Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Gluten Intolerance

Although celiacs only number less than 1% of the population, approximately 25% of people report choosing gluten-free products.

That much larger chunk of people make things both easier and more difficult for celiacs. Because there is a larger audience for gluten-free food, there are more products. It's simply supply & demand. There are plenty of brands that are creating gluten-free food, and most stores now have gluten-free areas (perhaps whole aisles) simply because it is a more popular choice. Restaurants are also offering more and more gluten-free dishes, often offering a gluten-free menu as well.

At the same time, however, that portion of the population makes life more difficult for celiacs. Because gluten intolerance is not as severe, people who choose to eat gluten-free are often unconcerned about cross-contamination, which often gives servers and cooks the idea that all people who eat gluten-free do not have to be concerned.

I've overheard someone announce that they were "allergic to gluten" and then I watched them pick the croutons off of a salad. If I were to do that, I would be violently ill for a week. I've also had to explain to people preparing my food that I need them to change their gloves, use a new spatula, etc, and I've watched them roll their eyes at me.

It's hard, because I will not fault anyone for what they choose to eat. And I'm all for anyone eating gluten-free. However, I dearly wish that people who are not severe would not act as if they are. That's really all I ask. Unless you are allergic to gluten, or have Celiac Disease, please don't ever tell anyone that you have a gluten allergy.


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