Well to begin I am a devoted husband of three years to my wife who was diagnosed with Celiac about two and a half years ago. Her older sister had been diagnosed about six months earlier. In the beginning as everyone is aware it is a learning process from the foods you can’t eat to the ones you can eat. Then you have to find the foods that are Gluten Free, which you particularly prefer over others, which is quite costly. The most important aspect, which typically is overlooked, is the cross-contamination when preparing foods with gluten to ones that are gluten free.
Throughout my career I have been in corporate America, I was once asked at a business meeting; “if I had known that my wife had Celiac prior to getting married would I still have gone through with it”, I was taken back by his question and without hesitation answered YES! Anyone that has been diagnosed with Celiac, it is not a life sentence preventing you and your family from living their lives but rather a way to fine tune ones life emotionally, physically and spiritually. I believe this has made our marriage stronger being that there is more of a support system.
Within the past three years there has been many advancements in the Gluten Free Community from support to greater food variety from new/existing Gluten Free companies and restaurants offering a Gluten Free menus. However, there is one important topic I would like to shed some light on ……Restaurants & Pizzerias.
Although I am cautiously optimistic on the recent growth in the number of restaurants & pizzerias offering a Gluten Free menu, there is one very important aspect, which is often overlooked cross-contamination. There is no intentional malice on the part of Restaurants & Pizzerias, just a lack of understanding where it concerns Celiac and the preparation of Gluten Free foods.
This is where we from the Gluten Free Community need to educate one restaurant & pizzeria at a time. The focus needs to be on how the Gluten Free foods are prepared and cooked as well as the employees’ knowledge at each establishment. I would like to pose a question to you all. What are some of the reactions and looks you get when you are at a restaurant when placing a gluten free order? At times a waiter/waitress will either react when ordering Gluten Free in one of three ways:
1) As if you are looking to be complicated, snooty and picky to make there shifts even longer
2) As if their eyes will roll out of their heads on to your table
3) As if they are well versed on a gluten intolerance and be more than attuned to your needs
Personally, I prefer number 3 and sometimes I wish we had a mirror to look at, to see if we have three heads or some other issue unknown to us. If these establishments are truly looking to serve the Gluten Free patrons and not looking for a way to generate further business solely then they must first understand all aspects of Gluten Free foods.
Well I appreciate everyone who took the time to view this blog post and hope that it has connected with you all in some way. We all can make a positive impact and make great strides to further spread the word on Celiac to better educate our communities. I wish nothing but the best to the individuals and their families who share living a Gluten Free Lifestyle.
I welcome any feedback and/or just to connect at firstname.lastname@example.org.