Is Gluten-Free an Eating Disorder?

jennifer lawrence gluten free

For those of you who don’t read People, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, OK, In Touch, Star or follow any of the zillion websites dedicated to our glorious entertainment industry (seriously…how do they all stay in business??), last week Jennifer Lawrence called gluten-free “the new cool eating disorder.”

Was it a stupid thing to say? Of course.

Do I think she meant it literally? I do not.

As a celiac, do I take offense? Not so much.

But do her words matter? Sadly, they do. This is a woman on top of the world right now. People listen to her.

Yahoo actually ran an article about her quote and they titled it “Jennifer Lawrence Says Gluten-Free Is ‘The New Cool Eating Disorder,’ Might Actually Be Onto Something”.


Look…I’m a big boy. I can handle this crap.

But then I think of the children who have celiac and are getting bullied. And my heart breaks.

I think of celiacs going out to eat and having a server who thinks gluten-free is BS. And my heart breaks.

I think of the newly diagnosed whose families are not being supportive of their new lifestyle. And my heart breaks.

And I think of all of the undiagnosed celiacs walking around who won’t get diagnosed because either they or their doctors won’t consider it. And my heart breaks.

So I could rant and rave about the ignorance of the statement. But I’m gonna shift my focus onto something good today. Call it a kinder, gentler Gluten Dude.

And what exactly is the good in all of this?

We have made progress in our advocacy folks. Real concrete progress.

On the Yahoo article mentioned above, there were over 700 comments left. If this happened two years ago, you can bet most of them would have been filled with comments like “Yeah, gluten free is such bullsh*t”, “I hate yuppie fad dieters”, “Just eat some bread you hipsters”, etc., etc.

But wow…what a difference a few years makes.

I reviewed the first 50 comments and only two of them were remotely supportive of what she said. (If you’re wondering why I didn’t review all 767 comments, it’s because I have a life. Well, not really. Ok….moving on.)

That means about 96% of the responses acknowledged either celiac or gluten intolerance.

That’s huge folks. That means we’re making a difference. Change doesn’t happen overnight. But make no mistake…change is happening.

And to you Miss Lawrence, here is what I say. You seem like good people. You’re funny. You’re quirky. You take nude pics of yourself. You’re my kind of person. Just be careful with your words. I understand that doing interview after interview must get real mundane and you might have a slip up now and then. But next time somebody asks you about gluten free, just do me a favor and take the fifth. Celiac sucks and you’re not helping things. Thanks for listening and I’ll see you at Mockingjay.

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34 thoughts on “Is Gluten-Free an Eating Disorder?”

  1. Let’s also acknowledge that her comment was most likely directed at Gwyneth. Meh, whatevs. Every time I read about a celebrity spouting off on something like this I just have to remind myself that it is simple ignorance behind the words and nothing more. It’s still irritating, but we can’t focus our energy on that. Many times progress is made in baby steps – and you’re absolutely right. We ARE making progress.

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  2. I don’t think we should take this out of context or even care what some actress says. But she appears to be slamming her BF’s ex & saying that the ex uses it as a way to restrict her eating and “feed” an eating disorder. There are many people with eating disorders that use gluten intolerance as an excuse to eliminate more foods from their diet. Right now, it is an acceptable thing to say you are “gluten intolerant” and eliminate gluten. So, not eating with a group or only eating a little fruit has a great legitimate medical excuse!

    Really, I think that most people reading that article are not coming away with the idea that no one should eat gluten free. Of course, very few people who feel like that will post here – so it may appear that the whole world is angry. But sadly, the whole world does not read this blog and post here….I am sorry to break that to you GD. lol

      1. exactly dude! These celebrities should be held to a higher standard –unfortunately, in many cases, their bad behavior seems to rule.

      1. I don’t defend her statement, but I give great talents the privilege of some slack. I also bite my lip about what some of the Saints of Celiac have or have not done. *he said cryptically*

  3. Great positive spin! That reminds me about this boy, who last year would purposely throw bread or other gluten containing foods onto my sons tray right on his food. Well this year my daughter overheard this same boy explaining that another kid may be sick all the time from a gluten intolerance and to get it checked out. Even though he was a little jack ass last year, he has learned something of great value!

  4. It must be hard not to put your foot in your mouth here and there as a celebrity. They can’t be expected to know everything just because our culture decided to put them on a pedestal. It does suck that her words add fuel to the fire though. When I was in high school (9 years ago) I went to the doctor in good old Cincinnati Ohio and after explaining my symptoms I was told I was bulimic. When I said I couldn’t control the vomiting after eating they said it was part of the disorder.. I went through 2 years of therapy to get me to stop throwing up “on purpose”. Finally I was diagnosed with celiac! It took awhile to regain control of my body after that and to eliminate the “eating disorder” the doctors handed to me on a silver platter. Jennifer is no doctor but I hope she reads the feedback she is getting and educates herself. Any person, especially a teenager going through this, can be very emotionally affected by such an
    ill informed “diagnoses”.

