An Open Letter: Your Gluten Allergy is Fake and We Hate You

all about meLets start this off right. Your gluten allergy is fake. A server will never tell this to your face but this is what they think. You are not allergic to gluten. You saw a big diet trend going on and wanted attention. Now that I have said that I would like to also point out that yes there are some people that are truly allergic, sensitive or intolerant to gluten. Unfortunately, you are not one of them. I am tired of all of the negative stigma that comes with having celiac disease and guess who the problem is?! YOU! If you have ever gone on social media saying how you feel so much better on your gluten-free diet and you knew all along that it must of been an allergy. You are the problem. While the servers do not condemn you for going on a gluten-free diet we do condemn you for throwing around the word allergy. When you go to a restaurant and use the term ‘allergy‘ you are forcing the entire restaurant to do extra work and take extra special care of your food to make sure you do not get sick. That being said if your so called ‘allergy’ is just a diet that makes you feel better with no medical basis, you are being a SELFISH ASS. It has come to a point where a person who actually has the medical allergy feels awkward to even ask because there are so many people who ‘say’ they have the allergy.

Do you discuss your allergy at parties? Does your gluten allergy come and go? Did you go to the Italian restaurant and were fine because you orderedcrippling pain the gluten-free pasta? Even though after reminding the server 10 times of your allergy you still complained to the manager that you did not receive a basket of bread. Your gluten allergy is fake because you did not spend months or even years dealing with crippling pain and constant digestive stress before removing gluten from your diet. If you only realized that you have the allergy because one day you were home sick watching The View and suddenly they mention that gluten allergies are a massive threat to the American public then you are a FAKE!

droz and oprahIn your head if you are thinking right now, “Well I cut out gluten and I feel great!” congratulations, you are on a diet. Being on a diet a lot of times give you exactly these results. If you’re the type to watch all of the talk shows and believe everything Dr.Oz or Oprah is telling you then you may want to do a little research on top of that. Yes if you cut out bread, pasta and desserts you are going to be rewarded by feeling refreshed and renewed. In fact there are plenty of diets that are pretty well gluten-free. For instance Atkins and the Paleo diet. Both are great options, so why not try them and stop giving people with a medical condition a bad name and frustrating the people around you.

A real gluten allergy or Celiac disease causes  vomiting, migraines, Fibromyalgia, vertigo and more. not a vague malaise otherwise known as being a daytime TV couch potato with nothing to live for besides keeping up with the Kardashians and complaining about the woman next door who is clearly an unfit mother, just look at what her kids are wearing to school these days. When you say ‘I removed gluten from my diet and feel so much better. It must of been because I am allergic to gluten’, it’s like saying “I stopped watching tv for 10 hours a day and I don’t get headaches anymore! I must of been allergic to tv!” It’s a light way of skirting the actual issues of those who physically can’t watch tv due to chronic migraines or brain tumors. It is perfectly alright to cut tv from your life or even gluten. However it is very important to realize where ‘lifestyle change’ and ‘medical condition’ begins.

if-dinosaurs-were-so-dumb

If you did have a real gluten allergy you would not just ‘feel better‘ after removing gluten from your diet. You will be in consistent discomfort until you figure out what’s wrong. In the United States gluten allergies affect approximately 5% of people and can range from moderate to severe. Both can be controlled by either limiting or completely removing gluten intake depending on severity. Some may have the allergy but it is so moderate that it may go unnoticed, but sometimes a few crumbs could cause a person discomfort for weeks. The most severe gluten allergy is Celiac disease. 1% of Americans are affected by this and while there is no cure it can be controlled by a strict diet and sanitation protocols in order to prevent cross contamination.

Celiac disease is a lot of work and very time consuming. Whether it be when they are out shopping, preparing a family meal at home or at a restaurant, it is rough. No one suffering this medical condition would be happy to hear a person is faking the same symptoms. There is absolutely nothing funny or trendy about it. It is straight up, miserable at times. Most would trade out in a heartbeat. Do you see anyone claiming they have a peanut allergy? Yet you or one of your friends sit there claiming to have a medical condition even though about 1 in 100 people actually have it.

