Dear Gwyneth…please shut up


Honestly.  I know your intentions are good. But you and your Hollywood friends are really doing those with celiac disease a huge disservice. Going gluten-free is not a “diet choice” for us. It is not “key to losing weight” as you say. It’s not the South Beach Diet or any of those other ridiculous fad diets out there that promise a shortcut to a healthy body and soul.

You want to be healthy? Eat smart, eat less and exercise a lot. It’s been this way since the beginning of time and it will never, ever change.

Five years ago when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, most had not heard of the disease and had no idea what gluten was (me included). So if I was eating out, I needed to be very specific in my ordering because it was such an unknown to the general public. And because of that, I was taken very seriously. Chefs came out to speak with me. Waitresses asked a thousand questions to make sure I wouldn’t get sick. And while it was, and continues to be, a huge pain in the ass, it was treated as it should be…a dangerous auto-immune disease.

Now…things have changed. Gluten has gone mainstream. Some feel that’s a good thing. More publicity means more products, more education, etc, etc. But now, when I try to explain celiac disease, this is what I get: “Oh…that’s that gluten diet thing, right?” I almost feel the need to defend myself.

What you have done Gwyneth is you have minimized the seriousness of gluten to those who simply cannot have it. Spend a virtual day with me. Is this what you go through on a daily basis? Probably not.

I’m glad you’re healthy and happy being gluten free. I really am. Please just keep it to yourself.

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31 thoughts on “Dear Gwyneth…please shut up”

    1. I’m sure she does not. And listen, if you want to go gluten-free, by all means go for it. Just don’t call it a diet.

  1. you hit the nail on the head! I hate it when Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet are trivialized. I mean, it’s nice that there is more awareness, but it’s annoying that it seems to have become a fad like the low carb diet. It’s a double edged sword.

  2. It is very simple. When I eat bread, I get a horrible stomach ache and feel like I was hit by a bus soon after. This happened to me late in my adulthood. I ended up in the emergency room with what they thought was a bowel obstruction. So now I avoid gluten but I don’t go around announcing this in restaurants to the staff. I find I can tolerate a tiny bit of flour, such as found in a sauce but give me the bread basket, and I can turn into a basket case, literally. Who knows why this happened to me. I don’t talk about it with many people except my family and those who I may go out to dinner with. I don’t terrorize the waitstaff like I have seen some people do in restaurants. And mostly these are people who have adopted the gluten free lifestyle like a religion. If I could eat bread, I certainly would. I adore all bread!

    1. Laura…why don’t you get tested for Celiac? If your stomach pain is that intense, you’ve got some serious stuff going on in there.

  3. Amen. One of the things that gets me about these stars is 1. If they get accidentally glutened they do not have to worry about diarrhea, bloating, pain, gas, neuro symptoms, brain fog, itchy skin, and fatigue. lol

    There seems to be this disconnect between a GF diet and actual Celiac disease. I don’t think they have even considered that having celiac and not actually going GF can kill you from neuro damage and malnutrition.

    The only good thing that has come of it is that product labels seem to be getting much better.

    1. That is the ONLY good thing to come out of it. But the tide is starting to turn on gluten (yay!). That will be my blog post tomorrow.

    2. I’m with Simone up there.

      Gluten is poison for EVERYONE. Both Hugs and I were tested for celiac (blood test) a few years ago. Neither of us is.

      However, we KNEW Hugs had serious issues – his joint pain and migraines almost disappeared on a GF diet.

      I didn’t have issues, or so I thought. So after dabbling for several years (GF at home, occasionally dipping into the banquet or restaurant bread basket), I finally connected my occasional bouts of arthritis pain to gluten.

      Cleaned up my diet significantly. Then last week, after NO intentional gluten for weeks, I had a test that measured antibodies, which turned out that I had a significant antibody count.

      Fooled me.

      Same with my mother – in assisted living, trying to keep her gluten free for a year. She has a rash that won’t clear up – dermatitis herpetiformis? Got tested. Not celiac. Yes, dermatitis herpetiformis.

      Celiacs are not HUGELY different from the rest of us, just further advanced in the development of poor health. Gluten MAKES celiac and other autoimmune disease.

  4. Great post, and especially relevant given the latest news that docs think celebrity endorsers and food marketers might actually be playing a role in people developing (or at least thinking that they’re developing) non-celiac gluten sensitivity. A complex issue, to be sure, and one I recently tackled in my own blog, Celebranded, which focuses on celebrity endorsements. I was happy to include a link to your post in my content, which can be found here:

  5. Today, I walked into a cafe and saw a platter of muffins labeled GLUTEN-FREE cranberry oat muffins, amongst the gluten baked goods. I asked the lady behind the counter if certified gluten-free oats were used and she didn’t know, but said lots of gluten-free people had eaten them, so they must be okay.

