Should a Restaurant be Making Gluten-Free Jokes?

restaurant making fun of gluten free

I think most of us have seen, or at least heard of, signs like the two above. They seem to be all the rage these days. “Gluten-free haircuts.” “Gluten-free oil change.” “The Ford Fiesta: 45mpg and Gluten-Free.”

The celiac community seems to fall into two camps: 1) Those that think the signs make it more difficult for us to be taken seriously; and 2) those that think we should lighten up.

I assume you know by now which side I fall on.

But what about when a restaurant makes fun of gluten-free, yet still claims they take celiac seriously? Would anyone still think that’s funny?

Listen to this email I received yesterday:

Hi Gluten Dude. After reading your Facebook post today with the Wall Street Journal article, I took it upon myself to contact a local restaurant in town that has a sign out front that says “This Sign is Gluten Free”. This sign has been displayed for months now and I have to drive by it everyday.

Yesterday was a bad day… did not feel good because I somehow ingested gluten (won’t go into detail, you’ve been there..) and when I drove by that stupid sign I realized I needed to say something. The following is my letter to the restaurant and their reply. What to do? What to say? Any advice appreciated. Thank you for doing this on a daily basis. I tried to advocate just once and I’m already ready to throw in the towel! 🙂

My letter:
Hi, I drive by your establishment often. I want to thank you for sponsoring local schools and sports teams! Great message you’re sending. I do have a question about the sign you have had up the past few months: “This Sign Is Gluten Free”. Just for clarification, do you have gluten free items on your menu? Do you know what celiac disease is versus just eating gluten free “for the heck of it”? I am just curious. I’m kind of sick of the gluten free jokes out there and when I have to drive by that stupid sign everyday, it makes me sad that my disease is being made fun of. I don’t really feel like laughing when I have had more bad days than good this month. I dislike having to eat gluten free, but I have no choice. Making fun of people with a REAL DISEASE is no more funnier than making fun of people with diabetes, cancer, etc… Just thought you should know how your “Funny” sign makes people feel.

Thanks for the note. I do know the difference between celiacs and dietary choice. In my experience in this industry, 98.9% of people who eat gluten free are fad dieters or self diagnosed ‘gluten intolerant’. Of the 100 or so people I’ve met with celiacs, exactly 0 of them gave me grief about menu selections, preparation methods, etc. They simply pulled me aside and let me know and our staff takes care of everything. On the contrary, the gluten free dieters in general are the worst customers to try to please. I’m sorry if my sign offends you, but I will let you know that it is 100% directed at gluten free fad dieters. I had a couple the other day who drank miller lite but didn’t tip the server because although we offered gluten free pizza crust, we don’t offer gluten free pepperoni. How much sense does that make? That happens almost daily. Celiac folks are easy because they are knowledgable and know generally what they can and can’t have. Again, I’m sorry you’re offended.

I’m too tired to go on a rant today. Suffice it to say, I would never support any restaurant, or any business for that matter, that makes fun of its customers. They are in business because of us. They chose to serve the public. Nobody forced them to do this.

And by the way, “I’m sorry you’re offended” doesn’t mean jack sh*t.

What’s your take folks?

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165 thoughts on “Should a Restaurant be Making Gluten-Free Jokes?”

  1. As a fellow Celiac (and no, Mr. Restaurateur, the word isn’t celiacs) I can see the aggravation on both sides. My issue is that Celiac disease knowledge has been derailed to allow the “stupid” of the gluten free pepperoni (but not the pizza itself) fad dieter get more attention. What would happen if restaurants would cater to the Celiac and stop putting the gluten free dieter in the limelight. Would the fad dieter get the hint that it’s not about them it’s about 3 million+ people that are fighting a disease that can be stopped by eating GF?

    Of course I’m going to be as nice as possible to the chef and staff at a restaurant that is handling my food. That niceness comes with a silent plea for them to not cross contaminate me! A fad gf dieter doesn’t have to be nice! They can just move on to the next restaurant!

    1. The Celiac population is so small that it doesn’t make financial sense to cater to that group. The fad dieters are the group who drives that segment. But because they aren’t really Gluten Free, there are no rules. Some are ok drinking beer, some want certified gluten free, some are ok with a non GF fryer, most just want to feel special.

      1. Actually even though those with Celiac make up a small portion of society, those with ANY auto-immune diseases should eat a gf diet and that accounts for about 20% of the US population. Adding in those with gluten intolerance brings it even higher! So you would think that would make it worthwhile for a business. That’s over one in five. And as we all know, that one drives where the group goes as well!

      2. While I appreciate the celiac population is small, if I can’t eat out a restaurant then none of my family do either ! So that’s 6 starters, 6 main courses etc they are missing out on ! Restaurants are missing a huge gap in the market in my opinion, if I can eat somewhere, then my family do & my friends too ! It doesn’t have to be huge selection but a choice other than salad would be great !

  2. Let me tell you what “I’m sorry you’re offended” means. It means lighten up. Some groups of people are impossible to please. In my experience, one of the worst groups are the gluten free dieters. That group of people single handedly make it nearly impossible to take care of the very small percentage of folks who actually have a medical condition resulting in the requirement of a Gluten Free Diet. I’ve had many GFers laugh about my similar sign, and only 1 person complain. Maybe I’ve lost out on business because the offended simply don’t come in? So be it. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. If you do, we probably would not have gotten along anyway. This message is made with gluten free ingredients.

    1. and you are an ass… your wife, gf, bf or child may develop celiac ( not celiacs) any day/month/year , and I’m sure while they are hovering over the toilet with joint pain so bad you have to carry them back to bed, your sign will no longer be so funny.

      1. Maybe not droves. But in reading this, it’s clear that the point is the Celiac is not the difficult customer. The rules are black and white and easy to follow. The difficult customer is the one who requires an ingredient list of every salad dressing, then chooses to drink miller lite. The customer who requires that their burger be pan fried so as not to contact a potentially glutinous surface then orders fries knowingly fried in a non GF fryer. The customer who asks 98 questions, orders a GF entree, then picks off of their partners non GF entree. As an operator, I can’t take that customer seriously. But that is the customer who is driving the GF segment. The person who (whether they know it or not) isn’t really medically required to be GF; that customer makes it a joke.

        1. Jordan … Yep. The “rules are black and white and” … wait a minute … “easy to follow”???? You can tell by that sentence you haven’t a CLUE what it is like to be a Celiac!! How can we “follow” our prescription when people in the public do not take us seriously?????? You making fun of it makes anyone eating GF fair game. Can’t you see that? Are you aware that a whole bunch of people haven’t a clue there is a disease called Celiac Disease that can kill you?? And so, when these people see people like you making fun of a gluten free diet, they become our enemy. They will not take us seriously. Ever try to find something safe to eat in an airport? Of course you haven’t. You can eat anything!!! We, on the other hand, do not have that luxury. So, when people make light of that, in any way shape or form, they are hurting those who have a disease. Thank you for being a kind and caring person by taking a look at the other side of the story. That customer you described is not helping us, but neither are you. You could, instead of making a joke in the general public about gluten free eating, maybe mention to the ones who are the real problem that you went to a lot of trouble to provide them a gluten free meal, and are they aware that they just drank gluten in that beer?? Or ate gluten off the plate of their friend? Nicely, of course. Out of concern, of course. Making fun of the whole diet makes fun of US!!! We just don’t need that. Thanks for maybe thinking about what your jokes could be doing to hurt us. We didn’t ask for this disease and trust me, we don’t want it. But we got it. And we have to live with it. We just ask that the general public stop making fun of the diet. Because making fun of the diet hurts us.

        2. I know I am very respectful to the restaurant and wait staff as I know my requests require more info and more work. And I completely understand that “fad” dieters can be complete idiots. But since I am the one with the strictest diet…I usually get to pick the restaurant my family or friends and I go to. If I saw that sign…I would keep driving. It’s enough trouble to navigate eating out. I don’t want to be made fun of while doing it (sorry you can separate the fad dieters from the serious folks from just your intentions)!

      2. Exactly Gluten Dude! I know people who are allergic to wheat, who are gluten intolerant, or have Celiac disease like me, but zero so-called “fad dieters.” That gluten-free is a fad diet is, I suspect, made up by the media to drive controversy, internet buzz and shitty listicles. Sadly, this overblown notion is one that the restaurant industry has adopted so they can bitch and moan when someone wants to know what the hell is in their food. Which really should not be a ridiculous request. Chefs are some of the most petulant and assinine people I have met since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Even celebrity chef Brian Voltaggio, who ironically (laughably, more like it) is in ads for food allergy awareness, has his staff turn away people who ask about gluten free accommodations at his restaurant Family Meal. This assertion that restaurants know the difference and treat people with Celiac disease with respect is bullshit. I have been told so many times by restaurants to “eat elsewhere” or “we just can’t deal with you tonight, we’re busy” or “we don’t have the time to figure out what is gluten free or not just for you” or “it won’t kill you if you get a little” or “yeah right, Celiac disease is made up” after I say I have Celiac Disease. See JORDAN, the real problem isn’t whether or not there really is a fad diet out there, the problem is a wholesale lack of customer service and it is a cancer that is growing rapidly in the restaurant industry. Trust me, if a restaurant is willing to openly mock a segment of its customer base, it treats all customers with similar disrespect. I have zero interest ensuring that those people make a living. Ask any legitimate businessman or businesswoman and they will tell you their clients and customers receive the utmost respect. Customers come first. I will go where customer service actually means something. Trust me, restaurants need us WAY more than we need them. And we take our people with us. Brian Voltaggio and his restaurant lost out on a table of 12 that night because I called everyone and said we are going to his competitor. And I know at least 3 or 4 of my group (not counting me) who have still never eaten there because of how I was treated. Plus, on three other occasions, I have talked my group into eating elsewhere when his restaurant is suggested. And I am only one person. When we eat out, WE, the people with Celiac disease, gluten intolerance or food allergies are the ones who pick the restaurant, not the other way around. Restaurants might think we are a small segment of the population but we drive the dining choices of our networks every time and that ripple makes serious waves.

        1. *standing ovation*

          Well said! I’m sick of people using the “bad gluten free customer” as a way to ignore/shame/rant about all of us.

          Bc you know what? It’s going to be annoying to have to check every single ingredient in your salad dressing no matter who it’s for.
          And I’m that girl. I’m the girl who has to ask for that (super sensitive celiac here.)

          But here’s the other thing: I wouldn’t have to grill you like a quiz show if you just knew what gluten was.

          You either can serve me, or you can’t, like the post says. And it’s 100% fine if you can’t, but if you say you can, you damn well better know what gluten actually is, and you damn well better not make me feel bad about paying you to make my food. Trust me, I always tip well.

        2. Bravo! “Zero interest” says it all. Hear that, Jordan?! I/We do not care to deal with people with a mind set which says “Don’t take yourselves too seriously,” when slacking off for one meal means at least a week of illness, missed work, disgusting hours in the toilet and in bed, and potentially devastating consequences down the road. So go be all chillax about it. You can obviously afford to.

        3. I love it when I plan to comment on something and everything I was about to write is already written – and then some. It’s great to know we’re not alone.

          On second thought, there is something I want to add: When we do find a safe and caring place to eat, we are typically very loyal. We make that place our go-to spot. We go often. We tip VERY well. We bring friends and family. And, we let other people know it’s a safe and caring spot.

          Word of mouth is still very powerful in the restaurant industry. It can make or break you.

          1. Exactly! I have a very small selection of restaurants that I will go to…so we end up going there more often and I bring my family…and my friends…and my coworkers…and I recommend good restaurants to other celiacs. Plus I love to tip well to waiters and waitresses who understand and who are educated on gluten and cross contamination. I am very stingy for those who almost roll their eyes or who seem irritated by my questions.

        4. Do you actually require a doctor’s note to prove you’ve got celiac disease before you’ll accommodate a diner who requests gluten-free? I’d be S.O.L., because I’m one of those “annoying” people who figured out every time I ate a piece of bread, I broke out into hives. Wow, if a food does that to you, you just keep eating it until a doctor tells you not to? You’d have to be an idiot.