People with true gluten allergies or Celiac disease don’t go to an Italian restaurant and order the fettuccine alfredo with gluten free pasta, because those with real allergies can’t take such a risk of cross-contamination. If someone has a severe allergy, ordering the salad without croutons won’t always solve the problem. Every knife, every plate, every surface their food comes in contact with will need to be sanitized, and in a gluten-heavy environment, it’s impossible to guarantee such sterilization on a moment’s notice. Those with severe medical issues are acutely aware of how difficult it is to keep food sterile, and won’t take the chance. Those with sensitivities or tolerances might have no issue ordering a gluten-free version of a dish, because cutting out 95% of the gluten puts it within their realms of comfort. Even so, unless specifically advertised as gluten-, peanut-, or shellfish-free, no restaurant is capable of maintaining a cross-contamination-free kitchen. It would take an hour to make a single burger if that were so, and there would have to be ten dishwashers working around the clock just to keep up. All restaurants have some basic cross-contamination, but this doesn’t mean restaurant kitchens are dirty. Restaurant kitchens are cleaner than residential kitchens. Restaurant kitchens follow a lot of strict guidelines and constantly seek to maintain an ‘A’ health code rating. Even the cleanest residential kitchen might merit a C at best. However, even at the height of hygiene in any restaurant, knives get used for more than one task, cutting boards get washed periodically, not constantly, and cookware isn’t scoured and deep cleaned every few minutes. Commercial kitchens crank out hundreds of meals in a few hours, and it is impossible to devote an entire freshly cleaned facility to one meal. So while a restaurant kitchen can certainly guarantee that they will not put any egg in a salad, they can’t guarantee that every single ingredient and prep surface never touched an egg for any period of time. You’ll never see someone with a severe peanut allergy in a Thai restaurant. It’s not worth the risk. Those with severe peanut allergies take care to personally steer clear of risky situations.

helicopter momHowever, in the age of the helicopter mom and worldwide safety zone, entire grade schools are now peanut-free to protect the one child on campus with a moderate peanut allergy, teaching him that the entire world revolves around his little need, and he has no personal obligation to educate himself on and avoid one of the world’s most popular agricultural products, being produced in excess of 30 million tons per year. And when that boy’s mother orders in a restaurant, she doesn’t take a moment to consider the menu, the venue, or any degree of reason when selecting her entree. She orders whatever she likes, and if it doesn’t fit within her dietary restrictions, she just asks for it to be modified. ‘Biscuits and gravy MOD: GLUTEN FREE’ printing out of the ticket printer can send the most seasoned chef into conniptions. Every ingredient in biscuits and gravy contains gluten, and unless specifically advertised as available, should not be considered within the realm of reasonable gluten modifications. Feel free to order a burger without a bun, or replace the garlic bread with a cup of soup, but remember that if you’re not in a gluten free restaurant, gluten-related requests shouldn’t compromise every ingredient of a dish to the point of being utterly unrecognizable. If you want something that isn’t on the menu, eat somewhere else.

Allergies are taken very seriously to ensure the safety of customers, and the protocols involved in creating an allergen-free dish are not to be taken lightly, or bandied about by fools merely seeking special attention. Having an allergy means that you must constantly guard yourself, all day every day, and one slip-up might cause discomfort, severe pain, or hospitalization. In the case of a genuine allergy, most kitchens are willing to work very hard to ensure your safety. Wasting that much time and effort of an entire restaurant’s staff might seem unthinkable, but some customers think nothing of it as they announce their allergy to their server within the first thirty seconds of being seated. Dealing with an allergy throws an entire kitchen out of its rhythm, requiring fresh gloves, fresh knives, fresh dishes, fresh prep bins, fresh cutting boards, and fresh cookware, all to meet the needs of one self-entitled attention whore whose dietary needs are dictated to her by a panel of vapid, aging, moronic twats whose optimistically described “talk show” contains a smaller proportion of genuine content than each hosts’ facial structure.

Sincerely,

Anonymous Angry Server

This post was written by an anonymous server. We wanted to know your thoughts on the matter.



52 thoughts on “An Open Letter: Your Gluten Allergy is Fake and We Hate You”

  1. It’s opinions like this that made me frusterated with my doc when she told me to go gluten free for two weeks (now a month) to see if it fixes stomach upset I’ve had the past year. I’m terrified of being labeled one of the ‘fad’ allergies. It doesn’t help that my family all adores pasta and bread and soy and and and….. pretty much everything I now can’t have. I completely understand where you’re coming from though.

    1. Jessica….going gluten free for two weeks is your doctor’s first mistake. You have to gl gluten free for months….minimum 6 months I would think, before you are going to get an idea if this is your problem or not. And there are now some really really good foods out there…like gluten free soy ( I can’t tellt he difference in taste ) and decent pastas….the best are made from corn. Bread….it’s all still disgusting if you ask me. If you love bread there are no good ones out there. Anyway good luck in your journey.

    1. I have Celiac as well, and I’ve found that if you explain to the server that you have Celiac they’re very helpful. They tend to be skeptical if you say you have a “gluten allergy” however. Also, asking up front for a gluten free menu helps, as well as knowing ahead of time what kind of food the restaurant serves. I wouldn’t go to a burger place on a bet, however a steakhouse is usually a good option. Olive Garden is a one way trip to the bathroom. Not Your Average Joe’s is a wonderland that includes both appetizers and dessert for the gluten free!

