A couple weeks ago, we went to Denver for the weekend. We were wanting to check out the Mile High City and had a 4 day so off we went. This was our first staycation since moving here and we were excited. We stayed downtown and according to the city guide, there were several gluten free restaurants to go to.
“Gluten Free” was a stretch. While the gluten free trend has brought gluten free food to the forefront, a lot of places just do it to be trendy. Every single restaurant we ate at over the weekend was a trendy gluten free place. I know this because after eating lunch, I got sick. After eating dinner, I got sick. Despite eating the gluten free pizza crust and the gluten free bread. So what gives? Why did I get sick even though I was eating the gluten free option?
Cross contamination. My sandwich was a pressed one. I can promise you that my sandwich was pressed on the same press as every other sandwich. The pizza? Cooked right next to the normal pizza. Now, normally, I would not have gotten a pressed sandwich but Hubs had made a lunch run for me and didn’t realize. The pizza was from a restaurant that BOASTED ABOUT THEIR GLUTEN FREE SELECTIONS.
Hipsters who eat gluten free because it’s “bad” for you are making it harder for people with celiac disease to eat safely outside of the home. Restaurants do not understand that a gluten free pizza should be prepared and cooked in an entirely separate kitchen. They either do not care or do not know that if I am exposed to gluten, I will be sick for weeks. Weeks. I was bloated for nearly a month, my hair fell out in chunks, and of course there was the digestion issues.
The worst part of it all is when I ask about cooking practices, I get asked “how much gluten can you handle?” NONE. If someone was allergic to peanuts, you wouldn’t give them a dusting of it would you? Celiac disease is hard. Like other auto-immune disorders, the symptoms are “invisible,” I am not going to go into anaphylactic shock. But that does not mean that you can be so dismissive. No, I do not expect all restaurants to go gluten free but if you’re going to advertise yourself as gluten free – be gluten free! Don’t just half ass it. You are making people really sick. I’m still not 100% and it’s been nearly 6 weeks.
Please don’t confuse your health food trend with my very real reality.