Why the Gluten Free ‘Jokes’ Matter


Bear with me as I’m still feeling off and this may be a long post.

So Jimmy Kimmel did another bit about gluten a few nights ago. You can check it out here.

I promise…this is not going to be a Kimmel-bashing post. I’m taking a different approach this time around. You may even say a more mature approach. Well…maybe mature is pushing it 😉

You would not believe the number of people who contacted me, both publicly and privately, about the video. So I suppose it is my duty (hee hee…I said duty…see I told you I’m not mature) to at least broach the subject.

For those who don’t want to watch the video, Jimmy went to the streets and asked people who were gluten-free if they knew what gluten was and then before the person answered, the audience guessed if the person actually knew what gluten was.

Here’s something I just picked up on this morning by the way. For the two white people, the audience guessed Yes. For the two minorities, the audience guessed NO. Just an observation…and a bit of a disturbing one at that.

Anyway, the segment was predictable. The four people had no clue. Perhaps they interviewed 100 and only found 4 who didn’t know what it was and made it seem like everyone they talked to had no clue. Who knows and who cares.

There are a few reasons the video didn’t raise my ire like some of the Jimmy Fallon segments.

First…he did mention that some people have a medical issue with gluten. I seriously just wished he mentioned “Celiac Disease”…just this one time.

Secondly…it makes the idiots who go gluten-free half-ass for all the wrong reasons…well…look like idiots. And I’m all for that.

So even though some in the community were looking to me to call him out, I was going to take a pass. I honestly wasn’t offended by the video and my focus this month is on helping people and I didn’t want to lose that focus.

But then a few things happened and I realized that maybe the video does matter. And it does affect our community. And by ignoring it, I’m not doing my job. (Well…a job actually pays but you know what I mean 😉 )

So what happened? Let me explain:

1) We became a running joke on Twitter all day yesterday. People were sharing the video link left and right with comments like “See? Gluten-free people don’t even know what gluten is!” and “I knew gluten-free was complete BS.” and on and on.

And any time the focus switches from “gluten free is a medical necessity” to “gluten free isn’t real”, it hurts our cause. We get taken less seriously. And we get sick, as I can attest to these past few days.

2) I received the following email a few weeks ago from someone whose life is in absolute shambles because of what is most likely undiagnosed celiac and it spoke of the Hollywood connection.

When I was a boy of only six tender years, I was baptized into the fold of chronic disease sufferers. I had asthma. Asthma is an invisible condition. Unless one has an attack within the near proximity of another, the second person might never know of its existence. And what does that lead to? Doubt. Disbelief.

From a young age I was frequently told that my illness was all in my head. Adults told me this. My gym teacher told me this. I was teased and accused of laziness and attention-seeking behavior.

What made all of this worse, of course, was that Hollywood would help propagate this myth. In how many movies, especially during those horrible 1980s, was the nerd, the dork, or the loser shown to use an inhaler?

Celiac is the same, of course. It has been granted the same protection in Hollywood and on television. It’s sufferers have been deemed fodder for insult, doubt and accusations. It’s despicable, and it leads to all sorts of socially acceptable behavior that is not tolerated for other diseases.

After years of varying symptoms, I visited my doctor. He doubted my symptoms and accused me of faking illness to get out of work. He refused to sign a release that would have essentially forgiven my level of absenteeism. He refused further treatment and sent me back to work.

The following day, I again became violently sick and had to ask to go home. I was fired on my way out.

Last year, two of my siblings were both diagnosed with Celiac Disease after suffering similar ailments. Their conditions were verified with the genetic tests and intestinal biopsies. Additionally, cancers of the bowel and digestive system run in one side of the family, which further lends credence to the belief.

I assume I have the disease, and have experienced some level of recovery since giving up gluten and its substitutes for the last five months. I mention all of this because all of this could have been prevented if my doctor would have simply done his job, or failing that, referred me to a doctor who would have done his or her job. It is ironic to me that the man who ruined my life accused me of not wanting to do my job when he clearly had no inclination to do his own.

Right or wrong, Hollywood has power. What they say matters in the country. So here’s my question. Would doctors be more apt to test for celiac and take it seriously if gluten-free wasn’t such a big joke? If people like Kimmel and Fallon and Meyers would just lay off the jokes, or at least mention celiac disease, couldn’t they be part of the solution instead of part of the problem?

You know who never makes fun of the gluten-free fad? Jon Stewart. Why? One…because he’s not a lazy comedian. And two…because his wife has celiac disease. You think if Kimmel’s wife had celiac, he’d change his tune a little? Yeah…me too.

It’s so easy to make fun of something when it doesn’t affect you directly. Pathetic but true.

3) As I’m writing this post, I received the following message on Facebook. It is from a fellow celiac in Australia and it seems like the bullying trend is making its way overseas.

Just wondering if you have seen the Jimmy Kimmel show? Taking a pot shot at gluten free people who don’t know what it is and how annoying coeliacs are. What is it with you guys in America? It kind of seems like the shows there like to bully people. And the trend is catching on here too. We have a stupid show called The Project and they had a crack at coeliacs the other day. Dude, I didn’t know how bad you had it over there and I feel for you all. Keep fighting the good fight. xxxxx

Is there a connection between the gluten-free jokes and the lack of celiac awareness? Am I stretching things a bit? I really don’t know. You tell me.

Look, we need laughter in this world. We need it desperately. And believe it or not, I’m a big fan of Kimmel, Fallon and Meyers.

All I’m asking is that they lay off the gluten-free jokes a bit. Let the nation move onto to something else. So the celiac community can be taken seriously again. So our words are listened to when we are in a restaurant. So our doctors put celiac at the top of their list when diagnosing someone with a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms.

Then, when the dust settles, run that video again and I’ll laugh my ass off. What a bunch of boneheads.

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90 thoughts on “Why the Gluten Free ‘Jokes’ Matter”

  1. Comrade Svilova

    Thanks for pointing out the racist dynamic the show exposed in addition to the bullying/mocking it performed.

  2. Sue in Alberta

    I watched the video a couple of days ago. I also wondered how many were in fact interviewed but came back to reality when I reminded myself that this was Kimmel so credibility didn’t come into it.
    Unfortunately, the whole gluten free trend is directed to those very people. Interesting that you received a message from Australia remarking on the bullying aspect. I do believe that there’s a correlation with the diagnosis or lack thereof of Celiac in North America. How many people have had a doctor roll their eyes so hard that they saw their own frontal lobes, when they listed all of their symptoms?
    I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve said it’s not gluten that makes you fat, it’s what gluten’s IN that makes you fat – croissants, doughnuts, etc, etc……one day at a time, right.