          I have an extended family where between us, we have about 20 different allergies and other dietary landmines to cater for: gluten, dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts, sesame, peaches, pears, apricots, plums, mustard, bananas, kiwi, avocado. Can’t have corn because it interferes with a colostomy bag. Needs low-carb because of metabolic disorder or diabetes. Yeah, it’s kind of hard to figure out what we can eat in restaurants. But a few quiet words to a restaurant manager before we all get started usually takes care of it. Family gatherings means we put together a potluck where not everybody can eat everything, but everybody can eat a non-pathetic meal. And with us often being a party of 15 or more, losing one of us means you lose ALL of us.

        5. I’m not even American and I would skip that. I’m going overseas in less than 2 weeks and trying to get a meal option is a mission because I can’t have gluten or dairy. So I guess I’m having the raw veg & fruit option. I contacted the airline on the email and their advise was chose 1 option or bring your own… 7kg adds up very quickly and if I have to add food. (That shouldn’t count to the weight of my bag). When I mentioned it to a colleague she said I’m just too difficult.

          1. Grace, from your spelling, I’m guessing you’re coming from the UK or another Commonwealth nation (other than Canada).

            Best bet: cook from fresh if possible. You know when you go into the produce section of the supermarket, an apple is naturally gluten free. Truth is, at least 90% of fresh whole food *is* gluten free–meat, milk, eggs, fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes. All gluten free. (That seems to escape some restauranteurs–and if they were really cooking from fresh, whole ingredients, gluten free would be far less of a problem.)

            Don’t bother with American cheese–it isn’t fully cheese, but it’s got a lot of added oil, water, stabilizers. Actually, don’t eat anything that comes in individually wrapped slices.

            Some brands here: Udi’s has a good reputation (their bread is the recipe of Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne’s “Genius” bread), as does Van’s. Enjoy Life is also great for multiple allergens (gluten, dairy, eggs, nut, soy, shellfish, fish). I always keep a few of their Baked Chewy Bars in my car in case I feel a need for a snack. I brought some to the hospital when I had surgery because I know they can’t release you until you can swallow your pain meds, and you can’t take them on an empty stomach. (The hospital, oddly, couldn’t provide a gluten and dairy free accommodation–I had to inform them of what was available.) For pasta, I like the San Mills brand corn pasta–it’s the least expensive at my market, and has a very good texture. I’m a texture fuss.

            If you are in an area where Wegmans is one of the supermarkets, I *strongly* suggest shopping there–they’ve got every truly gluten-free item on their shelves marked as such. They’ve also got a great “marketplace” for carry-out prepared foods, and a number of their offerings are certified gluten free (including made-in-store sushi, which is one of the best takeout sushis I’ve had). Wegmans has won awards as one of the best supermarkets in America. Their staff tend to be knowledgeable and helpful. They’re mostly a Northeast phenomenon, but they are growing.

            Get a copy of a magazine called Simply Gluten Free (The Dude has a column in each bi-monthly issue). It’s got excellent articles, advertisement for a variety of GF brands, and some of the best recipes I’ve ever tried–not just for GF food, but for (drumroll, please!)–FOOD.

            Enjoy your time here in the US!

            1. Wegmans is the most amazing store! It’s like a food mall! My husband and I would go there for “date night” to eat, usually after a movie. The food is great, and I never got sick. I miss it – we are now in an area that does not have one nearby.
              Also wanted to add a new brand of bread I found at my local ShopRite. It’s called Three Bakers, and it’s a GF/DF/soy free rye-style bread. The texture is so soft and delicious, and the caraway seeds make it taste like a rye. I haven’t even had to toast it.

      3. I know gluten free fad dieters, but most of the ones I know are the ones who will order off the gluten free menu without asking any questions about prep. They just trust that the words “gluten free” mean gluten free.

        I do know some people who say they are “cutting back” on their gluten, so that’s fun! Those people would order off the gluten free menu and wash it down with a beer and not think twice (or once) about cross contamination.

        I beg these people to change their verbiage to say they are cutting back on carbs.

        1. A woman my husband used to work with asked me about the “gluten free diet” because she had heard just that….. it cuts out all the carbs and you lose a ton of weight. Since she had genuinely opened up a discussion, I was able to tell her what it all entailed, what gluten was, that by substituting gluten-containing ingredients with their gluten free option, that carbs are still there, that some people actually end up gaining weight and the reason people lose weight is… etc, etc, etc. her response, “Wow. Well, if you didn’t have to do it, why would you?”

      4. I have met several gluten free fad dieters; as in they aren’t Celiac, and aren’t gluten intolerant. They are simply doing it because they see buzz about it.

      5. I have met plenty of gluten free fad dieters, and people who say that gluten is “unhealthy” without qualifying it at all.

        They are out there. I am glad they are, as it makes it a lot easier for me to get gluten free food without having to make it from raw components. Their folly is my gain.

      6. Funny, now that you mention it, neither have I. The only other people I know who eat gluten free are sick with other autoimmune illnesses like Lupus and Hashimoto’s.

      7. Dude, What about Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus and some of the other gf celebrities you’ve written about? Maybe you haven’t met them, but are you sure they need the gf diet like some of us do? You didn’t seem pleased about them when you wrote about them.

        You’re right Jordon. I don’t do a lot of fussing when I go out for dinner. I quietly make my needs known if I feel like a particular restaurant may have been a bad choice. Sometimes I will leave if I can’t find anything I feel comfortable about. I find it ruins dinner for my friends if I don’t get a nice dinner too.

        I do have a sense of humor about my disease, but being human I have an occasional bad day here and there. This diet is tedious and it does wear on you. I’m going on 30 years of gluten freedom. There are days I don’t eat at all because I hate cooking and I’m tired of my limited diet. Nothing is as good as the real thing. That is how I feel about it. I don’t cheat. I was too sick to play games like that.

        One more thing….Just because Jordon says Celiacs instead of celiac might mean nothing at all. I’m from Michigan. We tend to put an s on the end of everything. Lol! We shop at Meijers…even though the store is Meijer, we drink pop. Most of the country drinks soda. I hope you get the picture. Just because he says Celiacs doesn’t necessarily mean he’s stupid or doesn’t understand the disease. My daughters work with the public. One works fast food, the other cashiers in a supermarket. They see all kinds of strange people. One daughter gets a kick out of the reasons why people buy so much gf groceries. Usually they tell her they just didn’t feel good…no real specific problem, just life is better with gf junk food. She’s always looking for a gf friend for me. She’s also eager to help a new celiac get the diet correct. She’s a sweetie!

        Jordon, I would be careful of the jokes. People do die from their ailments. My mom died from type 1 diabetes. My husband is type 2. He’s been made fun of for refusing sugared pop. It makes him angry. He has x amount of calories to spend on a meal. Sugared pop is too much glucose too fast. I hope this helps you decide if your jokes are truly funny or something a real celiac just can’t face this time.

        I tried to address everything I could think of. If I have offended anyone, I am truly sorry.

      8. Ugh… consider yourself lucky. I live in Atlanta, & the trophy wives have ALL gone on a “gluten free” diet. (I put that in quotes because it’s gluten free when it suits them.). I could name 50 off the top of my head, & probably a hundred if I thought about it for awhile. It’s as ubiquitous as an inch-long french manicure, a Ferragamo bag & a Cartier Tank Americaine. They drive me nuts. Remember a couple of years ago when they all went on a baby food diet?!

    2. This sign would encourage me to go in, NOT get my feathers ruffled.
      (Dx with Celiac 37 years ago).

      i didn’t see anything like “we don’t care about Celiac’s” Or “if you are gluten free stay out.” Or “stay away if you are gluten free.”

      Time to lighten up and laugh folks.

    3. Saying that because some of the people with Celiac aren’t offended nobody with Celiac should is like saying because there are African Americans who are okay with the Confederate flag, that means all should be. It’s ableist to make light of someone’s medical condition as a way to hook more customers.

    4. Jordan, you are wrong that “I’m sorry you’re offended” means “lighten up”. “I’m sorry you’re offended” means “I intend to say whatever I damn well please, and F*ck you if it hits a nerve, because I don’t give a $#!+ about you.” In general, “I’m sorry you’re offended” means the person saying this is a total jackass.

      Gluten Dude, I’m very pleased you’ve “named and shamed” Jordan’s business.

    5. It’s not just the offended that won’t come in. It isn’t a matter of offense. It is a matter of health, and I would guess that you have lost business from groups who have a gluten intolerant/celiac person among them simply because you give them the impression that it is not a serious issue. Personally, I appreciate a sign like yours. It gives me a an indication that my condition would not likely be taken seriously or with due concern and I can make an informed choice to take the risk or pass on it. I would rarely risk it. Additionally, who wants to eat at a place where they are made to feel ridiculous or unwelcome in the first place?

    6. “Lighten up”? Are you an authority on Celiac Disease? Do you suffer from it yourself? If not, do not tell those who do to “lighten up”.

    7. “Lighten up”? Do you suffer from Celiac Disease? Because if you don’t, do not tell those who do to “lighten up”.
      Every time another Celiac joke is made (and believe me there are plenty that make fun of Celiac Disease itself, just watch ‘Grace and Frankie’), that’s more ignorance spreading about us being uppity fad followers. When the general population thinks we have a choice, that’s what makes waiters, cooks, etc. careless, and our disease that much more dangerous to our bodies.

    8. “Lighten up?” Are you an authority on the gluten free diet? Do you have Celiac Disease? The reason we get all up in arms about this is because the more the ignorant jokes about gluten spread, the less this serious autoimmune disease is taken seriously by waiters, cooks, etc. Just watch “Grace & Frankie” and you’ll see what I mean, as they spare nothing in bashing a person with Celiac Disease itself.

  3. I’ve worked at a few restaurants. So the insulting part to me is the fact that they single out gluten free eaters as being difficult. There are A LOT of annoying difficult to please customers. That doesn’t give them the right to make judgments on who is or isn’t gluten free as a fad diet. It’s unprofessional.

    1. Thank you. My mother in law is one of those who drives the wait staff NUTS with insane demands. She does it just for attention. I have to sit next to her and SOUND like her while I try to ensure that I am NOT going to end up sick for several weeks because some wait staff decided “a little bit can’t hurt”. It sure can! And one does NOT have to be “super sensitive” to end up sick. Gluten causes the immune system to over react for weeks to months after a single event. We don’t’ really know all the dangers because all the money is in creating “cures” and selling expensive natural products to “absorb” gluten.

      I deserve the same respect as every other customer. What good does making fun of anyone do?

      1. Cheryl, I don’t know where you live, but I’ve found that in Western New York (think Buffalo), I’ve been treated well in restaurants where I wouldn’t have thought it possible, and badly in restaurants that make a big fat hairy deal about having “gluten free” options.

        The good (one example): one of the SILs made a reservation for the family (more a small nation state) at Butterwood’s Cafe Bakery at the Lafayette Hotel. My heart sank when I heard that was where we were going for Christmas Eve lunch, but she had made a call prior to see if they could accommodate me, and a few others in the party with varying allergies. In a place called a ‘bakery’, the gluten and dairy were a question mark, so she informed me I should speak to the manager before ordering. While the other 15 diners were hanging up coats, hugging each other, exchanging gifts, I took the manager aside, and explained my needs. He asked what things I liked, whether I was looking for something entree sized, a “small plate” or something in between. Five minutes later, he came back after consulting with the chef about what was on hand, and gave me three very attractive options. I was served a gorgeous seafood and roasted vegetable risotto with a garlic, olive oil, and white wine sauce. I thanked them and told them it should be on their regular menu.

