If you don’t say something, it’s your own fault

So did you know that the Holiday Spice Flat White has gluten in it? I didn’t? I drank it for about a week before I got really sick and figured it out. Seriously, Flat White, totally fine, that holiday sprinkle, it knocked me out of commission for a whole week. Starbucks won’t tell anyone what is really in their drinks, and anyone who has tried to get a straight answer about what contains gluten in it knows how tight lipped they are about allergens. Now they have signs up on their stores staying that they can’t guarantee that allergens won’t be transferred. Yeah, we knew that, no one is going to sue you.

Really.

I have gotten to the point that, if I get glutened, it is all m fault. Usually I wasn’t careful enough. I tried going somewhere I didn’t know was safe. I didn’t communicate my needs enough. I didn’t send back my food once I noticed it wasn’t right. Seriously, if I don’t say something or forget to do my gluten spiel, it’s all my own fault.

Then again, I have a sense of personal responsibility.

You hear about companies getting sued for all sorts of things. From this year’s claims of false advertising for No Man’s Sky to the man who spilled hot coffee on his lap and sued McDonalds, almost every lawsuit against a company can be traced back to people who just didn’t think. If you wait 3 years for a video game that promises you a giant universe and unlimited explorations, and delivers just that but in a game that just isn’t that fun, might it not be your expectations about what the end product that really were to blame. What about coffee makes you think that it isn’t going to be hot? And yet, you are suprised that it burns you badly when you pill it on yourself. And if you go to a restaurant and don’t say, “I need an allergy warning all over this order,” it’s not the restaurants fault that they didn’t follow it.

I don’t tend to tell Starbucks that I need gluten free. I really should, but I don’t. But that’s not really what happened this week. This was my not really researching.

There have been other incidents where I haven’t said anything. I know that the seasoning salt at Red Robin makes me sick, and there’s been time where I’ve found it on my food and didn’t say anything. Mostly because I just don’t want to make trouble. And yet, I get sick. My husband always gauges if I’m going to be sick based on if the rest of the order is correct. If there’s one thing wrong with the order, like pickles on his burger, it raises the chance that someone wasn’t careful with my order.

So, there’s more than just saying something when you order your food. You really need to make sure you say something when you get your food too. I hate having to be the bitch, that demands everything be their way. I come from people who avoid conflict and try to find the path of least resistance. It’s been hard to un-learn all of those traits over the last two years. And yet, it’s the way I am able to eat outside of my house. I personally don’t want to spend the rest of the life eating just in my house, so I do it.

You don’t really have to be demanding. I usually start with apologizing, that usually helps. And being nice, like really nice, helps too. Working in customer service, I’ve learned the importance of not rocking the boat when asking for something. Honestly if you come on the line yelling at me, I’m going to hold the line because I feel like your being unreasonable. If you come on the line apologizing, and being nice as you explain the issue, I’ll feel bad and try and help you more. If your complaint is also really justified, I’ll really work hard to resolve your request.

I find the same goes when I’m at a restaurant. It’s rare to find a server who doesn’t like being around people. So if you see something wrong, and say something about it, they won’t have a problem. If the server has a problem with it, then you should be speaking with the manager anyway. The server is a liaison between the diner and the kitchen. They’re paid to be your advocate, so if something is wrong it’s their job to deal with it. I just am nice to them also, because I want them to work harder for me when I need it. Customer service isn’t easy, and they’re listening to complaints all day long. You don’t have to be mean to get your way, you just have to explain yourself.

So, don’t be afraid to speak up. Speak up and be nice about it. Because not speaking up means you will get sick, and the only person who you can really blame if yourself.

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F*&k You Food Network (and a plea to change)

This weekend my mother texted me to tell me that Rachel Ray’s show made gluten free thanksgiving stuffing out of cheerios…I honestly don’t know how I feel about that. Part of me is going, well that is just the Glutocracy thinking their being inclusive to us in the Celitariate…well it might be. It’s not hard to make gluten free bread into croutons, or dry it out. I mean half of GF bread is nearly dry enough to be crouton anyway. And the stuff that is really moist will never make croutons, just don’t try. But then again, I suppose I should be happy that gluten free food is getting some showtime on food TV.

