Why Doesn't the Military Accept Those With Celiac Disease?

military celiac

I am always impressed/amazed at people who want to sign up with the military to defend our country, putting themselves at risk to serve the greater good. There is no bigger sacrifice.

And with our country’s dubious history of getting involved or starting wars that are questionable at best, it’s even more impressive.

But did you know that if you have celiac disease, you cannot enroll in the military? But if you are already enrolled and THEN you get diagnosed, it’s not an issue. Yeah…I know…it makes no sense.

Read the below email I received from someone whose military dreams were shattered due to a diagnosis of celiac disease. Here’s a guy who busted his ass; who wanted nothing more that to follow in his family’s footsteps. And he got shot down because of our disease.

Part of me gets it. How can they accommodate someone with celiac food-wise especially on the front-lines? But if 1% of our population has celiac, wouldn’t it be easier to recruit people if they could somehow offer gluten-free meals?

No easy answers I know. If you’ve got any suggestions or simply opinions, I’m sure he’d love to hear them.

And just to be clear, this is not a rant. I’m not claiming discrimination against celiacs. I’m just not good at accepting things “just because it’s the way it’s always been done.”

Hey GD!

Fantastic blog. It is great having such a strong, growing community of empowered fellow sufferers.

After reading your blog, I had to shoot an email. If you do not mind me taking a bit of your time, and ask for a little assistance, I would truly be in your debt.

I come from a long line of military service. My father served in Vietnam, my two great uncles spent months under the pacific in a submarine and stormed Iwo Jima on the first wave respectively. Even my great grandfather served in the Black Watch in his native Scotland. So it was apparent even as a child I would do my best to follow in my ancestors’ footsteps, all while pursuing my personal objective of attending medical school. My hard work and dreams finally came to fruition at the end of college as I was being considered for an MD/PhD program at USUHS in Bethesda, Md. Yet that’s when my dreams would be crushed by a variable out of my control.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and the military does not accept people with this disease. I was medically disqualified by DODMERB, and all waiver attempts have been denied. Years of hard work, a 3.9 GPA, a 32 MCAT, and a desire to spend my entire career in the service have been for naught. The most frustrating aspect of this situation is that I have almost no physical symptoms, am not on medications, and the few symptoms I have are completely controlled by diet. Yet even though my disease would not affect my ability to serve, my dreams have come to a screeching halt.

Militaries in other countries accept celiac patients like Israel. Even in our military there are celiac patients that are accommodated for, albeit ones that have already been accepted and are diagnosed after being in for some time. The fact that one percent of the population, nearly 3 million people, have no chance to give their service to their country is a disgrace. Especially because the confirmed cases of celiac disease is on the rise. Talented, motivated, and for all intents and purposes healthy individuals like myself, who have little to no physical symptoms that are completely controlled by diet, have to sacrifice their dreams because the system cannot adapt to accept these individuals.

I understand the need to maintain physical standards. I understand that these standards need to be strict to reduce the risk of accepting soldiers who cannot perform their duties due to illness. But when a medical standard is so stringent it causes the military to pass over qualified people who are physically fit for duty then they are not only ruining dreams but also hurting the organization it is supposed to protect.

Unfortunately it seems it is too late to pursue my dream, and I am in the process of correcting the course of my career path. But I just wonder, is there anything that can be done to change DODMERB’s medical standards in reference to celiac disease, so that thousands of young, talented, dedicated citizens like myself have the opportunity to pursue their dreams?

I contacted public officials who spoke to the DOD on my behalf. But like most aspects of government, when you question a policy they just point to a rule over and over again like it was chiseled on a tablet ripe of mount sinai and say “sorry we cant change this”, no matter how frivolous it may be.

So I am contacting bloggers, reporters, celebrities, pretty much anyone who remembers that pencils still are created with a rubber end, who understand that frivolous laws have very real consequences to people who they affect, and who can at least give me advice on how to take on such a huge task as changing DOD policy to give those with celiac disease a chance.

Thank you again for your time GD and I hope to hear from you about this issue.


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81 thoughts on “Why Doesn't the Military Accept Those With Celiac Disease?”

  1. Unfortunately, from what I’ve learned from being an Army spouse for over 20 years, if there is a concern that will render you non-deployable, you will not be able to join. The problem comes when you are in a situation where food is provided for you and you cannot get anything shipped in on a regular basis, and your life really does depend on that food. As far as I know, the US Army does not have GF MREs. And, celiacs who have been in for a while still can be medically retired if their condition is bad enough. The Army does not like to hold on to bodies it cannot send just anywhere at the drop of a hat. Is this fair? Not to the people who really want to join. But, would you really want to be dropped into a war zone and get sick from food you know you cannot eat, but is the only option?
    Found his link on the web. It’s not just celiac, it’s a lot of GI problems. And then some…..

    1. Absolutely right. My husband is a Navy doc. One of the biggest complaints he hears is how constipating the MREs are. They are full of carbohydrates. It’s probably impossible to specialize the rations in a war zone. There are way more important issues out there.

      1. I am 13 years old and have always wanted to be in the RAF. One year ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease meaning I would be unable to join the RAF. Only 1-2weeks ago I found out I couldn’t be in the RAF which broke my heart.My point is that I want to be a physical trainer so I would be no where near the fighting or where the food is more rashioned and less choice of food.as I am a female I wouldn’t be able to fight anyway. If you are celiac you can’t partake in any roles in the RAF which is silly because if you wanted to be something so that you don’t even leave the country you still can’t do it 😞
        This makes no sence but hopefully by the time I am older the rules might of changed🙄

        1. eliose humer, i dont think the standards for celiacs will change unless a cure for the autoimmune disease is found. since you have 4 years of High school, enjoy it while you can, kathy w, gives good insight. you can serve another way, military do need aerospace engineers, physical therapist, scientists, programmers. keep your grades up, and dont slouch in your classes. besides celiacs, there are many things that can exclude you. most common are eczema, psoriasis, asthama(only within 3 years of trying to enlist, and after 13 years old. Let alone physical and sports injuries as well. you can imagine how many of these people with the conditions i mentioned are trying to join right now, and are getting denied for these things. Celiacs represent a small population amongst the people trying to join.
          cELIACS doesnt need to be triggered by gluten specific, any of the wheat proteins can trigger symptoms of it. gluten free products are vastly different than something of the same product, i heard they taste differently and not as good. you need specialized production methods for gluten free products, since gluten is intended to design to enhance shelf life of products, thats why its in everything. If you look at gluten free products compared to regular products, way more expensive. something the military does want to afford or specialise, for such a small population with celiacs. its easier to have the cheapest kinds of food out there. If you have bought gluten free products, you can see how much it costs. by the way the gluten free hype or fad, is marketed by the food industry, most dont even know about celiacs, when they buy these products.

