Not a great week for celiac awareness folks.
No other medical condition, especially one as serious as celiac disease, gets this total lack of respect.
Cases in point:
Horror Story #1: The above image was sent to me by a fellow celiac. She had an international flight on Air Berlin. She requested a gluten-free meal/snack a week early and confirmed it at the check in desk. That little orange sticker even had “GF” and her seat number on it. And what did they give her? Friggin’ crackers where the first ingredient is wheat. To top it off, they also gave her some mystery/unlabeled bread in a sealed plastic bag. When she asked the flight attendant if it was gluten free, she shrugged and said “I guess…”
She emailed the airline about it… took nearly a month to send her a basic PR/sorry this incident happened/we’ll look into it/canned response that didn’t even mention her complaint.
Horror Story #2: I had a chat with Jennifer Esposito last night. She told me of a very popular restaurant in NYC that lies about their gluten-free dishes because the chef believes celiac disease is a fad. Yes…our disease is a fad.
We are in discussions on how to “out” them. It may entail me dressing up like a sexy 20-something female so I can get a waitressing job there for a week. What? You don’t think I can pull it off?? Just take a look at my Brittney Spears Halloween costume a few years ago >>>>
Horror Story #3: At the BlogHer conference last week, an extremely popular event, our fellow celiacs were fed gluten not once, but twice. Twice!!
Gluten free is our drug and yet because of the idiotic gluten free craze, we are simply not being taken seriously. Can you imagine any other disease where there is such a nonchalant attitude about what keeps us safe?
What’s the answer? I could say more awareness and more advocacy. And I for one will keep fighting the good fight.
But there has got to be more to it than that. Anybody? I am open for suggestions and would LOVE to hear them.