        Not so good: A “frelative” (a relative-by-several-degrees-of-marriage who has become a good friend) wanted to take me to lunch just before the holidays the prior year. She was up for trying Rick’s On Main in East Aurora, because she had heard good things. I called in advance to assure they could accommodate my needs–they said yes, just let your server know and the manager will come and advise you. We made the reservation, arrived at the appointed hour, informed the server. She told us “we’re slammed with a big party upstairs, and we just can’t deal with you.” And she grudgingly took my order for the standard “can’t deal with your crap”–a salad with some grilled shrimp. She brought the salad without the shrimp, and when I asked about it, she said, “Well, the chef will get to it when he has time.” What other table would you send an incomplete order, and NOT expect a question about something that was missing? So, my friend’s meal got cold while she waited for me to have something besides plain chopped lettuce and tomatoes.

        Which one do you think I’ll go back to–even though one of them is walking distance from home, and the other involves a 20 minute drive and paying for parking?

  4. Frankly, I’m sick of the jokes myself. When I speak up, I’m being told not to worry about what others think. I agree to a certain extent, but I want to educate people. Celiac is not something to be taken lightly and there are plenty of people out there with Celiac that are also giving us a bad name we should worry about. Like eating cheese off a gluten pizza. Or it seems they aren’t the difficult customers at the restaurant. Because if you know the proper way to eat, you may become that difficult customer. Not on purpose but because you want to be safe. Personally? I’d write a review on one of those restaurant web sites letting people know how difficult they are! Sorry for the rant, I’ve been pushing this for so long it’s a touchy topic with me.

    1. I totally agree. I’m definitely a difficult customer, but guess what? It’s because I’m 12 kinds of allergic to wheat. Someone else already said this, but it’s frustrating that we get labeled “difficult” for wanting to know what’s in our food.

  5. I also have met only one fad dieter. The rest are people who get migraines, throw up, or worse from gluten. What I would want restaurants to consider is that sometimes someone who seems to “not take it seriously” is genuinely confused and still figuring things out. Or even may be not asking for everything they need to avoid pissing you off, because we know exactly what restaurants think of us. I can’t count how many times ive just sucked it up to not annoy the server or my group. Even when open disdain is shown to my questions, it’s hard to tell your party that wait, we have to go somewhere else now!

  6. The reason the restaurants see fad dieters and few celiacs is because most celiacs are eating at home, waiting for the fad to move on to the next fad diet. Then, perhaps, we will go back to eating in restaurants. A few years ago, I enjoyed reviewing new places to eat and sharing the information with fellow celiacs. Now, when I try a new place I am assured they “know all about GF” and no, I can’t talk to the chef. That is why we go back to the same trusted places when we want to go out. Otherwise, we cook at home.

    1. So true! I used to be able to explain to staff and actually get a decent meal. Now they all THINK they know all about it. One idiot actually served me a deep fried chicken meal with the claim that it was naturally gluten free because it is coated in FLOUR not WHEAT.

      Why don’t they claim that sign is peanut and dairy free?

      1. Why don’t they make fun of the peanut allergic and lactose intolerant? Because doing so is bad for business in an immediate and dramatic way that someone having a reaction an hour after leaving the restaurant is not.

        A peanut allergy reaction will often involve anaphylaxis, requiring Epi-Pens and perhaps the entire party removing to an emergency room. Ambulances at the front door of a restaurant deter walk-ins.

        Lactose intolerance often involves copious amounts of methane, which smells bad. Nobody wants to go into, or stay at, a restaurant that smells like farts.

  7. I think that the signs are funny, and I even joke with my friends and family about things being “gluten free”.
    I have dealt with Celiac for over 30 years. Fad diets come and go, and of course I understand the resturant’s frustration, a little levity nver hurt anyone, so my take is, people with Celiac need to lighten up, have a sense of humor, its not like a sign is going to kill you (maybe if it falls on you…) so technically, the sign is gluten free, and so it air.
    Keep Breathing, Keep Smiling, Life is too short to be taken Seriously.

  8. Dear Jordan, this comment is asinine. “The Celiac population is so small that it doesn’t make financial sense to cater to that group.” 15% of American households purchase gluten free foods for gluten sensitivity, Celiac disease or other autoimmune diseases. Gluten free products are a billion dollar a year industry and growth is increasing and will continue. Gluten free is not going away. As awareness increases so do sales. As more people are diagnosed, sales increase. If a restaurant caters to gluten free then their profit will only increase. I do not take my family to restaurants that do not serve a safe gluten free meals. We only go to restaurants that serve gluten free food and that do it the right way. Those restaurants are getting my families and friends business too because they eat with me.

    1. Your entire post is asinine. “Gluten free products are a billion dollar a year industry and growth is increasing and will continue”. Supplements are also a multi billion dollar per year industry, but most of them are full of nothing. Does that mean that everyone should buy them? Most people have no vitamin deficiencies, and if they actually ate a healthy diet they would be able to get their vitamins and nutrients, however, they spend countless dollars on supplements because people like Dr. Oz tell them they should. “As more people are diagnosed”, hmm, seems like we do a lot of diagnosing without much hard evidence (other than peoples word). These “diagnoses”, unless they are true Celiac (tested with imaging and laboratory studies of course, which I do believe is a true thing, so dont get me wrong there), are laughable, similar to every single child being diagnosed ADD/ADHD because they cannot pay attention for more than five minutes.

      Gluten free, essential oils, paleo diet are all instances of something that has caught on as a fad, due to individuals like Dr. Oz and the like.

      I never really heard much mention of Celiac disease or gluten intolerance until mass media started telling people it was an issue.

      If you truly have Celiac disease, by all means, avoid gluten. But if you do not actually have a medical problem, you are probably doing more harm than good. The amount of things they have to put in gluten free foods to make up for the lack of natural binding agent is far, far worse.

    2. Ah, the ‘gluten intolerance’. The ‘gluten sensitivity’. That thing, that’s what I call the fad. There has never been a scientific diagnosis of either of the above. There is no scientific evidence that it actually exists. 0.5-1.0% of the population has Celiac Disease. In my town, that’s 200-500 people. I’ll reiterate my asinine statement…not enough to cater an entire menu to. The reason GF exists in restaurants are the very people who make it impossible for real Celiacs to dine in restaurants. As I’d said, I’ve never had an issue with a Celiac diner. Their rules are black and white, easy to follow. No gluten. The faddists, the ‘sensitivitists’ and the ‘intolerists’ have no rhyme or reason.

      Customers didn’t tip the other day because while we have GF pizza crust, we don’t have GF toppings (pepperoni sausage, etx). They drank Miller Lite.

      I had a couple come in on a recommendation from some friends about our GF choices. They didn’t stay because they didn’t like our choices. One GF group recommended us, while another couldn’t eat here. Neither group was Celiac what gives?

      Had a server rummaging through the cooler the other day reading ingredient labels for her GF table. After much arguing from them about cross contamination (this was apparently very serious) they all ordered Coors Light.

      Had a customer request that we cook his burger in a pan so that it didn’t get contaminated. Grilled his GF bun with GF oil in the oven on a separate pan. Side choice? Fries fried in the same oil we do our boneless breaded wings in. Topping? American Cheese. Knowingly.

      A customer with Celiac Disease came in and told the server ‘I have celiac, I can’t consume gluten.’ Then she placed her order. We conveyed to the kitchen, who jumped through the necessary hoops and we served a proper GF meal. No issues.

      That my friends is the difference between Celiac customers and Gluten Free Faddists. A Celiac would NEVER order Miller Lite. They would NEVER complain about the lack of GF toppings (after all, veggies, chicken, beef, etc are all inherently gluten free anyway). That is why the signs are funny because the group they are poking fun at is oblivious.

        1. Ha. Not jaded at all. I’m fruitlessly arguing about gluten free on a blog called gluten dude. I have never and will never have an issue making a special meal for a special need. 90% of the issues I have in the restaurant come from people who claim to be gluten free, but aren’t really gluten free (based on the dining decisions they make after the hoops are lovingly jumped through). Nothing more, nothing less. Awesome blog, by the way. I look forward to continuing to follow it.

      1. Poor you, Jordan! Your life must be so hard! People want gluten free crust AND gluten free toppings? Oh the humanity. I truly feel for you, my friend! They are expecting too much! They want their pizza AND to be able to eat it with toppings too? Waaaah!

        Shut up!

        If you have so many people going to your restaurant requesting gluten free things that you have to whine this much about it and put a stupid sign out front because you think your joke is so funny, then why not figure out what you have that does and does not contain gluten. If somebody requests something gluten free, your servers shouldn’t have to go rummage through labels. They should know. So what if they order a beer? You should make it easy to accommodate all these people who are making your life so hard.

        I have Celiac Disease, and I would NEVER eat in your restaurant because I think you are a jerk.

        Good day, Sir!

        1. Why on earth do they need gluten free toppings if they’re drinking Miller Lite? I gotta sympathize with Jordan on that one. It’s people like that, not Jordan, who make dining out more dangerous for us.

          If Jordan an his staff take care of real celiacs the way he says he does, he can have his silly sign (I’m assuming that it’s his, or that he has something similar displayed). It would probably be better if he (or whoever) didn’t display it (and he/they might get a little more business from people who appreciate careful gluten free meal prep), but I think people are going overboard on this one.

      2. You seem to be assuming that everyone knows a lot about their food. This isn’t the case – especially for the newly diagnosed – and it doesn’t mean they don’t have coeliac disease.

        I’m really worried now because I will be living in the U.S. for a while next year and I have no clue about a number of brands or ingredients mentioned here. If I say that I need something gluten free but ask for American Cheese (I assume then that this is not just cheese?), rather than telling me that it contains gluten are they going to assume that it obviously doesn’t really matter and I’m just following a fad?

      3. remember folks, its the choice of an establishment to determine if they are going to offer gluten free food or not. it is an added cost. it’s added training, It’s added a lot of things. Some offer gluten free food and have no idea how to really handle it and have bad issues with cross contamination. I’d rather a place not offer gluten free than do it half assed and we all get sick.

        pick your battles

      4. I call “bullshit” on your “Ah, the ‘gluten intolerance’. The ‘gluten sensitivity’. That thing, that’s what I call the fad. There has never been a scientific diagnosis of either of the above.” You’re looking at a person with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. I have tested positive for IgA gluten antibodies at over three times the limit for “normal”. I *don’t* have either of the genes for celiac disease nor did I have gastrointestinal issues. All my symptoms happened outside the gut.

        And contrary to the study that I’m sure you and all the other skeptics out there read, there are published medical studies in favor of gluten sensitivity: and In fact a quick search of Pub Med reveals 92 articles on the subject. So, when it comes to your claim that there’s no scientific proof, you don’t have a leg to stand on.

        In fact the study that supposedly disproves the evidence of gluten sensitivity does nothing of the sort. All it does is show that for some people who have gastric symptoms eating gluten that they are reacting to wheat which is also a FODMAP (a fermentable carbohydrate) which is nothing new (that’s why we make alcoholic beverages from grains). The truth is that around 90% of symptoms from eating gluten happen outside the gut. However, that study that supposedly “proved” NCGS was a myth, was only looking at people who have gut issues when eating gluten, i.e. only a small study of people that comprise about 10% of those with gluten-related disorders. You can have an immune response to gluten without it being celiac disease (which is technically and *auto*-immune disease).

        For some NCGS people like me, eating gluten caused an increased immune response triggering inflammation and that inflammation triggered sinusitis and migraines. Two months of being gluten free and the migraines I’d been having for nearly 30 years (sometimes as many as 2-3 a week) went away, never to return unless I was accidentally glutened. While I might not have the immediate response that a person with celiac disease has, I still have a response. And for the vast majority of people who have NSGS, they are experiencing “silent” responses. By that I mean that there is inflammation and damage happening internally that can’t be tested for (yet) or felt but that over time will result in serious health issues or death.

        And regardless of whether or not you are celiac, NSCG or none of the above, grains are still damaging to your gut (see:

        So, as my dad used to say, “Stick *that* in your pipe and smoke it.”

      5. Who on earth are you to judge? Do you require a diner to come in with a doctor’s note saying they’ve duly submitted to all the tests for celiac disease and have been unequivocally found to have it, before you’re willing to treat them with the respect due to someone who is (gasp)—GIVING YOU THEIR MONEY WHEN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN CHEAPER AND SAFER TO EAT AT HOME?