    2. I have celiac too. I simply don’t eat out. I can order a plain pile of lettuce and still get glutened because somewhere a line server has done something to contaminate it. It’s just not worth it. I will not inflict myself on any restaurant.

    3. Go and go carefully to places you KNOW make an effort to give you a clean meal. Understand sometimes you will get glutened accidentally whether at home, in a restaurant or a friend’s home, it happens. Stay away from places with flour flying around that do NOT prepare your meal in a clean area. Otherwise, if you are ordering a simple fish meal with no crumbs on it, you may be relatively safe. Steak dinners? Unless it is made under a flame broiler, you might get sick if is done on the flat top. Sauteed in a clean pan? It may be greasy. Requesting gf pasta? That’s okay IF they are using a special colander, clean pt, special tongs. Go early or call early and ask all the questions you want, but NOT when the place is mobbed and your server is stuck with extra tables and the manager is overloaded. Above all, be polite and considerate of your server and the staff.

    4. You should be! I also have celiacs and there are only 3 restaurants in the whole state of Washington that I will eat at, 2 are 100% gluten-free and the other is owned by someone who has celiacs and the kitchen ‘gets it’ and are happy to serve me yummy food. I can’t even sit in a ‘bakery cafe’ with my friends while they have lunch as the flour floating around, carried invisibly by the heating system to every square inch of the building, sets me off and I’m sick for a week. This rant is wonderful. I want to KISS the Server who wrote it. The GF Posers make an already excruciating situation all the more so. I’ve also been a vegetarian for 30 years and can’t remember the number of times I was served chicken-based soup or stir-fry with fish sauce because it had “no meat’ or “My daughter’s a vegetarian and she eats chicken.” AUGH. Now that I’ve been diagnosed, I have found that I cannot digest dairy so, now I’m a Vegan Celiac. Yes, It sucks. However, I’ve never felt better in my life!

      1. Marie, I too was lactose intolerant for years but after being off gluten for two years I was able to introduce dairy back into my diet and it’s just fine. It is not unusual at all for celiac and lactose intolerance to go hand in hand. Many celiacs can go back to dairy after a while of being gluten free.

        1. Actually that just happened to me. First u went lactose free and then went gluten free because a friend told me it would be good for my arthritis. Well wouldn’t you know my digestive issues that I had my entire life went away along with the pain and horrible stomach bloat. And now after one year I have tried cheese once again. I can eat a small amount and am fine. I even tried ice cream. Hubby said I am a different person and he even told my doctor that it’s a real thing so the man wouldn’t poo-poo my results. Good luck. I feel like a totally different person than I’ve been for 54 years.

      2. Marie, I’m not sure what part of WA you’re in, but the Cliff House in Bellingham/Fairhaven went so incredibly far out of their way to ensure I had a wonderful safe meal that I left the server a huge tip. I thought it would be better than jumping up to hug her 😉

        She actually used her phone to google the ingredients in one of the sauces and discovered it had xanthan gum (I have no tolerance for gums either). She looked at me and said “Nope! You can’t have it!” She basically created an entire meal for me that would be safe after speaking with their chef twice.

        I hadn’t eaten out much since being diagnosed back in Nov 2013 so there was some anxiety. I pre-apologized when she first came to greet us and said if it was going to be too much trouble I would just sit with my companions and sip some water but would tip as if I’d eaten. Perhaps that showed how serious I was?

        I also have the dairy thing as well as some FODMAP issues. It’s pretty darned difficult to eat a healthy variety of food these days! It’s so bad that tomorrow morning I am booked for testing to see what my nutritional status is. Yuck.

    5. You should be terrified of restaurants, I worked in them my whole life until I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I thought I could continue to work and just be careful until I realized that even the ice in my glass of water was cross contaminated. There is no safe restaurant for a person with celiac disease unless its a dedicated gluten free facility. Anything else is rolling the dice.

  2. Allergies aren’t all on the extreme end of the spectrum. I have a mild enough gluten allergy (or intolerance, whatever), that small amounts of cross contamination aren’t noticeable. I’ll be one of those people ordering the salad without croutons because as long as I avoid major sources of gluten, the tiny amount of flour in the dressing is ok, and will be dealt with by my immune system.

    Also, all the fuss made by these “fake” allergies have made eating out with a real allergy much easier, since awareness is much higher. It used to be that 1/3 waiters had any idea what I was talking about. Now its extremely rare to have to explain.