    1. One of the first thing one of my relatives said to me about how I had to go GF was, “You’re going to lose weight! [My best friend who doesn’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity] told me that!”


    2. “I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve said it’s not gluten that makes you fat, it’s what gluten’s IN that makes you fat – croissants, doughnuts, etc, etc……”

      Wow. This is just as incorrect and ableist as the gluten deniers. The bullying starts in the house.

  3. For the life of me I can’t understand why doctors don’t take it more seriously. The necessary follow up would mean money and we all know that money talks. I guess the health complications further down the road when celiac is left untreated mean more money though. And if doctors aren’t taking it seriously because a late night comedian thinks gluten free is a joke then we’re all in trouble! 🙂

    I’m with you – the bit itself didn’t bother me because it made fun of the folks who jump on the bandwagon. Those are the people that are truly hurting our cause.

  4. GD,

    I had an interesting (and short-lived) comment exchange yesterday on FB about the Jimmy Kimmel episode. I’ve been doing this (as someone with celiac disease in my family and as a nutritionist/exercise physiologist/book author specializing in GF living) for about 15 years. A lot longer than most people. Having watched the increase in awareness of celiac disease (and other gluten-related conditions), the evolution of GF foods, and the push for more medical research, I believe, in some ways, we’re worse off than when no one knew much about it. It’s nice to go to a restaurant and have the wait staff and chef be aware of our needs, but this backlash for no reason is strange. Why do people care what someone else eats? And why do people care what their understanding is of what they eat? Geez, get a life. As a nutrition therapist, I work with people who have absolutely no clue about what to eat and why. I don’t mock them for that, I try to help them have a better understanding of healthy living.

    Regarding the FB conversation I got involved in yesterday: normally I don’t pick up the rope, but some of the comments were so off-target that I felt compelled to voice my opinion. I should have known better. I bailed out quickly because some of the commenters (one an RD) seemed angry about the whole GF thing. Like it was a problem for them if someone on the diet didn’t understand what gluten was.

    You’re right, GD, this kind of stuff hurts our cause. I also agree that it’s fine to laugh at ourselves. In fact, it’s important, but not at the expense of some little kid struggling with this or people being bullied, etc. So what if someone is GF and doesn’t even understand why? Why would that p**s someone off who is totally unrelated to that person? There are people evangelical about Paleo or vegan. Who cares? Why make fun of people about what they eat? Don’t people have more important things to do with their energy? I mean, seriously, there are better ways to blow off steam than rant about what someone else eats. Go for a walk.


      1. It’s pretty strange. I have a fellow celiac co-worker who has the same lunchtime as me. The rest of the regular guys were poking fun (good naturedly) that we were sitting at the “gluten free” table. So I finally got the question: “What is gluten and why can’t you eat it?”

        I explained it. Things were serious for about five minutes. Then one of them offered to sprinkle some donut crumbs on my food. I, in turn, offered some rat poison for his. And things were back to normal.

        1. I find that this is what some people do to diffuse a tense situation.
          Your buddy was probably taken aback by the seriousness of
          what you said, so he made a joke. That’s understandable, IMHO as there was no ill intent.

          You handled it perfectly and then, everyone was cool.:)

          This is how it should be. Good for you, Ken.
          Happy Friday!

          1. Yeah, it doesn’t help that the other guy with celiac eats takeout Chinese sometimes.

            I think I just heard you gasp.

            I’m to the point where you can say whatever you want to me. Make fun? Sure. Just keep the effin gluten out of my food, thanks.

            But I have thick skin. And others don’t- kids mainly. So I’ll keep explaining to anyone who asks.

            1. yep. I’m with you.

              pick on me, I can take it and make a joke in response or if necessary, eviscerate you with my tongue. 🙂

              but pick on a kid…hell no!

              oh, and the eating Chinese food thing.?..nope, no gasping…I am never surprised when I hear about a celiac not taking it seriously. This harms the cause more than anything else, IMHO Even more than idiotic “comics”.

            2. I’ve said as much to him. Like I’ve said elsewhere on GD’S site, it isn’t my place to tell people what they should or shouldn’t consume. I explained to him what could possibly be in it and what could have come in contact with it. He got a dh attack the other day so he’s taking it to heart.

            3. We can lead the horse to water, kiddo…..;)

              DH is not fun, so I am sure he is rethinking his eating approach.
              He’ll come around.

  5. As always, I try to see both sides of a debate and…while there’s a small risk that it might entrench ignorance in those already ignorant, I don’t think that it is going to convert those who are more well-informed and less bigoted.

    As for the joke itself, I thought it was pretty funny. If anything, we should be angry at the gluten-free fad dieters being idiots in the first place and not a comedy show for pointing out that they exist.

    On the positive side, fads always pass. There’s no evidence that gluten “makes you fat” (that would be an energy/calorie surplus) and, as soon as people realise that a GF diet is both very restrictive and relatively ineffective for weight-loss, they’ll move onto the next thing. When it does pass, coeliacs will still be here. IBS sufferers (who will react to the fructan content in wheat) will still be here. Those with intolerances will still be here. Those with food allergies (which is far more dangerous than my own disease) will still be here. Maybe then, the bigots will accept that perhaps there is a shred of truth (and plenty of medical evidence) in our condition(s) and that it’s not just attention seeking or paranoia. That said, there will always be bigots and assholes in the world, that’s something we cannot escape and it affects many, many demographics and minorities. The best we can do is rise above them, remain positive and continue the campaign to enlighten and inform. Some will always be a lost cause and prefer to retain their prejudices. We can only hope that caterers, medical professionals and food manufacturers are not one of them.

  6. First of all, I laughed my ass off this entire clip. He does this on his show pretty regularly and it is always a good laugh. Second, this is the epitome of everything wrong with our society. Everyone is jumping on a bandwagon in one way or another without properly educating themselves. We read and believe what pops up on our newsfeed and then become an ignorant consumer. I would like to take this a step further and ask more “GF Dieters” if they know what gluten is. My guess is that majority of them will have the same answers as the people in this video.

    Only YOU can understand your body the best and in order for something to work you need to put forth the effort to learn about whatever new “fad” you are testing. I do not have Celiac but have made the choice to eliminate gluten from my diet. Best decision I have ever made. By no means do I consider myself to be in the same category of these morons. 🙂


  7. I thought the video was more of an attempt to show the GF diet fad as being silly and it did not bother me much. I mean, we do not even know if it was “staged” or not. 🙂

    I found his comment that “some people do it for medical reasons ..and that annoys me too” to be idiotic, but honestly…. I am not often impressed by these “comics” anyway.Humor has evolved into the sole purpose of making fun of people. People get their jollies scoffing others.