I am very glad that we have a TiVo, or a DVR at all, because it lets me skip over food commercials. Although, all weekend, my Cruchyroll account was playing the same Subway ad over and over and over again. Sometimes 5 times in a single 30 minute show. And you can’t skip those ads. It was enough to make a girl want to pay for the service just to make it stop. There’s only so many times you can see a Thanksgiving turkey sandwhich before you REALLY want a sub. And you can’t have a sub. Sometimes, it just makes me mad, like eating a chocolate bar in front of someone on a diet. I know you can’t always get the food you want, but damn it sometimes it would be nice to know you can have something!

I feel the same way about Food Network, like giving it a big middle finger. To watch Food Network is to be taunted with all of the food that you really really really really really want and not being able to have a single bite. Sure you can do the complex calculations needed to make the same gluteny gluten recipe gluten free, and we all have done it, but that doesn’t really address one of my main issues with Food Network and Food TV in general. No one addresses substitutions or allergies. Chiefs think about it, they have do in a restaurant, but the average home cook or food blogger only has to think about substitutions once or twice a year. So, people with allergies or food limitations, have to thing about how to make correct the recipe.

I think about this around this time of the year. Food Network does this emergency call in live special where viewers are allowed to ask their Thanksgiving cooking questions. It’s all part of their special 3 months of holiday programming. I’m fine with that. 3 years ago, all I thought of asking was about how to make a Cranberry Sauce without orange juice (my one really random food allergy). I figured that one out on my own (really good Cranberry pepper jelly), but I still feel like food TV is missing something. There’s shows on how to cook healthy. There’s shows on barbecue and and entire show about sandwiches. There’s shows of food science and cooking competitions, but no one cooks for the allergies.

Honestly, I don’t think there needs to be a whole allergy cooking show. I just want a month or maybe just a week. Just one gluten free week, maybe in May. There’s a whole level of education that could happen around what it means to be gluten free. How to keep a gluten free kitchen. Different gluten free grains and how to cook them. Heck, give Alton Brown a one hour Gluten Free Baking Special (please give Alton Brown a one hour gluten free baking special because it would be amazing!) Just give it some coverage.

May is Celiac Awareness month, and it would bring so much attention to the issues if we could get the Celitariat to band together, maybe start (dare I say it) a movement. It’s not hard. Below I have included a letter that you can copy and paste and paste into a word document. You can customize it however you like, or just use it whole cloth. That’s the first part. Not take it and go here. Submit a “question” to Food Network asking them why they don’t celebrate Celiac Awareness Month.

With that done, there is phase 2, and that is harassing enlisting the Food Network talent to join in. So go to their Twitter, Facebook, and personal website and spread the world. Share this post with them on facebook and twitter. Choose a dozen or so and spread the word. I mean it’s a good old fashioned letter writing campaign, and just with these new fangled social networking thing .

But the third and final part is the most important. We can’t really start a movement with the 15 people who read this (I’m totally realistic that we’re not reaching a lot of people here.) So, for this to get anywhere, we need you to share this post. Share it with your friends and family. Share it with your gluten free support group (and yes those exist) or your family members who have Celiac. We need all of them to take this up too. Mention this in a gluten free forum or on another gluten free blog. Tweet it. Reddit it (I’m not sure how Reddit works, but am going to say it works like that.) If you have a blog, re-blog it. Just share the letter and encourage people to participate.

And if you want to get really involved, go here and sign the petition that I put up on Change.org to see if we can make this happen.

