My latest rant and pet peeve

I posted the following to the Silly Yaks Yahoo! group a couple days ago. I just wanted to share it because it’s something that needs to be said and bears repeating.

I just wanted to add, there is a frightening tendency among people with CD, to blame ALL symptoms on gluten, sometimes without looking into any other possibilities.

For example, Mary knows that absolutely everything she put in her mouth yesterday was prepared in her own kitchen, and the only packaged food she used was a can of soup. Mary got diarrhea after eating dinner (with the can of soup cooked into her food). Therefore, even though the soup is clearly labeled Gluten Free, Mary assumes there must be hidden gluten in it. She rushes to post to all her friends, groups, and message boards that Brand X “gluten free” soup has gluten in it.

I have seen this time and again. It would never occur to Mary that maybe she has a touch of a stomach bug… maybe her fresh produce wasn’t scrubbed as well as it might have been, and she picked up an annoying microbe. It would never occur to her that maybe she’s sensitive to some other ingredient she used — maybe now that she’s off gluten, she’s developing (or noticing) some other food allergy? Or maybe — just maybe — her teenager managed to leave some gluten specks in her favorite cooking pan that he wasn’t supposed to use? It could be almost anything, yet Mary “knows” it was gluten in the soup.

And this is really sad. You can’t ASSUME that every food issue or symptom you have is caused by gluten, and ESPECIALLY you should not post that “Brand X” or “food Y” or “additive Z” has gluten in it unless you are darn tootin’ SURE of that and can post references to back it up. (Example: We all know that Quaker products are prone to cross-contamination because the company SAYS SO. Many of us have contacted them. They tell us that although the rice cakes have no gluten ingredients, they are processed on shared equipment and may contain traces. On the other hand, if someone said Lundberg rice cakes had gluten in them, I’d want to see some documentation!)

I’m not saying that people aren’t sensitive to other foods — dairy and MSG are two of the most common. What I’m saying is, if you’re sensitive to other foods in addition to gluten, DON’T EAT THEM. Feel free to whine about how much you miss cheese, or wish you could have Zatarrain’s Fish Fry (which is GF but has MSG in it). Feel free to ask here for suggestions on substitutions — some of our members have some darn good substitutions! Just don’t post that X, Y, and/or Z have gluten in them unless you have absolute proof. There are a lot of new people here, joining us on a daily basis, and many of them are confused enough without reading unsubstantiated claims, based on one person’s personal experience getting sick from a documented gluten-free product.

Incidentally, if you’re seriously concerned that some GF-labeled product really does have gluten in it (like the bread we keep reading about in the news from North Carolina or wherever that was), you can purchase a test kit here. (

Eat what makes you happy and allow others to do the same. :)


Care to comment on my rant? Am I totally right or off base? Inquiring minds want to know!

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 24th, 2010 at 8:22 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “My latest rant and pet peeve”

  1. kelbel Says:

    This drives me crazy too, on celiac web boards. I absolutely agree with you.
    I also think that the reverse is true–people who say “I ate such and such at a restaurant and had no reaction, so I know for sure that it was ok.” While it’s true that people have a sense of their bodies, and may think they know what’s up, they really can’t fully know. It is possible that sometimes your body does not react. The day my celiac daughter ate half a slice of the “regular” pumpkin bread instead of the GF one, I had us stay home for the day, thinking she was going to be really sick.
    Nada. Nothing. No diarrhea, no headache, no brain fog, no vomiting…
    Scared the pants off me.
    I mean, no parent wants their kid to get sick, but if it is an indicator of how you’re doing on a diet that your life depends upon, um, maybe then it’s ok to show the signs.
    So when someone declares that a restaurant unequivocally gets it right with serving GF customers, and their basis is that they don’t get reactions, I take it with a grain of salt. It’s a good sign, yes, but it’s the know-it-allness of some people who declare “Oh, I KNOW when I’ve been glutened” that ticks me off. Sure, maybe you do. Sometimes.
    I’m really glad you said what you did on that web board. A fair-size group of people needed to hear it.