intention from this fancy NY kitchen. I was glad I asked before I ate. My son was not as lucky. He had already eaten two mouthfuls and spent part of his birthday in the bathroom. 

This week, I read about a supposed chef in Colorado who posted on his Facebook page that gluten free is “all in our disturbed little heads.” Then he said, “People ask me for gluten-free pasta in my restaurant all the time. I tell em, ‘sure.’ Then I serve em our pasta, which I make from scratch with high gluten flour. And you know what?  Nothing. NOTHING ever happens! People leave talking about how good they feel gluten free and guess what? They just had a full dose! Idiots!"

This story is all over the Internet. Can you imagine anyone saying this about a serious illness? The chef has wisely retreated into his gluten-filled cave and removed his Facebook page entirely. I can only wish him a sudden allergic reaction to gluten.

Now granted, for every horror story, I could recount six wonderful dining experiences. I’m sure you can, as well. I could tell you about manufacturers who go out of their way to look after my diet and bakeries that are dedicated to providing me with delicious food. And I can tell you of many, many safe, delicious meals I’ve enjoyed with friends and family over the years.

But this isn’t about happiness. It’s about fear, about the quandary. How much do I grill a server or a manufacturer when doubts prevail? What do I do when the answer is not within my zone of gluten-free comfort?  And do I challenge someone who says, “Trust me. I know your diet.”? 

What do I do when a company makes a gluten-free claim and cautions me in the same breath? 

What do you do?  

Comments (29)

Yeah, it is really tough to eat out. I have a few trusted places and get very nervous when going into a new place. I have 6 allergies, the worst is flax. I can't touch it, and if I ingest it I am dead instantly. I love my camping group - we get together and there is no flax anywhere. I can't eat everything, but everyone understands cross contamination and all the allergy and Celiac issues. Yea camping!

Posted by: Peg | April 12, 2011 8:22 AM    Report this comment

Situations like this (confusion about cross-contamination and companies with confusing labeling, not malicious evil "chefs"!) are exactly why I started a business to bring GlutenTox Home over to the US from Spain. It's a test kit for gluten, and I know that for me, it's nice to have the option to doublecheck a food I'm not sure about in my own home. For myself, setting the test to the 20ppm threshold is OK -- but the 5ppm setting comes in handy when I'm feeding a more sensitive friend.

Posted by: GlutenTox | April 11, 2011 10:26 AM    Report this comment

I had something similar happen recently at an all organic deli. i asked if they had GF bread. the 40 yr old asst mgr rolled his eyes and said he'd find out. came back after a few minutes and said yes, you can have gf bread. GREAT! sandwich came, i double checked with server,,,yes, it's what you ordered. took 2 bites and remarked to my companion that i had serious doubts this was GF bread. sure enough, an hour and a half later i urgently needed the restroom for the rest ofthe afternoon into the evening. i will not go back and i will make sure anyone who is GF knows these folks don't care. the symptoms won't be immediate..not until the food hits the gut and that takes some time. this "chef"is a fool who apparently only dd the smart thing by taking down his FB page.

Posted by: Unknown | April 8, 2011 9:31 PM    Report this comment

I was diagnosed as having Celiac disease when I went into the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. I do not experience any outward reaction to eating gluten. This makes it doubly hard for me to know if I am actually really eating gluten free. I either trust the labels or I eat only fresh foods.

Posted by: Jettabetta | April 8, 2011 2:33 PM    Report this comment

Going gluten-free is now becoming the 'chic' thing to do, which really makes me 'MAD'. Often people ask about going gluten free. My answer is always:DO NOT GO GLUTEN FREE UNLESS IT BECOMES NECESSARY; If having gastric problems; see a doctor to have tests done.

First and foremost, I would not be living gluten-free, if I did not get seriously ill after eating anything in the wheat family. Twelve hours of severe nausea and diarrhea is no fun, just to have that piece of wheat bread, cake or cookie.

I really think too many companies are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon just to make money. So many of the new comers don't really care about the people who need to be gluten-free, it's just a buck.

If a disclaimer says"produced on equipment or in same area as wheat", I pass...My recommendation is if you truly want to produce gluten free foods, do so in a dedicated facility.