    1. When I was first diagnosed with celiac, my “friends” thought I was just making up food intolerances because I had an eating disorder (which apparently is what some people with disorders do) and forced me to eat in front of them. It was hard enough being 20 and newly diagnosed but then to have people I’m supposed to able to rely on then think I was making it all up…. No bueno.

      I noticed too that in the comments section of the J Law article there was so much support for celiacs. We’ve come a long way 🙂

  5. I try and keep my celiac on the DL simply because, while things have changed a lot in the past few years, there are still those people that look at it as a “disorder” or a “fad diet” and that makes me sad for all the new celiac’s who have to deal with the frightening fact that they are going to be silently judged (and publicly slammed) for something they have no control over -Its much easier to order things that I know are naturally gluten free at restaurants, because I am so used to doing it, (diagnosed at 18 months, 30 years ago, after a serious incident with some cheese – have celiac, lactose intolerance, and a severe nut allergy) and the media is not helping. I respect that Jennifer Lawrence is a public figure, and she is a popular actress, and yes, I am sure the monotony of all the interviews gets to be a bit much over time, and I know she is only human and will say things that aren’t completely well thought out – and I cant be mad at her for that, what irritates me, is that the celiac “haters” then feel justified in slamming those of us with a legitimate health concern.

  6. Jennifer is probably speaking from the context of her life and who she is around in the business. I have had many people ask me if they should eat gluten free to lose weight once they discover I am eating gluten free (although I am overweight…not sure they would want advice from me…go figure). I then have to explain why I eat gluten free and it has nothing to do with wanting to lose weight. So Jennifer Lawrence probably is around a lot of actresses or show-biz people who are “trying to eat gluten-free” to stay thin. She was probably taking a shot at those people. I don’t know. Hopefully after thinking about it, she realizes that her comment had deeper meaning for many people.

    1. I had a conversation with a co-worker who told me his wife asked him if he thought they should go gluten free ( based on the whole fad aspect). So I took the opportunity to educate about celiac disease and NCGS, and that going GF is not a weight loss program and that most GF products are often higher in calories and other things you don’t necessarily want to add to your diet. Hopefully the message got across!

  7. I wish Jennifer Esposito, as a fellow actress with connections could reach out to her and set her straight. Maybe encourage (force) her to read her book. She probably only knows tha Paltrow cool eating disorder side and does not know a celiac. And things just fly out of that crazy girls mouth all the time. She will put her foot in it again.

  8. GD-

    Missed that incredibly educated f-ed up comment from JLaw. Hefe you are entitled to your opinion but no one gets a pass in life. Her words will reach a lot of people. Young girls. Girls who already are struggling with body image let alone have an autoimmune disease. You might be able to shrug it off but let’s not forget about the people who are vulnerable.

    Jersey Girl
    “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.
    Like me, for instance. Right now.”
    Katniss, pp. 31-32

    1. Good points, I agree. I’m related to a prominant artist who sometimes takes the odd social licence, and I let it go.

  9. People do serious have diet problems and issues. But I think if any other celebrity making these joking statements, then no one would have said a thing. Any article with Jennifer Lawrence’s name people read which gives them attention.

    Tomorrow, Jennifer will say the sky is blue and there will be 310 articles about what she said.

    Rock on!

  10. You made a good point. I thought that Jennifer Lawrence should of specified what she meant, I would of agreed with her if she said “Celiac Disease is real, but the rest of you just have an eating problem.” But not wording it correctly can put her in deep shit.

  11. Her comment was thoughtless no doubt but unfortunately I do know quite a few women who have suddenly come down with “gluten intolerance” as a way to severely restrict their food intake and lose weight. Drives me a person with a real disorder bat shit crazy especially if I have to eat out with them.

  12. I’m getting real sick of celebrities using their star power to talk about things they don’t understand. Being famous doesn’t make you any smarter than the rest of us. And this isn’t just about celiac, but EVERYTHING. Unless they’ve actually done some research, I don’t want to hear celebrity opinions on health issues, politics, etc. And the fact that some people actually listen to them is absurd to me. Being famous doesn’t mean they aren’t talking out of their ass.

