Gluten – Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!

It’s not often that I watch daytime television. Truth be told, most weekdays you will find me listening to an audio-book while I do something around my house. Side note –  I firmly believe audio-books and their accessibility for free through the library are one of the greatest inventions of late. However yesterday was a Federal holiday and my hubbs was home, so we sat like zombies channel surfing for a couple of hours. We stumbled across the show, “The Doctors,” which I have seen once or twice before. I’m not confirming nor denying that I’ve stopped and watched that show before solely because Travis Stork is easy on the eyes. Anyway, yesterday Dr. Hottie just so happened to say the words, “gluten-free” so of course my husband stopped channel surfing, we watched it, and I learned something besides the fact Dr. Hottie has a cute smile.

A producer on the show took a nifty, yet expensive, little device to several restaurants that offer gluten-free meals and tested them to determine if their claims of being “gluten-free” were valid.  Here’s a link to the actual article/clip: The Doctors Link. Of the many meals tested at 10 different restaurants, all tested positive for gluten except one. I can’t swear to it but I think there was a blurb at the bottom of the screen that said Pizza Hut was the exception.  It’s important to note that in order to be certified “gluten-free” an item doesn’t have to contain zero amounts of gluten (it is allowed up to 20 ppm), so we can’t really say that all of these restaurants “failed” this test. However, for someone like my daughter who has Celiac, it is concerning. When we take her out to our go-to places that offer gluten-free menus, we make it a point to tell our server that she has Celiac and can’t have ANY gluten or anything that has touched gluten, and we hope that the restaurant is honoring our request. But my daughter, like many other Celiacs, doesn’t always show symptoms when she’s been “glutened,” even though the gluten is damaging her insides – making this even more of a conundrum for us.

Another concern of mine is whether some in food service are even aware of what gluten is and where it hides. Not that I expect any of them to be an expert but here is an example of a recent conversation I had during a birthday celebration for my daughter’s teammate. It’s a huge place that offers food, bowling, an arcade, laser tag, etc. Obviously lots of kids (and parents) so I would think a lot of different food preferences and probably allergies:

Me: “Excuse me, my daughter can’t have the ice cream that all the kids at the party are having (cookie dough) because she has Celiac Disease. Do you know if you have any that are gluten-free?”

Employee: “I have no idea”

Me: “Um, if you’re not sure, I don’t mind looking at the ice cream containers myself to see if any of them don’t contain gluten.”

Employee: “Well…they’re all made from milk (because I wouldn’t know that ice cream is made from milk), so I’m sure they all have gluten.”

Me: Rolls eyes and bites the side of my cheek, “You know what, never mind, we’ll just run by Coldstone on our way home and get her something.”


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