I do appreciate that there are some really good gluten-free breads, but I do worry about cross-contamination if they are made in a non-dedicated facility. I rarely eat out, because of a bad reaction I had in the past.

I am very lucky to have family who now understand that they must not cross-contaminate and make sure that everyone know what ingredients are in dishes they bring to family gatherings. We have not only wheat, but peanut and mango allergies in our family. They also understand the "flour being blown around by the air conditioning system" mantra. They no longer use wheat flour in any dish that does not have to have it. Of course, there are a few dishes and desserts that I cannot eat at the family gatherings. But there is food everyone can eat. They eat all of my gluten-free baked food. Actually, I get compliments from them. I was a baker before having to go GF, so I have been gradually converting my favorite old recipes.

One benefit of my being forced to go gluten free is that I now pay more attention to nutrition. In the past, I would eat anything that tasted good, now I check the nutrients. I cut the sodium to 1/2 of the listed amount in all recipes, except yeast breads and reduce sugar and fat as much as possible. Less salt is replaced with other seasonings or herbs. I had never heard of quinoa, teff, millet, buckwheat, wehani or black japonica rices. They are great in casseroles or 'hot dishes'! A couple tablespoons of quinoa works great as a thickener in hearty soups and stews.

Posted by: Msleelowe | April 8, 2011 12:52 PM    Report this comment

This incident occurred before I knew I was gluten-intolerant (and had issues with a host of other foods, too).

I can say that I've had a similar experience at a Mexican restaurant in the Seattle area when I said "absolutely no beans". I just don't like them - not allergy related - but when the server brought my meal, there was my food, sitting on a bed of refried beans. When I pointed it out to the server, she said "oh" and took it back to the kitchen. Then, when it came back, it was obvious she had moved my food to another plate, including the seafood chimichonga that had been sitting on the beans - I knew because I could still see the beans. When I again complained, she says, "what's the problem - do you have an allergy?" We almost got up and walked out right then. My husband said, "it doesn't matter the reason, this is not what she ordered." In a huff, the server took it back to redo it. Pretty soon the manager came out and apologized and said we would not be charged for that item. Needless to say, the dinner was pretty much ruined......

Posted by: Nanna | April 8, 2011 10:57 AM    Report this comment

Also, has this supposed "chef" ever thought that people might be actually anaphyactic allergic to wheat. If I died in his restaurant, maybe he would actually pay attention. Moron.

Posted by: Jennifer T | April 8, 2011 9:18 AM    Report this comment

I seldom contact a restaurant that makes me sick, I just never go there again and neither do my GF friends. We need a list of restaurants that are not safe and we (and our friends/family) need to boy-cot them. For me it's food poisoning plain and simple. I wonder how long it will be before fines can be levied on restaurants that poison us through carelessness?

Posted by: kel c | April 7, 2011 11:24 PM    Report this comment

Certainly I've had a few problems dining out, mostly because the wait staff didn't understand that removing the croutons or pushing the rice "pilaf" off the plate wasn't the answer to removing the gluten. Fortunately for me, I've got a wonderful husband who steps up, before I can respond, and has the problem corrected immediately. He remembers when I suffered from the gluten I ingested from some irresponsible cook/waiter. It wasn't pleasant then and certainly wouldn't be today.

The "chef" who tricked his patrons should be ashamed. He caused people a lot of pain, intentionally. If I caused intentional pain by decking him, wouldn't I be charged with assault and battery? Isn't what he did the same thing?

Posted by: Terri M | April 7, 2011 6:27 PM    Report this comment

How about we start a page by state as to what restaurants people have found safe and those to absolutely stay away from - like the idiot chef in Colorado and the restaurant he works at!!!!! Of course no one complains when they eat it - most people sensitive to gluten or who have Celiac disease don't get an immediate reaction like someone who is allergic to shellfish. They just suffer for weeks/months afterwards!! I'd go back to his restaurant, call him out and give him hell, softly, in front of the patrons!!! I hope the bill was charged - I'd tell the restaurant chef I was going to write the charge card company with my complaint and refuse to pay the bill - better yet - put it in writing to the owner & chef explaining you were sick & I'm sure you were!! I safely eat at "Red Robin" in all states. They have an allergy menu for "all" allergies. Just ask them. I was amazed & they have a dedicated part of the kitchen w/gl utencils!!! Also, Bonefish restaurants (at least the ones in Florida) have a GF menu. I tell my server I cannot have anything made of ANY flour near my food or made on something that has had any breading or flour on it. I also ask fast food restaurant employees to change their gloves after explaining my situation to them. I just tell them I am highly allergic to ALL flours and get deathly sick!! That puts the scare into them!! Good luck!!! and Keep the faith!!! I'd hate to be married to the chef in Calorado!!