        Jordan, you’re a f*ckwit.

      6. No, there is NO medical consensus on how to diagnose gluten sensitivity. People have intolerances to all kinds of different foods, yet according to your logic, intolerance to gluten can’t exist because of a couple of gluten-free fad dieters?

        And yes, there are people with celiac disease who think they can “cheat” by drinking a Miller Lite. Some of them are asymptomatic and think no damage is being done and believe they can cheat. Or perhaps they get incorrect information from the internet or still have incorrect information from a decade or two ago. I’ve actually a few claims out there that suggest beer is rendered gluten-free because of how it’s processed. Do you think that all people with celiac are perfect and know everything or have up-to-date information? Do you think we all collectively take care of ourselves and are the same? Much like people with diabetes, right?

  9. Without celiacs, I’d find these signs funny and be inclined to go into the restaurant, empathizing with the people working there. The restaurants ought to cater to the fancy pants faddists, and take their money.

    But as a Celiac I won’t be caught dead trusting my health to a low margin industry like restaurants. Give them a break, they couldn’t make me a safe meal if tried.

  10. Betsy in Michigan

    Wow. Just wow. Jordan, whatever happened to “the customer is always right” (even when they are a jerk)? If you’re in a public sector based business, you KNOW that there are always some idiots out there. If you are good at what you do, you’ll be able to deal with most of it (and know when it really is time to kick someone out of your establishment). Nothing wrong with politely pointing out that your beer is not GF, etc. Do you want to be responsible for a shellfish allergic individual’s anaphlactic shock (or my whatever-you-call-it instant nausea and lingering Sick sickness when accidentally glutened – I am reasonably certain I would vomit if I had a whole slice of regular bread)? I’m sorry my allergies irritate you. I just acquired a new one this summer – the sun! Ain’t that a bitch? I don’t run around moaning about all this stuff – I pull up my pants and deal with it.

    I have not met any fad dieters yet, only those who have eczema, inflammation, or whatever alleviated. Some may be undiagnosed celiac sufferers, some may only be “gluten intolerant”. Who cares, if they have taken their healthcare into their own hands and saved all of their fellow citizens like Jordan some collective tax dollars.

    Yes, maybe I’m feeling a little pissy today (weed allergies, I think, and had a hard time falling asleep last night). I am NOT going to apologize to anyone that I am not up to attempting a gluten challenge this summer so I can get an official diagnosis and “Celiac” tattoo across my forehead from my Doubting Thomas gastro doc (I thought I’d better address my recurring MRSA skin infections first, thank you). I am always so appreciative toward waitstaff who take the time to find out how I can be kept “safe” ( frequent adjective used by them). Not so much with a-holes like you (who thankfully, have not been encountered by me yet). I generally let my consumer dollars do the talking.

    I invite the OP to link to this edition of the Gluten Dude and its comments.

  11. So it turns out that our friend “Jordan” in these comments is the owner of Bug Eyed Betty’s, the restaurant that this post is about. You have a strange way of marketing your business. I’ll just leave it at that.

    1. Hi Everyone!

      Just FYI, the other side of my sign says “Sign Language. It comes in handy.” Feel free to share with the deaf community.

    2. Not surprised the Jordan troll is the restaurant owner mentioned in your blog post. Not winning any new customers here indeed.

  12. I am non-Celiac GF for post-cancer and auto-immune health reasons. Yes, I’m an “outsider” to your community but I still follow Gluten Dude because of what he stands for, and want to be informed about my food and health. It’s not a fad diet – it’s still health issues just not as serious as Celiac. It’s one thing to have humor on yourself. But think of it this way… what if those signs were making fun of cancer? It wouldn’t be funny to anyone, even if you weren’t a cancer patient. Whatever happened to human decency? I don’t care if your restaurant serves GF or not. I’m only going to support the ones that I know I can safely eat at. We have the freedom of speech, and if this business owner wants to be an a$$ then he can. I am proud of this person for calling him out and hope that anyone with half a mind will chose not to support his place of business. Hugs from your NCDGF Sister.

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more Holly. I rarely stir up trouble on Facebook but I recently got into a major blowout with someone over this actual issue. Someone was complaining about gluten free labels on food that is “obviously” gluten free. I explained that people new to the diet needed those labels and the gluten is hidden in many places you wouldn’t expect it. I was trying to educate.

      Someone else on the thread kept mocking me. (Would you like some whine with that. Oh, wait, you can’t drink it because it has gluten in it.) I finally had enough. I told him I had a medically diagnosed autoimmue disease that was confirmed by bloodwork. I asked him, would you mock me if I said I had diabetes or lupus or any other autoimmune disease? No, but it’s okay to mock my autoimmune disease.

    2. Hi, Holly–I’m also (self-diagnosed) non-celiac gluten sensitive. I get horrible headaches and hives from the stuff. I know I’m healthier, and the terrible eczema I had on my hands has not come back since I started gf (I was also dairy-free for more than a decade prior).

      I’ve learned to make beautiful food without the things that harm me, and I’m always looking for people who seek to improve their health through the one thing that makes the biggest difference–food.

    1. Hi John – My point exactly! When I was going through cancer treatment, I didn’t see any signs entering the infusion center that said, “Baldies welcome” or “This sign has cancer” or anything like that. Cheers, Holly

    2. Exactly! Why do people find it funny to make fun of Celiac or people who choose to go gluten free for health reasons such as Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Who exactly do these people think they are that they can judge whether a person has gluten sensitivity or not? I do have Celiac disease, but have a lot of friends and family members who have health issues associated with gluten and therefore eat as strict of a gluten free diet as I do. People really need to stop the accusations, and judgements about other people’s diets.

  13. I wonder if these restaurant owners have these percentage numbers and know so much about their diagnosis’ because he actually took a poll? I doubt it. Which means they’re guessing and assuming. My daughter has to be ingredient specific because the gluten has done so much damage she now has multiple food sensitivities that make her very very ill for up to a week. Had even landed us in the hospital twice. So we are that pesky customer who wants to socialize, enjoy the atmosphere and food while being safe. We know and can pretty well narrow down what will be doable…but sometimes we just need to know. Love the places that smile and work with us. Usually because someone close to then gets sick too and they can relate.

  14. I’m sorry you’re offended means: I’m not sorry you’re offended.

    The whole response is patronizing. It is a heck of a lot easier to keep a customer than make a new one, especially when you are pissing off a whole community.

  15. I get sick of it too. Why not place a sign in front of your restaurant that says: “Attention diabetics, this sign is sugar free”. Jerk. As another reader commented, I hope you or a family member gets celiac and then you’ll see what an awful disease this is. Actually, I hope you don’t get it. It’s an awful disease that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

      1. Ahh, there’s the rub….. The sign does NOT say, “This sign is sugar free.”
        There are no foolish signs that make fun of diabetics and diabetics. No one is making your life harder with these jokes at your expense.
        There is a massive difference between LIVING with an issue and IMAGINING what it’s like.

        So until it actually becomes a “fad” to make fun of diabetes, you have to IMAGINE what it would be like to be faced with constantly being made fun of, being put down, and even as inpatient in a hospital be told you are just a difficult problem for having diabetes. If you go to the ER, they will be able to feed you without making you seriously ill.

        Live it – then come back and say that the constant assault of this ignorant behavior wouldn’t bother you.

        1. Honestly, I’m sorry if you experience a constant assault of ignorant behavior for having Celiac or a gluten sensitivity.
          But the anger is directed at the wrong person. The people that are making it tough for you are those who are choosing to live a GF lifestyle, making claims to have insensitivities, but in actuality, they don’t. I can fully understand your defensiveness regarding this issue – I CAN’T imagine how it feels to actually have a disease that others claim to have just for appearance purposes.
          I don’t believe the “fad” is making fun of people with dietary disorders, either. The “fad” is claiming a “need” to be GF. The reason its tough for those with real, diagnosed issues is because there is a group of people out there who make false claims for the sake of sounding cool, drawing attention, or just plain want to be difficult. Then there’s a group of people out there who assume they have sensitivity issues, but never actually have them diagnosed.
          I think the gluten issue is an easy one for people to jump on board with (in terms of fad dieting) Diabetes is tough to fake because you have to test blood sugars and give insulin injections. But if it didn’t, I am willing to bet there’d be people who claim to be diabetic and it’d make life difficult for those with true diagnoses.

          At the end of the day, I don’t think this restauranteur meant any ill-will towards people with TRUE gluten issues.

          1. I appreciate your input Emma…honestly. But you say “I don’t think this restauranteur meant any ill-will towards people with TRUE gluten issues.” The problem is the general population goes not discern between those who choose to eat gluten free and those who NEED to eat gluten free. And many in that general population will be making our next meals, serving our next dinners, etc. Face it…the sign was stupid and any business that does such idiocy won’t stay in business.

            1. Well, on that last part, we can agree to disagree…. Maybe the sign hit a sore spot with some, and they certainly don’t have to dine in that restaurant if they don’t want to. But even on this blog alone – people who suffer from the disease have said that others are taking it way too personally and need to relax.

              All anyone on this site knows about this restaurant is that it put up a sign once that offended someone, and that someone brought it to the internet court. Aside from that sign, the restaurant does a LOT for the local community. They aren’t bad people who are out to make fun of diseases.

              What would’ve been nice is if someone advertised the fact that this restaurant opened for Thanksgiving and offered free meals to anyone that came through. They’ve helped promote other local restaurants (who could potentially be considered competition for this place) but because they saw someone that needed help, they jumped in. They’re constantly giving back to the local community there. They also change up their sign all the time – they were featured on Buzzfeed once for another one!
              So while Jordan may seem crass and sarcastic here, he’s a dude with a very big heart, and runs a spectacular restaurant – especially in terms of caring for their patrons and community. It’d be a very big loss to the local community there if they went out of business because people didn’t like a sign they had, even when they’re completely more than willing to cater to those with food sensitivities.

            2. Getting back to the original letter to Jordan, it’s plain to see the person was telling them that they appreciated them giving back to the community. That person was expressing how the sign made THEM FEEL. The response from the owner, was insensitive at best. An ounce of sensitivity goes a long way now days. The person writing the letter had every right to express his or her feelings on that sign and did so. It would have been nice to see the reply go something like this: “Gee, I never once thought how that sign would make someone who had a horrible auto-immune disease feel, it was not intended that way and I truly apologize. I never want anyone to feel that way and it’ll come down tomorrow”. But, no, instead he continues to fight a battle that is not his to win.

              Just so everyone knows, that sign is still displayed despite the owner knowing how this makes many people with Celiac disease FEEL. Part of being a good person means saying you’re sorry when you’ve offended someone. Continuing to display the sign says so much about this person and their establishment.

          2. This is another case of people failing to take responsibility for their own actions. It is ridiculous to blame fad dieters for the negative public response to gluten. I do not care how a much a fad dieter may annoy you; at the end of the day, as an adult, you are capable of making the decision about bullying a person or group of people. This is the allergy equivalent of “she deserved is because she was wearing a short skirt.”

            For the sake of acting like the adults we all are, can we agree to stop putting the responsibility for our rude, aggressive, insulting, and destructive comments and behaviors on the “fad dieters”, and accept the fact that when you make these “jokes” at the expense of others, that we are just being jerks that are simply looking for an extremely cheap laugh?

            It’s time to learn to take responsibility for our own actions…!

  16. My favourite local gastropub has a policy that if someone has specified an allergy/intolerance or coeliac during their order, then if they try to add another component (desert or a drink) that contains the allergen – then no, they are politely told that the gastropub will not serve them that item as they are not willing to be responsible for making the customer ill. I think that is brilliant. It is also a spot where the chef will come out and talk customers with special food requirements through the menu, and also modify almost anything on the menu. I love that level of service, plus the food is delicious!

    Needless to say, I tip well when I eat or drink there, and am a repeat customer.

  17. Why don’t they say the sign is dairy free?
    Why don’t they say the sign is peanut free?
    Why don’t they say the sign is soy free?
    Why don’t they say the sign is meat free?
    Why don’t they say the sign is salt free?
    Why don’t they say the sign is onion free?