So, here’s what you can do:

  1. Go to Food Network and post the following letter asking for a some gluten free programming in May for Celiac Awareness Month
  2. Go to some of the Food Network Talent’s Websites (below the letter), and see if they will also lobby for gluten free programming in May for Celiac Awareness Month.
  3. Go to Change.org and sing the petition asking for gluten free programming in May for Celiac Awareness Month
  4. Ask your friends and family to also do steps 1-4 of this process in hopes of getting gluten free programming in May of Celiac Awareness Month.

And if we can all do these 4 simple steps, we might be able to get the word out about Celian and Non-celiac Gluten Sensativity. Hopefully we can dispell some of the myths around the gluten free diet and maybe (once and for all) get across the difference between those that choose the gluten free life and those whom the gluten free life choose.

Dear Food Network,

Over the years you have provided a lot of top quality food programming and created a community around people who love food. You have millions of loyal viewers who come to you for advise and education when it comes to cookery. You hare raised a lot of awareness in regards to feeding the hungry and offer advice and assistance for people all over the nation. There is a very important issue that we would like to bring to your attention in hopes that you might give some focus to it in the future.

1 in every 33 people suffers from Celiac Disease and need to follow a gluten free diet for medical reasons. Often times, friends and family do not know of understand how to support the special diet that people with Celiac need. Because a maximum amount of gluten containing materiel as small 3 crumbs of bread can make someone with celiac disease sick, it’s often difficult to cook for someone with the disease, meaning that people with celiacs will often choose to eat at home of only a few restaurants that they can eat at.

There is an opportunity to educate the public not only about celiac disease but gluten free cooking together. There are a plethora of alternative grains that can be explored from amaranth to quinoa along with the gluten free flour mixes and gluten free beers. This can expand the repertoire of the best home cooks.

Gluten free cooking is more than just substituting gluten free flour into recipes. There is a balance of careful alchemy to create the balance of starch and protein of wheat flours, and different mixes have application that they are best used for. Anyone that has ever tried to make gluten free food for their gluten free friends can tell you that there is more to baking or cooking gluten free than just buying some Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flout and substituting it in a regular recipe. The best way to address that is through education, and the best place for food education is Food Network.

We hope that you would consider  celebrating Celiac Awareness Month by having some of your host feature gluten free content, hosting a gluten free cooking week, or inviting some gluten free food bloggers as guests on their shows. There is so much good that it can do for the gluten free food world, and those of us who have Celiac Disease or Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Thank you for your time.

Food Network Stars (and how to contact them:

Ina Garten: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Bobby Flay: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Giada DeLaurentes: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Guy Fieri: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Ree Drummond: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Trisha Yearwood: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Valerie Bertinelli: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Sunny Anderson: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Aarti Sequeira:    Facebook   Twitter

Geffory Zakerian: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Alton Brown: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Ted Allen: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Jeff Mauro: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Marcella Valladolid: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Katie Lee: Website    Facebook   Twitter

Tyler Florence: Webstie   Twitter

Don’t be a food Sherpa.

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No this isn’t a comment on the Presidential Election. I have my thoughts on that, but I’ll keep those to myself. It was my last few weeks, so I apologize for not blogging during that time. Halloween night, we found ourselves sitting in a hotel room with our cats not certain where we were going to be living for the next week. We had gotten a message from the people who were buying our house saying that they were going to need another couple of days before we could close the sale. We were supposed to be closing on the sale of our house the next day. So, that was fun. After a week of stress, we only moved into our new house one day late because we have an amazing Real Estate team. The next Monday we were finishing all of the moving.

If you’re familiar with Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, there’s some very basic things you need to feel fulfilled. I was missing thingsmaslow on the lower rungs of the pyramid. We had shelter, but not really a home. We weren’t getting sleepy or a place to belong. But the husband and I had each other and our cats and a U-Haul full of everything that we owned. We were really worried about everything disappearing from the U-Haul or what would happen if U-Haul told us they needed the truck back. We were worried that out house would fall through and I wouldn’t have a place to live. We were worried about work and having to take more time off so we could move. It was literally the worst.