    I kindly explained why that did not mean they were okay, and that it was necessary to only label it gluten-fee if they were sure to use gluten-free ingredients.

    Marketing tactics can hurt people. Beware of sellers jumping on the GF bandwagon.

  6. Awesome post. I spend quite a bit of time making sure me and my kids (even more important) don’t get glutened. I applaud you for bringing this up. How about we all pretend it’s as serious as a peanut allergy? After the past 2 years with the school staff, I wish when they asked what would happen to my kids if they got glutened I had answered, “Whoever gives them the food with gluten will get puked on.”

  7. I couldn’t agree with all of you more. My three year old daughter was diagnosed in March and when I speak with people about this I always get the same reaction… I know plenty of gluten free people. She’ll be fine! I can’t stop myself from getting so angry, but I know it is ignorance and Hollywood is only making it harder. Thank you for your blog. I look forward to reading it and sharing our experiences.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      Thanks Lori. My aim is to get the focus off gluten free and onto our disease. But dang, Hollywood is making it tough.

  8. I’m so tired of this as well.

    “Oh, you’re gluten-free? Have you lost a lot of weight?”

    “Actually I’ve put on weight, now that I’m not sick out of both ends every time I eat. Thanks so much for asking.” (awkward but gets the point across.)

  9. Yes.


    I cannot disagree that gluten-free as a weight loss fad is annoying. But as an educated non-Celiac, I feel the need to pipe up here.

    There are plenty of us that are not diagnosed Celiacs, but are undoubtedly gluten intolerant. This is not the same as jumping on the bandwagon. I feel like absolute crap when I get glutened. I write a blog that is gluten-free and mostly paleo, and I would be devastated to think that anyone would assume I’m doing so to gain popularity or because I want to be trendy. There’s room for those of us who avoid gluten because we know it’s unhealthy for EVERYONE, whether you have Celiac disease or not. We’ve done our homework, and made a choice for our health, not for the sake of being trendy. Gluten is poison. Period.

    By all means, give the silly celebs hell when they are clearly being ridiculous, but also don’t forget that it doesn’t take a Celiac diagnosis to avoid gluten.

    You still love us non-celiac gluten-phobes, right?! 😉

    1. I’d say, if merely giving up gluten causes significant weight loss, then it’s clearly an issue. Furthermore, researchers like Alesio Fessano are providing good evidence that the biological effects of gluten are an issue for EVERYONE. So the ability for non-celiacs to get away with the occasional gluten exposure might be annoying to someone who can’t but they’re none the worse for trying.

  10. I really believe it’s kind of a bad thing, how much “gluten-free” stuff there is. Everyone always says “oh but restaurants have gluten-free menus!”

    I’m fairly certain that in most cases, the demand for gluten-free menus was not created by those with Celiac Disease. More people have food allergies than Celiac Disease, and there are no “food allergy” menus. That’s because it’s not trendy to have food allergies and no one thinks they will lose weight or be healthier by avoiding peanuts or shellfish.

    The problem with all this “knowledge” about gluten-free is that it’s based around people who are gluten-free for non-medical reasons, so cross-contamination isn’t a concern for them. Hence restaurants are often unable to accommodate people who truly cannot have even traces of gluten.


    1. Really?

      I get this kind of reaction all the time. Because I didn’t eat my disease develop as fara s yours has, somehow mine is less important than yours?

      Celiac spectrum = celiac spectrum. It’s all important.

      My disease made me morbidly obese, yes, but it also gave me arthritis, skin issues, allergies.

      And I would have ended up with full blown autoimmune celiac if I hadn’t finally smartened up.

      Please stop judging and ranking the disease of other people. I may not end up in hospital from cross, like one of my friends does, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect me.

      Celiac spectrum. As long as there are “more important” people and disease, it will continue to be a problem. Concentrate on educating and helping, not putting down other people.

  11. Amen!!
    I’m from Holland and I’m not really sure how much the Hollywood trend is accurate here. But I do know that a lot of people start eating healty and after they ate one glutenfree menu, they call it a gluten free day.
    Idiots. If it was thát easy. I wish!

    Only thing I hope for, is that this diet trend will fade away eventually, like most of the populair Hollywood dieet trends. Let’s hope some smartass finds something new to brag about, so that the glutenfree dieet becomes special and serious again.

  12. Amen! The first time I told family and friends that I was gluten-free because my body could not tolerate it, they all thought it was some fad like vegetarianism or the South Beach Diet. I suffer quite a bit, internally and externally, when I eat gluten and I hate being laughed at because of some crazy people who think gluten-free diets make you lose weight.