  18. I was in the grocery store the other day and saw a bag of potatoes – plain potatoes – labeled “gluten free”. Right on the bag. SMH.

  19. We ate breakfast at a diner recently that had a fabulous selection of GF items. My two young sons, the oldest of whom nearly died at age 2 before he was diagnosed, enjoyed a big pancake and bacon breakfast without incident. But my 5-year-old didn’t understand why they had a big sign in the window that said “Free Gluten”.

    It was pretty difficult to explain why that was meant to be funny.

  20. I say you should publicize the name of the restaurant and show his customers that the owner is making fun of EVERYONE!!!
    Those with Celiac and those who are on a fad diet.
    Restaurants that make fun of their customers are despicable. There are many restaurants we can patronize and we won’t be going to this one again.
    Then, the restaurant will be in CRISIS mode and in danger of closing for despicable customer service.
    It will be at that time that they should hire MY PR FIRM and I will make sure that they donate money to local CDF and NFCA efforts and let Celiac groups use their restaurant for events.
    Good riddance.

    1. I actually wasn’t making fun of anyone at all. But, it’s the sensational internet. The sign was meant to make light of the growing number of fake GFers. The ones who want to know the ingredients in everything and make life hell for the staff, then order gluten anyway. That’s how I responded, and that’s what it meant. That’s all. But again, its the sensational internet, so go ahead a let the world know how offensive ‘this sign is gluten free’ really is and how I’m making fun of everybody. Have a fantastic day.

      1. Making fun of “fake GFers” obviously also implicates those who eat gluten free because they have Celiac disease, regardless of whether you meant it to or not. That is why it’s not funny.

      2. Maybe you had not intended to make fun of anyone, but those of us who have dealt with restaurants who will question US when we ask if you have a dedicated fryer or if you use the same water/pot to boil both regular and gf pasta, or will plunk the biscuits right down in front of the person who made a point of asking about everything being GF…… Well then, we did take it personally. Plus, I have a feeling the people to whem you were directing your statement, well, they probably won’t realize it was meant for them. It wasn’t marked as such. So, yeah, it could offend people. And, for a lot of us with CD or who are NCGI, we will probably avoid your establishment, regardless of how you treat the “real” GF people.

      3. What’s next, are you going to say, “this sign is Black – Black Lives Matter” to make fun of hipsters?

    2. Well, since only about 1 in 100 people are diagnosed with Celiac and about .4% have a true gluten allergy, they probably wouldn’t lose too much business.
      Great reason to plug your PR firm, though …. you’re probably really good at your day job, and should just stick to that.

      1. Again, I love how people skim through “news” articles and form their opinion on a few misread bullet points.
        The current numbers of Gluten sensitivity are closer to 6-7 percent, not the .4 percent number you made up to make your point.
        After reading all of these comments, I am left with this overwhelming sadness. Not because people are so ignorant and form opinions without little to no research, but because we are attacking people for silly reasons such as fad diets.
        Why do we care so much what the next person does or doesn’t do? If it makes them happy or feel better and it does not affect you, then why should you care?

        1. Jeff, I don’t care. And I didn’t just make up the percentage I mentioned. I am a nutrition consultant. I know these numbers (and yes, they do vary) but it takes a lot of work to diagnose both Celiac and gluten sensitivities. Many people out there assume they have these issues because they don’t feel good a lot, but the truth of it is, they just don’t eat very well. The numbers I mention come from TRUE diagnoses.

          I am diabetic. I developed gestational diabetes after a pregnancy and my blood sugars never went back to normal. I could care less if someone had a sign that said “this sign is sugar free” because the truth of it is, the sign IS sugar free! And gluten free! And anything else related to food free.

          People are more than welcome to live on fad diets. The frustrating part is when people claim to be gluten sensitive, or even like some, go as far as saying they have Celiac, when in fact – they don’t. The fact people just make blanket claims without actually going through the grueling testing and overall pain that people with true issues have to go through is the maddening part – not some sign at a restaurant.

          1. If you are nutrition consultant, you should know about eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders as well as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, all of which can react to wheat/gluten. Do you know the number on those? Also, do those with rare diseases not matter?

            1. Those with rare diseases matter greatly! I’m sorry if I seemed insensitive to that? (Although I was speaking solely on Celiac and gluten allergies)
              A good friend of mine from high school suffers from Crohn’s, which is part of the reason why I ended up in the field I did. It’s a terrible disease. I want to help people overcome these, or at least find ways to manage so they can live as normal of a lifestyle as possible. What is disappointing is that people are attacking a restauranteur for posting a sign up on his business, when the anger should likely be at the people who are faking these diseases to get special attention at restaurants. (Which is who he was directing the sign at.)
              The truth is, from what I understand, he’s on “your” side. If people want to be GF just for general lifestyle changes – more power to them. However, it’s really disrespectful to the employees of a restaurant to make them go the extra mile in terms of food prep, but then order a gluten-laced dessert. It’s also really disrespectful to a person who is truly suffering from a disorder when people claim to have something they really don’t.

              Like I said in my response to Jeff, if people want to cut gluten just to be healthier, that’s cool. But claiming to actually have something wrong when they don’t, isn’t.

          2. Emma, for someone who does not care, you sure spend a lot of time and energy on forums not caring. lol.

            Also, its you “Couldn’t care less”.

            Again Emma, I think you would live a much happier life if you stopped concerning yourself so much with what other people do or do not do. You are part of the problem Emma. If you truly are a nutrition consultant, then you should be happy anytime an individual adopts a healthy nutritious diet, regardless of the reasons.

            1. Thank you so much for correcting my grammar! (For real, not being sarcastic here. I don’t like coming across as an asshat.) Surprisingly, this is also the first forum I’ve ever posted on. Most likely my last, too, because there is some crazy aggression on these boards!

              I am happy when people adopt healthy lifestyle choices – very happy. But, as many posters on this forum have pointed out, it’s becoming a challenge for them – jokes are being made, places don’t take them seriously, etc – because so many people make CLAIMS to have these issues, but then hypocritically make choices to indulge in gluten-laced items whenever they feel the desire. Those of you with real issues can’t do that.

              I’m sure I’m not coming across very well here, and I apologize. But I think it’d be a lot easier for everyone if those just making a choice to be GF ordered from GF menus and left it at that. The restauranteur in this situation was making light of those that make it difficult for the ‘real sufferers’ of gluten sensitivities. It’s just really hypocritical and, I’d assume insulting to those with real issues, that people make claims to be gluten sensitive if they’re really just doing it for a lifestyle change. Why not just say “I’m cutting gluten out of my diet?” It’s honest. And in a restaurant’s situation, at least they’d know if there happened to be ANY type of cross-contamination, they’re not at risk for truly harming their patron. It takes extra training, extra prep, extra work all over the board to ensure that type of safety. So it’s probably extremely frustrating when they go the extra mile for a patron who claims gluten sensitivity, but then they see them eat a gluten-based dessert or cocktail. I think that’s the only point this guy was trying to make with the sign.

          3. Yes, BUT there are no signs that say anything pertaining to diabetics or sugar-free diets. Why is that? Because it’s simply not funny. I’ve never watched a program on TV where they make fun of sugar-free diets or debate on sugar-free anything. Not one single episode of night time TV is making funny skits about sugar free diets either…

  21. Jordan, 1-2 percent of americans KNOW they have Celiac disease. If you actually took the time to finish reading the articles you briefly read and became so opinionated on, then you would know that there is a lot more to be learned about this disease and any other conditions associated with gluten. A lot of people can live symptom free for a very long time before waking up one day with their body turned upside down. I have a non celiac gluten allergy and let me tell you buddy, the symptoms are just as bad as any Celiac I know. The slightest bit of Gluten puts me down for the count.
    I developed this at the age of 38 after a year of severe GERD, insomnia, chest pains, Throat sores, and stomach pain. (I won’t even list the other conditions that I have suffered). Once gluten was removed from my diet, ALL of my symptoms went away.
    So, here I am, the customer you hate, who is so sensitive to gluten and who does not have Celiac.
    We are real, we exist and this is a very real thing.

    1. No, I don’t hate. I don’t hate anyone. That’s where this has spiraled. I have no problem with the person who orders a GF bun and French fries, or a Gluten Free Pizza and a Miller Lite. I have a problem with the person who demeans the staff because they don’t know every ingredient in every item. Who asks for special preparation and then who knowingly and intentionally orders items with gluten in them, and quite honestly, you all should have a problem with that person too! That is the group. They also exist. I call them Gluten Free Fad Dieters. Don’t demean my staff, don’t hold out a tip because of a lack of choices when you knowingly ordered items with gluten in them anyway. That is the reason servers ask the question, because they more than likely had someone earlier that week who demeaned, demanded, then ordered gluten anyway. This is a battle we are all on the same side of. Except that someone was offended by a sign. A sign calling out the idiocy of gluten free as a fad. I love all of your passion, but you’re directing it at the wrong dude.

      1. Jordan, maybe just leave it as fad dieting as a whole and don’t focus in on the gluten part of it. Unfortunately, our community has been on the defensive a lot lately due to the lazy narrative that Gluten free is just a fad diet.
        This is part of the reasoning on why the humor has been taken away from many of us. Its hard to find things funny when you have to defend yourself so much. We just want to change the narrative and remove the unnecessary negativity directed at us.

        One last note Jordan, A lot of people going gluten free for health reasons for the first time are learning how to eat with each meal. We learn what we can and can’t have and sometimes find out the hard way what we really can’t have. It took me awhile to learn to check EVERYTHING, but some diners may be new to this and have no idea Miller Lite has gluten in it. I know it sounds silly, but you may be helping them out by asking them if they are aware it has gluten.

  22. My 5 year old and I have been been officially diagnosed as “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitive”. Our Celiac tests always come back negative, but my mom and her 2 sisters have been diagnosed as having the disease. My son’s scope was normal so the GI specialist gave the NCGS diagnosis and after all the anecdotal evidence of failure to thrive since he was 6 months old and started solids, put him on the gluten free diet. Miracle of miracles, he is thriving and wants to eat. So yes, I tend to get angry and annoyed when people like Jordan say people like us are fakers. After being glutened twice on vacation in restaurants, even though we were so careful and asked so many questions, we gave up and bought GF bread and made sandwiches in our room. Because people like Jordan don’t care and aren’t careful because they’ve already formed their opinions. So fine, all I can do with my money is take it where it counts. In my city we are lucky enough to have a strictly gluten free diner. We go there only. We also have a few gluten free bakeries and we go there. I’ll pay more for quality and assurance and there are no ridiculous jokes there. There the community gets it and it doesn’t matter if you are Celiac, Sensitive, Intolerant, Allergic or what. Because really, who would chose to be gluten free unless you had to be?

  23. I take it as a sign that people are aware of it. I AM offended when people I know make comments to me personally.

    Lighten up folks.

    And before you attack me, I’ve been Celiac for 35 years, and Type 1 diabetic for 43.

  24. Wow to Jordan? Wow to some of these responses! I’m SHOCKED that so many people on here claim to have no heard of “gluten-free” being a fad. Sure, modern medicine has made it easier to diagnose Celiac(s) Disease, but there are many, many people out there who chose to be GF. Just like there are people who chose to be vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and all those other special diets.
    Perhaps you truly have CD, have lived with it your entire life, and are completely unaware of the sudden rise in people claiming a need to be gluten free. But if you have CD, you know that there are many tests and doctor visits that go into this diagnosis. Living a gluten free lifestyle vs. actually having CD are 2 completely different things. People do choose to be gluten-free. Frequently. But then they need to commit to that lifestyle. It’s completely hypocritical and frustrating to a restauranteur who specially prepares a GF meal and then watches that person indulge in a gluten-laced beverage or dessert. Yes, the customer is paying, and therefore helping the business. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating. Especially if that customer was difficult.

