Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

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,'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....



a kelly said...

you are so right on here Ginger!
It's frustrating to hear such inaccurate information getting attention. I'm 2 years off gluten too and still healing. I went further and took out all grains and have started to finally move forward.
Elizabeth certainly can't speak for all of us.

jill elise said...

Ugh, that's annoying. I'm torn between saying 'oh great, she's getting the word out', and 'what's the point if shes just going to be giving false information'. I'm almost positive that if I'd read that book when I was going gluten-free, I would have said to myself 'oh, cool, so if I cut out gluten a little bit I'll be better? That's easy' and then would have still been totally sick, and miserable, and would have written off the gluten-free diet all together I'm sure. Ugh. What a bummer.

Amanda on Maui said...

I wasn't really aware of her until recently. It sucks to hear that she's spreading bad information. It only makes things worse for people who really are gluten-free. It'd be better if she kept her mouth shut, and her hands off the keyboard. I'm not trying to be a bitch, but that's the truth. I'd rather restaurants, stores, etc. not have food available than be told "it's okay for you" and then get sick.
My mom is wheat free, but not gluten-free. I've had to tell her that spelt isn't gluten-free, and I've had to tell many other people that too (including health food store employees).
I never cheat.

Gluten Free Steve said...

She's a pinhead.

Amanda on Maui said...

@Gluten Free Steve

Well put.

Jennifer Gluten Free in Georgia said...

I was about to blog about this very topic, so I am glad I am not the only one who is annoyed. Why does she call it the G-free diet anyway? We need someone out there who is 'educated' on the gluten free diet to be our spokesperson, not some twit who interviews Dr. Peter Green and says she thought she was "allergic to the movies"

Raven said...

Howdy. I saw her on either GMA or Today this morning--can't remember which. Anyhoo, she did come out and say that it was an auto-immune disease. That being said--she is indeed a pinhead.

Karina Allrich said...

I wasn't diagnosed until my mid-forties, so celiac disease wreaked a lot of havoc (I'll spare you the details). Yes, certain acute symptoms improved right away on the gluten-free diet, but even years later- living strictly gluten-free, btw, not pulling cheese off pizza- I still have damage and osteoporosis.

Politics aside, she's not the spokesperson I would have hoped for. Her understanding is rather limited.

Gluti Girl said...

I bought the book to see for myself. Ok, she is a pinhead! You are too funny Steve! The book had great potential and parts of it were good. But because of all the other stuff in it, she blew it. She does say in the book that it is an autoimmune condition and that it's not and allergy, but also says it's and allergy. And, she admits to cheating and I guess has sort of a flip attitude towards it.

Amanda on Maui said...

It's not good to hear that the book is that bad, and that she takes cheating so lightly.

This makes things a little scarier for those of us who to take things seriously (and she should).