  13. Now I understand where you are coming from. I felt lucky to have gluten-free options at restaurants and what timing that this is available for me. However, after a lot of restaurant mishaps, there’s only one restaurant in which I feel quasi-safe eating. Most of them haven’t faired so well in being careful. You’ve gotten to experience the difference.

    In her book, Paltrow said she thought she was having a stroke and that’s when she discovered gluten was affecting her health. Is that not right? She’s not exactly a poster child for needing to lose weight…

    Obviously, there’s a difference between the diet and a medical condition but there is a lot of ignorance out there. I hold out hope gluten will be eradicated from the planet if enough people get on board. Maybe that’s a big ole pipe dream. I’m sorry things changed for you and now get where you’re coming from even though I’m late to the party.

    What do you say to the manager now to get their attention?? I’d really appreciate your feedback here.

    1. I always use the word “severe”. I’m a severe celiac. Seems to get their attention. Then I play it as safe as humanly possible. No risks. But being out is a risk right there. No way around it.

      1. Severe it is. I’m going to bring safe foods to eat before I go to restaurants on a trip coming up with others. I’ll order a salad and not eat it. It’s not a good time for me to risk it. Thank you!

  14. Actually, I don’t think she should be quiet, I do think going off gluten should be a choice, as it is damaging no matter if you’re diagnosed with it or not. As I read in one of your posts: IF you feel great being off gluten, great! So then why demur Gwyneth for being open about it when it was HER diet choice? I think it’s great she chose to give up gluten, this way when she stops all the damage that is being done before it goes too far.

    Although, I’ve read that her book doesn’t state to anyone to use gluten/wheat free soy sauce or some other soy sauce type.

    I get you’re saying it’s not a fad, nor a trend, as I’ve dropped wheat and gluten and do have to be very mindful of the products I consume, so I get all of that, but I say: the more people go gluten-free without having celiac’s the better, ’cause the more better off people are going to be and the more they may understand the problems Gluten causes when they’re off it for awhile and then reintroduce it back in. I wish my family was as understanding and would read up on it and not believe all the hype about: “Oh, gluten insensitivity doesn’t exist;” Celiac’s was created by rich black/white people.” It’s the same “bullclock” as my brother believing the tyranny dentists and government, yet he’s a hypocrite with stating he doesn’t believe the government, yet he stands up about Corn syrup but demurs my honey.

    Most people forget, and think – such as my brother for example – Celiac’s is all to do with digestive, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and pale foul smelly stools, that’s another example of ignorance about Celiac’s. Every time I’m glutened, a muscle in my legs – right now it’s in my buttocks – always twitches, and my anxiety gets higher – But, if it weren’t for people like Gwyneth even if she doesn’t have Celiac’s most of us who do might still be in the dark.

    There, that’s my Celiac rant! 😉 🙂

    I do appreciate what you are doing, but look on the bright side of this, when people add gluten back in, they’ll wake up and realize: “holy smokes, this ain’t no fad, I really did feel better being off the Gluten.” I can’t even have Brown Rice, nor its syrup, let alone Caramel Color because I’ve read that Europe uses wheat for their Caramel Color, and I really don’t like what other stuff I’ve been reading about Caramel Color, it’s still a processed food, it shouldn’t NEED to look appealing to want to eat, these companies still just want to sell their product and to hack with what it does their consumer, they rather kill their consumers than satisfied them, all the while lining their billion-dollar-pockets with even more billions of dollars.

    I’m probably going to get flack for my rant, but I don’t care. The more celebrities who don’t have celiac state about going gluten-free by using and eating more veggies, lean meats, grass-fed meats, and nuts, and seeds, and fruits the better off we’ll all be.

    And you know what I say to the media/press: Screw them!!! If they want to think it’s a fad, a trend, too bad for them!! I’m not going to let my brother, mother, nor my father, change my mind, I’m certainly not going to let the media do it either.

  15. The gluten-free-by-choice crowd is doing real harm to everyone with food allergies. They make a point of asking for gluten-free bread, gluten-free menus, and demand each item they order be verified by the kitchen as gluten free. Then, if they’re tempted by your fruit cobbler or bread pudding dessert, they’ll have a little bite, but not before first explaining how much they’re going to have to pay for that little indulgence later on.

    Meanwhile, people with real, anaphylaxis-inducing food allergies are made just a little more vulnerable by the cynicism induced by these gluten-free poseurs. The gluten-free zombies are insufferably vocal about their lifestyle preference, while those of us who are trying simply to survive our meals are taken less seriously because of their obnoxious, faux intolerance to gluten. I’ll see your gluten-free pretensions, and raise you a bottle of Benadryl and an Epipen Twinpack.

    And on a personal note, I’ve noticed gluten-free lifestylers are the biggest offenders to being careless about others’ real food allergies. No big surprise there.

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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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