      2. Is anyway soldiers or civilians and support this issue. Something got to change for our men and women, who serve the Arm Forces.

        1. No. I’m sorry. So many proposals for all sorts of accommodations go before military panels every day. This is an matter of health and well-being (not just celiacs are excluded, there are a myriad of diagnoses that will exclude you from service), as well as a matter of making sure our troops on the front lines are ready. I know people will say, what about those on a base at home. Again, if you are not deployable, you will be removed from service. The military cannot continue to spend money on people who cannot serve anywhere at anytime. Yes, it is about money in the end. Is it fair? No. Is it necessary? Yes.
          You can still serve your country. Right now, more than ever, the military needs qualified engineers, computer programmers, technicians. So much of what is done is done behind the scenes. You have no idea. Did you know that the US military leads in patents granted to civilians? These people are the ones keeping those on the front lines safe. They are the reason so many come home. That is something to be proud of. And a DOD civilian employee does not have restrictions imposed upon them. We can all serve somehow.

          1. Your right, so many accomadations is almost impossible for the military to pay for. celiacs especially cannot be exposed to gluten or wheat products at all, which is not possible while in the military. IBS is another non-inflammatory bowel issue that is also not allowed, too many people in the military have ibs, and bowel habits are unpredictable, make you unreliable should you be in a country with poor sanitation. There are also many medical conditions that can prevent you from joining. Its true you can serve the country as a civilian, but some people felt serving in the military is something specials or different. Something like chronic eczema, or psoriasis cant join, because thier skin must be maintained, which the military cannot do. ultimately chronic conditions make it unsafe for the a person to be serving, because he can endanger his fellow service members, indirectly, and your more likely to suffer injury and disease as well. by the way celiacs is prevalent amongst northern european descent, and indian(INDIA).

          2. I am on the fence. Celiac can be developed at any point in one’s life. You don’t have to be born with it. Also, the prevalence has gone up to 2% of the general population whereas 1% was the previous estimate. Furthermore, for every 1 person diagnosed, and estimated 53 are not diagnosed. There are currently many who still serve in the military with celiac disease, and gluten restrictions as non-deployable service members. I think more should be done to support the troops who have celiac. Lastly, given that this is the most common autoimmune condition, and the most elusive in diagnosis, it would make since for gluten free to be the norm to protect those who are undiagnosed as untreated celiac disease can lead to a host of other problems that could further endanger the fellow soldiers of an afflicted individual. Moreover, it is negligent for the military to not provide protective measures for military personnel (diagnosed while in the service or not) given that GF diet in general leads to reduced rates of cancer as well as reduction in other adverse health outcomes for all individuals regardless of the presence of celiac disease. It would make more sense, from this context, to provide soldiers with the greatest health benefits for diet, physical health, psychological health, and all other domains. If the military followed this indication, celiac disease would not be an issue for military and all soldiers would reap benefits from this change.

            1. Like i said, and other have said military cannot and will not accomadate people with diseases like celiacs, its just to expensive, and puts other people in danger(what if the servicemember was deployed and somehow he gets exposed to gluten that the military dint account for, like food from other countries,,,etc. now the military has to spend more money just to send him/her back to states where he shouldnt have deployed in the first place. Also celiacs isnt that common, to caucasian people its common, more than likely if are northern european or a ethnicity that doesnt live near the equator your at risk for the disease. there are autoimmunes that are more common than this, but this goes beyond the scope of this discussion.
              the same goes with eczema,psoriasis, ashtma, 3 of the most common disorders, and the most common reason why people get disqualified from joining the military altogether, these diseases are too chronic and very high maitenance for the military to accomadate, it sucks but its true. Diabetes is another common illness that is high maitenance. its true people who develop in the military can stay in, but they can easily be discharged if the military feels that the disease cant be managed, which is often.

              theres a difference when someone has a permanantly disqualifying condition that developed while in active/reserve duty compared to someone trying to join with already the disease. when your diagnosed while in the military you are subjected to medical review by the military medical board, and determines if you can manage/deploy or not/ or need to be discharged.

    2. The government DOES have GF MRE’s. I know because we purchase them for our young adults who are serving missions. The company My Own Meals not only has GF (and kosher) MRE’s but 4 flavors to choose from. They are good tasting and can travel anywhere. They have a shelf life of 3 years too.

      You can find them here with the GF details: http://www.food4celiacs.com/ShopOnline/MYM/index.html

      Or go directly to the site: http://www.myownmeals.com/about-us/

      I hope this information helps!

      1. Not all deployments rely on MRE’s. Navy ships hold 5000 people and cook 4 meals a day. No Celiacs and no one with peanut or other allergies allowed. They can’t be worried about a few, when they have to worry about thousands, then get back to their mission at hand. It’s not a slam, it’s reality. I don’t walk into a restaurant and demand a gluten free meal if they can’t accommodate. I wouldn’t expect an employer to hire me if I wasn’t the right fit for the job. I was in the Navy. I also didn’t find out until years later I have Celiac. This person is already showing symptoms…definitely no way, sorry.

        1. Exactly. In the Army, if you are deployed to a re-supply unit, an airfield, or anything that is not a FOB (Forward Operating Base) and are lucky enough to have a mess hall/tent, you will not be getting MREs all the time, and they cannot guarantee anything they serve will be safe. Cross-contamination will occur – there is no room for separate prep sites. If you are getting MREs, shipments can be misdirected, late, hijacked….. You never know. If you are moved to another base, those special meals might not go with you. And you cannot count on the mail to get packages from home in a timely manner.

    3. The world changes daily, for heavens sake military weapons change daily, planes and uniforms for different conflicts so I am irritated that a simple MRE change could not be implemented. How many years have they used the same recipe that as stated from various individuals is a constipation issue for the majority of soldiers. There are lots of options such as corn starch or the various other non wheat flours. Rice is cheap and probably has a longer shelf life, you add water with whatever protein they provide. The request is a reasonable-change to change the recipe on an already existent problem for soldiers regardless of Celaics. I would be happy to send a letter to whomever if a person would give me a contact. I talked to a recruiter and he told me he had no idea who I would even ask?

  2. 7th generation navy dependent here with several annapolis graduates in the family…they can’t change this rule & frankly would be disappointed if they tried. No one is stopping you from being a doctor!! If that is your choice & direction there are a million places that can be done. A single trip with doctors without boarders will clarify why “accomidation of celiac” in theater is next to impossible.
    *dude reminder* there is a Sgt (Major?) if memory serves that wrote about this a year ago that might be contacted for an on the ground “why”.

