I know this post might not be well-received by some in our community. Nothing personal I assure you. But I’m confused. Like really, really confused.
As a celiac, I have a responsibility to myself. That is to eat 100% gluten-free, to treat my body well and to reduce the risk of getting sick as much as humanly possible, while still living my life and not being consumed by my disease.
As a celiac advocate, I have a responsibility to the community. That is to spread awareness and more importantly, spread the truth. That is why I call out Udi’s. That is why I warn you about Omission Beer. That is why I call BS on the media so much.
So as an advocate, I would NEVER advise you to eat something that has not been proven safe and I would NEVER celebrate said product either.
Then please someone explain to me why so many celiacs are celebrating gluten-free Cheerios like it’s the second coming or something, when so many are getting sick on them?
For those new to the situation, let me do a quick recap. Cheerios is now producing gluten-free Cheerios. It’s been years in the making. Instead of using certified gluten-free oats, they are using normal oats (which are highly contaminated with both wheat and barley), and using a mechanical sorting process to remove as much of the nasty little grains as possible, so the final product is under 20ppm.
Their testing methods, to put it bluntly, kinda suck. Instead of testing individual boxes, they are taking multiple boxes, mixing them together and then testing the combined batch. So theoretically, ten boxes could be at 15ppm and one box could be at 80ppm, but when you mix them together, it will test under 20ppm. Yet that one 80ppm box may make it on the shelf still. This is called “mean” testing, which is pretty accurate because although GM may not “mean” to be getting celiacs sick, this kind of testing is not stringent enough and is pretty “mean” to those in the celiac community. You know what I “mean”?
When I was out in Minnesota at the GM headquarters with some of my fellow advocates, I asked GM if they would publicly release the testing results. Not only was the answer no, but I got shouted down by a few of the advocates saying they shouldn’t have to. That was pleasant.
The fact is…many celiacs are getting sick from eating the Cheerios. Real sick. Are they reacting to the fiber? Possibly. Is it something totally unrelated to gluten? Maybe.
But until Gluten Free Watchdog gives it her blessing, I cannot recommend any celiac even remotely eat them.
But others are. In droves.
Hey…it’s a personal choice. If you think the risk of getting sick is worth the reward of having boxed cereal, go for it. Your body. Your call.
But can we please just stop the cheer-leading?! Can we stop the promotions? Can we stop celebrating gluten-free Cheerios when they may be actually making your fellow celiacs sick?
I’m concerned. I’m troubled. And yeah…I’m a bit disgusted.
Did you know that GM is actually paying bloggers to promote the Cheerios? For the record, I have NO issues with bloggers monetizing their efforts. Zero. Heck…after three years, I started to do the same a bit (Dudette in college…yow$$$a!!). But it’s one thing to have ads or do giveaways. It’s a completely different story when you are encouraging others to eat something that may not be safe. Yet I see it all over Twitter and on far too many of my fellow celiac’s blogs. It saddens me that there is not a greater responsibility to the community. My god…it’s just cereal!
Look…there’s a lot of passion on both sides of the issue. There are many out there like me who just don’t understand why 1) anyone would risk eating them when it’s still debatable if they’re safe; and 2) anyone would publicly promote them.
And there are those who just want their Cheerios dammit and they’re going to tell the world about it.
3 years after my celiac diagnosis, I was still feeling like crap. When I gave up the boxed cereal for breakfast, my healing process began and I have not had a bowl since. And no…I am not food shaming. I get why people eat them. Convenience. Money. The chance to eat something from your past again. I am not passing judgment.
Can we just tone down the rhetoric that “Gluten Free” Cheerios are the greatest thing since sliced bread? Blogging and advocating as a celiac comes with a certain responsibility…not just to yourself, but to the community.
Put the community first and we’ll all benefit.
Yes…it’s really that simple.
P.S. If you want to read some great posts about this subject, check out:
– Erin at Gluten-Free Fun, who had a call with the folks at GM.
– 5 Things to Know About the Gluten Free Cheerios, from Johanna’s Kitchen.
– Pissing In The Gluten-Free Cheerios, from Hunter’s Lyonesse
– Gluten-Free Watchdog, who has written multiple articles about it.