  3. Reminds me of when I worked at a mid-level pizza joint. Gluten-free pizza? Sorry, we’d have to build a whole separate kitchen to keep the wheat flour out of the air. We did prepare a special pizza for a lady who brought in her own frozen dough; she wasn’t allergic, just “gluten sensitive”

    1. You can be gluten or wheat sensitive though. It’s just easier to say gluten because its more widely understood.

  4. Reminds me of the table that I had that insisted that they were gluten allergic and threatened to walk out of the restaurant when I informed them that we were 86 on breadsticks.

    I also want to add the trend of mothers thinking their two year old little piggy faced kid is allergic to gluten. Really woman? It’s so important that everyone realize that your child is a special person because they have some trendy allergy. I hate those mothers.

    1. My 8 month old DOES have this allergy. I let him gnaw on a crustless strip of bread, next thing I know, we’re rushing to see his doctor because his little face was turning red and he was getting hives. They gave him benedryl and a 6 day cycle of prednisone. We just set up our first allergist appt. It’s not fake in ALL cases. I had to stop using commercial baby food because they use wheat as a filler and he stayed broken out constantly, until we cut it out and I started making EVERYTHING he consumes. His skin has been clear ever since. I agree, yes, not everybody who claims to be allergic is but some people are actually very sensitive. I have to carry benadryl with us when we leave home. I also don’t plan on being the mother who has to take her child to an obvious gluten filled restaurant and being difficult about his order. I’ve come to terms with the fact that, in our area, not having any g-free restaurants, we will most likely not be going out to eat as a family.

      1. What you are describing is NOT gluten allergy. There is no such thing as gluten allergy. However, your child may well be experiencing a “wheat” allergy. I hope you get a referral to a gastroenterologist, as well as an allergist to properly diagnose your little one for the sake of his long term good health.

        1. They don’t actually tend to diagnose allergies and intolerances in children. The blood test has too many false positives and the skin test is uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. And they usually grow out of them, anyway. You are advised to avoid foods that cause a reaction, and the mother too until they wean.

          I’d love to hear the reasoning of the person upthread who thought a two year old couldn’t have a food intolerance or allergy. In fact, intolerances and allergies are more common in babies and toddlers than in any other age group.

    2. Hey asshole, i have celiacs along with two of my kids…My 8 year old gets really severe rashes and my 12 year old gets sever migraines when eating anything with a spot of gluten in it…So shut the crap up…We dont eat this way because it is “trendy” I would do ANYTHING that they could eat normal. Anybody with a kid would not do a change of eating like this because it is a “fad” Kids are hard enough to feed let alone they cannot eat anything with gluten in it..so if somebody says their kid has an allergy, I would put my money on they do because parents dont do that crap to their kids without serious reason to. All I can say to you is WOW, you are a real jerk.

      1. I agree with you, I just was diagnosed with celiac, just confirmed the biopsy results today, my wife who is gluten sensative and has been off gluten for years, requested from her doctor, has way worse symptoms than me but cannot test unless she goes back eating gluten, which I don’t think she could with how sick she gets, when going out no one takes her seriously because of ridiculous articles like this, I was told 83% of people who are celiac are not tested or do not even know, I get some people like to think they have everything wrong with them and want everyone to feel sorry for them but there are alot of people in the world who are sick and who are you (the author of this article) to judge

    3. I’d like to let you observe my five year old with celiac for one day after she has ingested even a small amount of gluten. Then you’d change your tune, trust me. I can’t believe you’d be so heartless toward a child with a serious disease.

    4. Burt,
      Dear f***ing gods, do you have ANY idea how hard it is to care for a toddler (or two)? I wouldn’t do it again for a huge lottery payout or _anything_. NO WAY IN HELL does a mother say her toddler has food allergies if they don’t!

      Do you know how hard it is to monitor what a child puts in their mouth or what clueless people try to feed them? How do you think those little kids FEEL when all their friends can have a Birthday cupcake or cookies that someone brought to class and THEY can’t? Do you know how hard it is to deal with the aftermath of HOW SAD they feel when they’re left out like that, or how SICK they will get if someone lets them have what they _want_ anyway?

      Again, NO WAY IN HELL does a mother say her small child has food allergies if they don’t. CLEAN UP YOUR ATTITUDE.

    5. Then you’d probably hate me. My daughter cannot eat gluten because she’ll immediately start with joint pain, belly cramps, nausea and a few other symptoms. It’s hard enough for a mother to make her eat let alone eat gluten free food, bread is not the same, at all. So trust me, most of those paranoid moms do it for a valid reason.

  5. I have a friend who really is allergic. I’ve seen the doctor reports. But it’s mild enough that she really can eat some and be fine. She knows when to stop.

    The difference is she won’t throw the allergy around. She orders knowing what’s in stuff.

    In the same note I had a chef in school who ate shrimp despite being allergic. He too knows when to stop.