    Why are people so angry with/annoyed by the GF diet?

    There are so many issues that people should be enraged about right now: pick any human rights violation and make it your cause
    for a tirade, people!

    I will be so happy when the GF fad dies down.
    I myself am sick of hearing the term “gluten free” sometimes.

    And I am especially tired of trying to get people to understand once and for all; gluten doesn’t make you fat. It’s the fast food crap that contains it that makes you fat. We’re a wheat-obsessed nation that lives on pizza, McDs, donuts and bagels.

    Celiac Awareness month has been overshadowed by this continual “hating on the GF life” and honestly, I am having a hard time lately with it all. It’s mind-boggling that in the midst of all of it, people go undiagnosed. They stumble around in pain and anguish because this lack of understanding about celiac is still prevalent in the medical community–and society at large.

    We have a long, long road still.

    1. “It’s mind-boggling that in the midst of all of it, people go undiagnosed. They stumble around in pain and anguish because this lack of understanding about celiac is still prevalent in the medical community–and society at large.”

      Spot on! It’s people’s health we’re talking about here.

    2. I totally agree with you about who cares what people eat anyway? What are people so angry about?

      Honestly, I’m not that concerned that these people weren’t able to define gluten for Jimmy Kimmel. Some people have been told to give up dairy for health reasons, and I doubt that most of them could define lactose, and have likely never heard of casein for Pete’s sake. Still, if they want to try eating a different diet that might help them, I have no problems with that. I also think that cutting out so much wheat in the diet possibly pushes one to eat healthier, unprocessed foods and who would have a problem with that? Whatever…

      The real reason there is anger is that people want to cling to their bad food choices. Kimmel used to host the Man Show and there’s still an element of machismo to some of his comedy–it’s manly to eat whatever you want (he’s “pro-pizza” for example) and that’s what people want to hear. They don’t want people telling them there may be a link between their diet and the fact that they have knee or back pain or something even worse.

      So that’s my problem with the segment. Even if it somehow manages to get people to figure out what gluten is, it still validated that it’s silly and that they can continue to make bad food choices while laughing at the rest of us.

  8. Dude think there was some crazy in your cheerios…”Is it a lack of celiac awareness”?? Do you not recall when you yourself called “celiac awareness meetings” gluten free food festivals light on awareness & all too heavy on pushing the latest gluten free food product of questionable nutrient content & origin?
    The only time celiac awareness ever seems to come up is when someone is making fun of us (bullying) or releasing another too good to be true gluten free product…coincidence? I think not!

    1. The “conferences” for the most part are NOT about celiac disease. It’s a gluten-free free for all. That’s what I railed against…not celiac awareness in and of itself.

      1. I thought some of the presentations at the GF Living Conference in Orlando were extremely informative and in fact, you and I hardly looked at the the GF food booths. I do not even recall us sampling any of the food….Tito’s yes, Food, nope. 🙂

  9. Jon Stewart actually made a little gluten-free jab Monday night. He joked that an Occupy Wall Street protestor was arrested for serving gluten at the gluten free table. If you pull up the video, it’s around 5:09. I have a hard time holding anything against Jon Stewart, but he could’ve used a different joke. He got a good laugh out of it, but it was unnecessary.

  10. What we don’t need is snobby elitism within the ranks. You infer that Celiac is somehow more important than people who react to gluten who don’t have a CD diagnosis. I’m Celiac and I have friends who, by the ‘test’ are not. One of them becomes more ill than any Celiac I’ve seen if she is exposed. Your dismissive attitude implies somehow being Celiac is worse, more serious, more intense……..whatever. Sick is sick. A reaction is a reaction. You’ll do more to promote Celiac Awareness if you include ALL people who react and treat them all with the same respect you seem to be asking for. You can focus on Celiac and also give a not do those who react but don’t have the dx. And yes, those who follow it for ‘trendy’ reasons are annoying but it isn’t either Celiac or trendy.

    1. Karen…perhaps this is your first time here, but I am as far from an elitist as there is. I’ve said it a thousand times on this blog…I support ALL people who give up gluten 100% for health reasons. That includes celiac, NCGS, etc. Please click around a bit before reacting. Thanks.

  11. James Neumeister

    If there was a pill to prescribe for Celiac Disease doctors would be diagnosing everybody with CD even if they didn’t have it. Can’t beat those free trips to Hawaii.

    Jimmy Kimmel: So you have cancer?
    Pedestrian: Yes
    JK: What is cancer?
    Pedestrian: I’m not exactly sure but I have to deal with a difficult treatment.
    Audience: HA, HA, HA!!!! Oh man, cancer is fake.

    Jimmy Kimmel: So you have diabetes?
    Pedestrian: Yes
    JK: What is diabetes?
    Pedestrian: I’m not exactly sure but I have to avoid certain types of food.
    Audience: HA, HA, HA!!!! Oh man, diabetes is fake.

  12. Fuck Hollywood.

    I really am so sick of how bullying is culturally acceptable in the US.

    It’s my impression that celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are taken way more seriously in other parts of the world. I would love to move to Italy. I’ll bet you dollars (euros?) to GF donuts that they don’t have waiters rolling their eyes at you like they do in the US.

    1. Not only no eye rolling in Italy but most restaurants have special celiac (celiaci) menus, often posted outside the restaurant door next to the “regular” menu. Celiac is seen as a serious medical condition (in the land of pasta this makes sense – the risks are enormous). Gluten-free as a trend has – moderately – hit Europe (I live in the Netherlands where most US trends pop up – eventually) but it’s just one of many fads. Having said all this, I have to say that I never ran into any eye rolling while travelling (and eating out) in the States. Plenty of sympathy and understanding (with one exception, but that was just a bad restaurant, even for non-celiacs). But maybe I was just lucky…

      1. This puts a big smile on my face. Thank you. Italia! 🙂

        (I think maybe you did get lucky with the US restaurants. Or maybe I was unlucky! 😉 )

  13. GD-

    Great post. Didn’t bother watching the vid, tired of the social media making a joke about us. It is another form of bullying, one we allow all too often. Took your advice/lead-stopped and picked up a bag full of GF treats for a special teacher of my daughter’s (she is NCGI). You should have seen the look on her face, she hugged me right away. Never underestimate the power of a chocolate covered macaroon.