    MRE is the stand by food when deployed & no rotation through a military hospital I’m aware of exempts “front line education”. As a dependent I don’t want my loved ones life in danger because the one doctor for 4-6 critically injured has cramps, brain fog or diahrrea because his shipment of kind bars & amy’s GF mac & cheese didn’t arrive yet & hunger drove him to MRE. Over seas they get whatever is in the box that’s opened PERIOD, if all they got was 18 cases of powdered eggs then breakfast lunch & dinner that’s what you’ve got until a trade can be made for anything else. THERE IS NOT & SHOULD NOT be a “special just for you” MRE. Guarantee if you’ve got GF steak & potato special shipped in that will disappear before the 12th package of powdered eggs is handed out!
    While its exemplary to WANT to serve our country & benefit from the reduced cost outstanding medical education the military offers its time to accept your road lies elsewhere! For all we know, you’re the guy that will cure celiac but only after enduring years of podunk HMO & being the only person in a 500+ doctor practice to properly diagnose celiac.
    There is no shame in NOT serving even in a military family, I’ve managed to survive yet stil support the “property of USN” tattoo siblings born on bases abroad were issued with. Yes accomidation should be everywhere blah blah blah… this IS NOT the place to be with celiac! For your health & that of others it just isn’t. Every gold star family would scream malpractice from the rafters the second brain fog, stomach issues or any other complication of this disease cost someone their life. Yes, bless your heart, doctor arrogance won’t allow this…but it can & likely will cost someone their life. I have celiac & get the issues (try working flour filled hospitality yet still eat) the thing is starving yourself overseas till you can reach GF something WILL cost your health & potentially someones life. As a celiac, as a military dependent strongly agree this is not a road you should be allowed to travel.
    Those learning they have it while already in the military already have a “track record” that aids in their reassignment, yes I said it REASSIGNMENT to rear support or state side position (no more promotions, no big heroism awards just the crack you’re at until term is done). “But I’m a smart kid & a good guy trust me” doesn’t even register with the military. There are places I will scream from the rafters should accomidate…this was, is & will never be one of those places.

    1. Well thought out comment…thanks. And for the record, I’m not screaming “discrimination” here. Just wondering if there could possibly be a solution for those that truly wanted to serve.

      1. Not claiming you are dude 🙂 just the idea of this disease impacting an injured member of my family even from the well intended brings out claws & fangs. Way i was raised all Navy & Marines are my brothers even if dad spent vietnam launching marines from garbage chutes 😛

        Simplest explaination is which would you take: Powdered eggs in a bag or kind bars, GF mac&cheese with steak in a bag? Even if the military could be convinced to produce special MRE for the 100 celiacs out of 50,000 just in afghanistan there is ZERO guarantee it would get to staff in question. They get what they get when supply truck slows down & could be a month (or more) without mail.

        1. Kosher MREs have to be specially requested (usually goes through the chaplain) and often won’t get to the requested party in a timely manner. And, sometimes troops get moved from FOB to FOB, and things like special MREs won’t follow.

      2. I was looking for something and happened to stumble on this post. My husband found out after being in the Navy for 11 years that he was a celiac. He is still in and presently deployed. The reason they don’t want to accept those with celiac is because they can not accommodate their dietary needs. My husband presently serves on an aircraft carrier. During the last month, they have served TWO meals that he was certain were safe. Two, out of 60 meals(only counting lunch and dinner). He eats because he spends money out of his own pocket to shop at the ship store and vending machines. I also mail out packages regularly that contain basic food necessities for him. This is after they are already taking away his food allowance because they are “feeding” him. Last year he was deployed on a smaller ship and was able to develop a friendship with the culinary staff. I mailed him things to bribe them with and they did a good job of feeding him, bear in mind he had been on this ship for 4 years, which helped with her relationship. I can assure you that not being allowed to join is better for any celiac in the long run.

    2. What if they just start manufacturing all MREs to be gluten-free? It’s not like gluten is a necessary nutrient if you don’t have celiac disease. If it is such a problem getting the right food to the right people, then simply make all the food safe. Include the equivalent of a Kind bar in each one, pack it full of protein, move away from pasta and bread, put some beans in there–I thought of that list of ideas in moments. Don’t tell me a group of people who interact with this stuff every day couldn’t come up with a more comprehensive one. This is not a matter of political correctness run amok, this is a matter of giving people the food they need to do their jobs.
      I have the feeling that concerns about the expense of this change will be raised. If that is indeed a response you (whosoever may be reading this) have in your mind, I encourage you to ask yourself this: Why is it that pro-military people so often assert that no amount of money is too high to spend on our troops when it comes to thinking up bigger, better ways to kill people more quickly, but those same people seem to find the cost of phasing out gluten-containing food in a bag unconscionable?

      1. It’s not just about MRE’s people! There are galleys on all military installations. An E-1 in the service can not afford to buy their own food out in town, and is not allowed to cook in the barracks.

      2. It’s not just celiac disease. It’s not just about gluten free meals. Check the top post here – there is a link to many of the medical conditions that will keep you out of the Army. There are a host of GI problems that do not require a gf diet. It boils down to health, and conditions that would affect your ability to work.

    3. Ok SOOO the real thing here is, Don’t expect the Military to consider all Patriots capable of serving their country – anybody heard of teaching an OLD DOG NEW TRICKS. The reasonable thing to do would be make all MRE’s exceptable for reasonable dietary needs. Instead of using the past decade ( or whatever ) MRE ingredients, utilize a new thought and use a standard ingredient for all enrolled military. This is not a major inconvenience outside of RE-thinking the MRE. IT is really simple and just requires thought such as utilize rice instead of flour and avoid gluten products, Malt and Barley and or such common allergens. Post above mention the military doctors commenting on soldiers reporting constipation and therefor stomach problems already exist, right??? Why not really think about it and make it like Plain Jane, similar to hospital food, and avoid common dietary issues.
      If there is interest out there to change the MRE for all, I am eager to hear suggestions and could a petition be started?

