Dear Gluten-Free Famous People…

gluten free celebrities

Dear Gluten-free Famous People,

Hello my fellow celebrities. What? You didn’t know I was once “in the business”? Sure…I may not have reached your stature, but you don’t do 23 episodes of One Life to Live back in the 90’s and not call me one of your own. You do know I have a Hollywood Star, right? It’s Hollywood, Florida…but still.

Anyway, we’ve had our struggles here with gluten-free celebrities. As a matter of fact, I’ve written about them pretty darn extensively over the years. Here’s a sampling:

So…yeah…it’s a pretty ugly and sordid history here with you folks.

Now just this past 2 weeks, we’ve had two more of you celebs go gluten-free. Would you help the cause or hurt the cause? I’ll rate each on a scale of 1 (help the cause) to 10 (hurt the cause).

First up is Justin Bieber. Now to be fair, I’m a huge Belieber and have posters of him all of my bedroom. Yes…I’m kidding. Anyway, he posted the following on Instragram to his 120 million followers (for the record, he has 119,993,239 more followers than I do):

bieber gluten

My observations:

  • Don’t want to nitpick, but there is no such thing as a gluten allergy. You can have celiac. You can have gluten intolerance. You can be allergic to wheat. Again…not to nitpick, but education is key.
  • If that’s his “worst news”, he’s got a pretty good life.
  • Omission beer. Rats!!! Rats, rats, rats. Omission is not gluten-free. It’s gluten-removed. Even their own website has the following disclaimer: Beer fermented from barley, a grain containing gluten, and crafted to remove gluten. The gluten content of this beer cannot be verified, and this beer may contain gluten.

Bieber Summary: If…and this is a big if…this is not just a paid sponsorship for Omission, then I see no harm. No foul. He didn’t minimize his issue. He knew he couldn’t have Corona. I’m sure he has no idea of the difference between gluten-free and gluten-removed. The question is “what comes next?” Hopefully, he’ll be a decent advocate and help raise awareness.

Final Rating: 3
Dude note: If this is just an ad for Omission, I’m adjusting my rating to a 10.

Next up is Kristen Bell. Now to be fair, I’m a huge Belliever (see what I did there?). Anyway, this one is a bit confusing.

  • She says she woke up with celiac disease 2 months ago. (Huh?)
  • She was diagnosed by a homeopathic doctor who told her she has “a genetic marker for celiac disease.”
  • She says “I have to have carbs because I have to memorize 11 pages of dialogue a day. I can’t do that eating spinach and chicken.
  • She is experimenting with being completely gluten-free, and calls it “very annoying to do.”

Bell Summary: I’m not quite where to start here. A genetic marker does not mean you have celiac disease. Carbs are not the same thing as gluten. What’s wrong with chicken and spinach? You shouldn’t go gluten-free if you want an actual diagnosis. Experimenting?? On top of all of this, she was asking for gluten-free recipes back in 2013. So I’m all sorts of confused.

Final Rating: 7

So…to my fellow celebrities (yes I’m still calling myself a celebrity…even if it’s in my own head), here is what I say to you. Ya gotta go gluten-free for health reasons? It sucks, but welcome to the jungle. We’re happy to have you on board. But please educate yourself on the seriousness of celiac disease and how gluten-free is our ONLY treatment. If you cheat, keep it to yourself. It’s not a badge of honor and it hurts those who would never cheat (which is 99% of the celiac community).

You’ve got a huge platform. Kudos to you. You can use that platform to help us or hurt us. Please choose the former. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Gluten Dude (your fellow celebrity. I was on One Life to Live darnit!!!)

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3 thoughts on “Dear Gluten-Free Famous People…”

  1. Don’t let the Hollywood snobbery get to you. I’ve been in zero anything, not even a high school play because I chickened out. I don’t count the ballet recital when I was 4. What actors go through is pretty heroic.

    I sincerely hope that in both of these celeb’s case, someone close to them pulled them aside and helped them get a real diagnosis, or at least attempt to get one. Sometimes I think only a simple and clear message can get through misleading stuff like this. Like, “please see a gastroenterologist for a celiac screening and a genetic test, for your own health” or something like “have you been diagnosed with it by an MD or is this a personal opinion?” (if you’re really annoyed with them)

    Since their premise is wrong, the “therefore I am drinking this beer… ” or “therefore… whatever” part is not worth arguing with.

    I had a hard time finding an MD who thought I was Celiac. I had no positive blood test. But my genetic test was positive. I had already given up gluten by the time I saw a gastro. He didn’t want to risk endoscopy because I have a history of bleeding and a history of blood clots. So I’m Celiac in name but not in any way that would qualify me for a clinical trial. Every subjective symptom is there too, including the symptoms of gut healing. I think we need some alternative and accepted means of diagnosing it with certainty. I had to fight hard to get clarity on it.

    I think most people don’t go that far. They get nonsense from the first or second confused doctor and then they ask their alternative practitioner. I don’t mind alternative health practitioners, but I like my diagnosis to come from an MD. Then later if they want to help me then fine.

    In the case of celeb’s I think there is a phenomenon of pushing alternative health on them because they can afford it. And human curiosity pulls them into it too. But when it comes to something that can destroy your thyroid and thereby your career in Hollywood, I really think they should see a real MD about it.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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