    Jersey Girl
    “Welcome to a world without rules.”
    The Dark Knight

  14. If anyone chooses to avoid gluten because they feel better, why should anyone in the medical community or anywhere else act as though that is a problem?
    If onions make your stomach hurt, do you keep eating them? Would a doctor insist that it’s all in your head?
    If your mouth breaks out in a rash from citrus foods, would that be a made up problem?
    Why do people act like my husband is crazy for avoiding gluten when his eczema and achy joints get worse when he does eat it?
    We have a gluten free household because I am a diagnosed celiac, he tested negative. He is the one that reacts immediately to exposure. My reaction comes anywhere from 12-72 hours later – always when it’s most inconvenient =P .

    1. You hit it on the head, Andrea. This is exactly what I have been writing about in my articles at glutenfreethin.com.

      I can’t dog on Gluten Dude because his response to Karen’s post is correct. He does support ALL with a gluten sensitivity.

      However, I do think that some Celiacs really blow this whole thing completely out of proportion. I don’t know if its because they truly are that way or they are doing it to “fit in” with everyone else in the GF community. A community by the way that is by far the best I’ve seen on the internet. I wrote an article about it here…http://glutenfreethin.com/will-all-the-gluten-free-bros-please-stand-up/

      This article actually piggybacks off of one of GD’s articles asking where all the gluten-free men bloggers are.

      1. “I do think that some Celiacs really blow this whole thing completely out of proportion. I don’t know if its because they truly are that way or they are doing it to “fit in” with everyone else in the GF community”

        I am not sure I know what you mean by this.. and I am honestly perplexed….which does not happen very often except while watching
        some François Truffaut films or when doing complicated math.

        Can you elaborate a bit for me please? Thanks,hon.

        1. Sorry to confuse you like that. I am happy to be the one to do it though since nothing EVER confuses you except for math and weird movies I’ve never heard of. 🙂

          You seem like an intelligent person….I will leave it up to your imagination.

          1. I did not say I was confused–as in I did not understand WHAT you said.(I can read all right)

            I said I was perplexed as in….I did not understand WHY you said it.

            It seems like an insult of some sort, but I am not quite sure and I was hoping you would just clarify what you meant. That’s all

            I did not expect sarcasm or a non-answer in response, but that’s ok.


            1. I apologize if I came off as being rude. Not my intention at all.

              It just seems that some Celiacs have a “don’t you dare poke fun at MYYY disease” attitude. Although they may support people with a gluten sensitivity, you can tell by the style of writing that they actually despise these fad dieters and how the term gluten-free is being portrayed in the media. I get it, but it’s a little dramatic with how sensitive some of you get over these mainstream gluten mentions.

              I don’t like the fad dieters either. There is an overwhelming amount of misinformation out there and people continue to rely on these sources to make decisions about their health. But that goes for every fad diet, not just GF.

      2. I’m with IH – What are you talking about?

        And for the record, when I told my super Celiac doc that I thought I was allergic to onions, he told me I needed to increase my fiber intake. So yes, they do tell you that it’s all in your head.

  15. Lucky for me I avoid Twitter. Why? Because it is called twitter and the action of going there is called tweeting – for me the equivalent of being fad-ly gluten-free. But I digress, my feeling after watching the vid clip was one of dismay – validating my suspicion that there are way too many folks making uniformed choices – but duh – just look at where our politics are – this is non-news. Kimmel proved his point. Annoying is annoying. Why does it matter what someone eats – well it does matter to the folks we depend on to make it because if we are relying on dining at someone elses responsibility we – THE GF COMMUNITY – need to realize that we have a huge impact on the flow of the kitchen, on the flow of the staff, on the process of every day expectations. For many years – 20 years back, I was a vegetarian. At that time the responses to vegetarians was exactly like the response to GF today. But the transition happened over a long a painful slog for many. That is where we are today. We are in the midst of the long and painful slog to educate the public. We have to do it, there is no choice. So we can be trolls like them or we can dig deep to our inner healthy GF glow and present ourselves with compassion for stupidity, empathy for ignorance and devotion to our own self-knowledge! That is my rant to the day GD! Thanks for sharing the video I needed the validation while I continue on educating the staff(s) of my local grocery stores whose response to me regarding Omission Beer was that “their gluten-free customers say it is safe for GF so they are going to continue to advertise it as such”. So there! I thought you might get a kick out of that message, have a great weekend! BTW – northeast ohio area now has glutenberg.

  16. I was in the grocery store last friday evening to pick up a few items. I was walking down the beer aisle on my way to get some New Grist, and there was a woman at the end of the aisle giving samples of a new beer. She asked me if I would like to try it. Of course I said I probably can’t drink it because I have celiac disease. She said “Ooohh” sympathetically. She then walked over and started discussing gf beers with me. She certainly knew about celiac disease, I didn’t have to explain it to her. Actually made me feel good, that someone I bumped into was aware. Just wanted to share this story.

      1. Yeah – this reflects my experiences in US supermarkets, too. Plenty of understanding and sympathy. I even found a huge G-F section in a tiny supermarket near Custer, South Dakota, everything clearly labelled and separate from non-GF products (better than Whole Foods, in my opinion). When I was at the check-out I went out of my way to mention how impressed I was and the clerk beamed and said “we try”….But I am usually in the States for a relatively short period (see my earlier post) and don’t have to slog through GF living on a daily basis.

  17. Attention GD peeps!! I think it’s time for a new tee shirt!


    (yeah, I said it) 🙂

    1. Don’t tell my wife – I shouldn’t be here, but my wife & daughter sent me to bed since I fell asleep on the couch they wanted and I couldn’t resist commenting on IH’s new tshirt since this week I’ve been compared to everyone from the “Hathaway shirt men” Baron George Wrangell sans mustache and/or Lewis Douglas to John Wayne as US Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn (really exposes the age group).

      One of my fellow lawyer buddies says he really likes the “new look” because I look even more like a “bad ass” – not sure how to take that even though it was meant strictly as a compliment. Therefore, I highly recommend the “Rooster Cogburn” black eye patch with IH’s tshirt – the hat & the sixshooter on the low slung belt will probably add to the rough & tumble image.

      The Celiac Awareness Month point of this comment is how much concern – NOT a joke – the eye patch adds to my usual restaurants’ staffs’ diligence for me. They ask “what happened” and I answer “gluten but you should see the other guy” – yesterday the cashier, chef and manager each checked my order to make sure no gluten, which I greatly appreciated!

      Better go now – but I’m “keeping an eye” on y’all – cause one is all I have for the time being and I have to be good to it.