      1. No it is really not simple. We are a global military. Specific to MRE’s there are a ton of ingredients in them that would make any person feel bloated, etc. because they need a long shelf life. They are meant for temporary situations. Don’t expect the military to change EVERY galley around the world for a few people who want to serve. There are ways to serve.(Complaining your way into the service is almost as bad as saying you eat gluten free for the fad diet.) The military doctors have WAY more serious issues to deal with than a service member needing a special diet. THEY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT. I’m curious to know if you will start a petition for the laundry list of other medical issues that would get a person disqualified from serving? They also won’t just give someone with special needs a desk job for their entire career, because it’s not FAIR to the people that DO deploy. They come back and need a rotation on shore-deserving of said desk duty, until they deploy again. How about keeping to trying to change the civilian world first before trying to get involved with our national defense?

        1. There is no reason to be rude and belligerent as rethinking something is the way the world works or we would still be living in caves or riding horses! Confused on peoples fear of change. I don’t get it and your comment on a FEW People is inaccurate as the natural growth of flour has been disrupted and our body chemistry is not use to the scientific way of manufacturing larger profits i.e. altering our natural food source / growth hormones and unnatural livestock living. You seem to be afraid of change and it is a shame that the military or any person or Organization does not, as you say, Have time for that- Rude.

  3. He should read Gluten Free In Afghanistan and contact the author. Amazon has it. I can’t remember the author’s name as I donated the book to our local group, Gluten Free Erie, for its library. At the end of the book, he gives his contact information and wants to hear from you.

  4. Hey Wayne!

    Looks like you and I were in the same boat! I was diagnosed with CD at 16, and like you, had a long family history of service and wanted to join since I could walk! I joined the Civil Air Patrol at 15 to gain knowledge and experience, kept all my grades up, took advanced classes, was physically fit and active, studied hard and then boom. I got CD. The Army did not want to talk to me anymore. The Marines sure as heck didnt want to either.
    Then I attempted to get a waiver for the Navy only to be denied and the National Guard denied me as well.
    I am here to say there is a life without the Military. Sure you may break a little inside when you hear about soldiers sacrificing their lives and think, “if I were there…maybe it would’ve been different.” Yes you may completely break down when all your friends ship out and the two best friends you’ve ever had enlist and are due to ship out and guess what, you’re stuck here.
    it does get better though. Since you kept your grades high, there are thousands of oppurtunies you can pursue here at home! Have you looked in Law Enforcement? Or even the DOD? There is a plan for all of us. We determine our own destiny, even if we can’t enjoy bread.
    But if yours is to change the military’s mind, believe me brother, ill wear that uniform with pride, right there beside you.

  5. Hi Wayne,

    Unfortunately, it IS an issue if you’re already in and get diagnosed with celiac disease. Once you’re diagnosed, you have to go through a medical evaluation board to determine if you’re fit for duty, need an assignment limitation code, or if you will be medically separated (or retired).

    Kathy is absolutely right- in the military you can be dropped in the middle of nowhere at a moment’s notice- no time to pre-pack food, no address to receive food from home- and you’ll be served whatever the military has to serve you. Every person in a unit is critical to the mission and if you’re down for the count because you ate gluten, you can compromise mission success. As the doctor in your unit, they won’t send a back up for you to cover your shifts- you’re usually it. If you’re sick and people’s lives depend on your ability to practice medicine, someone could end up hurt or dead. I can guarantee you, that in itself makes the standards for military service anything but frivolous.

    Even in the less dangerous deployments with full dining facilities, options can be extremely limited and they don’t tolerate a lot of questions about how it’s made, what’s in it, and if they can make it special for you. You aren’t accommodated if you are diagnosed while serving- they simply limit your assignments (which limit your promotion chances) or send you back to civilian life.

    As far as changing policy- the military is currently working to reduce the number of people serving…even the healthy, talented, and motivated ones who are already in. I’m not sure the climate is right to ask them to relax their standards. That being said, it’s a free country so fight to change the rules if that’s what you feel is right.

    I feel your pain and I’m sorry this is happening to you- but I wholeheartedly believe everything happens for a reason. You may not be in the military but there are countless ways to support those who are- by working in the Veterans Affairs system, local government, wounded warrior projects and non-profits, etc. Best of luck to you in whatever career path you choose!

    1. The concept listed above “limit your assignments works” so why would the military not accept otherwise healthy Americans to be in the military forces. If they can accommodate other odd individuals ( gays) for example then it stands to reason they could limit your assignments and location so you could maintain a particular diet. News flash RICE is cheap and does not contain gluten. On a personal note, this is in regards to my son, who was diagnosed, and who has not realized this is an issue. His dreams and yes it may change has always been military, going into ROTC in high school anticipating every right move to make a path into that direction. My heart breaks for anybody who has the desire to fight for are county, white, black, female, gay or willing to eat rice and chicken broth for the next 4/6/10 years. It is an honor to want and it should be an honor for the military to accept willing participants.

      1. I was a Marine for several years, and being gay has nothing to do with the fact of being able to be deployed. A strict diet will. you get was is given out when you are in the feeld there is no exception. and the problem is that you dona always get what you like. In a war zone it would be event harder to get special meals. I would not wnat my buddy having problems because he ate something he was not suposed to . so in my opinon with something that sever no you should not be able to serve.

  6. Miss Dee Meanor

    This blog pretty much lets us rant on how Celiac Disease sucks. We all know the repercussions of being “glutened” and how easy it is to have two weeks of not being able to function due to a wayward crumb or a contaminated cutting board. If you are deployed, how will you be able to spend days in the toilet? How will you make snap decisions with the brain fog that makes it difficult to even pull out the correct word? How many people are depending on you as part of their team?

    Now put yourself in a military position. It’s not just the MRE’s. My husband is a retired Navy Chief and has described meals on the ship. The cooks are faced with feeding 2500 people three meals a day. The logistics of providing completely safe meals given limited storage capacity and separate meals are almost impossible. Cross-contamination is bound to happen. It happens to us all even in our own kitchens. It sucks for you, but it sounds like the military gets the seriousness of our disease more than the general public. Until they can guarantee the ability to provide gluten-free meals that are also free from cross-contamination they should not be risking your health.

    There are many other ways to serve our country. I applaud that you want to follow this path. If you were guaranteed to only serve stateside, then I could understand the frustration. However, there is no guarantee of being able to remain stateside and being deployed with Celiac is another situation.

    We constantly impress the serious repercussions to our health and our inability to function when glutened. We also stress how difficult it is to eat in restaurants due to something as simply as having a wayward crouton. We can’t have it both ways. The military simply isn’t equipped to handle providing separate meals and separate kitchens.

    1. Miss Dee Meanor

      Thanks for the link to this. It did nothing to change my opinion. His last comment was “With dedication, the gluten-free diet can be done anywhere by anyone,” Andrasik says. “I’m no one special and I made it work.” I don’t think he “made it work”. I think he survived to tell about it. How many may not survive because someone they depend on in the field weren’t able to “make it work”? The thought of a glutened physician being the difference in my loved one coming home alive or in a body bag makes my blood run cold.

