Well, here we go again; Joy Behar last week and this week a Nascar Ad will be slamming “Gluten-Free”. Here is what I think about each:
Last week Joy Behar was showing folks just how stupid she is with her comments about people who are Gluten Free and basically insinuated that even Celiac Disease was B.S. Yes, I can say “stupid”, it is not a harsh word in this case. The facts are out there about Celiac Disease and she chooses to ignore that, and lump everyone into “FAD Gluten-Free Dieters”. Ms. Behar has the opportunity to continue educating herself about Celiac Disease and chooses to continue to show her stupidity. “Ignorance” is a word I save for those who don’t know any better. “Stupid” is the word I use for those who choose not to be educated. I chose not to write about this or share the clip last week because I did not want to give her any more attention. Either way, in the US we have the right to free speech. It is a beautiful thing; it lets people see who a person really is deep down inside.
Now we have a Nascar ad that will run right after the super bowl, insinuating that those who are Gluten-Free are “soft”. A petition was started by the Gluten Dude asking that the ad not be run. I am a Celiac and I do find it extremely insensitive, but I don’t think it is right to ask others to pull an ad because some are offended. We are protected in the US by the right to freedom of speech. Let them say what they want. I think that there is a much bigger issue here for the Celiac Community and this should be our wake up call.
If the ad said something bad about Islam, I think it would get pulled. If the ad made insulting comments about those with Cancer or ALS, it would probably get pulled. Why? Because it would be seen as insensitive and making detrimental comments about those who are ill or about someone’s religion. Well, to me, ethically it is wrong to say those things, but not illegal in this country. That is the wake up call for those with Celiac Disease. Why, you may ask?
The public attention seems to be concentrating on a “Gluten-Free Diet” and not on Celiac Disease. That is where the problem lies. The casual fad dieter who is gluten-free; but suddenly not gluten-free when they really want to try that gluten filled piece of cake, are the very people who are hurting our cause. If those with Celiac Disease were being singled out and attacked, then I would take issue with it, but I still don’t think we have the right to ask a network not to run a commercial because we disagree with the content; back to the “free speech” we are entitled to in the USA. If you think about it, what they are really slamming is “gluten-free” and to me it is really slamming the FAD Dieters (“gluten-freebies”, as I call them), not those with Celiac Disease or very real Gluten Sensitivity or a Wheat Allergy.
Our Celiac community needs to band together and start educating the public about the seriousness of Celiac Disease and it’s many other serious complications. That is the wake up call and that is where I think our Celiac Foundations and Celiac Researchers should put a good portion of our donations. We need a two fold national awareness campaign that talks about the seriousness and complications of undiagnosed Celiac Disease. One targeted at educating our Doctors and one targeted at educating the general public with emphasis on the importance of Blood Test and Endoscopy and Biopsy for diagnosis as well as recognizing Dermatitis Herpetiformis rashes and the skin biopsy for proper diagnosis (those with DH are often negative on blood and intestinal biopsy). That is where I think we are missing a lot of Celiacs, they aren’t getting a Biopsy and the DH is being missed or they are just going GF and not getting tested at all. (it is estimated that 85% of our Celiacs are not even diagnosed yet and 10-20% of Celiacs are negative on blood and positive on biopsy)
I would put my money and effort into that type of awareness campaign. If you go to my website, you can see that I have already put my money where my mouth is. Look at the Resources Page on our website and the FAQ Page where we explain Celiac Disease, Dermatitis Herpetiformis and Food Allergies. It takes a village of all of us, the Celiacs, the Celiac Foundations and the Celiac Researchers to get the real word out about Celiac Disease and that the GF Diet is a lifelong Perscription (Rx) for those with Celiac Disease and not a fad diet. Obviously the general public and media are not getting our message!
So, am I personally offended? No. What some person or company says about the gluten free diet is not a reflection on me, it is a reflection on them. We have two choices here. Sit around and whine about it or do something about it by bringing awareness of Celiac Disease and its many symptoms and serious complications to the headlines!
Maureen Burke, Owner, One Dish Cuisine Cafe, Deli & Bakery
Gluten-Free, Allergen Friendly – Welcome Back to the Table