Today I was having writer’s block, so I asked you guys what you wanted me to research. I got some interesting questions and nothing I expected. Here’s my best attempt at answering them…
“Do you think restaurants will continue to honor the gluten free trend in their menu offerings?” This is a great question. Restaurants are struggling. I know in Atlanta my favorite dedicated gluten free restaurant and bakery have closed due to the outbreak. Restaurants will follow the money. They weren’t offering gluten free/friendly options out of the goodness of their hearts, they were offering these options because their customers demanded it.
I think the bigger issue is not whether restaurants will continue to support the gluten free trend but is will people still demand gluten free options? The celiac community will always need gluten free options – that is a given. But will those who were “fashionable” gluten free eaters still want gluten free options? Will the fad dieters move onto a new fad after we can move a little more freely?
I think that during this pandemic the fad gluten free dieters have realized how difficult it is to maintain a gluten free diet, if they were even truly gluten free before this whole thing started. People trying to cut down on bread and pasta may have bought bunches of it during the fear buying stages of these lockdown orders.
In my neck of the woods, the gluten free aisles have been pretty stocked and I have only noticed an issue getting Freschetta gluten free pizza, which really made me mad! Otherwise, I’ve not had an issue obtaining any gluten free products.
Also, eating gluten free is very different than vegetarianism or veganism. The vegetarians and vegans are often times doing it for moral or ethical reasons. Typically, the gluten free diet doesn’t have that type of moral underpinning thus making it far less “sticky”.
If I had to guess, the gluten free diet fad will fade pretty quickly after all of this. I think it was a luxury for many and now the time of luxury seems like a distant memory. That sounds very Debbie Downer, but I just think people are looking to make their lives easier rather than harder.
“Gluten in medicine.” I don’t take a lot of medicines. When I do, I use the website glutenfreedrugs.com to see if the medicine has gluten. I have also let my pharmacy know about the need for gluten free drugs.
In the past year, I’ve been on prescription drugs twice in the past year. My daughter was kind enough to share her impetigo from camp. I had to take a heavy duty antibiotic. I checked with the pharmacist, the manufacturer’s web site, and glutenfreedrugs.com to make sure it was gluten free. I had a kidney stone a few months back. It caused a lot of pain, nausea, and vomiting. I’ll be honest, I didn’t check at all about gluten in the medicines they gave me. I didn’t care. I needed the pain and vomiting to stop. When I was able to function a little bit, I checked GlutenFreeDrugs.com and found everything I was taking was safe.
I do also want to say, some drugs have side effects that cause gastrointestinal upset. Before assuming the drug has gluten, please ensure that gastrointestinal upset is not a potential side effect of the medication. I see lots of posts like that too.
For over the counter drugs, I only buy things marked gluten free. Target’s Up and Up brand has a bunch of gluten free labelled items. If it isn’t marked gluten free, I will stand in the store and check the manufacturer’s web site. Often times, they will tell you if it is gluten free there. I will also check the GlutenFreeDrugs.com website too.
Also, the folks at BeyondCeliac are lobbying Congress for the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2019. The bill is still working its way through Congress. If you haven’t already, please contact your Senators and Congress people to encourage passage of this bill. I have contacted my Senators and Congress members and gotten assurances that they will support these bills.
Long answer to a very short question – you are welcome. 😉
“Contacting manufacturers – what questions do you ask and when are you satisfied with their answers.” – I typically don’t call 800 numbers to talk to manufacturers. In my mind there are enough products out there that are labelled gluten free or they have put the information on their website to let me know if their product is gluten free. I’ve got enough on my plate that arguing with someone that typically has as much information from as I do from their web site. If I cannot find the information pretty easily, I just don’t buy the product.
I will say this – there is one product I might call about and that is the Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage. My husband has been wanting some. I can find information on their “restaurant supply” side about the sausage but nothing on the consumer side. Instead, I buy Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausage that is marked gluten free and move along.
This brings up the question of a product being made in a “shared facility.” I typically will buy a product marked gluten free made in a “shared facility”. Those facilities are football fields large and it would be difficult to be cross contaminated with other things – like the factory isn’t going to be making both flour and sausage in the same place. “Shared lines” are a different story and typically those products are not marked gluten free.
For example, Nacho Cheese Doritos used to be marked gluten free. Reading the label it not longer carries a gluten free label and contains no gluten containing ingredients. Looking at their website it is not listed as a gluten free item and they explain that those are made on “shared lines” and they cannot guarantee the gluten content of the food.
I have called small, speciality manufacturers. They are typically on the ball with gluten information. They want you to buy their product, so if they can give you the information quickly and accurately they will. Someone gave me a gift of some grits from a small manufacturer in South Carolina. The grits weren’t marked. I called the customer service number on their website, asked if the grits were gluten free, and she said yes. Sometimes a corn mill could also be a wheat mill – so I asked and they only mill corn there. That was a small, speciality product and they were on the ball!
I know that doesn’t answer your question directly. I’ve been on the other side of those calls and I know how limited the information they have to give is. They really don’t have much more information than what you can find online. I think your best bet is to check the manufacturer’s web site and gleen all the information you can there is really your best bet. If you can’t find the information you need, it might be best to find an alternate product.
I’ve been writing for about an hour now – I know it only takes like 5 mins to read these. But either tomorrow or over the next day or two, I will answer the following:
- about a new study on early death in celiac disease – I read the study quickly, but needs more thought and to see if there are other studies with similar conclusions
- NIH and money for celiac – yes they have some money set aside but I have to research on what they are looking at and this Covid-19 might have derailed some celiac research
- citric acid and gluten-like reaction – which in a quick google search, doesn’t seem to be a gluten reaction at all, but needs more research