  6. This post pretty much describes my mother. I am so sorry if she triggered it, she does this crap in restaurants all the time.

    Both she and I avoid gluten for the most part, neither of us are allergic. To make a long story short, I don’t eat gluten the way I used to because I’ve noticed that eating less of it has really improved my symptoms (I have an autoimmune disease). I didn’t jump on the fad train, rather I looked at clinical studies testing dietary modification rather than medication that could benefit people with my condition. Since it isn’t really an allergy, just an I’ll-feel-not-great if I eat a lot of it kind of thing, I never request a gluten free menu, claim to have an allergy, or anything like that. The flour thickening your gumbo isn’t gonna send me to the hospital, but if I eat something with a lot of wheat I’ll regret it in a day or two. I just pick items off the menu that aren’t gluten-full and ask the server if I’m not sure.

    My mother will make a big deal of avoiding gluten. She will immediately ask for a gluten free menu and even insist that my food be gluten free, which I immediately negate by telling the server I don’t have an allergy and a little gluten is fine. She makes this huge fuss only to “cheat a little” and eat some of the complementary rolls, every time. Occasionally when she goes to a place that takes gluten allergies very seriously and pulls this garbage, she orders off the gluten free menu only to not enjoy her meal and complain that it isn’t flavorful. Well no shit it isn’t, they didn’t add the sauce typical of the dish because you made it sound like the small amounts of flour in it will make you keel over.

    I wanted to chime in as someone who avoids gluten but is not at offended by your post. You aren’t complaining about Celiac or other medical conditions. Hell, you weren’t even complaining about people like me. You’re complaining about people like my mother who take comfort in assuming the sick role, who want special attention and accommodations because they are not capable of having healthy social interactions and therefore cannot earn that treatment. They mistake pity for kindness and concern for positive attention. There is definitely a difference. People like my mom make the rest of us who just want to eat at a restaurant without regretting it later on look bad.

  7. I think the author has condone and condemn mixed up. I know I know, I should get past the misuse of words and any typos. Being Celiac and having worked in food service, I see both sides. From a Celiac standpoint, I would just like to be able to eat food with my family that I haven’t made. Something that’s different. It’s nice to go out now and then without having to worry… but worry I do. Mostly because of this kind of attitude. From a service standpoint, it’s not up to me, the server, to decide who gets sick from something and who doesn’t. If they’re rude about it, then that’s a personality problem not a diet problem. They would be that obnoxious anyway. When I was a server, I found that my enjoyment of the job really improved when i didn’t judge the people I served. Sure, it’s extra work to make an allergy meal. Things have to be changed out, new utensils, lots more dirty dishes in the kitchen. When it’s busy, that’s hard work. But it really is part of the job. Get over it.

  8. If you are angry because someone’s allergy or even dietary preference disrups kitchens and waitstaff, then I recommend you simply find a new field of work. Are there some people who use the term “allergy” as a diet rather than an allergy- yes. Do I like those people? It’s not my business or yours to decide how serious their allergy is, period.

    Have you ever seen someone have an allergic reaction? Are you a parent who has watched their child swell up or hear their voice change as their vocal cords tighten because they ate something and could not breath? Have you watched someone go into anaphylaxis and use an EpiPen and (hopefully) save their life because you, the person that is paid to do a specific job, decided it was too much of an inconvenience to ensure their food safety? All I ask is that next time someone approaches you and mentions allergies, you ask yourself if your life would be too much of a hassle to exchange for a little extra food prep and safety. It could be your parent, your child, your best friend that has an allergic reaction and how would it make you feel if it was due to what YOU fed them? Literally, food for thought~

  9. Just to clarify–celiac disease is an autoimmune disease not an allergy. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten it sets off an autoimmune reaction. The immune system attacks healthy tissue. This also causes inflammation which lead to a host of other issues. Not fun. I rarely go out to eat. This is not a problem when I am close to home but it makes it very difficult to travel.

    1. Yes! Exactly! I have Celiac disease and I constantly have to try and explain the difference and the extremity of this disease. It’s not as simple as an “allergy” in that I can’t take some Benadryl and be fine. There is a host of chaos that starts when my body essentially starts attacking itself from the inside when I eat even a tiny amount of gluten!

  10. Let’s clarify. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease; it is a food intolerance, not a food allergy. There are over 300 symptoms, so let’s be clear on that. And we don’t just “get sick” when we eat gluten. We set off an autoimmune response in our bodies that, if left unchecked, can lead to many, many other diseases — arthritis (which took my thumbs and knees), thyroid disease (the thyroid runs the body), lupus, ms, shogren’s, colon and stomach cancers, and many other serious diseases. I can appreciate some of what this server has to say, but, just like in life itself, let’s take each person individually and without judgment until it is proven that we are “lying.” I have yet to interact with a testy server on the issue of my celiac disease, and that goes back 12 years!! And, as suggested by others, if this is totally annoying to you and you can’t get past the fact that we have a DISEASE and are not on a DIET, please seek other employment opportunities.