    2. Please – really don’t tell my wife I was here – she only looks little, sweet & innocent. One buddy asked, upon seeing my eye patch, “Did you stand up again when ‘your wife’ told you to sit down?” I only look like the “bad ass” now – if people only knew who the real “bad ass” in our family is – if only when it comes to protecting her man and her baby girl from that gluten culprit!

      1. Hap
        I was thinking about you yesterday and wondering how you are doing.
        I almost said “see you soon” the last time you were here, but I thought “maybe that’s too soon for making a funny”, but here you are laughing about your own circumstances and all I can say is “Damn your murderin’ hides! Meet your maker!” Love Rooster Cogburn

        I will only tell your wife you were here if you come back a second time. 🙂 You’re supposed to be resting!
        take good care!

        1. Thanks Irish!

          I definitely enjoy the humor which can never be too soon for me! I expect I’ll laugh all the way up to and through “meeting our Maker” regardless of whether I can still “see” myself leave here!

          I would love to jump in the middle of the discussion distinguishing the important distinction between “laughing with us” and “laughing simply at the creation of more confusion regarding the vital message with lazy unintelligent attempts at humor”; but alas my eye will not let me. However, I’m with Ken also, if everyone will just please not lose focus, which I’m very familar with at the moment, on our life changing/saving CD/NCGI message in the tumultous fray, not harass us and keep the “rat poison” out of our food, then most of us will probably laugh with most anyone about most everything.

          I can type a little bit without too much strain in my “good eye” for a short time with my screen at “400%” so I had to tell you one more that you can definitely appreciate after all you’ve been through. After my third eye surgery in 4 days, my retina specialist was commenting on my high pain tolerance. I told him he should meet my Mom and Dad and a quick synopsis of the usually terminal episodes they’ve lived through so far. My retina specialist said, “You’re like a bunch of roaches – just can’t kill you people!” Irish, since you’ve definitely fought to stay alive, if you’re not embarassed by the moniker, you can join as a member of our “roach family” – we’ve got that going for us!

          Better stop again, I reached my limit – as you can surmise, I’m not very good at “resting” – it’s so boring – but I better try harder to “rest” some more! Also much heartfelt thanks to my other wellwishers. I greatly appreciated your comments, but “she who must be obeyed” would not let me thank each and everyone.

          Rooster must’ve been thinking of CD/NCGI folks:
          “Watch yourself, sister! Everything in these (gluten filled) woods’ll either bite ya, stab ya or stick ya!”
          Rooster Cogburn

  18. To me, it does matter. How many millions of people watch him and for him to make light of it and call us “annoying” is disrespectful and irresponsible. He tried (and I say that lightly) to be supportive for a millisecond, and then the second that he called us annoying it turned into a ridiculous joke again. I guess I don’t see anything funny about that. I said the EXACT same thing about the fact that they could have polled 100 people and only those few didn’t know. They HAD to make a joke of the whole thing instead of showing the people that make have actually known what it is. Again, I don’t know why so many people take offense to this and feel they need to bad mouth gluten free to death. Who is it harming even if people are choosing to do it because they feel better without? There has never been this much backlash about any other “diet” in history, so why gluten free? No one, and I mean no one, can comprehend how serious this really is unless it affects you or someone you love. Even the people that are closest to me don’t fully get it. I’m beginning to feel like they never will as we continue to be the butt of jokes around the world. It’s getting old…..

    1. I completely agree with you Rhiannon. Every word well said. Who would dare call a diabetic “annoying”. Why in the world should a celiac be considered “annoying”. What are we doing exactly to “annoy” Kimmel? How in the world is it different from someone who has to eat sugar free food all the time and prick their finger to check their blood at every meal? I really cannot understand why a proven autoimmune disease is such a joke. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand it.

  19. GD
    What is gluten? Seriously, I would like to know how you answer this question when you are asked?

    I was diagnosed with Celiac through a biopsy over 4 years ago. I have been gluten free the entire time. I have researched plenty but I have never found an easy precise way to say what is gluten and how it affects my body. The only thing I can tell them is gluten is like poison in my system, immediately attacking me in several various ways

    So, what is gluten?

    1. What is gluten? At its simplest scientific description, it is protein in wheat, rye and barley (sometimes Oats) that causes an autoimmune response in people with Celiac Disease and and allergic response for others with gluten sensitivity.

  20. I usually say it’s like kryptonite to me. And supergirl can’t fly when it’s around.

    but seriously,

    The simple answer is “gluten is a storage protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a rye/wheat hybrid) that is hard for some people to digest. In celiac, it causes an autoimmune attack on the intestines.”

    but a more technical response, guaranteed to make people glaze over, nod off and possibly drool is here:


    1. PS I answered for the dude because he is sleeping right now. last we spoke, he was feeling really horrible from being whacked from said storage protein. He can answer you when he wakes up.


    2. Your “simple” answer is probably enough to initiate the glazing response in most people. I like it.

    1. No. It doesn’t. This has been BY FAR, the two most frustrating days I’ve had since I’ve started this blog. The community is divided between those who only give a shit about themselves and their immediate circle and those who care about the community as a whole (and that includes both celiacs and those with NCGS).

      I’ve made my case in this blog post. I’ve gotten some great support thru the blog and on FB. But if you are on Twitter, you will see the damage this video has done to the community. It has been shared a zillion times and now everyone is saying gluten free is bullshit. Is that the kind of awareness you want? It doesn’t mean I can’t laugh at myself and my condition. But I have the f*cking disease.

      There are millions of people walking around right now with undiagnosed celiac who may not get tested because they think gluten free is a joke. Again…why is that funny??

      The Gluten Free Girl is one of more popular celiacs out there. She has a mega-audience.

      I want you to read the post she just wrote regarding this and you tell me if we’re all wrong.


      1. I completely agree with exactly what you’re saying. It makes me want to run away and hide from the rest of the world. All of this ugliness and judging is getting to be too much. It’s gotten too easy for people to make snarky and snide remarks about something they know nothing about when you aren’t in face-to-face conversation with someone.
        And exactly what gluten-free-girl says about the whole thing is spot on how I feel about it as well. Life for us is exhausting enough as it is. This certainly doesn’t help…

      2. I got Gfree girls post the other day and sent it to my email. From now on I’m just going to send emails. I’m sick and tired of trying to explain and educate everyone but I might not be in the best place right now because I myself got glutened somehow. I’m usually more civil but right now I think “D***HEAD” is the perfect name for this person who obviously has not seen that you are not an elitist nor is this community as a whole. Celiac, NCGI and everyone else who gets ill from eating gluten have been more than welcomed here. You’ve got IH, who is attaching helpful links so often (Irish, haha, I sent your link to my email so I can send that to people and make their eyes glaze over) along with many others who share their stories and posts. You guys ARE my support system and you rock! GD I don’t know how you do it sometimes…

    2. Nope, it does not, D Head.

      You don’t get it. Sorry. You seem to have an ax to grind with celiacs for some reason and I am not interested in arguing with you.