Posted by: Paula C | April 7, 2011 5:52 PM    Report this comment

7 years ago, I went to a Naprapath for my fibromyalgia. Nothing else was working, so I tried it. The Doctor I sa is a Chiropracter, Naprapath ,and Doctor of Holistic Medicine. She really helped my musculoskeletal problems. After going to her awhile, she began to educate me on what to do about the inflamation in my tissues and my gastrointestnal tract. Now, I am a retired RN, but was willing to continue to learn. We started with increasing my water intake, then eliminated gluten, and dairy. ( She still wants me to be corn,oat, and bean free, too.) Even though I have never been diagnosed with CD, I know I am gluten sensitive. If I "cheat", I know the rest of the day and most likely the next will be lost since don't dare go out of the house! I now work for the Naprapath and do her community relations. I represent her on the local chamber and attend many lunch meetings. I am well known in the local restaurants--some save their biggest pieces of lettuce to use for my "sandwiches". Most servers automatically know my salads have no croutons, taco chips, noodles, cheese, or salad dressing. It isn't hard to educate them. The trick comes when I try to educate my fellow Chamber members. Some have changed their eatng habits--less fat, more salads, forget the cheese on the burger, etc. We give classes in the community on many wellness topics and really stress antiinflamatory foods and gluten free along with all 7 areas of the wellness wheel. Each of our patients who have tried gluten free find that it's a great help in their wellness journey. It is not just for CD, but for healthier living for many of us.

Posted by: Juanita M | April 7, 2011 5:32 PM    Report this comment

That is exactly why we've quit traveling and only eat at a few trusted restaurants. I have multiple, hard to avoid food allergies. Unfortunately, he is not the only person out there with a cavalier attitude. I've heard many horror stories. It's just not worth it to me.

Posted by: Lucinda W | April 7, 2011 2:36 PM    Report this comment

My son is training to be a chef and has CD (my daughter and I have CD as well). When he first found out he scoffed about the fact that he didn't feel bad, until he went GF for a short period of time. The next time he ate something GF he got really sick. He now takes it very seriously. When I told him about this chef he was appalled. He could not believe that someone in his profession could be that stupid. He now loves to find ways of taking regular recipes and making them GF and teaching others about his disease. At a number of functions he has taken a dish and a dessert that is GF and did not tell anyone until they had finished eating. They are amazed that it tastes so good. We have found a number of restaurants across the country that are serious about CD. We let them know how much we appreciate it and we refer others so that they will receive business and continue the GF menu. The Living Without articles have also made eating out easier, especially when we travel. Thank you Living Without for your dedication to the community you serve.

Posted by: Jennifer S | April 7, 2011 1:22 PM    Report this comment

I can't believe a professional Chef would do this. My husband is allergic to shellfish and has to call an ambulance if he eats it by mistake, and this does happen even in the best restaurants. Gluten is not the same reaction. It's often not immediate and the symptoms vary depending on the type of sensitivity or if you are a full blown celiac. I personally have the gene for celiac and gluten sensitivity, HLA-DQ 2,3 (Subtype 2,7). My symptoms don't show for several hours and then it is joint pain, muscle weakness and fatique that last for 3-4 days. I also recently had tests run for Gluten Associated Cross Reactive Foods and found out that I react to cows milk, Sorghum and chocolate. Eating out is a challenge and like many of us we have a few trusted restaurants that we frequent and are wary of new restaurants. Hearing things like this makes eating out even more frightening.

Posted by: Jeanne A | April 7, 2011 1:02 PM    Report this comment

Regarding Chef (he doesn't deserve that title) Damien (as in the movie?) Cardone. How dare he assume he thinks he knows more than a physician who has diagnosed this disease! Wouldn't it be great if sometime in the near future he were to become Celiac or at the very least gluten intolerant!