It was an interesting week in the hotel. We went to an extended stay because there’s only so much Chipotle and Red Robin a person can eat, plus they would let us keep the cats with us. It had a fridge and a small kitchen, so we could cook. We had to pack a lot of our food in the U-Haul, but I made sure that we had enough to eat and cook. We also had to bring all of our frozen food and refrigerator foods with us in a couple of coolers and stick them in the room’s fridge, because there’s no way I’m buying fresh hoisin sauce. That’s stuff if expensive.

So, I was a Food Sherpa, out of necessity not out of choice. Still I over packed the dry good too, but not by much. I’m still trying to figure out the balance there. In in this instance, I needed to plan  for as many meals as I could. I had quick lunches and dinners that we could make with 2 burners, a pot, and a frying pan. I also brought along our electric kettle, a handful of seasoning, and a few other kitchen odds and ends. It made a really not fun situation feel a little bit like home.

My first journey as a celiac was a trip to my sister’s house with a to visit our grandparents. It’s about a 4 hour drive (in traffic) from Seattle to her house south of Salem, OR. She had been chatting with me all week about what she might need to do, and how to prep for my stay. I brought along a bunch of food, because from her house we had a 2 hours to the grandparents and back. I wanted to make sure I had road snacks and lunch stuff.

I kind of over packed. Well I really over packed. I brought along bars and crackers and785884 laughing cow cheese (which I just happened to have around the house), dried fruit, pop corn, more pop corn, and more pop corn (a girl has to be prepared.) Honestly, I ate crackers and cheese, a bar, and a lot of pop corn (have I mentioned before that I like popcorn?) I brought back almost as much food as I left with. Usually, when I do the road tripping, it’s a bad of chips and something to drink. There is always that thought of, if I really need something I can stop. I have gone to conventions with coolers full of food for 3-4 days of being away from home for 3 people. I brought about half of that for just me.

I will tell you this, when you go on a trip, have a meal plan. I know it’s one more thing to think about when you packing, but that meal plan will save you. Know what you’re going to have for breakfasts. Know what you’re going to need to pick up there (there’s no way I’m ever taking yogurt on a plane.) And keep it simple. If you can get away with one breakfast item for all of the days, do it. When you travel, space is important, even if your driving, so make sure you make the most of it. Honestly, I don’t think I’m ever going to choose to have a box of GF cookies over an extra pair of jeans.

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Popcorn would be another story, but that can go in the carry on. You need something to munch on the plane.

Getting that that holiday season is coming up, and that is the time that everyone goes a visiting, think about this. What can’t get where I’m going? What do I need to get there? What meals are the most important to eat on my own? Make a list your meals and what you’re going to need to prep them. Then get just the basics. Think about it like Blue Apron but you do it yourself, and for travel. Once you have your meal plan, go with it. Just take it and run with it. That’s the best thing that you could do for yourself.

Thanksgiving in next week, that means baking. I suspect that I will have 2 double blog posts next week. One about baking bread in my new oven (it shows up on Monday I’m so excited) and one about those two cornerstones of holiday prep  Food Network and Pinterest. Stayed tuned. Also, I’m actually going to be traveling next month for Christmas down to my native Portland (I know such a schlep), so I’ll make sure to describe holidays with my family to you in excruciating detail.

I have one more shout out. I just found out that my father’s older brother Larry, just was diagnosed with Celiac. He’s in his late 50’s and having to start out on our journey. I hope him all of the best while he starts down this wonderful adventure of being gluten free! Welcome to the Celiatariat, Larry! You’re in good company!

No, Benadryl doesn’t help with gluten

As I’ve mentioned before, my mother has a whole slew of allergies: citrus, eggs, nuts, peanuts, and soy are the big ones. When I was growing up, it wasn’t unusual for mom to have a lot of things left off an order or ask questions about what ingredients were. She has an emergency allergy kit in her purse, that is well stocked with Benadryl and hand creams and EpiPens. If she even got the tell tale itching in her mouth, out came the pills. Considering we never had to take her to the ED for any of these allergies, I think she did a pretty amazing job managing them.