  11. Thank you for mentioning other food allergies as well. We’re a peanut, treenut, sesame allergy family, and have gone thru all of the stresses that you wrote about.

    Here is a question for you, and I want to know because you are a server in a restaurant. What do you think when an allergy family brings their own food for the allergy kid? Good, bad, rude? We do this, but always leave a generous tip for our server.

  12. “Your gluten allergy is fake because you did not spend months or even years dealing with crippling pain”

    Well I guess my pathology report with Marsh 3b is fake then as well. Sorry I annoyed you with my lack of crippling pain I guess.
    I’m getting increasingly pissed at people like that whose main agenda seems to be calling out “fake celiacs” or something. Please just stop giving a fuck. I have zero problem with fad dieters because they just result in more products available for me. And newsflash, non-celiac guten sensitivity and wheat allergies are also things that exist. Please work in a different field if you’re that much of an idiot.

    1. Martin, thanks for pointing out that the food choices have gotten much MUCH better just because of the sheer numbers of people who either have, or claim to have a celiac-like disease. It’s a joy to eat decent pasta again compared to the gluey crappy gray mess it was when it first hit the shelves. It was better to go without.

  13. Where on earth can we even begin to sort out the monumental disaster that has become the “GF Lifestyle?” A good place to start, might entail having the celiac community, collectively, work on a list of principles which can be generally agreed upon, and supported by the medical establishment. The next prudent step would be to denounce the widely used practice of “self-diagnosis.” There isn’t any other disease that I know of, where one can simply decide they meet a certain criteria which allows for the luxury of self-diagnosis. I expect it happens with celiac disease, because once self-diagnosed, there’s no need for a doctor’s written prescription – treatment relates solely to food, self-regulation, and self-discipline. It would also be prudent to stop referring to celiac disease as an “allergy.” There is NO such thing as a gluten allergy! Yes, you might have a wheat allergy, but that’s an entirely different, unrelated condition to celiac, which is an auto-immune disease. Those who think using the allergy term validates the severity of their condition when ordering, are mistaken. “Allergy” is a woefully overused word. The countless “GF” offerings cropping up at restaurants are more often than not, deadly toxic for those of us who are certified celiac. The voice of the true “celiac” has been drowned out, lost, forgotten, ignored… With my reactions to gluten exposure increasing exponentially over the last year, I know damn well that most restaurants are now tooting GF, but few kitchens have time to fret over cross-contamination.

    1. Please excuse my first reply…it posted in the wrong area and wasn’t meant for you. However…I do have a bone to pick with you. Your diatribe on self diagnosis is way out of line. I suffered with gluten sensitivity for 9 years….nine years of constant illness and pain totally dismissed by doctors who just more or less threw up their hands and said…I don’t know and sent me out the door. For 6 months I walked with two canes because my knees were so inflamed and in so much pain that there was no way for me to get around without them. Sciatica was a constant companion as well as chronic lower back pain. Then one day I got the flu. I didn’t eat for four days. And suddenly so many things normalized ( things that are too gross to go into here ) and I woke up without a dull headache….and yes I was still in pain…but it was less. And a lightbulb went off. It was something I had been eating. I threw all my symptoms into a google search and up came over 200,000 hits of celiac and gluten sensitivity information. I stopped eating gluten that day. It took TWO YEARS….two long painful years before my muscles, tendons and nerves lost the inflammation that had been making my life miserable for 9 years. The pain was the last thing to go….my other symptoms resolved gradually over that two years. Unfortunately for me, I had no idea at that time that the only way to get a definitive diagnosis was to continue eating gluten and have a biopsy of my upper intestine. So by the time I went back to the Dr for a checkup it was too late to do that. And hear me, Colette….hear me loud and clear. I am NEVER going to go back to eating that stuf,f and putting my body through that again…..and living with the pain involved …for what….another two years before the effects of it it go out of my system again? For WHAT? To be told not to eat gluten? Sorry….but that’s a big ‘duh’ for me. So….if you think self diagnosis is a joke….tell yourself that the next time you are about to take a tylenol or aspirin or whatever for the cramps associated with your period. Nope….you better not self diagnose that. Headache? Best run to the doctor to have it confirmed. Work too hard in the yard….have a backache? Don’t you dare decide that you know what is causing it. Try suffering for YEARS with an undiagnosed illness and suddenly figuring it out on your own…and then being told it isn’t real because your doctor missed the diagnosis. BS.

