It’s YOUR Health. What Are You Doing With It?

I’m going on a rant here, so don’t expect anything else but me venting in this post.

Ye have been warned.

My friends and I will occasionally post things on our Facebook blog pages that stir up conversation.  As much conversation as you can have through comments on statuses and links we share.  I’m still seeing people act irresponsibly in regards to their own health and the health of others when it comes to the gluten-free diet.

The debate over the gluten-free Domino’s pizza still rages on.  They still will not change their practices in preparing the “gluten-free” pizza which means it is not gluten-free or safe for anyone who needs to eat gluten-free.  ANYONE.  It is irresponsible for them to claim that it is safe for those with “mild gluten sensitivity” and not those with Celiac.  This has led to people who need to eat gluten-free to order the pizza and because they did not have visible symptoms, they think it’s safe.  It is NOT.  No visible symptoms does not mean gluten isn’t in your body wreaking havoc, because it is.

I say this because a friend made a comment about Domino’s pizza last night on her Facebook blog page.  It was heart warming to scroll down and see people agreeing with her and making comments that support her.  Then it came.  The mothers who are ordering the pizza when they and their child need to be gluten-free.  The people who think we are beating a dead horse by continually speaking up on this topic.   The people who admit to eating gluten or only snacks when on the road because they didn’t plan.  Those who claim that those of us with Celiac feel like we own the term “gluten-free” and that we are dividing the community.

I got angry.  Very angry.

Clearly, people still do not understand the crux of the problem with Domino’s gluten-free pizza is that they claim it is for one set of gluten-free people, but not another and that they refuse to make changes to procedures to make it safe.  They continue to stand by this.  This shows me that they have no interest whatsoever in the health and well-being of the gluten-free community.  Other restaurants that have gotten procedural feedback have either stopped their gluten-free offerings until they can create procedures to ensure a safe meal or they have made the appropriate changes.  Domino’s refuses to change.  Corporate greed at its best.  If you need to be gluten-free and you are eating their pizza, you may as well shoot yourself in the stomach.  If Domino’s changed and we were still discussing this, then we’d be beating a dead horse.

I find it abhorrent that parents are feeding their gluten-free children this pizza.  Parents are responsible for the well-being of another person(s).  Children know what they learn from us.  If you play Russian Roulette with your child’s health, they will do the same as adults.  If you are teaching your child more caution when eating food prepared by others, they will do the same as adults.  Your child depends on you.  Being less than cautious with their health when they have serious health issues amounts to medical neglect and child endangerment.  I’ve seen kids removed from the home for less in my social work years.

Most Western doctors still don’t understand or know all there is to know about the issues related to gluten, yet many people blindly listen to whatever their doctor tells them and considers their word golden.  People take a restaurant’s word that gluten-free really means gluten-free without verifying themselves.  We are responsible for educating ourselves and continuing to educate ourselves on the chronic illnesses that affect us along with the current issues related to it.  If more people did this, they would understand that this is not a Celiac versus gluten intolerance issue.  It is a globally gluten-free issue.  This affects those of us with Celiac, non-Celiac gluten intolerance, and wheat/gluten allergies.  This needs to be us versus those that pretend to be well-meaning and refuse to change our ways, not us versus us.  A house united will not fall.

Planning is a part of keeping ourselves educated.  I have planned meals for years.  Even before going gluten-free.  I planned food for our road trips.  Nowadays, I need to plan for pretty much everything.  It is part of my personal responsibility to keep myself healthy.  Planning when away from the home is essential for all of us.  In recent months I’ve heard about people starving in airports because a flight was delayed and there was no safe food around.  I mean really.  Who goes to an airport without their own food when they have food issues?  Chaz made fun of me last November when I was packing for our first plane trip since I went gluten-free.  He did it all in fun, but I had a lot of food both in the suitcase and our carry on.  I was prepared for any delay.  Going on road trips means even more planning and making sure I have a gluten-free meal packed for us that we can eat at a rest stop when we get hungry and healthy snacks like hummus and veggies that we can eat in the car.  If you are relying on convenience store food and greasy spoons to feed you along the way, safely or unsafely, you aren’t taking your health seriously.

Those of us who keep ourselves educated, stay vigilant about current issues, and plan have taken our health in our own hands and ensure that we stay healthy and safe.  There is no safe for some of you and not safe for the others in our minds.  “Mostly safe” is not acceptable for us.  Restaurants that refuse to change their procedures knowing they aren’t safe and continue on their path earn our disdain because we know better.  We continue to advocate for those who are new to our diet and even for you, if you are one of those I mentioned.  We don’t do it because we feel we know better.  We do it because we feel it is our duty to ensure safety for all.