  13. Thank you for post, and your graciousness in regards to her comments. I’m shocked that she made that statement. While her comments are directed at Hollywood and LA’s gluten-free fad diet culture. It will be seen as a case of celebrities using the media for their own personal quarrels, she had no excuse. I don’t understand her lack of clarity. Jimmy Kimmel had a bit on his show about gluten-free fad diets, but at least he gave a shout-out to people who had to go gluten-free for medical reasons. Why didn’t she do the same? If she had her comments would come across as insight on LA current diet trend.
    Instead, I found them hurtful. I have a gluten allergy, I have friends who have celiac disease. It’s comments like these that make it hard for people who have a gluten allergy, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity/intolerance to be taken seriously. I’ve visited LA, and when I asked about g-free products. The response I got was, “Oh, your on that new weight-loss diet?!” It sucks to have to constantly advocate for yourself, especially when people don’t understand. If Jennifer Lawrence really wanted to do something about the current gluten-free weight loss fad diet, she should have followed the examples of other celebrities and become an advocate for food allergies/celiac disease. Liz Hasselbeck has celiac disease and advocates, and Jo Frost, multiple food allergies(Super Nanny) is the allergy ambassador for FARE.

  14. Knowing nothing about the controversy, I happenned to read the article about her in Vanity Fair last night, and was mildly annoyed to read her comments about gluten free. She also dissed vegans, so it’s not just us. She sounded to me like a very young, not overly thoughful person who was making a throwaway comment, so I tried not to take it personally. I didn’t even connect it to Gwyneth, although since she’s now dating Chris Martin, that makes total sense (about the vegan thing, too).

  15. And what about the people too that actually have eating disorders and aren’t trying to be cool and go for a quick fix as she implies? She’s being ignorant towards the seriousness of problems faced by both camps. People with eating disorders can cling to more ways to restrict, and that might mean gluten free, but that doesn’t mean that they are doing it to be trendy. Are some people? Sure! But just as there are people with real needs for avoiding gluten, those who do have eating disorders have no less of a ‘real’ disorder. Her words sound like a thoughtless personal attack.

    1. As someone who’s testing for celiac (more doctor’s appointments!! Yay!! Just what I wanted!! *eyeroll*) and is genuinely recovered from anorexia, I wholeheartedly agree. I want to love Jennifer Lawrence but the things she says about eating disorders are absolutely infuriating and disgustingly ignorant. I hate Gwenyth Paltrow just as much as anyone, but these things aren’t “lifestyle choices”. It seems that most celebrity “body positive” people aren’t actually body positive at all (like Meghan Trainor… don’t get me started). I’m a vegan for animal rights (who wants to be responsible for over 100 deaths a year?!) and might have to be gluten-free (I certainly don’t WANT to be) and because my past includes anorexia, everyone thinks that anything wrong with me is a disguise for an eating disorder. And when people bring up the “some people really ARE sick!” thing, they tend to do what you’re describing, which is dismiss eating disorders as being the same thing as a trendy diet. Eating disorders are an illness, celiac disease is an illness, and all sufferers of either or both of these deserve sympathy, not mass slamming.

  16. If celiac disease has taught me anything, it is that people can have very, very strong opinions about things they know little about.
    Paradise existed here on earth before the advent of agriculture.
    Wheat. The forbidden fruit. Did you really believe that it was an apple?

  17. Well there are some people who are using it as an excuse not to eat so you should be equally offended by those people as by these types of comments because they make Celiacs look bad. Only a small percentage of the population actaully has Celiacs and a lot more than that are claiming it. Then they go to extremes saying they can’t eat anything that has carbs and that most gluten free foods are not really gluten free so what else would you call that if not an eating disorder?

    1. Weird dieting can classify as “disordered eating”, but it’s not an eating disorder. There’s a diagnostic, psychological, medical difference. People who do have eating disorders and claim illnesses to hide it are also suffering from a terrible illness, and it’s not “offensive” so much as it is tragic. Anorexia has a 20% mortality rate. Let’s not spread hate for eating disorder sufferers. The problem, and thing to be mad about, is people like Gwenyth Paltrow and Jenny McCarthy who may have never heard words like “science”, “research”, and “medical doctors”.

  18. Sorry, but I don’t give her a pass. Sure I get it, she’s just an actress and it was probably just an off-hand remark in a long string of inane interview chatter. Whatever. It still made my blood boil. Sorry, Jennifer, but if you don’t know what the *f* you’re talking about then shut it.

  19. Apparently this Ms. Lawrence may not be too bright. She recently got a tattoo on her hand that was supposed to read H2O (as in the chemical formula for water), but the 2 was incorrectly positioned as a superscript instead of a subscript so it reads more like “H-squared O”. She explained it thusly: “I know the ‘2’ is high, and in H2O the ‘2’ is supposed to be low.”

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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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