  14. Wow….the most ignorant thing this writer said is that the world revolves around a kid with his “little need”….of being allergic to peanuts. Guess what bonehead? That kid can die on the spot from his “little need”. A thing to know about allergies is that they can ratchet from “moderate” to life threatening in a very short time without anyone knowing they have suddenly gone from caution to condition red. YES…there is a lot of misinformation about celiac and gluten allergy out there. And YES…waaaay to many people are jumping on the bandwagon for stupid reasons. STILL….that is no reason for you to totally dismiss out of hand every person who says they have a gluten problem. Because out of those ten who say they can’t eat it….3 are going to get really sick if they do. So climb down off your high horse for a minute and think about this: What if it was YOU who had the gluten sensitivity? What if it was your mother? What if it was your child?. What then? Would you expose your child to gluten because oh, hell, that’s just a myth? I think not. If you don’t like your job….just quit.

    1. Yea, this made me see red too. Two year olds and five year olds are incapable of the sort of logic and care required to not die from eating something they’re allergic to. The author seems to be under the impression that they never leave the house except to go to school. A friend of mine’s contact allergic kid once had a reaction to the handle of a shopping cart. The entire world is a minefield for severely allergic children, and until they are old enough, their parents need to be on high alert all the time. Making schools a little less unsafe simply means the kids are less likely to die, nothing more.

  15. Please excuse my first reply…it posted in the wrong area and wasn’t meant for you. However…I do have a bone to pick with you. Your diatribe on self diagnosis is way out of line. I suffered with gluten sensitivity for 9 years….nine years of constant illness and pain totally dismissed by doctors who just more or less threw up their hands and said…I don’t know and sent me out the door. For 6 months I walked with two canes because my knees were so inflamed and in so much pain that there was no way for me to get around without them. Sciatica was a constant companion as well as chronic lower back pain. Then one day I got the flu. I didn’t eat for four days. And suddenly so many things normalized ( things that are too gross to go into here ) and I woke up without a dull headache….and yes I was still in pain…but it was less. And a lightbulb went off. It was something I had been eating. I threw all my symptoms into a google search and up came over 200,000 hits of celiac and gluten sensitivity information. I stopped eating gluten that day. It took TWO YEARS….two long painful years before my muscles, tendons and nerves lost the inflammation that had been making my life miserable for 9 years. The pain was the last thing to go….my other symptoms resolved gradually over that two years. Unfortunately for me, I had no idea at that time that the only way to get a definitive diagnosis was to continue eating gluten and have a biopsy of my upper intestine. So by the time I went back to the Dr for a checkup it was too late to do that. And hear me, Colette….hear me loud and clear. I am NEVER going to go back to eating that stuf,f and putting my body through that again…..and living with the pain involved …for what….another two years before the effects of it it go out of my system again? For WHAT? To be told not to eat gluten? Sorry….but that’s a big ‘duh’ for me. So….if you think self diagnosis is a joke….tell yourself that the next time you are about to take a tylenol or aspirin or whatever for the cramps associated with your period. Nope….you better not self diagnose that. Headache? Best run to the doctor to have it confirmed. Work too hard in the yard….have a backache? Don’t you dare decide that you know what is causing it. Try suffering for YEARS with an undiagnosed illness and suddenly figuring it out on your own…and then being told it isn’t real because your doctor missed the diagnosis. BS.

  16. The comments are as good as the original article AND as informative. And we can clarify some more. Those with celiac disease can and will get a reaction from cross contamination, even the tiniest amount. They KNOW how sensiitive they are and what to avoid. Those who are NCGS, non-celiac gluten sensitive, often will not be as susceptible to cross -contamination but will get ill from direct contain with gluten– a piece of toast, a bowl of pasta or croutons in the salad. Those with a wheat allergy? Please, do not even put them in the same category- that is a food allergy and NOT a true gluten sensitivity, As for those who think this is some kind of fancy new fad diet? Please go somewhere else and stop ruining things for those who MUST be on this lifestyle, Your behavior is purely selfish and intolerable. Finally, unless a restaurant has a “gluten free certification”– which means they have a totally free prep area (think PF Chang’s), stay away or eat at your own risk.