  7. Being that this man wants to be a doctor, may I suggest the US Public Health Service Commission Corps. It is an unarmed, uniformed corps. I am not sure if they allow for CD, but it is another way to serve. It’s a uniformed corps that is not military. They look for doctors, nurses, scientists, and other professionals. Good luck.

  8. Wow, I had no idea the military didn’t accept celiacs. I considered going into the Marines some years ago — before my diagnosis. But my health was a bit broken at that point. It seems of all diseases to be disqualified on, celiac would be easiest to take, honestly — it’s a simple treatment, and most celiacs are extremely healthy on their GF diet!

  9. While I don’t necessarily agree with it, I understand it. We are stationed overseas (I’m the civilian) and it’s incredibly difficult being here with Celiac. Our commisary doesn’t have a good selection of safe foods, our doctors don’t have a great understanding of Celiac, and the country we are in doesn’t understand the food allergies I have. I’ve gotten sick more times than I care to share this year, and I don’t even eat out anymore. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be on deployment in the desert and have to deal with the fatigue and illness and other symptoms of being contaminated. When you’re in the field, you can’t control your surroundings, and someone with our disease is simply going to have more difficulty in that situation. Plus, being contaminated would not necessarily give that person an excuse to not do their duty when out in the field and on deployment. If the military turns down people because of poor eyesight or insufficient hearing, then turning down someone because of auto-immune issues doesn’t seem preposterous. It’s as much about the people who have to rely on the soldier as it is about the soldier himself (or herself).

  10. As a female veteran, I can say that the military May Not keep you after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease (even when you had a clean bill of health at enlistment). I was active duty stationed in Toyko Japan when I was diagnosed 2000 2.5 years into my contract. I received a medical board out of the service.

    No one in my family has Celiac Disease (I’m a single gal, no kids. My parents & siblings have been tested).

    The military is very fickle. The 1st thing the teach in basic training is uniformity, however in my experience, they never practice what they preach.

    When I was told that I was being put up for a medical board, I was told I was no longer deployable & no longer considered an asset to the government. :(. I was young & had no military experience, didn’t know the questions to ask. I just followed protocol & didn’t fight ‘the system’. I didn’t want to rock the boat.

    This was & still is the biggest demotion of my life. It’s been 14 years & still am mad & feel like ‘the victim’ of Celiac Disease.

    Jaded to the guts,
    A female who loved her military career

  11. Like some others, I was in my high school JROTC program which was Navy, and the Civil Air Patrol. I wanted to fly. Then I got glasses, which meant I couldn’t be a pilot, but I could still be aircrew. Then at 16 I was diagnosed with celiac. I was turned down by the Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force without any real explanation by the recruiters.

    In my mind, this was silly. I had spent days, if not weeks, at various air force bases, army posts, navy bases, aboard a navy frigate for three days at sea, and I was able to ‘eat around’ the celiac. In the Civil Air Patrol we had C Rations, and I simply traded with people to get what was safe, or at lease safe enough. So I waited a year, and approached the Army. I omitted the celiac information and got in, but on the third and last day at the reception station I was told I was being medically discharged for strabismus in both eyes. Lazy eyes. I was livid. And in a way, thirty some odd years later, I still am. But Imagining myself trying to be a Coast Guard rescue swimmer with a gluten attack barely able to walk is frighting. In hind sight I was quite fortunate to go out because of lazy eyes and not from crapping myself on an ambush from gluten laden MRE’s or sandwiches aboard ship because of the sea state or the fresh water making ability had broken down. Aboard an aircraft sandwiches are standard fare since they are simply so portable.

    No, the DoD has it right keeping celiacs out of the military. We can get by for a few days or even a few weeks, but not for prolong periods, especially in the field or at sea. I was young, stupid, and despite best efforts, getting cross contaminated. I had to accept the military, despite my attitude and aptitude ribbons, was not for me. This damn diet is so hard to stick with in the best circumstances and the military is not the best circumstances. I wasn’t looking down range toward my thirties, forties and fifties, totally unaware that the damage is cumulative. Back in the 70’s and even to an extent today we don’t get the whole picture of what this disease does to us.

    As others have mentioned, there are other ways to serve, like being a DoD civilian, which I was for a while. Or the public health service, or the CDC.

    1. David,

      You are so right!
      The military needs the healthiest peeps possibly, as jobs & service life can be very demanding (both physically & mentally).

      I was thinking & have been told many stories of people with juvenile diabetes that seem to clear up with weight loss or change of life style/eating. They go to enlist in the military in high school & are rejected.
      Unfortunately, it’s kinda like the Celiac rejection. The military seems to want people with ‘virgin clean health records’. I can’t blame them.

      Either way, look at Celiac as a blessing. We are unique & strong individuals that are really ‘in tune’ with listening to our bodies 🙂 we are very educated & savvy. Think about yourself (everyone reading) & realize all you’ve overcome & the great lifestyle changes you’ve made since diagnosis. :).

      1. Type Once diabetes can not be cleared up. You can not fix it with weight loss or lifestyle/eating changes. You must be referring to type 2 diabetes. Type One diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The body no longer produces the insulin hormone that allows us to process food (carbohydrates) as food. Without insulin, you die. At this point in time, a Type One diabetic must either give themselves multiple shots of insulin daily, or be on an insulin pump. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder. The body still produces insulin but, due to issues like excess weight, the body does not process it correctly. Type 2 diabetes is usually controlled through diet/exercise and oral meds. It is my understanding that the military allows type one diabetics now, they just can not serve on the front lines.

    2. Pfft been celiac for 18 yrs in and on submarines to boot. So is our only independent duty Corpsman. He takes meds but no GI issues. I have some GI issues n rash but no issue that can’t wait for calmer seas.
      It should be based on symptoms.
      Also, explain how the most WELL FUNDED organization in human history can’t go 100% GF… if they can ban peanut butter in the nation’s schools they can sure as hell ban gluten but it’s a fight vs farm interets.

      1. Got a Celiac diagnosis years after coming home injured from Army paratrooper training.
        Came to this site after doing searches on medical testing for the condition. My symptoms were heartburn and a full stomach sensation after a few mouthfuls at chow, even after the calorie burn of infantry training.
        Those that get a diagnosis before middle age tend to not have osteopathic thinning and problems with digestion.