Not everyone who has a problem with gluten reacts the same. I have a half hour or so before it makes me ill. First, horrible intestinal cramps then a dash to the bathroom. Wouldn't that be fun in a restaurant!

There are more restaurant, food manufacturers and grocery chains that are catching on to GF. They have a long way to go before we who suffer (and that is the word) have access to GF food.

There are a few restaurants in our area who are trying to accommodate the people who need GF food. Coppertop offers GF pasta on their menu for 1.00 more. Outback and Applebee's have a GF menu, but you have to ask for it. One of the local privately owned restaurants will cook your GF pasta if you bring it with you. (They could keep it on hand and have it on their menu.) The most popular privately owned Italian restaurant's chef said he would make up a pizza if we brought our own GF crust. The owner said they discussed offering GF pizza, but it would be cost prohibitive to make the dough and not use it all. Ever heard of freezing?) I'm willing to bet it would pay off if they advertised and tried it. But then, what do I know!

Until the food manufacturer's and restaurants have enough requests to make it profitable for them, those of us who require GF will have to make our requests heard.

Posted by: Marion M | April 7, 2011 1:00 PM    Report this comment

I was diagnosed with celiac a year ago at age 50 which answered a lifetime of gut misery that had so many names I've lost count. Getting diagnosed was a true "ah HA!" moment. Working up the learning curve in both diet and lifestyle has meant huge changes, most of them very positive. For myself I'm a fierce label reader having found that I am allergic to some gluten safe ingredients as well -- quinoa, amaranth and teff. I check everything very carefully. For labels that include warnings like you describe, I tend to go with products from trusted companies -- such as Bob's Red Mill. I use their corn grits/polenta which carries a warning about being processed in a facility that also handles wheat based products. I've never experienced a problem, thank goodness. When it comes to dining out, I go to restaurants that have dedicated gluten free menus and so far have been fine. I don't eat out much partially because of budget concerns, but also because I admit I'm not ready to enter into the discussion process that is necessary to ensure a GF meal at a restaurant that doesn't accommodate it in their menu. It means that my own cooking skills and range have grown :o) Risk is part of the reality of being a celiac and I accept it because I must. Fortunately I have family and friends who are supportive and that makes a huge difference. As for the so-called 'chef' serving gluten pasta to celiacs/gluten sensitives -- he deserves to lose his job and be prosecuted for willful intent to harm.

The trend among some celebrities embracing a gluten free diet as healthful is annoying to me since I think it weakens the force of what this diagnosis means. I'm not doing the latest "health fad." No, I can't just remove the croutons and eat the salad; no, I can't just remove the crust and eat the filling. I've had to educate some loved ones about contact and cross contamination this past year. I've been lucky indeed that they've taken the time to ask me questions and work to understand the challenges this presents. Most people don't seem to quite connect the dots however and so as a celiac I find myself, as I think we all do, having to be in the position of teaching others what this means and why it's important.

Posted by: Clay Lady | April 7, 2011 12:49 PM    Report this comment

Like most of you, I have felt better than I have in years since going gf. All the nasty GI symptoms have dissipated. However, on the 2 occasions where I have been careless, I found that the consequences were even worse than before. While gf living leads to better living, I think it also makes any slip-ups far worse than they originally were. I am outraged that anyone who purports to serve food to the public would so totally disregard the health of all of us!

Posted by: Janice P | April 7, 2011 12:39 PM    Report this comment

I had a stroke in 1998. Afterward I was diagnosed with Cliac Sprue. I've been watching my diet very closely for moe than 12 years. On January 1st of this year I had a resurgance of the celiac sprue. I know this because I had to have a colonoscopy a week ago. Same thing Celiac Sprue. Even Gluten free stuff upsets my stomach. I've switched back to eating only whole foods A protein, a fruit, and a vegetable for evey meal. I'm also a diabetic. So, how dare this guy think he know's what torture he is causing to celiac patients. because he thinks this is all in our heads.

Posted by: Martha A | April 7, 2011 12:29 PM    Report this comment

This guy is not only arrogant, he's ignorant. To claim that people left the restaurant feeling fine is a total lack of knowledge regarding an intolerance and an allergy. He is lucky that most people do not have instant reactions to gluten or he may have put someone in the hospital.