    Then there are the folks who are gluten-sensitive, but aren’t truly diagnosed with Celiac. The surprising thing with this is that removing gluten-laden foods also tends to mean removing carbs. It’s REALLY easy to place “blame” on gluten, when in reality, you’re also removing many bad carbs from your diet, too. Could it be – just possibly – that you’re feeling better because you’re actually paying close attention to what you’re eating and removing bad carbs? Call me crazy. I make my living as a nutrition consultant. I work with special diets on the regular. I have seen many a person claim to be gluten-sensitive, but when we analyze what they were eating, there was a lot more going on than just being sensitive to the gluten protein. There were high amounts of carbs with little to no vegetables, healthy proteins, fruits. When removing items containing gluten, you end up bringing more of those types of food into your diet, which most people should! Reducing your carbs and increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and protein will make anyone feel better.

    In closing, true gluten-sensitivity, and especially Celiac Disease are awful to live with. I don’t think anyone on this forum would disagree. But to those making choices “just because” to be GF, know that its not just a cool thing to do. That style of diet is a difficult one to live with day in and day out if its a necessity, and its a luxury for you to eat GF but then chug that cold glass of beer down.

    1. It is insulting and erroneous to say that the reason those of us who have been made better by going gluten free is because we’ve gone low carb and are suddenly eating more healthy! Undoubtedly there are faddists who do this, but this blog is not about them, so I’m not sure why you’re fixated on that aspect of being gluten free (SHOCKED, just SHOCKED, that we’re trying to ignore the crazies out there?! If we haven’t met one personally, I believe it speaks favorably about our associations.). “Health professionals” like Emma are precisely the type I stop seeing b/c they don’t LISTEN to what I have found out about myself (I respect and treasure any doctors who do). I eat just as much potatoes, corn, and gluten free bread and other products as I did before going GF, along with a very healthy variety of fruits and vegetables. I figured out it was the additional removal of dairy that nearly eliminated my (not self-diagnosed, thank you) fibromyalgia symptoms (big surprise, since I never had any tummy issues related to dairy). Oh, but wait, I’m not a “nutrition consultant” (exactly what online institution awards this certification?), so how could I possibly know that? Surely I COULDN’T have have tested myself properly for gluten intolerance?! So yes, I also “choose” to also be dairy free, dammit. What’s it to you?

      And I repeat my assertion that working in a customer service industry is a talent (and also a choice). Some people are not suited for it. My grandfather, a small town bowling alley owner in the late 1960’s, wasn’t fond of “hippies” if they wrecked his restrooms, but he didn’t put up signs disallowing “long hairs”, and he certainly served them if they behaved themselves.

      1. Oh, wow Betsy. I don’t really want to argue via this blog with someone who sounds so angry. Regardless, just a few things:

        There’s no single ‘fixation’ that I had. Clearly you didn’t read my entire post. I was simply pointing out that many, many times, people who change their diets to be more healthy tend to feel better. You may eat potatoes, corn, and gluten-free bread (which is typically made with brown rice or potatoes), but you’ve still removed a large chunk of other types of carbs, right? Because I never said anything about eliminating ALL carbs, either. So, thank you for, in a round about way, emphasizing my point. Removal of many bad carbs from your diet, and eating more fruits & vegetables will make a person feel better. We agree on that.

        I work with people (at my ‘online certified’ job …. Surprise! I actually did go to a real college! A Big 10 college! and then I got my Masters! Gasp!) who are gluten sensitive on the regular. You can throw all the quotation marks out there that you want trying to discredit what I chose to do for a profession, but there are “health professionals” like myself who do in fact know what they’re talking about. And many of us go private/into specialty because we truly care about the people we’re working with. We become specialized to focus on things just like this.

        And, just out of total curiosity – if you, as you said, “properly tested” yourself at home for all of this, I’m assuming you put your own stool into a cup and then sent it to a lab? Because that’s how you “properly test” yourself at home. Just changing your diet and keeping track of that doesn’t self-diagnose.

        Finally, congrats on being dairy free. You’ve just reiterated my point that people make choices regarding their diets for all sorts of reasons.

          1. I’m sorry if that’s how I sounded to you. Thank you for your observation!
            I take pride in my profession, and I see nothing wrong with voicing my experience. But, it’s clearly not for everyone. The condescension and arrogance came at me full force, too. To be blunt, both parties in this had sh!tty attitudes – I’ll admit I got a bit sassy. It’s too bad, however, that people jump to getting defensive so quickly and can’t be open-minded to other people’s input.

        1. ““properly tested” yourself at home for all of this, I’m assuming you put your own stool into a cup and then sent it to a lab? Because that’s how you “properly test” yourself at home. Just changing your diet and keeping track of that doesn’t self-diagnose.”

          The standard diagnostic testing for Celiac is not a stool sample.

          I have gastropharesis on top of Celiac. Doctors told me to keep a food diary and track everything that I eat and every symptom that I have. By the time of my next appointment, I KNEW what foods triggered the episodes most of the time. He just listened to me explain it.
          Tracking ones symptoms is certainly a valid diagnostic method.

          Doctors don’t know everything and don’t have tests for everything that goes wrong with the human body.

        2. Betsy in Michigan

          I think stupid jokey signs bother me less than health professionals who brush off their patient’s research and observations (CUSTOMERS, actually) – at least they tell me which businesses I should not patronize. People too impressed by their expertise, rather than their experience with patients, and insist that the only way to be properly diagnosed is with a stool sample. I eat lots of quinoa, millet, amaranth, nut flours, NOT a bunch of rice and potato products (you may recall Consumers Reports’ recent finding of arsenic in rice – not so much a problem for regular folks, but a concern to those who must eat gluten free for their health). You misunderstood that my intake of fruits and vegetables has remained consistently high throughout my life.

          Do you know that the time-hallowed medical wisdom that diverticulosis can be caused by a low fiber diet now has a 2012 study showing just the opposite (verifying what I was quite sure about myself, that I have had a high-fiber diet my entire life, yet still have asymptomatic diverticulosis!).

          Do you know that recent studies have indicated that parents and teachers of autistic children can actually make valid observations about efficacious treatments for their children, even if the doctors and scientists are unable to quantify it?

          I could go on and on. Yes, scientific studies frequently contradict each other, but the trend is always toward more accurate accumulated knowledge and techniques. Eventually everyone knows and agrees that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria, a fact we didn’t know 30 years ago.

          I’ll stick with medical professionals like my ENT/allergist (a really fine combination of specialties), who is very knowledgeable, and also learns from his patient’s experiences. I’m sure that there are people who need the services of a nutrition consultant to point out what they have and have not been eating, but many of us on this blog do not. Did you know, as per my mainstream MD, that there is no “test” for delayed reactions/allergies, for instance the eczema I get from too much soy?


          1. Well Betsy, maybe you should go into the medical field because you sound like you know how to diagnose everything!

            My goodness. I’m sorry if my post came across as stating the “only” way to test was with a stool sample. We all know its not. But when you post, sounding extremely know-it-allish – it brought out some frustration from me. Especially when you assumed my speciality was based on an online program. I’ve continued my education to help people through dietary issues. And I listen, very closely, to everything my PATIENTS (not customers) tell me they’ve discovered. Who knows their body better? I certainly don’t. The more information they give me about themselves, the better. You’re making all sorts of crazy assumptions, and it’s really uncalled for. I’m speaking from my experience, you’re speaking from yours. I work with many different cases on a daily basis, you have your own personal self-lead tests. Does it make either of us any more right or wrong? No.
            Truthfully, I congratulate you on knowing your body so well that you’re able to diagnose most issues on your own. That’s a real talent. But there are many people out there who don’t have that ability.

            You yourself said “I eat just as much potatoes, corn, and gluten free bread and other products as I did before going GF” – but in your latest response, you said you don’t eat a lot of potato products? So, I guess I don’t really follow your point here. I’ve been responding to what you say. I mentioned potato products because you said you eat them. It’s really hard to have a constructive conversation (if that’s what you can call this) with someone who seems very close-minded and set in their ways.

            I’ll leave you with this: your posts make you sound very frustrated and aggressive. I’m sure life is difficult with all your health issues, and living with all that would definitely cause me to get defensive, too. Did you know there’s a direct correlation between eczema and high levels of stress in people prone to eczema break-outs? Just something to take into consideration.

            1. This is the last gasp, even if you feel the need to have the last word, Emma. I’m not sure why I am wasting my time jousting with a flat earther type – I really have better things to do. I actually have personally upgraded my health status from very good for most of my adult life to excellent after going gluten and dairy free (but otherwise not changing my healthy whole food diet) – funny, that. Maybe I’ll get my own blog – Gluten Dude sometimes pisses people off when he speaks his own mind too – that’s one of the reasons I like him!

              No, I’m not an angry or stressed person (’cause I don’t hold it in and let it eat me up?!), just old enough to be COMPLETELY fed up with people who think they know better than me about my own self (on the Gluten Dude blog, of all places!). I’m a big fan of a doc who can confirm what I suspected after research and observation (b/c I spend a lot more time with myself than they do!). I only started “sounding extremely know-it-allish” when you certainly DID say that a stool sample was necessary for diagnosis. (”
              And, just out of total curiosity – if you, as you said, “properly tested” yourself at home for all of this, I’m assuming you put your own stool into a cup and then sent it to a lab? Because that’s how you “properly test” yourself at home. Just changing your diet and keeping track of that doesn’t self-diagnose.”). I have found it very helpful in the last couple of years of reading this blog to see what kinds of symptoms people have had alleviated by changing their diets, so I figure at least one more person other than me might be interested in my experiences. Sometimes you get a more well rounded picture of the face of a disease than by only looking at lab results. I’m sorry if I read enough to be aware of lots of different kind of scientific and medical issues; that shouldn’t be a threat to a health care professional. And a quick search (again) confirms that it’s not really common knowledge to people what kind of official letters or certification comes with a nutritional consultant degree – we know MD, DDS, PA, RN, LPN, CNA, etc., but not so much nutritional folks – I would think you’d realize that. Many of us have been reading this blog long enough to hear of many cases of doctors who either don’t know or poo-poo symptoms – THAT’s what makes me (and others, I think) angry.

              The snarky passive aggressive comment about eczema made me laugh! Honestly I’ve only ever had issues if I have a tofu dish or too many gluten free oreos (since I now avoid soy flours)! Thanks, I know about the latest research (as you’ve already figured out) – I read Science News Daily, etc.

              Forgive me if I assume that more people aren’t eating a mostly organic, varied grains, and fresh food diet. With the info out there, we should all know how to skip the soda pop, etc. Fruits or veggies at every meal and all that. Do other people really eat all that many potatoes? I guess if they’re going to McDonald’s they do.

              And forgive my correction, but I’m really not out in left field when I say that consumers are health care customers who can hire and fire their health care providers (Really?! You’ve never heard or read that?!).

              I’m finished now – everyone here should be happy. I think you at least realize you’ve struck a sensitive chord with several of us? I’m going to play with my kids, who are less judgemental.

  25. I’ll admit that I’ve seen signs like these (my friend recently sent me a photo of a “Gluten Free Greeting Cards” section at Trader Joes) and I haven’t thought twice. But, I’ll say this: if my friends or family and I made plans to go to a restaurant and it had this sign out front, I would double think my decision. Not necessarily because I’m offender per se, but because I wouldn’t want to trust my health with an establishment that displays such a judgemental attitude toward those on a gluten free diet. The fact is, I don’t go to eat out to feel special – though I have celiac, I want to be quietly accomodated for and mostly treated like everyone else. So emphasizing the unique dietary choices my celiac disease forces me to make before I even walk into the door would probably take away my appetite and my desire to eat a delicious (and gluten free) meal.

  26. I get it Jordan. Its a tough audience because we’re all so sensitive about not being taken seriously. My own family has a hard time taking me seriously and they see what happens when I get glutened. I don’t think your sign was malicious at all, and in fact I think it puts you on the same side we’re on with regard to the gluten free fad dieters. It’s just that when you do have the disease and it’s been an uphill battle to get diagnosed, feel well AND be taken seriously, a sign like that can add fuel to the ‘it’s all in your head’ mantra that we have to deal with. So, while I really do understand why the sign is there, and would probably have put a sign up like it- pre-diagnosis, had I been in your shoes, I also hope you can understand why to so many of us are reacting the way we are.

