I just found out about a Really Big Deal. And a really big cake.
The 1 in 133 project aims to get the FDA to complete their assigned task of defining standards for gluten-free food labeling. These efforts will culminate with the Gluten Free Food Labeling Summit, in Washington, D.C. on May 4th, 2011. Most importantly, event sponsors intend to make the world’s largest gluten free cake. Count me in to help with the leftovers.
You. Can. Help.
How you ask?
- Donate some money. In increments of $11.33. Get it?
- Sign the petition.
- Send a letter to the FDA. This is really easy. 1 in 133 has set up the letter for you. All you have to do is fill out your information.
- Help increase awareness by putting a banner on your website or Facebook page. Or promote the project on Twitter.
So get busy and help the cause! There just may be some free cake in it for you.
I want a doughnut.
But I can’t have one of course.
I’ll settle for rice.
I have celiac.
So Pop Tarts are off limits.
But I am still blessed.
Nothing breaks my heart more than to see things like this posted online…
“Chocolate is gluten free!”
“Rum is gluten free!”
“Oatmeal is gluten free!”
“Lunchmeat is gluten free!”
“Margaritas are gluten free!”
“Corn chips are gluten free!”
“Soy sauce is gluten free!”
“Potato chips are gluten free!”
And so on…
Blanket statements like that are kind of like saying “American Idol is full of awesome, face-melting singers!” Well, a few are, but most are not. It just depends on who it is.
I think about all the people out there just getting diagnosed with Celiac disease or some form of gluten intolerance seeing this type of advice and I just cringe, knowing that a whole lot of people are about to get sick and have no idea why.
Just like American Idol, there are all types of (fill in the blank of that broad category of foods that are supposedly gluten free here.) Yes, a lot of lunchmeat (for example) is in fact gluten free. A lot is not. The real answer of course depends on asking many questions:
- Who is the manufacturer?
- When was it made?
- Is there a chance of cross contamination?
- In the case of spirits and distilled things (I just love the ‘Rum is gluten free!” blanket statement) does the maker add any colorings or flavorings after distillation?
- Does the manufacturer even know if their ingredient suppliers use gluten?
- In the case of potato or corn chips, how are the made? Ever watched corn tortilla chips getting made in a Mexican restaurant? Rolled, pounded, and dusted with flour in many cases.
- And so on…
Be careful out there folks, let’s not make people more sick than they already are.
Is It Gluten Free?
___ I’m afraid to find out!
Update:I contacted Captain Morgans (Diageo Distributors) and inquired about the Parrot Bay Coconut Rum specifically. They promptly replied with the following:
Please be advised that Diageo products which have been distilled do not contain glutens or gluten residues. However, as this relates to a medical condition, may we suggest that you consult your own physician concerning the consumption of beverage alcohol products.
The Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Coconut Rum is a distilled product and it is gluten free. However, as this relates to a medical condition we recommend that you consult a physician before consuming the product.
I hate going to restaurants. Especially when I’m traveling on business.
There you are with a bunch of peers from the office, partners, or customers and you get to interrupt the order taking process with a 17 minute grilling of the server.
Are your steaks marinated?
What else do you cook on the grill?
Am I going to die if I eat here?
What else is on the plate? Onion straws, fried items, sauces, condensed gluten dust?
Do you have any reason to want to harm me?
How exactly are your mashed potatoes prepared?
Is any pan coating spray used in preparation?
Are your sauteed vegetables prepared with oil, real butter, or a plastic facsimile of butter?
What seasonings are added to grilled items?
Have you sterilized your hands since last handling bread?
And so on…
Meanwhile, your business associates have either fainted from malnutrition or quietly left via the back door to find another restaurant.
But sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. This evening for instance. My hotel in Salt Lake City is right across the street from a Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Yep, a pasta place. Brilliant Tom. Let’s go try to eat there without getting sick. Maybe for dessert I could hit an Atlanta Bread Company or something.
Anyway, as there were no other choices within easy walking distance, I poked my head in and asked if by chance they had a gluten free menu. And yes, I was embarrassed to ask this question at a pasta place.
As a matter of fact they do – and it’s very well done. Unlike many companies who are more concerned with writing endless disclaimers than useful information, Romano’s offered a factual, current, and quite useful gluten free menu. In fact, their web site offers a PDF guide that covers about 8 different food sensitivity categories. You can find it here.
To make a long story short, I ordered a great meal and felt quite safe doing it. Check this out:
Lightly sauteed spinach.
Roasted garlic cloves.
Fresh rosemary just for fun. And it smelled pretty.
I was impressed.
Kudo’s to Romano’s for doing a great job of communicating useful information about the food they serve and making it easy for us celiacs and other food sensitivity sufferers.
I’ll be back!
I only wish I was smart enough to have used this dying, I mean dining out technique before. But I’m not. I stumbled onto it purely by accident with the help of one very skeptical Dairy Queen employee.
My family and I were driving home from one of Tennessee’s largest cities – The Gaylord Opryland Hotel. In case you haven’t been, it’s big. Like Texas big, only its not in Texas. Unfortunately I was not able to catch a performance by the Binkley Brothers’ Dixie Clodhoppers or the Gully Jumpers.
We were there for a big-time Oireachtas. An Oireachtas is an event where thousands of screaming and stomping Irish Dance competitors, and their moderately intoxicated parents, gather to compete, yell, scream, and squeal. But mostly it’s screaming and squealing.
Anyway, about half-way home, we got a hankerin’ (that’s southern speak for finding something intensely desirable) for a Dairy Queen stop. One of the great things about life as a Celiac is that Dairy Queen ice cream is gluten free. And healthy. OK, maybe just gluten free.
I decided to get a Blizzard with vanilla ice cream and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Mmm. Those of you who have read Celiac Bites before know how skeptical I am about eating in restaurants – not that one would normally refer to Dairy Queen as a restaurant. So you won’t really be surprised by my next request of the Dairy Queen dude. I asked him (very politely) if he would mind cleaning the Blizzard machine before making mine as I have a food allergy. Yeah, I know, celiac isn’t an allergy, but it’s much easier to explain that way. He said sure, no problem, and went about his Blizzard making business.
About half way through the process, the Dairy Queen dude got a puzzled look on his face and loped back up to the counter to ask me a question.
“Are you lying to me about the allergy thing just to get me to clean the machine?”