  12. gluten free foods are costly, and time consuming to produce, hence for the high cost. the military is not going to spend all the time to make this, thus its a pdq, and gluten is in alot of foods. anything that uses wheat will have gluten in it.
    gluten is designed to increase shelf life of products, hence, the field rations.

    1. Cass it seems you actually have no idea what gluten even is. Gluten is the natural proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. They are not “made” to do anything they are natural occurring. If they do anything it is to give elasticity to breads etc. Gluten free products are no more costly and time consuming to make than gluten products. They may cost a little more because they are manufactured at much smaller levels, but that is changing too. There are hundreds more products available now gluten free than there were 20 years ago, for sure. The military wouldn’t have to “Make” anything just purchase it and accommodate. Since this man wants to be a doctor there are thousands of medical positions in military hospitals around the globe. It seems this field would be the easiest to simply make some “non-deployable” but let them cover the hospitals and clinics around the globe. No-brainer if you ask me.

  13. This makes me very upset. My son just turned 10 years old and was diagnosed 3 months ago. All he has talked about since he was 4 years old is to join the military when he gets older. I know he could change his mind in the future but I just hate the fact that this disease is limiting him. He’s doing so well adjusting to his new diet and I’m so proud of him. I refuse to feel sorry for him but I can’t help being upset about it all.

    1. Sandra,
      There are tons of other honorable kick butt ways for your son to still serve the community & the country. Think of all the firemen, policemen, FBI, & EMT’s (don’t forget the women in those jobs). Those are just the one that come to mind right now.

      It’s just a matter of thinking outside the box & be honest with the reality (although sometimes it sucks). Then trying to compromise.

      He could even try get a civilian contract of employment on the military base.

      You’ve got awhile for that thou,

      1. Nicole, I’m not sure about being a civilian contractor on a base either. Maybe stateside, but the overseas employers definitely won’t take you. I’ve never been in the military but did get the amazing chance to work as a civilian contractor at an air base in southwest asia before I was diagnosed with celiac a little over a year ago. We were billeted on base, so we ate at the chow hall. Thinking back on out now, I would not want to put myself in that situation and rely on third country nationals fire my safety and health, especially with all the food being sourced locally. Sure you could get some stuff from the bx, but a year of pork rinds and reesces peanut butter cups probably isn’t the best thing either. You could get stuff through the apo, but I wouldn’t even want to think about the condition of the kind bars and udi’s bread one would get when they ordered it in july. I’m thinking this might also keep someone out of the ACoE as well. How does the military handle other food allergies?

  14. Ben,

    My personal military story is in an above post. I will admit you are right on the $ about your thought of being overseas with celiac. After being diagnosed in Tokyo, I experienced the exact same thing. The chow hall was a personal danger zone for fear of cross contamination. I lived off off plain white rice & other small morsels.

    I’m not positive but I do believe that civilan contractors have the right to turn down tdy’s & other jobs that would ‘deploy’ them.? I’m not definitely not sure on this though.

    Take care,

  15. There are more than few armies out there that can easily commodate Celiacs and other people with Auto-immune, allergies etc. For examples, Izrael, Finland, Scandinavia as a whole etc.

    How they do it? Few simple things, Celiac is not something that will affect your service all that much. Rice is also rather cheap, as are potatoes and the likes, same with meat, fruit and so on, all naturally gluten free.

    Second thing is, when a bit more than 1USD or 1EUR or what ever, is put to feeding the troops, it’s going to be real easy to actually feed them, no matter what the issue with the food you might have.

    Thirdly, maybe if the US wasn’t attacking damn well everywhere, and sending people in, who probably don’t want to, and have nothing to do with the conflict in the first damn place, to places where the US has no damn business to be in, in the first place, things might be a bit easier. After all, when you’re on home turf, you have no excuse for not feeding your own troops.

    Fourth thing here, is that Celiacs and other people with food issues, could easily be kept on said home turf. 2% of the population is celiacs, that means that they don’t necessarily have to be sent out, though if the food issue was handled correctly – as many other countries have done – then there wouldn’t be this issue in the first place.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. And because he wants to be a doc there are thousands of doctors needed in U.S. based military hospitals, not to mention docs in clinics on bases around the world. For me, once basic training was over, I never ate in a military chow hall again, and I was enlisted but still could afford it. He would make even more as a doc and if not in a fox hole could eat wherever and whatever he like. Even overseas, you know those country’s have Celiac’s too!

  16. This is the same for me. I was wanting to join the military ever since I was a little kid. I did JROTC and CAP, I love the military. My whole life was surrounded with military. I had even lost 40lbs and still losing weight to get in, then I was diagnosed with celiac and everything came to a halt. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do now since my dream will never be.

  17. I have been serving in the US Navy submarine force for 12 years. Just converted to an IT after medication for my back disqualified me from subs. The month before graduating the IT schooling, I got diagnosed with CD. NEVER had any problems associated with it. Found by mistake when doing blood work for other reasons. Even after changing my diet, my body feels no different. However, I am experiencing all kinds of difficulties getting back to sea. The first ship I received orders to rejected me. Had to do all of the paperwork, time delays, and headaches preparing for a medical board. 3 months of run arounds, and the local naval hospital denied the request for a medical board. so I am now currently awaiting for the next window to open so I can apply for another ship. Losing my mind at the possibility of being discharged for this, losing the medical coverage that my family NEEDS because one of them has severe medical problems, and only receiving an admin sep, vise medical separation/retirement.

    1. Travis, I’ve never served in the military, so you can take any advice I give with that grain of salt. I did work in a Congressional office a long time ago, and the constituent case workers would handle these situations. I know you want to stay in, but if you get to the point where you’re debating what kind of discharge you get, your Congress person or US Senators could probably help with that. They may also be able to help with sorting out the medical board/approval process, if you want to ask for help with that. I’m assuming you live somewhere near a naval base, so they probably have a person very familiar with these kinds of issues. If you have any questions for me, just respond to this thread and I’ll see the post. Good luck with everything. Thanks for serving in the Navy.