      I am as frustrated as GD right now.

      I see GFGirl said the same thing I did yesterday…that the comment by Kimmel that “some people do it for medical reasons ..and that annoys me too”

      is about as insensitive and ignorant as it gets.

      THAT’s the problem.

      1. “[T]he comment by Jimmy Kimmel that ‘some people do it for medical reasons .. and that annoys me too’ is about as insensitive and ignorant as it gets. THAT’s the problem.”

        IRISH – Abraham Lincoln, William Shakespeare and Daniel Webster all rolled into one could not define the message in a shorter, better or more to the point statement than you just did!
        Jamie: You can’t get ’em all, Josie.
        Josey Wales: That’s a fact.
        Jamie: How come you’re doing this, then?
        Josey Wales: Because I ain’t got nothin’ better to do.
        The Outlaw Josey Wales

        GDude, Irish and everyone else in this community who cares for the well being of other people, we “ain’t got nothin’ better to do” than to keep educating the ignorant like Jimmy Kimmel when they utter such lazy, asinine and offensive statements for a stupid laugh at the expense of little girls like poor Lucy!
        Josey Wales: Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.
        The Outlaw Josey Wales

        1. “If you can keep your head when all about you
          Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
          If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
          But make allowance for their doubting too,,,”

          —Rudyard Kipling

          shall I go on? 🙂

          Hap…you and GD are supposed to be RESTING now.

          I got this, you guys! 😉

          1. Irish, yes, yes you do “got” this – as you have proven in writing once again – but in the immortal words of Rooster Cogburn, “Being around you pleases me.”

            So I’ll go rest my poor tired eyes some more and leave you with these last words tonight:

            Rooster Cogburn:
            Well out in the territory, we prize a dead shot more’n we do a lady’s charms.
            Eula Goodnight (aka Irish Heart): Then I’ve come to the right place, haven’t I? You mean the men in the West do not mind if their women outshoot and outsmart them?
            Rooster Cogburn: If they’re quiet about it. No, here we value a spirited woman almost as much as we do a spirited horse.
            Rooster Cogburn:
            I’ll be d@mned if she didn’t get the last word in again.

            1. Haha, love it Hap, perfect for IH, and you’re supposed to be resting right? Take good care!

          2. From the Department of Irrelevancy:

            From my undergraduate days long, long ago, I remember it being said:
            “If you can keep your head when all about you
            Are losing theirs… maybe you don’t understand the situation.”

            Not sure that applies to anything here, but the quotation brought it to mind.

      2. “Some people do it for medical reasons”. What is so wrong with that comment? I do it for medical reasons. Eliminating gluten from my diet has improved my health in so many ways. I no longer have heartburn every day like I once used to. I have lost 70lbs and have not felt bloated and gross in a very long time. I felt this way almost every day. It has also helped with some defecation issues I experienced. I wont get into the details on that on here though :).

        I understand that there are insensitive people out there who do indeed make stupid comments about this disease. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will come to an end anytime soon due to the scrutiny in the media.

        Once a month, the street that I live on closes down for “food truck festival”. If I look outside over my balcony I can see some of these trucks setting up right below my nose. The smells that I have to deal with come from a grilled cheese truck, barbeque truck, taco truck and a few other amazingly delicious looking food trucks. My wife and I know that we are not going to eat from any of these because they do not offer gluten free options. However, when we go out there and walk around a little bit we see at least 3-4 food trucks that are 100% gluten free. Now, let me ask a question…
        If gluten hadn’t become so popular, would these trucks still be there?

        I ask this because I am curious to know what you guys think about all of these new gluten-free food establishments popping up all over the place. The attention of Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity has drastically increased the gluten-free food options. Aren’t you guys happy that your disease is being recognized more for this reason?

        1. why do you keep missing the point here?

          (1) The reason the comment is offensive is because he says this:

          “some people do it for medical reasons ..and that annoys me too”

          the “and that annoys me too”…is the problem.!!

          (2) “The attention of Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity has drastically increased the gluten-free food options. Aren’t you guys happy that your disease is being recognized more for this reason?”

          But, celiac disease is NOT being recognized because of more empty calorie GF options on the shelves. That’s absurd. All that’s happening is more public scorn, eye rolling, joking about the GF fad dieters. Proper diagnosis of celiac is lost.

          “A locally-based advocacy group says an important message is being drowned out amid the gluten-free craze — that people with Celiac disease must be properly diagnosed before they make changes to their diets.

          Celiac is a disease in which the immune system’s overreaction to gluten damages the delicate intestinal lining, where nutrients are absorbed.

          National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Founder and Philadelphian Alice Bast says a lot of people are eliminating gluten from their diets, thinking it’s healthier in general, when there’s no science to back that up.

          “Which really overshadows the fact that there’s one percent of Americans that have to be on a gluten free diet, and it’s their treatment,” she says, “just like insulin is a treatment for diabetes, gluten-free diet is a treatment for celiac disease.”

          And Bast says you should not go off gluten before a doctor performs the only definitive tests for celiac.

          D Head,
          I am glad you went GF, lost weight and feel better but you are confusing “celiac awareness” with “we should be grateful for more food options”.

          1. Spot on Irish! (as always). I’ll take the increase in gf options a step further. While we do have more options, the majority of said options are likely still not safe for celiacs. Most food companies are jumping on the bandwagon to follow the fad dieters, not taking the full precautions they should to make a food item truly gluten free. I have given up on eating ANYTHING not made in a dedicated facility because the likelihood is that it will make me sick. DHead, do you have to watch your diet that closely?

            Have you ever had your doctor look at you like you were crazy when you wanted to check your vitamin levels because you were feeling so run down you could barely make it through the day without a nap? This even after having an actual diagnosis? Have you ever had to interrogate your pharmacist to find out if a prescription contains gluten and have them not know, or worse, not be willing to help you? Or to have a doctor question your logic when you do ask if some medicine they want to give you contains gluten? Maybe we can’t find the humor in these jokes because most all of us have been through this, or worse, at one point or another and it feels like NO ONE takes us seriously. My guess is that you’ve never experienced this. You figured out the problem, eliminated gluten, felt better and decided to stick with it without the help of or advice from a doctor. Maybe I’m wrong, but from some of your comments I’m fairly confident I’m not. If I am, then I apologize up front.