So early on, in our discussions of my celiac, she asked me if I could take a Benadryl to combat the gluten in my system. Considering so many people don’t understand celiac but if you say “gluten allergy” they can comprehend what you’re saying, it makes a certain amount of sense. Except celiac isn’t an allergy. It is simply a reaction your body has to food. Except, when you have an allergy, that is also a reaction your body has to food. What exactly is the difference.

Lets start by looking at the definition of both words. According to Dictionary.com an allergy is:

1.an abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact, often manifested by itchy eyes, runny nose, wheezing, skin rash, or diarrhea.

2.hypersensitivity to the reintroduction of an allergen.Compare anaphylaxis.

Still using Dictionary.com celiac disease is:

1. a hereditary digestive disorder involving intolerance to gluten, usually occurring in young children, characterized by marked abdominal distention, malnutrition, wasting, and the passage of large, fatty,malodorous stools.
There’s a lot of differences in the definitions, but also quite a few similarities. Similarities are: ingestion of a food substance and something to do with poop. (Wow we talk a lot about poop.) But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Of course, the definition of both are amazing vague, and kind of untrue. So lets look at the next most basic source of information, Web MD.

What Is an Allergy?

It’s what happens when your immune system reacts to something that’s usually harmless. Those triggers, which doctors call “allergens,” can include pollen, mold, and animal dander, certain foods, or things that irritate your skin.

Allergies are very common. At least 1 in 5 Americans has one.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a type of protein. It’s found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross).

When you have this disease and you eat food with gluten in it, the gluten triggers an immune response that is not normal. This damages the inside of your small intestine so that it can’t do a good job of absorbing nutrients from your food.

It’s important to get treatment, because celiac disease can:

So again, we see one similarity here, each of these trigger an immune response, but that’s about where the similarities end again. So if we only look at the most surface similarities both allergies and celiac are immune reactions that have something to do with food and poop. Sounds about right.

So here’s the differnce that neither of these have touched upon. Allergies are immediate and Celiac is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction. If you look at this resource at the Food and Allergy Resource Program the difference between an allergy and celiac is that an allergic reaction activated antibodies in response to the allergen while celiac activates  phagocytes, antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of various cytokines in response to an antigen. That’s science speak for allergies and celiac trigger different immune reactions

So, why wouldn’t Benadryl work for Celiacs, well when the immune reaction happens for allergies it releases histamine into the suffer’s system. Benadryl is an antihistamine, which blocks the histamine reaction. When Celiac’s have a reaction, is causes entropy in the intestines  and no histamine. So while my mom eating some eggs or nuts can chew a Benadryl and start to feel better, because of my delayed hyper sensitive reaction and the cell-mediated immunological reaction that same Benadryl won’t help. It might even hurt if there’s a wheat in those pills.

Science, we has it in spades on this blog, and a lot of really large words. If you want to read more of the science, go here and keep google open to help you through some of the pretty amazing scientific terms in the article. I was googling the wikipedia entries I found to explain terms.

So, my move begins in earnest this week. I might be able to post next week, but we need to be out of our house on 11/1 and still don’t know where we’re moving on that date. Here’s hoping that everything comes up roses, and I have a great new house next week. Of course, next Monday is Halloween! My favorite holiday of the year! And my wedding anniversary!

 

When you find a server who “knows”, tip them well. They will be your best friend.

We are neck deep in the process of buying a new house. When I say neck deep, we’ve been looking at Real Estate for about 4 months now, and our house closes on November 1st. Really, we’re looking at moving. Of course, we’re moving pretty quickly with this whole moving thing, because we still haven’t 100% bought a place yet. We’re just under contract. Yup, that’s how we do this moving thing.