    1. Thank you. Celiac disease requires a level of scrutiny/prevention of cross contamination that is so frustrating. I start out by saying telling server (when we go out to eat, which is generally limited to PF Changs that has separate prep area, or a small handful of other places), that my daughter and I have Celiac Disease. I quickly add, because we have Celiac Disease, we can only order GF, then a brief word re: cross contamination. Usually not a lot of concern at PF changs (Firebirds also does a very good job of this), but still, it is cumbersome, we are putting our health/trust in the server/prep staff hands. We are not putting our ‘life’ in their hands the way we might with a peanut allergy (of course epi pen) but as a parent I cannot imagine the level of fear that comes with this. We may or may not know if we are exposed to gluten (I absolutely know, within 30 minutes), but my daughter is 5 so occasional accidental exposure despite serious efforts (i.e., there is no gluten containing product in our home), we rarely go out to eat. It is not fun; it could be worse, but I twitch when I hear that a physician would suggest that someone just ‘give up gluten and see what happens.’ It is unclear why so many providers don’t run the simple panel (or people elect not to be tested) for Celiac Disease. Yes, I also believe this should be followed by endoscopy if results warrant this next step. If I self diagnosed I cannot imagine that I would be able to sustain the level of modification/vigilance I maintain and accept that I will do this for the rest of my life and try to model this for my daughter who will undoubtably experience different feelings about her diagnosis at various times. My other issue that I believe the author captures so well is that with Celiac Disease ‘a little gluten’, some cross contamination, is absolutely to be avoided. We all have the right to order something gluten free, peanut free, etc., but unfortunately there is a ‘gluten free fad’ and we have not done enough to educate the public that celiac disease is not a fad. I don’t like peanuts, so I say hold the peanuts, I don’t tell the server I have a peanut allergy to make sure they leave it off my entree and then order peanut butter pie for dessert. I fully appreciate that people can order whatever they want, and zig zag from their order of GF pasta to the bread basket, but unfortunately awareness/understanding of CD is not where it needs to be and these inconsistencies do set us up for exposure and there is not much we can do about it.

  17. This post lacks any type of moderation. Why does someone have to be an extreme case to not want gluten? I agree that patrons should do their own research before marching into a restaurant and demanding some ridiculous meal be made gluten free. But if the restaurant ADVERTISES that they can be gluten free, they should be able to hold up their end of the bargain, regardless of how bad the patron’s allergy severity/intolerance/celiac disease is. If they don’t advertise as gluten free, I expect nothing less than to be cross contaminated. If they do advertise but are not a strict gluten free area, they should get used to the pain in the ass or get rid of their advertisement.

  18. So, let me get this straight. The author objects to people ‘claiming’ a gluten allergy because it makes their job a lot harder, and the jobs in the kitchen harder. Essentially, we’re a pain in the tookus. Ok, the way this works is, 1) you and your restaurant tell everyone to buzz off with special diet requests and suffer any consequences accordingly, which may or may not be an issue for your business, 2) You tell your customers that you would be glad to accommodate their special diet requests, but at an additional charge since it requires extra time and effort to meet these needs, and suffer any consequences accordingly (I would be happy to pay an additional 10% if I was assured my celiac disease challenges were met), 3) You plan a menu where special Gluten Free items are already evaluated for ease of prep and presentation, cost efficiency, and customer service while minimizing or eliminating profit impact. Oh, you don’t want to have to compete with the planet?! You just want to make things your way, forever, and the heck with customers driving the menu?! Well, step right up to the unemployment line my friend because great customer service is where it’s at! I can get crap food almost anywhere, but I can only get what i WANT in restaurants that CARE about ME as a CUSTOMER. Since it’s obvious that YOU DON’T CARE, then please tell me where you work so I can avoid your establishment. What’s that? You wish to stay ‘Anonymous’? Oh, well then, let me say this carefully and without profanity….please LEAVE the restaurant profession since you are NOT customer service material. That’s a polite way of telling you where to go.

  19. Not sure if my last post went through.
    I’m a Coeliac who suffered for 45 years before diagnoses. Not fun.
    I live in beautiful South Africa. There are not many Coeliacs here, well diagnosed ones. Awareness is growing slowly.
    Due to my diseas I learned to make my own food as everything I ate tasted like cardboard and there wasn’t much variety.
    I have now started a business from home selling Gluten Free products. GENUINE GF stuff made under strict conditions. No gluten of any form is allowed near my kitchen. I have big sharp knives so no one will dare defy me. Lol
    My client tell me I have the best tasting breads, pies and cakes.
    I make the following: Almond, Macadamia, Nut free breads. Pies, sausage rolls and variety of cakes.

  20. My ten year old daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few months ago (biopsy Marsh 3 – total villous atrophy). I was completely unprepared for how snarky and impatient servers have been when we inform them about her need to avoid gluten DUE TO CELIAC DISEASE. Keeping her safe and healthy is such a monumental task and at the very least I expected restaurant employees to be kind, even if it’s not possible to accommodate our request. I don’t really have anything constructive to add to this thread other than to say I hope I never get the author of this letter as our server. Eating is hard enough for my daughter without experiencing shame when she asks to have her health and safety acknowledged.

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