            I think most of us can laugh at ourselves. This bit didn’t bother me that much at first, but after seeing the gf hatred going around on the interwebs the last few days it irritates me now. The public perception of this has to change somehow. I don’t know what the answer is. But as long as people are suffering and going undiagnosed it’s simply not funny. No one would ever joke about cancer. Celiac and NCGS should be given the same respect. Period. I think that’s all any of us want and what we’re working toward, even if we don’t all agree on how to get there.

          2. Musicmidget & IH

            Correct on all counts as usual!
            We must keep educating one unintentionally misinformed and/or intentionally ignorant at a time.

  21. Just had the following facebook exchange after I shared the GF. Girl link (abridged for your sanity):
    friend: To be fair, he acknowledged celiacs and said he understood that….
    Me: he never mentioned “celiac” by name
    Friend: ok, he didn’t say it by name, but he did say that it was not those with legitimate allergies that bothered him. I don’t really want to defend him since I really don’t care about his show either…
    Me: ‘some people do it for medical reasons .. and that annoys me too’
    [expletive filled tirade]

  22. I can relate to the letter writer. The doctors I saw didn’t do their job either. I think they were just stringing me along to get more money out of me. I have no respect for doctors as a result.

  23. Karen there is no way Gluten Dude is an elitest! I’m the closest to an elistest you will find. It’s not one of my better qualities 🙁 In fact I’m pretty ashamed of some of the mean things I’ve said! I was alone with my celiac far too long. Diagnosed 27 years ago. My GI told me I was only the 4th real and true celiac he had seen in his entire career. That was wrong of him! I have seen people struggle to get a diagnosis and come away without one. I know in my heart they cannot eat gluten! I do understand now.It took me awhile to get here though. My son’s new GI DOES verify NCGS! So I believe all the awareness is working. Don’t pick at the Dude. He’s a good guy and kind to everyone! I do think if you are going gf you should understand why and what gluten is. I like Jimmy Kimmel. Maybe we could get Jennifer Esposito on his show to help him understand. Now that would be cool! She’s such a nice lady!

  24. Last night Jimmy Kimmel Asked : Do You Know What Gluten Is? He filmed the responses of various individuals on the street who really had little idea what gluten is and made fun of them and worse made fun of gluten and people who eat gluten free. http://glutendude.com/celiac-awareness/why-the-jimmy-kimmel-video-matters/

    Yes , Jimmy Kimmel and so called comedians of his ilk ought to realize there is nothing funny about life threatening diseases and the diets necessitated by those diseases, nor is it funny to make fun of people’s dietary decisions. It is tasteless.

    If my grandchild consumes any gluten her life is threatened. Why? Because she has celiac disease, a condition that creates inflammation and damages the lining of the small intestine, preventing absorbing components of food that are important for staying healthy and alive. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.

    Would Jimmy Kimmel next ask what is infantile paralysis to find out if people know today we call this devastating malady polio? Would he ask what is pancreatitis and laugh at the dumb responses he elicits? Would he find it funny and laughable to film responses to “What is Crohn’s”?

    My guess is Jimmy Kimmel was ignorant of what he was making fun of but if he was, someone connected to his show should be more alert to issues than he is.Jimmy should apologize and promise never again to make fun of health issues.

    Please read:



    Take a moment and let ABC know Jimmy should. apologize and promise never again to make fun of health issues which are not laughing matters but life and death matters to many people and he is fortunate not to be one of such people. Tell ABC TV about Jimmy Kimmel tasteless humor at http://abc.go.com/feedback

    Thank you very much,

  25. I actually quite enjoyed this segment. Yes, there are parts of it that can be interpreted as offensive or disappointing, but we could spend our entire lives dissecting this clip to look for hidden insults or offensive stereotyping…. and where would that get us? As a fellow celiac I am not offended when Jimmy Kimmel says “for medical reasons” instead of mentioning celiacs disease, or when he says “it still annoys me, but I get it”.. In fact, IT ANNOYS ME TOO! Celiacs disease is annoying, but it is not exclusively annoying to us with this condition. I am not trying to compare how annoying it is to people with or without celiacs, because there is no comparison. But lets lighten up a little, I think its important that we can learn to laugh and joke about being gluten free, because ultimately, I think people will be a lot more open to listen to you and to understand your condition if you are able to convey the bright side of it. I try to always focus on the positive aspect, on how well I feel now that I am healthy and gluten free, instead of how miserable and sick I was before. I found this clip to be wonderfully refreshing, and I don’t think there is anything wrong about laughing at “gluten free” or finding it annoying, because it can be those things. That doesn’t make it any less “real” or legitimate.. I have found that when I introduce my dietary restrictions with a joke attached, people are more likely to remember and they are not as intimidated to ask me questions about it. Jimmy Kimmel isn’t trying to revolutionise the world for us GF people, nor is that his job description, but I think this is a step in the right direction (however small it might be) by sprinkling some humour on it.

    1. Hi, Lena. I can appreciate your opinion about the Jimmy Kimmel video being funny, as well as your perspective and experience with celiac disease. There are a couple other bloggers who have found the video humorous and/or positive for the celiac community.

      But as Gluten Dude and Jennifer Esposito and several other members of our tribe have pointed out, there’s a bigger picture here that’s difficult for some of us to gloss over. Kimmel isn’t the only comedian poking fun at gluten — it’s become the Joke Du Jour on many talk shows and comedic skits. Seth Meyers and Fallon (comedians I like and admire) have gone for the easy gluten-free laughs. So there’s a pattern here.

      Why are these comedians incorporating gluten into their routines? Because they’re marketing to a certain audience. Kimmel’s history and audience actually started back with “The Man Show,” with its “Juggy Dance Squad” and “Girls on Trampolines.” Now he’s targeting a much larger audience who likely doesn’t understand gluten and finds it funny that even those who you would think know what gluten is do not. Take this to its logical conclusion and you’ve just made a lot of jokes about the validity of going gluten free. While the video itself may be somewhat humorous, all the jokes added all together are a subtle form of bully humor. Personally, I don’t like bully humor. At best, it’s easy and lazy, at worst, it’s stigmatizing.

      That worries me when we have celiac children in school environments who need gluten-free food to stay healthy.

      Kimmel said [celiacs] annoy him. Like you, I also like to tell people how much better I feel having gone gluten-free for medical reasons, only to learn that my talking about feeling healthy by cutting out a food that’s in everything they eat is often what annoys people, because it conveys that I feel different, and to them that equates to superior. So that tack may actually be part of the problem when people haven’t made the link between what they eat and how they feel and chronic disease.

