Monday, June 17, 2013

Are the trendies giving gluten-free a bad name?

We all know how "gluten-free" is a buzz word now.  It seems it is easier than ever to find "gluten-free" labeled packaging at the local grocery store chain.  Restaurants are labeling more food "gf" to try and attract more customers.  But is this helping us?  Or is it making more people just roll their eyes?

I get so excited when I see places near me offering "gluten-free" donuts, or "gluten-free" fries, or "gluten-free" pizza, and when anything on their menu is specifically labeled gluten-free.  It gets me giddy with excitement, even if I wouldn't normally eat a donut, or fries.  I like to know if I want them, I can have them.    But then when it comes down to it, and I am at the restaurant and I ask if their menu items are really gluten-free, and fried in a dedicated fryer, I get a response that is more and more common lately: "No, we do not use a dedicated fryer.  Our gluten-free items are not appropriate for people who must be gluten-free, or who have celiac."  I want to say a big...What the F*&k!!??? Seriously??????!!!!

Yes, you heard that correctly...I am told, they are not for people who actually *need* to be gluten-free. Well, wow.  So, basically, these places are printing up these menus, putting efforts into social media and marketing for those that are gluten-free by choice, not those of us who are gluten-free because it is medically necessary.  And apparently, these restaurant owners don't mind.  So, when I go to a restaurant now and see the lovely "gf" or whatever symbol they are using to denote a dish is gluten-free, do I believe it?

I mean really, people who are gluten-free because it is the "in" thing, because they want to stay away from carbs....are they the ones who are really ordering donuts and fries?? I can't imagine someone who is gluten-free because it is trendy eating food like this. They would be ordering a salad, and grilled fish....gluten-free, maybe, but not ordering some item using replacement flours.

And because of so many people wanting to eat gluten-free, when I am ordering at a restaurant, how do I know people will take me seriously when I say I need to eat gluten-free.  Maybe they will roll their eyes and think I am like all the other people doing it for fun.  Now, I feel I must say I have an allergy, so it is taken seriously.  Do servers need to think we will go into shock when ingesting gluten to be taken seriously, and that we are not just following some fad because it is fashionable?

Is it fair that anyone can slap a gluten-free label on their menu?

When you see a menu item labeled as gluten-free, do you feel safe, or do you feel you need to investigate just a little bit more?

Do you think the gluten-free craze it helping to bring awareness, or do you think it is a hinderance on the people who really need to be gluten-free to be healthy?


  1. I tend to agree. Unless they've got up stickers for the Celiac Foundation, and the waiter actually sounds like s/he has a CLUE what I'm talking about, I get up and leave, or I tell my friends that I'll stick with water.

    Unfortunately, there are books that tout "gluten-free" as a way to lose weight... without going into the detail that you need to cut down on all of your carbohydrates, and not just those from gluten. I think it is this part of the population, which is really just doing another fad weight-loss diet, that is our real problem.

    And I've been saying "allergy" for the past decade, since no one had any idea what Celiac was that long ago.

  2. I used to work in a health food store and people would come in looking for GF items and they would tell me that they want to lose weight or they self diagnose themselves with Celaic. I would try to educate them (I do have Celiac) but the whole idea of weight loss is just too appealing to people. They are looking for a magic pill as well and there just isn't one. I would tell them that as a Celiac we tend to gain weight on a GF diet. It would also crack me up and frustrate me at the same time when the doctor would tell them to eliminate gluten from their diet, they would come in and stock up on cookies, chips, brownies etc. "It's GF so it must be healthy." A cookie is still a cookie and not necessarily good for you. i would encourage them to get diagnosed if they are truly having gastrointestinal issues or are just sick. We are not a "trend" we are a lifestyle that if we don't abide by this lifestyle we will be extremely ill and shorten our lifespan. Even the grocery store has a huge GF section except it has ridiculous item like marshmallows, Doritos, peanut butter, pickles, and mustard. Yes, this area helps a very little bit but it's like they just threw in a bunch of random merchandise together so they could have a GF section. Marshmallows??? Really??? Way to jump on the GF bandwagon.

  3. Kristine, I agree! I think the hardest part about converting to a gluten-free lifestyle is staying away from all of the replacement foods and the junk food that is "naturally" marshmallows. I know that in the beginning for me, when I saw a cookie, a donut, a piece of cake that was gluten-free, it felt like a license to eat it, even if I wouldn't normally eat it.

    I also agree, that most people who are following the trend of being gluten-free are doing it to loose weight, and probably are not eating the replacement items anyway.

    And yes, I gained weight when I first went GF, and quickly. It was only when I cut out all the replacement items and cut down on my sugar intake that it started coming off. Something being labeled "gluten-free" is not magic.

  4. I was just diagnosed with celiac disease a few months ago, so I'm especially paranoid. Whenever I go somewhere to eat, I look up their gluten free options on my phone and reviews. Thank goodness for the internet!

    And yes, this has caused me to lose weight, but it was totally accidental. In fact, now I need to gain weight! I think if eating gluten free makes you feel better, go for it, but realize that it is not the weight loss panacea.