This whole process has made us do a lot of eating out. We’ve been going to open houses every weekend for months. We’ve been going to look at house after work. And since there’s very food quick fix gluten free meals, we’re had to find food out and about.That can be a tall order for a Celiac, because of all of the things that we mentioned in the blog before. I’ve been eating a lot of Chipotle and Red Robin, because they’re good at the gluten free thing.

We have taken to carrying around cash to tip anyone who does gluten fr
ee really well. When I ask for them to change their gloves and instead they offer to make my food in the back, away from all of the gluten foods, you bet I’m going to toss a couple of dollars into the tip jar. Places like Chipotle, this is just their 1cj08vnormal standard procedures. But if you walk into a Panera and get that offer, I’ll give them a couple of bucks. I still tip at the Chipotle, because they do well and should be rewarded to doing well.

Of course, I have been known to tip up to 50% if aserver says the magic words “Oh I totally understand, I have [insert family member or friend] who eats gluten free.” It instill this sense of security and a camaraderie with the server. They understand what I’m going through! They can take care of me! I trust them! Yup, I will pay good money for this. It’s the same sense you get when you walk into a gluten free bakery, you have a guide who can point you through a menu or advocate for you with the kitchen. As a celiac, you going to put a lot of effort out there. You’ll make calls to restaurants to make sure they can accommodate you. You’ll give your pre-prepared speech every time you order. Just that moment when you realize that you have someone who is really on your side, really willing to help you out and go to bat for you (even if it’s just for one meal) you gotta reward that person.

I’ve had a couple of these great interactions. The first time I tried our local taco place (plus tequila bar) I had a server who had a family member that had celiac. He pointed me to tacomenu items that I could eat, and even gave me a suggestion of what to have on that menu (grilled halibut tacos with mango salsa and chimichurri and grilled asparagus on the side). This was my first real experience with the “I know” servers, and I thought I would never have it happen again. But I’ve had people say that they eat gluten free, and made sure the kitchen was extra careful. I had people go to the bar to check what alcohol they had, and said “I see my mom drink this and she is gluten free.” I even had one person who came by saying that she had chills because kitchen had accidentally pit an onion ring on my place and she was worried that I was going to “die” from it.

That’s not all of my experiences, but some of the most note worthy. I have had a lot of great interactions by just being blunt and asking for help. There are some restaurants where they just met my expectations of taking care of me. But then there were these amazing superhero servers who went above and beyond. I think they they should be called out as the amazing human being that they are. We’ve all had someone in customer service who go out of their way to help. The best of them will just tell you that they’re “just doing their job.” It doesn’t mean that you are any less appreciative of their help. Unlike a lot of other customer service jobs, you can reward the servers for their work by leaving a bigger tip, and you probably should.

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Gluten free does not mean science free

I know that I make political jokes on this blog but there’s something in this election that scares me, and that is Donald Trump. I’m not discussing his deplorable behavior or past statement of actions towards women. I am not even discussing the religious fervor that his supporters that have towards his hate speak. No, the thing that worries me the most is his stance on governmental regulation. He’s a business man first and foremost. He has made a lot of money understanding regulatory rules and looking for interesting ways to make a profit within them. This means that he doesn’t have a great love for any regulation that is going to hinder business people from making money. If you look at his economic plan that came out about a month ago, you can see this. He uses inflammatory language towards almost every regulatory agency that the US has.

What most of you might not know is that there was an edit within that document. It was up for just about an hour, but people caught screen shots of it. The line item called the FDA the “Food Police” and too aim at the inspections of food facilities and “farm and food production hygiene.” So as a human being that eats food, I take offense to leniency in our food hygiene regulation (especially with the rise of e-coli and listeria breakouts in the past few years.) As a Celiac, this thought makes she shiver with horror.

If you would like to read more about it here’s a set of articles that I found that all corroborate this:

Trump’s FDA plan should raise concerns for Americans who eat food

But Donald Trump Was Right – Heinz Ketchup Is Why We Can Kill FDA Food Regulations

Trump Wants Everyone to Eat Unregulated Food. Or Maybe Not.