I think most people who have been on a gf diet for any length of time would know the difference between gf pasta and regular pasta - unfortunately by the time I took the first bite and swallowed it would be too late. That's enough to make me sick for at least 3 days.

Reading this story has made me more nervous than I already am about eating out. Its just not worth the risk.

xabbar

Posted by: Barbara R | April 7, 2011 11:53 AM    Report this comment

I've been a gluten-free celiac for 8 years now. I spent my early years with diarrhea , skin rashes, hives, headaches. I was in my 40's before I was ever diagnosed. I was told so many times that I didn't have the symptoms, what I didn't have was the immediate symptoms. The quick reaction to minute amounts. My reactions showed up anywhere from 6 to 24 hours later. I empathize with all the people the attitude and actions of that chef caused pain to. I am happy to say my family & friends are very supportive of me. They try their best to cook gluten-free when I will be around, and ask me to be sure they are cooking gf. They never ever complain or comment when they eat totally gluten-free in my home. They've gone out of their way to learn about my disease, are very supportive and I love them for it. I wish this for all those who have to live their lives within certain parameters, no matter what those parameters are.

Posted by: Terry R | April 7, 2011 11:27 AM    Report this comment

Call him out by name - Damian Cardone. It shouldn't matter if he's officially a "chef" or not. If he is making the choice to send out food that could harm someone he should be fired and called out for it. Heck, even if a waiter decided not to ask the chef and lied to the customer, that's a problem AND a possibility as well.

I am not diagnosed with celiac disease HOWEVER if I ask for gluten free I would expect gluten free OR suggest some items that are gluten free. It is NOT appropriate for ANYONE to knowingly lie about what they are serving - EVER.

Even if it's a food sensitivity instead of an outright allergy, many of us have worked really hard to figure out what makes us feel bad or flat out sick.

My worst allergy is bananas ... yes seriously. It's not life threatening for me but it does cause me to be in enough pain for about a 2-3 hour period that I have to just curl up in a ball, try to focus on something else and wait through the pain. Because it's not life threatening I have been able to experiment on myself and find that it's a starch problem; starches convert to sugar as a banana ripens or cooks. I can eat a mushy banana without pain (but it's gross) and a slice of banana bread isn't going to cause me to double over (though too much can.) It was actually an Alton Brown show about plantains that helped me figure this out. I had tried doing research online but nothing I found fit.

My point there is that just because my problem is unusual, it doesn't mean it's imaginary. I also may not react to it for an hour or two so if I were served something in a restaurant I might feel fine until I get home. Am I going to call the restaurant? No, I just won't go back if I'm certain of the connection.

I also don't eat too much of certain foods because it has a negative impact on my sinus allergies. I lived many years in an only semi-functional sinus allergy fog, I don't want to go back. Eating too much wheat is part of this but there are other factors; things I now do and things I don't do.

I don't break out in hives or need an epi-pen but that doesn't mean I shouldn't get a choice.

Posted by: HilaryB | April 7, 2011 11:22 AM    Report this comment

I do hope that chef in Colorado gets a million e-mails from celiac sufferers telling him what an ignorant and malicious person he is. As a professionally trained chef, I can only assume he is not, and did not get the training that would have given him the proper respect for the condition. 9 1/2 years since my diagnosis, I have found eating out is still roulette, and keep a nearly 100% gluten free home. I also have the good fortune to be married to a chef, who looks at this diet as a challenge to his creativity - and I benefit! But if I couldn't make my own pastries, my life would be diminished. I am resigned to the fact that the restaurant world has not caught up to us as much as Celiac's need them to be. More dedicated restautrants and bakeries are what we need.

Posted by: Baker Debbie | April 7, 2011 11:12 AM    Report this comment

Once found, he ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for intentional infliction of harm and assault with a deadly weapon.

Posted by: S T | April 7, 2011 10:58 AM    Report this comment

I certainly don't feel anything when I eat gluten. I spent my childhood, teen years and early twenties in the bathroom, but beyond taste I couldn't tell you if someone slipped flour into my food. It takes over 24 hours for me to react. I hope they catch that man and arrest him for his ignorance and lack of empathy. Isn't he in the "hospitality" industry?