  27. The guy is an ass. My gut feeling is that his customer is on a medically prescribed low FODMAP diet for IBS, which can be crippling in some cases. I say that because a fad dieter is not going to consider let alone care that the pepperoni is not gluten free. The interesting thing about FODMAP malapsorbtion is that it is an intolerance to certain types of carbohydrates in a diverse range of foods including wheat, rye and barley (rather than the protein component of these e.g. gluten). This means that they can have regular beer but must otherwise eat gluten free. And I’m willing to bet that they did not tip because the guy was an ass about it. I don’t have this issue, but I have a friend who does and she was horrendously sick before she was properly diagnosed to the degree that she had to go to the ER on occasion. I hate it when people get dismissed as ‘fad dieters’ when they have genuine food intolerances.

  28. I’m thankful that I don’t have Celiac, but would not in a restaurant with that sign because I’m one of the people who eats gluten free because I have a diagnosed wheat allergy. Allergies affect people differently. For me I can eat the fries from the regular fryer and drink a regular beer that is not a wheat beer. But let me eat something made with wheat flour and I’m in bad shape. I used to tell wait staff not to fuss that it was a wheat allergy but then I realized that the staff needs to act like it’s Celiac all the time to keep proper precautions in order. My question to Jordan is why are you picking on the gluten free fad dieters? I’ve worked in restaurants. Gluten free fad dieters are not the only obnoxious customers. As a waitress I’ve had people send their almost finished steaks back two times because the weren’t cooked properly and received no tip even with good service. I agree with the people who voiced that poking fun at any group of people for any reason is bad form. If you want to do it among your friends great, but as a marketing tool for your business? Not the type of business I want to support!

  29. The short answer to why some of seem to get our feathers ruffled over a silly sign….because we have had to fight to be taken seriously at every turn. Sometimes it’s family members who don’t understand, or friends, or co-workers who share our refrigerators, or other restaurants, or even some doctors who we now have moved on from. The fight to stay healthy makes us weary. That kind of sucks the humor out of our spirits at times. Maybe you can sympathize.

  30. I would NEVER eat at this restaurant! I can see them putting a few bread crumbs in my food just to be mean. If they think this sign is funny, who says they wouldn’t do something to your food on purpose. I hate eating out because I feel embarrassed to have to explain that I can’t eat gluten. It’s like we have to be ashamed to have a disease. It’s sad & eating out isn’t enjoyable anymore. I would love to go to a restaurant & be able to order anything off the menu! I pray no one in this restaurant owners immediate family gets this disease. If they do, he can see how fun it is to sit in the bathroom ALL day after just a little gluten! (And that’s just ONE of the side effects)

  31. We seem to live in an age were we are supposed to get upset over the slightest perceived offense.

    I say: chill. Yes, we have a nasty disease. But… that isn’t who Jordan was poking a little bit of fun at. Besides, humor is also healthy, and anger is not.

    1. well we have gotten off track.

      Actually every emotion that we have is healthy. Anger helps us stays safe, makes us recognize when someone else is violating our boundaries, and activates adrenaline for the fight or flight response when we are in serious danger.

      What is really NOT healthy is expecting others to feel the same way that we feel about things.

  32. I have been reading all the comments here, and I really do see the point of the person who owns the restaurant. We live in a world of snark. Having a snarky sign out front of his restaurant makes him (or his restaurant) “cool” … that, he hopes, will bring in customers. He got mad at some people who, for whatever reason, decided not to leave a tip. He claims they went nuts wanting GF food, and then ate gluten containing food off friend’s plates and had gluten containing beer. I’d probably get a little miffed, too, if I owned a restaurant and my staff had gone to a lot of trouble to provide a person with a GF meal (we all know that at a restaurant which has gluten containing food, serving truly GF food is nearly impossible unless there are two kitchens – a LOT of trouble) and then watched the person eat gluten off someone’s plate. I get the sign. In a way, it IS funny. I mean, it shows how hard it is to find “food” that is gluten free, if nothing else. But the sign is there to be snarky. And that is what hurts the people who have to eat this way. The sign, itself, doesn’t hurt me. But what it implies … that it is okay to make a joke about eating gluten free … is what hurts those of us who have to have people take us seriously if we try to eat outside of our homes. As a choice, I just don’t eat out at restaurants. But my life is severely limited because people do not take my disease seriously. I don’t expect any restaurant owner to provide GF food, but I certainly don’t expect a restaurant owner who does to then make fun of GF eating at the same time. I would suggest to this restaurant owner, to help negate any damage the joke could have on those who really do have to eat GF for medical reasons, maybe the sign could have something below those words that says something like “we are happy to serve GF food to those who medically need it”. That shows who you are poking fun at, and also tells people that you take the provision of GF food very seriously. Win-win. Just a thought.

    1. Deb…this is no space for rational thought. 😉 Totally kidding.

      Look, we only got one side of the story about the bad tip. Maybe it was crappy service. Maybe not. I was in the restaurant business for 10 years. It’s part of the gig.

      1. 😉 I know. Owned a service business for 15 years. Takes all kinds. But, even though he maybe should not be in the service business, he is. Just trying to appeal to his reasonable side … which, I suppose, is a lost cause since, from his posts here, it appears he hasn’t got one. Oh well …

  33. I actually thought the sign was sort of funny, just like I giggle at the signs for gluten-free oil changes and gluten-free sheet metal. It makes me sad, since no one would DARE make fun of a cancer patient, a diabetic, someone with Parkinson’s Disease, etc. Why do some people choose to pick on the Celiac patients? We didn’t choose this disease, unless, of course, you believe that we chose our parents and our genetics.

    What really struck me in this instance is the attitude of the restaurant owner, who has been replying to this blog post; it is beyond comprehension to me. I, too, know some fad dieters who claim that eating GF is simply healthier. Many are not diagnosed with ANYTHING and simply ‘dabble’ in the GF diet. I also know people who say they were diagnosed by someone who did a ‘muscle test’ to see what ‘weakened’ him/her when it was nearby. (voodoo, anyone?) I know still others that said they self-diagnosed and just went on a GF diet and feel better. However, how do you know which customers do not really have Celiac? I have gotten seriously ill in restaurants a few times, resulting in ER visits from 2 (!) of those experiences. Maybe the chef thought I was a ‘fad’ dieter and didn’t take the precautions I asked about. Now it makes me wonder, but I would hope not all restaurant employees and owners have your attitude, Jordan.

    However, I know that between my celiac and my lymphocytic colitis(currently in remission – thank GOD!), strict adherence to both GF and dairy-free diet is of utmost importance. This is partially why I typically avoid eating out anymore. It’s much easier to just do all of my own cooking than to pleasantly ask for assistance from a server. I typically ask what’s easiest for the chef to prepare, and ALWAYS ask for ‘naked’ food so that no sauces have to prepared GF. I always tip way higher than 20% for a safe meal and excellent service. I am actually the EASY one to cook for, frankly, but I’ve still gotten sick from a few places. It truly makes me wonder if someone had Jordan’s attitude.

  34. I will just leave it as this. I laugh at my own disease all the time. I laugh at a lot of things. But simply put, these signs lessen the reality of what celiac is and in my humble opinion, put us more at risk of getting sick. And as an advocate, I think that kinda sucks. It doesn’t mean I need to “lighten up” or stop being “so angry”.

    You think the sign is funny? Good on you.
    You think it’s ignorant and potentially harmful? Even better on you.

    1. Well-said, gluten dude. I still stand by my previous comment that no one would DARE make fun of someone with cancer, diabetes, Parksinon’s, etc. Why in the world does everything think it’s ok to make fun of the 1-2% of us with Celiac!?

    2. If I thought the guy was making fun of celiacs, I’d agree. But he isn’t and has made that clear. If I saw a sign like that, I’d strongly suspect that it was joking about the sort of people who avoid gluten “because it is healthy” and have no real knowledge of what’s going on. The best evidence is that, for most people, gluten is not a problem. A recent study suggested that humans evolved the genetic capacity to consume a lot of carbohydrates and that was a major boost in human development. In societies with access to grains, a lot of those carbs have gluten.

      I’m not saying that the sign is in the best of taste, but good grief – we have a huge thread, mostly of people jumping up and down about it. I’ve been suffering for 35 years with CD, so I am not about to make light of it. But I’ve also been dismayed lately at the tendency in our society for every group, united by whatever, to go right to outrage as the first reaction.

      And that’s why I suggest: “chill.”

    3. If we could please all the people all the time we would have no need for advocates. I, personally, am very glad to have an advocate like you in my corner. Thanks

  35. The sign doesn’t really offend or anger me but I can’t for the life of me see how it’s funny. If it said sugar-free, fat-free or any other ‘free’, it would just be plain stupid. But because ‘gluten-free’ is all over the media, somehow this is supposed to make it funny, but in my opinion it just comes across as passively hostile. It sounds to me like the restaurant is saying ‘Don’t even think about telling us you want a gluten-free meal, we’re just going to laugh at you.’ I wouldn’t dare eat in a restaurant that had that sign out front because I’d be afraid of not being taken seriously, which I would guess is exactly what they intend…to keep away any potential gluten-free customers.

  36. Now having read all the comments I think Jordan meant well but it never came across well.
    Emma, I wish I could find someone willing to go through all the details to help someone with their diets.

    Now, hear me out all… In my little part of the world I’ve just spent over an hour trying to find a restaurant that I could possible eat at because my Father is taking myself and sister out for our birthdays (I’ll be overseas for mine.) All I could find gluten free was a pizza place and I know their pizzas aren’t good, or dairy free.
    My dietitian gave me a diet to lose weight: Low-fat cheeses, whole grain crackers, lean meats, etc and then kicked me out because after 6 months I hadn’t lost anything. Didn’t look to see if there was anything else to do, just that.

    Later that year I found out I was allergic to wheat (tested). I worked out for myself that I can’t have gluten, oats, soy. A homeopath helped me find out a was allergic to dairy, 2 years later.

    The jokes and the jibes get tired and I know I am getting heartily tired of telling that I can’t have it and then suffer because they either refused to believe or thought I was joking.

    Thanks Gluten Dude for a place for us to blast off from ;D

  37. I do not eat out, every meal is prepared by me or my husband at home! There is a totally gf restaurant but I don’t like the cooking there and the bread isn’t very good. I am so afraid that by me making a point to have a gluten free meal that I may get spit or worse on the top of my gluten free item. I do not trust anyone to take my disease seriously and for me it isn’t worth the stress, I have stress enough. I won’t eat at potlucks because some ladies I used to work with thought I was faking it and would tell me something was gf when it really wasn’t just to see what would happen to me if I ate their crap. So I brought my own food which they thought was very rude and finally I just stopped even going all together. Yes I have issues with trusting someone else with my health. Rant over!

    1. I won’t eat at potlucks because some ladies I used to work with thought I was faking it and would tell me something was gf when it really wasn’t just to see what would happen to me if I ate their crap.”

      Those are simply awful people. Seriously f**k them. Sorry.

    2. ***My mother put a wheat noodle in everything that I ate when I visited. If she visited my home, despite not having a single noodle in the house, one would magically make it into my foods also.
      ***At bible study, the ladies took my SINGLE serving of brunch foods meant for MY MEAL and placed it on the buffet table. Not one of them understood why I was leaving nor why I was crying as I drove home.
      ***Good friends complain that I never eat at their homes regardless of the FACT that I always bring my own, consume my own while others are eating and have the plate in my lap.
      ***I have an aunt who will “forget” the one tablespoon of flour in her dishes. Then once I have eaten a serving, she suddenly remembers.
      ***When my father was in rehab for a broken hip, he tossed me his donut (not gluten free) to “hold while he exercised). I let it fall to the floor. Staff wanted to lay into me for not catching it.
      ***I nearly died from Celiac. These people watched as I slowly lost weight and muscle and nerve function, was confined to a wheelchair, and walker.
      ***Get sick and then we have to walk the mine field of medications that contain gluten.
      ***Need emergency care in hospital and hope that we are conscious and mindful enough to fight with staff to ensure that everything we are given is gluten free including food.
      ***Sit in ER for one’s self or family/friend starving because a hospital can’t serve gluten free foods.