Trump targets “the FDA Food Police,” calls for elimination of food-safety regulations in new tax plan

We’ve discussed before some of the Gluten Free Renaissance that we’re having right now is because of the FDA and their regulation. Rules like the Gluten Free regulation would be under the chopping block. It requires extra testing and inspections of facilities, and considering that (in some instances) gluten free food starts at the farm, the regulation of hygiene benefits the gluten free community too. Anything that rescinds these regulations (which are only a few years old) is something that should scare you.

Yes, Trump took it out of his economic policy, but anyone who has been paying attention to this election knows that what is in Turmp’s head usually doesn’t leave. It just lays dormant until he things someone isn’t really paying attention, then he tries to slip it past those not really paying attention. Honestly, just the thought of Trump being in charge of our regulatory measures was enough scare me away from voting for him, this small glimpse in his plans for the FDA, I’m really seriously glad that people have been scared away from him for a plethora of other reasons. The fact that he isn’t really paying attention to the science behind those regulations, well that scares me the most.

But, as we showed in this post not a lot of people pay attention to the science behind their food. The fact that someone could write a book with pseudoscience like Wheat Belly, make millions of dollars, and influence so many people that eating gluten free is better for them just shows how gullible people are. I might be going really far out on a limb here, and I might offend a few people, but I feel like it needs to be said. THIS IS EVIDENT IN THE ORGANIC FOOD AND NON-GMO MOVEMENTS THE MOST!

I am going to admit, I eat organic food. I find it easier to read the labels of organic food companies. If regular food labels were as easy to read, I would probably never pick up organic food. There is no evidence that growing food organically is any better or worse for you. You can point towards articles and circumstantial evidence, but the stories just don’t match the studies. They don’t. In fact, organic food is less efficient (meaning that it’s actually hurting farmers to grow food organically.) So, why do people feel like organic food is better for them? Well according to Web MD, it is believed that organic food have more nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. There is also the belief that carry less harmful pesticides. There have also been studies that state organic food might have more natural toxins in them, which are the plants own pesticides. So the fewer harmful pesticides might be a wash with more natural toxins in the plants. But there doesn’t appear to be any definitive studies stating that organic food is better. In fact the Organic Trade Association has stated that the FDA’s original studies when they started regulating organic foods were not accurate because there wasn’t a good control in them. The OTA has also spent more than $100,000 in 2016 to lobby for Organic Food Regulations, and according to Wikipedia that have spent upwards to $300,000 to lobby. I can’t find exact numbers on how much the OTA makes in a year, but I suspect any organization that can spend that much to lobby makes a lot more than that.

The OTA is also getting into the non-GMO lobbying business. Non-GMO is literally he most anti-science because it is against the manipulation of the genetics of seeds. Usually GMO is just increasing the yield of the crops, it make then grow in hostile environments, you know like areas where there’s not a lot of water. When we were kids, this was called ending world hunger. Now it’s called GMO, which is a new buzzy bad word associated with big pharma trying to turn our tomatoes into mutants. I’m still not sure how creating food that will feed the hungry in Africa is bad. Or create food that is resistant to certain infections or rots (which means it works better under organic conditions.) Of course, the Non-GMO Project (literally the top one that comes up when you google Non-GMO) has made about $400,000 between 2014 and 2015.

Both the Organic and the Non-GMO lobbies make and spend thousands of dollars on non-scientific labeling regulations being added to labels. There is a much simpler and easier solution to all of these groups, and for it we shall look at France and Italy. France and Italy, places know for the quality of their food, has strict rules and regulation on what can be put in their food, and even stricter food labeling guidelines. Heck, even Canada has better food labeling guidelines than America. Canada! That’s like your kid sister getting into Harvard when you only got into East State. If, instead, we tried to get plain speak put back in our food labeling, we could probably get a lot further that trying to push agendas of pseudo-scientific theories about that is healthier. It would also give people like food babe a lot less to discuss on her blog. Of course, there would be a lot less for me to write about on my blog too. I think I would be super happy with that.  Because with truth in labeling, we can all make better decisions about what we eat.

