I’m listening to the latest podcast entitled “Should you eat gluten” from How Stuff Works “Stuff You Should Know,” and I have some notes. Maybe they don’t matter, but I think they do. Overall, I think the podcast was pretty good. Here are a few thoughts:
- They mention once or twice that celiac disease is an allergy to gluten. Correction: Celiac disease is NOT an allergy to gluten. There is a difference. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Gluten intolerance/allergy does not include the actual observable damage to the small intestine, so it does not include the long-term effects that relate to that, like all the bad stuff that happens when you don’t get the nutrients from your food.
- Correction: There is no such thing as “severe” celiac disease. It is what it is. Whether or not you have a bad reaction (that you can feel) is merely an outward symptom. If you have celiac disease, your small intestine is damaged by ANY amount of gluten. It is important that you do not ingest any (ANY!) gluten. You may not feel it, but it will cause damage.
- Cool beans: It is so awesome that they confirm what the real doctors are saying (not naturalists/homeopaths/etc.): If you do not have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, there is no reason to stay away from gluten-containing foods.
- Cool beans: They joked a little about “find out if celiac is plural,” which is just a little pet-peeve of mine. Loved that. It’s not plural! Please don’t say “celiacs.” It makes you sound uninformed.
Ok, maybe I seem a little ranty, so why does this stuff matter?
If people are avoiding gluten for a non-medical reason (i.e. — because Gwyneth Paltrow does…ugh, don’t get me started.), they will invariably spread false information to food companies and restaurants about the requirements for gluten-free diets. False information goes back to the restaurant like:
- It’s OK to pick off the croutons from the salad for a person who needs to eat gluten-free. WRONG! Contaminated.
- I just put a sandwich on a plate, I’ll go ahead and grab a plate for a gluten-free diner without washing my hands. WRONG! Contaminated.
- I just cooked some french fries for a person who ordered gluten-free. Right before that I fried some chicken nuggets in the same oil. WRONG! Contaminated oil.
Why would this false information be spread back to the restaurant? Because if you don’t have a medical reason to eat that way, you will let yourself slip sometimes. No big deal, right? Wrong. This may be a good time to remind you that any ingested amount of gluten, even microscopic, will cause actual, real physical harm to someone with celiac disease. And I don’t just mean a little stomach ache.
It is not a diet. It’s the only medicine we’ve got!
Sure, it’s great that there are an amazingly high number of GF options for those needing to eat gluten-free, but it must be done 100% right or it is worthless. I applaud (loudly) those who do it right!
(my apologies, feeling ranty get’s me bloggy)