  18. My husband (officer in USMC) was diagnosed with Celiac a year ago. They were looking all sorts of other scary possibilities… test after test. Positive blood tests confirmed with biopsy results. We hit the gluten-free diet with vengeance, as soon as we knew it was on the table as a diagnosis. The most common issue we heard from the Navy Docs, “there is no gluten-free MRE and if we can’t feed you safely on deployment, you’ll eventually have to face a Medical Eval. Board. ” With a career he loves on the line, we continued to take the gluten-free diet very seriously (our entire home went gluten free to prevent cross-contamination). Perhaps it was a bit of timing and luck, but his health quickly improved and although he was initially put on limited duty, 6 months out his panels came back negative (gluten free diet was working!) and the GI Specialist at the hospital changed to a new duty station. The new GI Specialist in one appointment went from telling my husband he was going to recommend medical separation and a medical evaluation board (standard for any Celiac diagnosis) to hearing him out. He needed to be restored to full duty so he could deploy to Oki. So far so good- he got restored to full duty, avoided a MEB and has been able to stay safe with food while deployed. It is not easy- especially when he can’t cook for himself and must rely on the chow halls. If anyone thinks about military service with Celiac Disease, it won’t be easy because there are times when it is very difficult to be in control of your food. Boot Camp? I imagine that would be near impossible. My husband is in a position where he can manage his diet. We even found a “gluten free MRE” (My Own Meal) and they order from the company (the company also makes Kosher Meals for those that need them for religious purposes.)

    Celiac diagnosis comes with life altering changes. The great thing is that a strict gluten free diet is the “prescription.” However, it is dangerous to expose Celiacs to any amount of gluten, even if there are no immediate symptoms. I have no doubt there will continue to be alterations and challenges due to the diagnosis in the years to come. It does not always mean the end to a military career, but I do understand why it is a disqualifying condition to enter the military.

  19. Just a little extra info.
    If I had an education such as yourself i would make a resume and send it up to different Private contractors to get hired by them. You can serve alongside service members as a medic and/or in the medical field somewhere else and get payed a lot better.

  20. I can understand the policy (though grandfathering people in who are diagnosed after enter doesn’t make that much sense). It would be great if all institutions could accommodate us, but the military is one where I don’t expect that kind of thing to be a priority at all (and I really don’t want them to have to spend the time and money needed to deal with this sort of thing). The bigger issue that they point to, and I think it is totally fair, is you can’t control your environment in the field. This is a disease that demands a lot of focus on diet and that isn’t the kind of thing you can easily manage in the kinds of environments military personal have to go to. They don’t accept people for all kinds of things. The military isn’t about being fair and accommodating with who it accepts, it is about having the most effective fighting force possible. When that is the goal you can’t accept everyone who wants to join.

  21. Today I discovered Barbie changed her look, specifically Matel made her curvy. I ponder and ask myself, if a Barbie doll can be changed or altered to appeal to the masses then why can’t our military supply Chicken boullion and rice MRE’s and cater to specific soldiers. It is not an expense because chicken and rice are cheap. Yes it could result in more organization skills but don’t the men and women sacrificing their lives deserve that?

  22. Organization is the key. All military is not all out in the battle field even though everyone is taught and expected to preform if necessary, I get that, but is it not possible to Control a soliders assignment hence avoiding an environmental problem with obtaining your meal? It seems reasonable. My son is going into high school and his dream has always been the military. His first class concern is ROTC so he can build his strengths towards the military. As his mother I really am not crazy about this path but it has always been his dream and it saddens me, his dream and happiness is at risk.

  23. I don’t know about the “no easy answers” part–offering gluten-free meals certainly sounds like an easy enough answer to me!

  24. I am sorry but your post is really inaccurate at best. If you develop Celiac during time in service you are not automatically safe. You could and very possibly will be discharged. You are deemed un-deployable aka of zero use to them anymore. The military doesn’t have time to pussy foot around and make sure your meal is safe for you. This is the UNITED STATES MILITARY its not working for the Hilton people. There are people who get denied and kicked out for all kinds of reasons. If they accommodate your gluten free diet then they have to accommodate joes, dairy free diet, and sue’s egg free diet. If you accommodate one you accommodate all and again its the government so yea not very efficient it that aspect.

    1. Thank you, Sue. That is correct. The military (Army, at least) is not really interested in making accommodations. You cannot easily make assignment adjustements. It all depends on your MOS/job, who is needed where, who just left, who’s going here…. etc. There are circumstances under which a “compassionate reassignment” can be made, but more often than not, it is not good for your career. Plus, as someone else pointed out, the military is downsizing. Not good to be asking for special treatment at a time like that.

      1. actually she is partially right, celiacs have to avoid gluten altogether, and since most food is either processed or contaminated with gluten its going to be impossible, especially in the miltary, where you have no choice in the foods.Some people can get it from cross contamination on surfaces as well. just like how ashtma, eczema, adhd cannot be accomadated, hiv. its actually too expensive to even have these kinds of accomadation, only in the civilian has elaborate system, and laws assisting those with illness. Its also risky as well, because what if your a celiac, and your shipped off to another country, where the only foods are gluten based products, gluten free food is very expensive to make, and produce, and only specialized companies will ever amke these. And yes the military is downsizing, people with simple diseases will get denied.
        celiacs, gluten sensitivity people, have to avoid gluten at all cost, and must maintain a strict diet for life, your not some “im a gluten free-hyped” mentality, where i am allowed to cheat every week or every month.
        Theres a whole list, DOD of medical conditons that will not be allowed to joined with. the only one that even allows any medication is hypothyroidism, however having eye problems(near or far, and astigmitism) can get you denied from special operations, since alot of young males are trying to join those, they are disappointed they cannot because of thier eyesight. celiacs is an autoimmune disease. because the miltiary is downsizing, they are looking for any reason to get rid of people.

  25. I’m in the army and I have ano nco that has been in for over 7 years and was diagnosed with ciliacs disease, after he joined. And the army makes 0 accommodations for him. So who ever told you they do is a lie. When he’s at a chow hall he can eat salad, and he buys most of his meals prior to field training, and is still charged for food. Theirs only a select few mre’s he can eat the main meal out of. And it’s chicken or something.

    1. im pretty sure they allow people to stay, if they were diagnosed while in the military, however op, complained that it wasnt fair that he was barred prior to joining. i visited other forums online, and there are people who actually are recruiters,meps doctor, said CELiac is not even waiverable, its like having chrons, UC, and eczema. Like you already indicated, the food is extremely selected, and i doubt your nco is allowed to deploy anywhere, most likely staying stateside for the remainder of his contract.

  26. So, unfortunately, the problem is basic military training, or boot camp. Most of the food served will be wheat based or cross-contamonated somehow. It is a little unrealistic for then to make something special for 1 person out of 200. I got diagnosed long after boot camp and it is fine because I control my food intake, not someone else. In boot camp you walk quickly through the food line without talking, have 5-10 min to stuff what you can into your mouth once you sit down, and are quickly ushered out, especially if someone who sat down after you is done before you. Its not about them not wanting to accomodate it would just be incredibly difficult with the scale of trainies they push through.