No one will be as careful as you, and you will probably be more careful then you need to be.

This weekend we went to Salmon Days, which is a street fair/festival here in Issaquah, WA with my celia-sissy, brother-in-law, and the nephews. Salmon Days basically a celebration of the salmon spawning (such a Washington festival). There is a lot of street/fair food around (so nothing that a celiac could eat) and a lot of booths of overpriced clothing, stone wear dishes, scrap metal for your yard, and (of course) local businesses giving away small branded items. Oh and salmon watching. You can watch salmon swim up a creek to die. I make that sound kind of depressing, but it’s a joyous event…really.

Anyway, after watching the fish struggle towards the inevitable death, it was nephew snack time, and they decided on that they wanted that iconic fair food, elephant ears. As we were walking away from the Issaquah fish hatchery, my 7 year old nephew lets go of his mommy’s hand saying “I’m going to eat gluten, so I’m going to have to change to daddy’s hand” and went to go stand by his father.  My Cilia-sissy looked at me like her heart was going to melt from the cuteness of her son.

Preemptive hand changing might be a bit over cautious, no matter how cute it is, because even though he was aware of not holding mommy’s hand, right after eating his elephant ear, he wanted to see auntie’s phone. All of this brought up a discussion about hand sanitizer (the only way to clean our hands at the festival), using water from a water bottle, or just wiping your hands off. Of course, I only had my phone to research with me and that was being taken up with Pokemon Go.

But of course this got me thinking. How often are we more careful that we need to be? I know that I’m gluten paranoid, but only because every time I am not I get sick. So, how careful do we really need to be? Well, really careful. So, if take trip in the way back machine (all the way back to the beginning) my post of what to do right after your diagnosis. Remember that a crumb, just a crumb, can be enough to get a celiac ill. But, do you remember our cocoa powder experiment with the counters. Did you know that you can do that with your hands too!?

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The results, well wiping your hands is not enough. Just look in between those fingers. Heck, even just a regular washing left some particles in between my knuckles. Scarey. You have to go the full “happy birthday” level wash to make sure that everything is clean. The scariest part is what I found in this 2007 study. John Hopkins studied peanut particles in schools and hand washing/cleaning. The hand washing study found that particles of peanuts were still found on half of the hands of their subjects after their using hand sanitizer.

There is differences between peanuts and wheat or gluten. Peanuts have oil, and oil can stay around on hands a lot longer than a dry particle like wheat. This can make it was easy to spread, but, almost, harder to wash off. That doesn’t mean that the same principles don’t apply. If you think about it, logically, the way that hand sanitizers (supposedly) work is the act of rubbing helps to kill the germs. Of course the FDA says that even that isn’t true, so lets just move past that. You put a liquid on your hands, rub them around, and then the alcohol evaporates off and leaves your hands feeling clean. But there is nothing that will be getting the peanut oil or wheat off of your hands. There’s just no transfer of the substance to another object. So it just wouldn’t work, there’s no way it could.

Lets get back to my little hand washing experiment. My hands of coated with cocoa power. Truth, unless you’re dipping your hands in batter or flour, you’re never going to need to worry about more than a crumb or two. So you might not have to worry about washing your hands as well as a doctor. Does it mean that you shouldn’t be vigilant, no. Do you have to be that vigilant, probably not. Just like you’re not getting sick from doorknobs or escalators. You just get used to not touching your mouth and washing your hands before all meals.

So, how careful do you have to be? To be safe, more than anyone else. You’ll find your level that probably just a hair on this side of crazy, but until the FDA approved one of those gluten pills, I’m just going to stay there to be safe.

Also, this is officially half way through all of our topics. Just getting over the hump!

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