Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Truth. Whole Truth. Nothing But The Truth ...

I keep hearing, reading and watching video from websites and guides on how to eat gluten-free.  As a Celiac of 17+ years here are a few tips that you must know from someone who has been there and done that and doesn't take gluten risks anymore. I've seen the worst rice based foods that crumble as you eat it them, seen Celiacs who cheat on their diet, spoke with people who go gluten-free and don't know that it's a movement based off of Celiac Disease, and I've been inside a restaurant kitchen many times to see how chaotic and contaminated food can get. I'm bringing this to your attention because it's just a simple truth and because the gluten-free movement seems a bit out  of control and we need to gather it by the horns and live smarter.   

5. DON'T TRUST STRANGERS:  Most people learn this as kids, but I constantly ask myself why adults do this in the wrong places? You have to earn trust from people and places especially when they're making food special for someone with an intolerance/sensitivity. Don't put just anything in your mouth, especially when the risk could be severe digestive or internal auto immune reactions. And if you're not "sensitive" treat it like you are because when you cheat with strangers others will find out. 

4. GLUTEN IS NOT AN ALLERGY: It's not. Identify your sensitivity and/or intolerance or neither. Peanuts, shellfish, eggs, wheat, etc may be an allergy to you or more, but gluten is not. No doctor has declared gluten an allergy so be very wary when people say this. Don't spend any money buying a book from these persons or getting any other advice or you just got wripped off and bought them a new car.  Reference article here

3. RESTAURANTS ARE CHAOTIC:  Restaurants are typically not gluten-free unless they have no gluten anywhere around. Simple truth. Have you been to a 100% gluten-free restaurant? Chefs that come out and talk to you will try hard to be very careful and that's awesome. We need more of them. However, 99% of restaurants will still tell you that they have cross contamination in the kitchen and that you're at your own risk. So... I recommend limiting your risk greatly to stop the symptoms. Go out, have a drink (low risk) and be social, but don't risk your health. 

2. FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS ARE NOT CAREFUL: Majority of fast food restaurants are simply danger zones. The low quality ingredients, made super fast, are likely contaminated everywhere especially by people who may not know enough about gluten ingredients in the first place. Last time I went to McDonalds and asked what was gluten-free, nobody in the entire restaurant ever heard of the word 'gluten'.  Hmm. Also, when you walk into a Subway, it smells like fresh baked bread (X) and then if you look at the preparation line where they make sandwiches the bread and food are altogether (XX) and the staff doesn't change gloves between every meal so there is contamination all over the place (XXX). Anyone who says this is gluten-free is a liar. Need I say more?

1. COOKING WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE: Learn to cook for yourself and others by getting a well rounded food education. Fruits, vegetables, meats, fish along with education on organic, non-Gmo, fair trade, etc. can be bought at the grocery store and many of them should be legit gluten-free from a respectable grocers. Fully understand what is and isn't contamination in the manufacturer, store and your own kitchen. You can also buy certified gluten-free and at high end grocer stores or online, but always ask and expect a thorough response when you talk to someone or say no. When you ask you hold these professionals accountable and if they will know the answer then you can trust them and build a relationship. When people can't talk to you comfortably about their products, ingredients, etc then you should say no, walk away and carefully share the info with your community to spare them. 


  1. Great post. I'm confused about nr. 4 though. Are you just talking about incorrect terminology here? As in the name of the allergy is not called gluten which is true, because it is actually a protein composite. Or are you saying that there is no gluten allergy, only intolerance and/or sensitivity?

  2. Great question... You may have a wheat allergy and/or a nut allergy for example, but you can't have a gluten allergy diagnosis. Perhaps someone may be figuring out what their allergies and intolerances still are. From research I have learned that as a Celiac I have an intolerance to all of those harmful gluten based grains and my body incurs various auto immune reactions when those "poisons" are present. So with Celiac there are technically no allergic reactions. Sooo, I avoid gluten to the best of my ability and live very well.

  3. Kimberly BuchholzJuly 12, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Thought-provoking! Your summary brings to mind the experience of having a restaurant make a big fuss of "we must know if you have a food sensitivity"--versus a waiter/waitress simply asking the chef what ingredients are used for a specific dish. Choosing my own food works much better than having someone bring me "gluten free bread" when I don't eat that at home anyway. Cooking for yourself is the best way, and if you go out, choosing a place that serves real food is the best insurance! Thanks for sharing your helpful ideas.