  27. Laskowski lester

    So I been I the army for 2years and some change been down range and back. i was put on the over weight program back on n August 2015. the last month or so I been told that I have celiac disease. Any help cause they flaged and bard me from reenlisting 9 months ago cause I couldn’t lose the weight still haveing problems

    1. unfortunately for you , like this blog explains you wont be going back, due to diagnosis of celiacs Disease, which is an autoimmune reaction to gluten, or wheat based products which damages your small bowel, like those of uc and chrons, it also causes alot of other problems as well.
      Your weight is not an issue, for reenlisting, but your celiacs will prevent you from joining, if you have been diagnosed by a gastroenterologist. That issue is usually non-waiverable

  28. ingrid i dont know if your soliciting or not. but people with celiacs prior to joining the military, will unlikely get a waiver. if she is diagnosed while inside the military she can stay, but with severe limitations because of her condition. Also might matter if she is reserve or not.

  29. I’m 14 years old, and I’ve always wanted to be in the Air Force. I know I’m young and I shouldn’t know what I want but I’ve been affected just as much as an older person with the same dream . My grandpa and dad were in the Air Force, and I felt the need to make my deceased grand father proud. I also loved the idea for fighting for our country. I’ve spent all my years in school getting 4.0 GPA and constantly studying the military. 4 years ago I was diagnosed with celiac. I didn’t know that this would affect my dream until a year ago, since I started high school I’ve been looking at requirements to join the military. I found out I was unable to join and I spent about 1-2 months with depression because of this. I still have hope for the military and I hope the rules will change in the next few years, therefore I haven’t given up my grades and constant studying. I was wondering if I could get an honest opinion if I’m wasting my time waiting for the military to change?

    1. At this point, the military is unlikely to change. My husband is in the Army (23 years), and there has been little change in policy. Uniforms change with every new leader, but requirements to join….. not so much. And, with things like Celiac, Diabetes, Chrones, it is better for you. The military is mobile, and a soldier’s/sailor’s/airman’s chances of ending up somewhere where what they need cannot be provided, it is better for you.
      That being said, it does suck. Especially when what you have dreamed for so long no longer seems like a reality. It sucks. A family tradition of military service is a huge thing, and you are to be commended for wanting to carry that on. You also sound like an exceptional student, and that is going to be what keeps you going forward. My husband had a job where he worked alongside engineers and technicians who were part of a driving force for the military, but were all civilian. These people are making what the military does better for the military. It cannot be done without them. Plus, they are creating things never created before, and are earning patent after patent after patent. That’s the Army. For the AirForce, a friend’s son is studying aerospace engineering, and had a summer job with people who were developing new fuel for the Air Force. My nephew wants to work with drones. These are all potential Department of Defense positions. DOD civilians are so very important to our military, and you could serve that way.
      Keep up your academics, keep a positive attitude even when it is too hard. It sucks, but please don’t let it break you. There is a lot out there for you. Good luck.

    2. You never explained your reason for DQ, if this is about Celiacs, you are out of luck, it is inflammatory bowel disease, that is triggered by wheat based products, as it is in everything, its impossible to avoid. gluten-free products do exists, however, from what ive heard and read of peoples accounts it is completely, different texture, taste than the original. Also, its quite expensive to make gluten free products, as gluten, is said to enhance shelf-life of products.
      Depression is also a potential Disqualifier in the military. mILITARY will change, as it will get even more restrictive in its recruiting, as it has been downsizing for many years, since 2010, i believe, That is when i read on forums, sites that the amount of waivers were increasing to join.Even something as simple as IBS will DQ YOU from the military.

  30. I am an RN my daughter has celiac disease She was diagnosed at 9 years old she is now 25. She is and has been symptom free since going on a gluten free diet. Celiac disease is easily controlled with diet alone. Celiac disease is also one of the most undiagnosed causes of health problems. Celiac disease is not a fad. There are more positions in the military that require intelligence (technical, medical, clerical ect) than the scenario of being dropped on a beach somewhere. If all members of the military were screened for celiac disease it would most likely save money on health issues that would be resolved by a proper diet. Also as far as these foods “tasting bad” that is strictly only if you can’t cook. I personally would rather have an intelligent person with or without celiac disease who wants to be in the military and wants to make it thier career than a person who though they can eat gluten has joined the military because they want to stay 4 years get trained to do a job (training is expensive)then move onto a better job.

    1. @lesa, i dont know if your making a statement if celiacs shouldnt or should join. it should be the first one. Celiacs cant join, because the military is not going to spend even more money trying to accomadate someone who has a disease. They wont even let people join if you need medication, besides hypothyroidism. Most people dont even know what celiacs is, People hear gluten free, and automatically assume its healthy for them. I had to explain what celiacs to someone i know, even though i dont have it. CELiacs is found in populations with northern european ancestries, and some indian populations. Unusual to have it in other races. Most foods are processed with wheat proteins, because it gives them better shelf life, gluten free foods are very expensive to produce, and usually only companies will produce them for health food stores. Altough this trump administration has made enlistment more lax, celiacs among many diseases isnt one of them. Also lesa, like i said, the military will not accomadate people for a gluten free-diet, its not possible. being deployed means you get to eat what the military gives you. Kathy W makes a good argument. Military has to be ready at all times. I have chronic disease, that is not easily treated with ointments or creams, this is one of those common ones that prevent people from joining. and i dont think i can even join even if they let me, and have to deal with this 100% of the time. you can serve your country in other ways.

  31. Nan, thank you for providing information that is actually helpful about the gluten-free MREs.

    (Nan- March 7, 2016 at 12:45 pm)

    I don’t have celiac but I know people who do. Many comments on this forum keep regurgitating the same rhetoric about the military having more important things to focus on then accommodating aspiring recruits or active duty GIs with Celiac disease.

    Is this one of those important matters? The Army paid for one of its soldier’s sex reassignment surgeries so that he could go from a biological male to a nonbiological female. So Army soldiers’ bodies should align with the individual’s gender identity so they can be more effective in their military duties? I wonder how many gluten-free MREs the Army could have bought for $140,000.


    1. pleasekeep on track

      @ruby, that is unrelated to celiacs/joining miltiary altogether, furthermore there was political motivation behind her sex change, also shes that lad/guy that was giving out military secrets(which is to expose the hipocrisy of our military) and she was charged for that. Again this should be about celiacs and not about gender reassigment surgeries. Also we have president that is against people who identify other than hetero from joining. please keep the discussion within the realm of Celiacs disease/or discussion about joining with a chronic illness.

      1. let me correct myself, its not about the soldier that spilled secrets. still should not be discussing other agenda that is not celiacs or disease related.

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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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