Posted by: Anja | April 7, 2011 10:56 AM    Report this comment

Unbelievable arrogance of that chef. Aaarrrggghhh. I don't have CD but do have grain intolerance. I also have lifelong intolerance to cane sugar, beet sugar is okay. People say sugar is sugar...it's not! And "oh just a little bit" WILL make you sick.... Its much easier to find gluten free foods now, I was sorting all this out almost 30 years ago. Persevere, it's getting easier to stick to safe foods, inch by inch...

Posted by: Karen R | April 7, 2011 10:50 AM    Report this comment

Yes, it is very sad. I was diagnosed with CD two years ago and my quality of life certainly has changed. I even spent 6 weeks at the Mayo Clinic in 1999 and 2000 and they did nothing for me. ûFinally a hometown regular old GI doc chose to look outside the box and voila! I was diagnosed. ûHowever, people do make fun, they do think it is in my head, so called friends do not even try to cook so that I can join in the fun--it is sad--and not that everybody and their brother is "trying" gluten free it is very difficult to have any credibility for Celiac Disease. And that is just that--it is a disease---all publications MUST keep that word in any discussion if we are to be given credible attention--no, we are not anaphalactic---but that is because we are not an ALLERGY! We are a disease--like diabetes, CD can be "silent"; like High Blood Pressure--CD can be silent--but while it is silent...the damage is slowly and insiduously being done to our intestines and our lives.

Posted by: Jerri M | April 7, 2011 9:40 AM    Report this comment

It is so sad to hear from people I meet and get to know that say their own families don't care. They too think it is all in our heads. So if your own family won't comply why should we expect strangers who are out to take our money? My motto "When in doubt leave it out". I always have food and snacks with me and/or eat something before I go out so I won't starve or feel deprived.

Posted by: Scott M | April 7, 2011 9:29 AM    Report this comment

My son was diagnosed a year ago at age 11 and we have struggled with the eating out thing. We have found a few places that we feel we can trust. There is always that nagging in the back of your mind when you cannot see what they are doing in the prep area. It pains me to hear that someone would purposefully sabotage someone's diet. Yes, there are those that follow the diet as a fad, and they would be unharmed. But for my son--how funny would that be to make a child ill? Fortunately I think I can recognize a glutineous pasta and would ask to see the bag if I was not 100% certain, but boy do I hate the fact that I feel like I can't trust. This is my kid. I think I would come unglued if I knew that was done purposefully. How very uneducated. He has no idea what any of us has been through. I have also read that symptoms can diminish later in adolescence only to reappear between the 3rd and 4th decades of life. So to say that nothing happens--could be related only to where you are at in the disease process. Just because you don't have symptoms--does NOT mean you are not doing the damage to your small intestine either. There are so many other symptoms that are not widely recognized at this time. I have met people diagnosed that their only symptom was chronic migraines. So whose to say nothing happened to those that he "glutened"? When you work in food service, or really any customer service arena--the job is not to judge, it's to please customers and keep them coming back. It's your job security.

Posted by: Samantha S | April 7, 2011 9:23 AM    Report this comment

My husband, six kids and I are all gluten-free. I diagnosed myself with celiac disease eight years ago (I shan't get into my thoughts on doctors and their tests) and have researched the subject extensively. My husband was diagnosed by his doctor almost five years ago, and we took the kids off gluten about a year later (lots of celiac symptoms, negative tests, but huge changes in health and behavior after removing gluten). Through accidental gluten ingestion here or there, we KNOW (even without those test results that doctors so love to have in their files) that gluten adversely affects each of us and avoid it like the plague.

We eat out only when we're nowhere near home and the light snacks we've brought just don't cut it. I grill the wait staff, and then have a hard time relaxing and enjoying my meal.

I agree that the new awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity (and new "gluten-free" products) are both a boon and a bane. I've seen "gluten-free" cookies that contain oats, but there's nothing on the label about the oats being certified gf, and I'm still sensitive to those.

Too many people think they get it, but don't, and in this case, a little knowledge can be very dangerous. When my mom died, a family friend brought food to the house, saying she had made it with me in mind. "What did you bring?" I asked. "Chicken pot pie. You can just remove the crust and eat the filling." I smiled, put it on the table and didn't go near it again.

Posted by: Cheryl R | April 7, 2011 9:15 AM    Report this comment

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