      This is the crud we face every single day every day. There is no day off, no time that we get to NOT think about having this disease. No outing, no event, no get together is EVER SAFE for a Celiac even waking into some stores where they use flour all the time when we breathe it in is dangerous.
      We have to think about it, be on guard, and consider every single thing every single moment of every single day.

      These sorts of insulting signs make light of the trial of dealing with a chronic illness. Many people read such and assume that putting up with such ignorance equates to agreeing with it and therefore it is “NO BIG DEAL”.
      There is no excuse for this level of ignorant behavior from one human being to another.

      1. Snowflakes,

        These people who are putting noodles or whatever in your food — what they are doing to you is, quite simply, criminal behaviour.

        Check this story about a grocery store worker who wasn’t getting along with his boss, so he spiked her coffee with peanut butter knowing full well she couldn’t eat it. Of course it made her sick, to say the least; when she finally discovered he was behind it, she pressed charges and he was convicted of administering a noxious substance.

        Glutening someone on purpose is no different in my books. I wonder how these people in your life would react to this story.

  38. I totally understand these posts about people being nasty about gluten. I was engaged to a guy who told me at our breakup that I didn’t have celiac. Excuse me? He then informed me that he had purposely been putting gluten in my food all along. Well, those were the sickest years of my life… Years of running to the celiac disease center with symptoms that couldn’t be explained. I’ll tell you, after that experience, it is difficult to trust others to cook for me!

  39. Hi GD,

    Thank you for this post. Since I have no energy to fight with the GF/restaurant bullies, I’d like to leave a picture I saw this week on “Moomah’s” Facebook page. Moomah is run by Jon Stewart’s wife, Tracy Stewart. As some of you probably know, Tracey has Celiac disease and so does her son.;OP7GR9rMa~_JbK0A0M5RcZm9XYjQd~;0vYlN~_1Nzlizc5wzKcnOxFdywI4FOzfigF4YY~_pAHE4uvQpZI3mNdXZOcvhftzhqXysmkMU2mJy2c~;IkO4sWQu1bzl2FYpJyFdB2Ier89nkBPB6Gwg~-~-.bps.a.10152934383416883.1073741851.107876156882/10152934384561883/?type=1&theater

    Lots of love to all my GF/Celiac peeps.

  40. When I read this I thought both sides have valid points and it wasn’t a serious topic like say, cancer. Then I thought, what if the sign said “cancer free” instead of “gluten free”, and I realized I was very wrong. Yes, I personally know many pseudo-gluten intolerant people and they are very annoying about their ‘illness’. I also know a few people with celiac disease and one who almost died. Not Funny. Please take down the sign.

  41. I get the joke. I may even chuckle at it. I am, however, diagnosed with celiac disease and while recognize the signs are intended to be funny or ironic, it also makes me question whether or not everyone who will be serving me in such a restaurant would take my condition seriously. Will they snicker behind my back? Do they all understand the difference between a fad dieter and a person whose health is threatened by gluten? Can they really tell by looking or by interacting with me for a minute or two? Personally, I would not be comfortable dining in a place that makes light of my condition. That being said, those who are truly gluten intolerant or have celiac disease have to be hyper vigilant about eating in any restaurant. If you want to know what good service and consideration to those with food intolerances/allergies looks like, go eat at a Disney restaurant sometime. They get it. They do it right.

  42. Would I eat at this resturant? No. The reason Is I feel they would confuse anyone asking for a gluten free menu or options as a “fader” and potentially not take my order seriously. Not worth the risk!

    Do I think they are making fun of my condition? No. Gluten free “faders” are 99% of the gluten free orders most restuarants receive. And, I understand it can get ridiculous (gf pizza with beer is a great example). The fact is “faders” make things difficult for restaurants AND celiac folks. Granted when I was newly diagnosised I didn’t realize I could get cross contaminated via the fryer (yes I ordered fries and never asked questions), but I did ask about everything else. Now that restuarnt servers think they know everything about the gluten free “lifestyle” they probably wouldn’t bat an idea if a celiac ordered fries cooked in the same oil as the onion rings. They are so used to people (I mean faders) ordering gluten free items and mixing it up with gluten filled food and drinks. This doesn’t help me when I need the server to look out for me and help me identify safe items off their menu.

    Do I know a “fader”? Yes. My husband. He feels better (which makes me feel better when he isn’t lethargic- we have more fun). However, I will alway tell the server – “I’m the only one with celiac at this table. I have to eat gluten free beacause of my condition – he doesn’t. “. Even then, I need the server to know they need to take my order seriously (and not get confused by husband ordering a gluten free dish followed by an order of potstickers!).

    I agree with another post above. How about we have a low carb menu (that is what the #gf faders really want – including my husband) and a celiac friendly menu (moving away from GF). This could reduce confusion for servers and help those of us that really need the extra attention to our order to ensure it stays gluten free and safe to eat (free from cross contamination).

    Finally, not to throw my husband completely under the bus, sometimes he orders gluten free just so I can try his food (very romantic, I know..).

  43. A week ago, we went to the Texas de Brasil at the Walden Galleria in Buffalo, NY. I do not tolerate gluten or dairy well, and thus am strict about not eating them (sorry, Jordan, I’m one of those “trendy” people on a “fad” diet who doesn’t have a diagnosis that would meet your stringent standards). The occasion was my brother’s birthday, so it was him, his wife, and me. His wife is a high school teacher, and our server was a former student of hers. We were seated, the server came to us, explained how the Brazilian steakhouse worked. Here’s how issues were dealt with:

    Server: Can I get you anything to drink? Here is our wine and beer list, and we can make pretty much any cocktail.
    Sister-In-Law: Half my family are alcoholics, and We Are Not Drinking.
    Server: We also have (names a long list) soft drinks.
    SIL: If I drink anything carbonated, the filling in my tooth comes out.
    Server: We could do iced tea, we’ve got sweetened and unsweetened, plus (names several fruit flavors).
    SIL: Caffeine makes my heart race.
    Server: We do have orange, pineapple, cranberry, and grapefruit juices.
    SIL: Cranberry juice, please.

    Server: Here’s how you’ll be served meat. Most of our beef is rock-salt crusted….
    SIL: Can they do some without? I’ll be tasting nothing but salt for the next week.
    Server: Yes, but it will take a little extra time. Our beef is cooked medium-rare…
    SIL: If they’re doing it without salt, could they also make mine well-done? Medium rare may as well be raw.
    Server: I’ll ask them to do that. For the table, we also bring garlic mashed potatoes, and fried bananas which are good for clearing the palate between the different meats.
    SIL: Are the bananas breaded? I hate anything breaded.
    Server: No, they’re not.

    Me: I can’t eat gluten or dairy products. Apart from the meats the carvers bring, what is safe for me?
    Server: The mashed potatoes do have milk, so avoid them. I’ll ask our manager to come over and walk you through the salad area to show you what is okay for you. Most of what we have will be just fine. We want everyone to be able to eat here safely.
    Me: Thank you very much!

    (The manager walked me through a beautifully maintained self-service area of appetizing salads, vegetables, cold seafoods, told me what had which things in them, explained how they kept things far apart and carefully monitored so cross-contamination was very unlikely, and reiterated they wanted to make sure that people with gluten issues would have a great dining experience.)

    Meal progresses…..

    Server: Would you like to see our desserts?
    Brother: Yes, please.
    Server explains the desserts, brother asks for key lime pie.
    SIL: Is the cheesecake more Italian, German, or New York.
    Server: It’s a New York style.
    SIL: That is disgusting. Way too sweet. I’m going to hate it.

    Okay, Jordan: Which of the two women at this table would you be happy to come back to your restaurant?

    BTW–Texas de Brasil is not the kind of place (at $50 per adult, pre-beverages) you go when you just don’t feel like cooking. But my food issues were handled graciously, and because of that, we’ll recommend it when our “usual suspects” for large family outings need to think about a place for celebrations. You lose me, you lose 12-15 other diners. Which means you don’t lose $50. You lose $600 or more.

      1. In many ways, there is much good about her. But dining out with her can lead to embarrassment for exactly what happened here.

        My “faddish”, non-celiac gluten-freeness might be a pain in the @$$ to some restauranteurs or servers. But I try to keep it low key, call as little attention to it as possible, and show appreciation when people make a good effort for me. It’s not attention seeking.

        1. That is the difference. True Celiac/NCGS are not making a fuss! They are protecting their health and following a doctor prescribed treatment for a disease.

          Just because it quacks like a duck doesn’t mean it is a DUCK. It might be a mocking bird.

          1. I’m not “diagnosed” by a doctor: when I was having terrible sinus infections and was tired of being on antibiotics for months at a time, I started tracking on a calendar what I was eating, doing, where I was going, what the pollen counts on the weather reports were, and how I felt. Did that for a month, and realized that the common factor on my worst days was eating a dairy-heavy diet.

            So, I stopped eating dairy.

            I did the same thing when I was having flares from eczema that had no “rational” cause–but bread, pretzels, pasta, cakes, cookies seemed to be the thing that made my skin worse. I also stopped having five days a month lost to headaches (I still get one or two a year).

            So I stopped eating gluten.

            “Doctor, it hurts when I ……”
            “So don’t …….”

            If something makes you feel awful, it makes sense not to do/eat it, right?

            1. Having not been tested formally, to get an accurate reading I’d have to re-start eating things that make me sick. After last time, when a handful of Rold Gold pretzels had me vomiting for a couple of days and gave me a headache that could only be cured by amputation, I’m not willing to do that. Just be very strict with the gluten-free.

  44. Just saw the sandwich board pictures in a Google search. And now that my city, Flint, has a huge lead in the water crisis, this picture is even less funny.

  45. Hey Duded and dudettes,
    So Saturday night I was invited to go to NYC in a stretch limo – whoo hoo! I was all excited, then I asked where are we going to eat? She says Pizza. I’m like oh….3rd pizza party invite in 2 weeks. YAY… so i ask the restaurant name so i can check out the menu and my dear friend of 18 years says “just go with the flow. we just wanna have a good time”. Like I just wanna be a pain in the ass for fun right??? oy!!
    So, she told me literally 4-5 times to go with the flow and have a good time as I tried to explain to her…mind you I am not Celiac, but NGCS … and it’s so severe that inhaling wheat flour in a bakery could get my immune system worked up, which attacks my thyroid (Hashimotos) and could lead to Lupus…i had an elevated marker for Lupus.
    Anywho, none of this mattered to my bestie. I was actually very hurt that she wasn’t more understanding. She’s always so sweet otherwise. She says “oh everyone has health problems and I’m gluten free too.. We’ll find something…i’ll just order a salad”.

    Guess what? On the way to the big beautiful city, we stopped at Freakin Staten Island at a pizzaria with cafeteria style seating. I couldn’t even believe it. No one explained to me why. Maybe it was a family tradition for some of the guests. Anyway, she ‘gluten free lady’ gobbles down pizza next to me. And me… well i followed the waitress into the other room and explained my situation and she was very kind and accomodating. They made me grilled chicken and spinach with tons of garlic and it was delicious. She assured me they cooked in a separate pan with separate utensils and changed their gloves. So sweet.
    Folks at the table were nice and seemed to appreciate their efforts and that I was able to eat. It was a great move to go order separately rather than to try to order in front of 10 people and have to deal with the comments, questions or looks. This is BULL man. Hate it. One of my best friends…maybe she was having a bad day. Who knows, but I sent her a letter today and let her know that I was hurt. She probably thinks i’m being silly. So much fun being gluten free!! aaarrrghhh!!!
    P.S. Thanks Gluten Dude for this site. It really made me feel better!! 🙂 Love ya!

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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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