Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Protect Celiacs w/ Gaining Gluten-Free Awareness!

My grandfather just sent me an article like this one but from Florida Sun Sentinel about the growing interest to the public about going gluten-free. Thanks Pop!

This is good news, right? maybe? not quite... This is a terribly concerning article for Celiacs...

THE TRAGEDY:
The major concern I have when I see articles like this (more are circulating about benefits to going gluten-free to the masses each week) is that people like myself who are diagnosed Celiacs, have to eat gluten-free (strictly 100% gluten-free) for medical reasons. Therefore if a company, restaurant or anyone else wants to join the band wagon to cater to make money on this growing market opportunity they must learn how to prepare gluten-free foods and guarantee food is safe for Celiacs, too not just the followers.  

"If a restaurant offers 'gluten-free' options on their menu and I can't eat it as a Celiac,  since I asked them detailed questions about their kitchen, well guess what, it's not gluten-free!" 
-Craig F (Colorado)

THE POSITIVE:
I find this article positive because going gluten-free is a movement. It's a "gluten-free food education movement" on a variety of issues like; body awareness (digestion), disease awareness and the basic backgrounds on why research has been done and why removing gluten grains are imperative to health, increasing your overall food knowledge - ingredient basics, alternative food choices and just overall awareness of the food we consume in America and beyond.


NOT ACCEPTABLE:
Approximately 90% of restaurants are catering to the gluten-free lifestyle customer who are merely interested in the ingredients, but not as much in the safety of cross contamination. Do not put "gluten-free" on your menu if you can't guarantee a Celiac can eat there. Period. 

CELIACS BE WARY:
  • Restaurants do a terrible job of separating gluten-free items in their kitchen yet still claim to have gluten-free items. Ask more questions about this or don't eat out
  • Restaurants do not educate their entire staff (front and back end) about what gluten is and how to watch closely for cross-contamination to ensure safety to Celiacs
  • Restaurants do not take the extra effort to guarantee gluten-free (They typically claim we cannot guarantee, but we can try) That's just not good acceptable, guarantee it or take "gluten-free" off
  • Restaurants do not respect what "Gluten-Free" means. Gluten-Free means free of gluten, without gluten, no gluten. None, zilch, nada. We all speak and read English in America and it's time to respect the term and not take advantage of the marketing opportunity.

"The many years of solid research on the Celiac Sprue disease is the reason there is the term "Gluten-Free" please respect that." 
-Craig F (Colorado)



WHAT'S NEXT?
Therefore, I rarely eat out and can only trust places that promise me the above. Always do your research and ask your gluten-free community for advice.  But do not stop there, because all Celiacs/Gluten Intolerant patrons are different and may not adhere to your level of seriousness.

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Please add your comments and re-post this article wherever you can to help Celiac Awareness of gluten-free eating.  Follow me on Twitter @GlutenFreeG.