Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Potato, Po-TAH-to: What's the difference
I've had a bee in my bonnet lately, and it is about to hit your local bookstore. (Boy, that was a mixed metaphor). I don't mean to make this a rant, but...it's gonna happen.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck and I certainly don't share political views, and she has never been my favorite on The View. But when I became gluten free two years ago (and later, when diagnosed with celiac disease) I felt that Elisabeth was a kindred spirit, a proud voice to my intolerance of gluten and its derivatives. My sister in Gluten Freedom, even.
In a few days, though, there's going to be a new book by Hasselbeck, called "The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide," in your bookstore. Now, I'm going to be mean here, but she does something that really upsets me.
She implies that Celiac Disease is merely a wheat allergy.
And I wish she wouldn't.
Take for instance this item in the recent Rachel Ray magazine. She talks about her "wheat allergy."
No no no. Say it ain't so!
And she Tweets some things like this that aggravate me greatly: ' i would try all g-free...only way to tell...hang in there. it will take a few weeks to feel completely better. :" A few WEEKS? Try a year. Six months. We see gradual improvement, but I've been totally 100 percent (no cheating at all) gluten free for TWO YEARS and I still have problems. Of this that she wrote to someone called Spicy Magnolia: "you can! more energy, better fitness...more bang for the bite! try with just gfree-ing 1 meal a day, or snacks are all gfree."
Uh, not if you have Celiac Disease, folks. That's not gonna cut it. That isn't going to make someone newly diagnosed with celiac well. Ever. Now if you're gluten free for some vanity reason, well, that's different. But she's not. And most of us out there aren't either.
I find myself with torn emotions. I'm all about spreading public awareness and information. That's why I have this blog. And I'm happy she's got a GF success story to share. But you can't have Celiac Disease and do it half way. And it's really not an allergy, even if that is the easiest way to explain "keep your bread and croutons and soy sauce etc." to a restaurant person (and in the interest of full disclosure, that's the only time I say I have a "wheat" allergy, by the way).
But really, let's call a shovel a shovel and be honest. Give people the real deal, Elisabeth. You demand that standard on The View, and we in the Celiac community need you to do that as far as celiac is concerned.
Being "G-Free" is about SO MUCH MORE than having an allergy. Don't tone it down, on Twitter or on television. You're a powerful spokeswoman for the Celiac community, and we NEED you to tell it like it is.
You're a Survivor (pun intended, of course). And we in the Celiac Community are looking to YOU as our ambassador.
Do us proud with the truth about being G-Free.
Much love, and please don't get me started on Jenny McCarthy and autism....