I recently ate at three different restaurants that promoted they had gluten free fare. The first two had a big sign saying Gluten Free Pancakes. When I inquired if the gluten free pancakes were cooked on a dedicated grill (meaning there was a grill used exclusively for gluten free food and another for gluten foods), the answer both times was NO! My big concern is that they thought they were offering “safe” gluten free pancakes – both restaurants have had no training in what gluten free and what celiac safe meant. I shared with them that by grilling the pancakes on the same griddle as gluten food would cause someone who is celiac or gluten intolerant a HUGE problem. That they could make someone very ill if they were not well-educated (which all of us start in that place!) Both times I spoke with a manager/owner and they sort of shrugged it off. One even shared that they have gluten free patrons who bring in their own gluten free bread and the server toasts it for them in their “gluten-laden” toaster!
The third restaurant was enlightened. They offered gluten free options for bread, rolls and chips. They had a disclaimer on their menu that the server also was sure to review with me when I ordered gluten free. The menu and server told me that they offered these items but wanted me to know that they are assembled in a kitchen where gluten also coexists. Cross contamination was a possibility and they were very assertive to be sure I knew that.
I feel I have always been gluten intolerant and glad that I learned that being gluten free may reduce inflammation from my autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis. I am not celiac – if there is a smidge of gluten on my meal, it will not destroy the villi in my gut -but that same speck could make a celiac sick for a couple weeks to a couple months. For those not familiar – gluten is the sticky protein in wheat, rye, barley and spelt. If you would like a list of common ingredients to avoid, pop me an email or give me a call. My friend, Advocate & Author, Tiffany Hinton has a document I can share with you as well as she has almost a dozen cookbooks to help you stay gluten free yet make tasty meals the whole family will enjoy!
Another way people are accidentally “glutened” is products that say they are gluten free on the packaging…then on the back it says that this item was manufactured in a plant or on equipment that may have processed wheat, soy, peanuts, and other allergens. Anyone who is a celiac, gluten intolerant, gluten allergic will tell you they do not consider anything that may have accidentally been contaminated gluten free since the smallest amount of gluten will rock their world.
Make sure when you are looking for a place to eat or products to enjoy that there’s no chance the products/food may have been contaminated…..ask a few questions to keep yourself and the ones you love that are gluten free safe and comfortable!
If you found this helpful, please let me know. Send me an email to Liz@elizabethanthonygronert.com or call/text at (847) 502-8394. Elizabeth & Kris Gronert bringing you Comfort For Life!