      While it sounds like you are doing very well in your journey with celiac (big congrats!!) there are many others whose journey hasn’t even begun or is much more painful and problematic than yours has been. We are all coming at this from different perspectives, and it’s a *far* more complex matter than simply suggesting we all “lighten up” a bit.

      Humor is personal, and it’s political — just like food. While the video is poking fun at gluten-free folks for having a sheeple mentality, the real sheeple to me are the ones who keep eating the crap that Big Food keeps putting out there and making billions of dollars on — food loaded with wheat, gluten, sugar, and “dough improvers” that you find in yoga mats and shoe soles. I don’t really care if people on the street can precisely define gluten (that’s just me personally), but I’d love to know they’re eating real food. Instead of poking fun at that, I wish we as a culture would applaud it. We have a ways to go.



      1. Hi Suzy,

        First off, let me just say that I did not intend to suggest that we all just “lighten up” as if that would solve all of our problems, I certainly don’t believe that to be the case, and I would hate for anyone to misinterpret that.

        I absolutely agree that there are fundamental problems about how celiacs disease and gluten free are portrayed in the media and perceived by the general public. It makes my stomach turn every time I hear someone suggest it is just a fad. I get that most of the attention people get in the media for being gluten free is ultimately negative, and that talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel can borderline offensive.

        Perhaps the sense of humour I am used to is a bit more morbid than that of a lot of people, but I like to have a laugh about having celiacs. Not because the condition is anything to laugh about, but because it is something I will have for the rest of my life (and very likely so will my future children). As much as I wish I didn’t have celiacs disease, I can’t change who or what I am, so I might as well learn to enjoy it. This is something my grandfather taught me when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, until the very end he would make jokes about saving money by not having to go to the hairdressers anymore. When I’m the only person at the bar with friends ordering wine instead of beer, I will make a widely inappropriate joke about my relationship to wine.. and trust me, no one ever makes the mistake of ordering me a beer again.

        I realise that my approach might never actually have an impact beyond my immediate circle of people.. God knows I am dreading the day that my kids will realise that their food is different from that of their friends, but kids can find a million reasons to single you out for being different, being gluten free is just one of them.

        Yes, humour is extremely subjective and it can be a double edged sword, but I think there is a lot more use for it. I don’t think that for us (the gluten free community) to get necessary recognition that we NEED, that we have to outlaw any humorous take on the gluten free diet. I have found that I get a lot further with people explaining what celiacs disease and a gluten free diet is when I use humour, because it makes it less intimidating to people who don’t know, and those are exactly the people that we need to tell. Those are the people that roll their eyes when they hear the words “gluten free” and think that every person talking to them about their food choices is out to convert them into their “lifestyle.” In order to get someone like that to listen to you I think important to express that you are not sitting on some high horse with all of the right answer, but that you can also laugh at the things that make being gluten free annoying.

        We are the ones living with it, so we certainly have earned the right to laugh at it if we want to.


        1. Mind if I pipe in 🙂

          I applaud the mature discussion…sure beats the insults and put downs you see in the comments section of most blogs/sites.

          Lena…we have definitely earned the right to laugh at ourselves and I would never suggest otherwise. It’s the best medicine we have. But it goes beyond that.

          The more jokes there are, the more people will walk around with undiagnosed celiac because they think gluten free is just a joke and not a possible cure for their ills.

          The more jokes there are, the less the medical community will take us seriously.

          The more jokes there are, the better the chance we have of getting sick by a waiter or chef and thinks its all BS.

          It’s not about me. It’s about the community as a whole.

    2. The issue is, it’s “annoying” to you in a very different way that it’s annoying to him. He thinks we’re ALL a joke, regardless of whether it’s a medical necessity or not. It’s annoying to us because of what we have to deal with every day. By him saying that it’s annoying to millions of people, it just adds more fuel to the fire to those who already make jokes, condescending comments, hurtful words, etc, etc. It’s completely different.

  26. Maybe it’s just me, but wonder if people are reacting to what Kimmel said, or to what they think he said. So I watched the intro to the scene again on YouTube, and transcribed it. It runs a little over a minute (asterisks indicate audience laughter, which often follows by a word or two the thing being laughed at):

    “People are very interested in food nowadays, people who don’t even cook watch cooking shows, and everyone has an opinion on what you should and shouldn’t be putting into your body. Lately, I don’t know if it’s just here in L.A., but… people are very anti-gluten, which bothers me, because I’m very pro-pizza, and you* can’t be pro-pizza and anti-gluten, so, ah, now some people can’t eat gluten for medical reasons, which that I get, I, ah, it annoys me, but I get it. * But a lot of people here don’t eat gluten because like, uh, someone in their yoga class told them not to. * I keep asking people about this, and I started to wonder, how many of these people even know what gluten is. So we decided to find out*… gluten, in case you didn’t know– and I didn’t know this– is a mixture of two proteins found in wheat, and some other natural grains. But here in L.A., it’s comparable to Satanism. It’s…it’s….** So we sent a camera crew out to a popular exercise spot, right up the street from us, to ask people who are gluten-free a simple question, ‘what is gluten?’* ‘What is this thing you will not eat?’ So we’re gonna meet a person who doesn’t eat gluten and together we’re gonna guess… if they know what gluten is. Are you ready?” [Audience: YES!]

    I don’t understand how what he said constitutes making fun of celiacs. He said that “some people can’t eat gluten for medical reasons, which that I get, I, ah, it annoys me, but I get it.” OK, it annoys me too that some people can’t eat gluten for medical reasons, but the people themselves don’t annoy me. It’s the damned medical condition that we have that annoys me. I think Kimmel has a sufficiently good command of the English language that if he was annoyed by the people with the medical condition, he would have said “they annoy me, but I get it”, not “it annoys me, but I get it.”

    He goes on to admit that he didn’t know what gluten is, and gives a reasonably good two-second capsule definition of gluten. (It would have been better if he had gone into a little about it’s effects on us.)

    Now I much would have preferred that about the third person interviewed had been someone like Jennifer Esposito and that that person would have been allowed to explain briefly not only what gluten is but also what it does to us. Then he could have ended the scene with another faddist, and the observation that three out of four people who eat gluten-free apparently have no idea why they’re doing it.

    But, hey, he’s just a comedian. I get that… it annoys me, but I get it.


  27. Dick — bravo and thank you for capturing and transcribing for the rest of us! I’m impressed. Funny, but reading the transcript you provided only inclines me to deconstruct some of the central cruxes that underpin the segment.

    First, I don’t think Kimmel’s audience is making the semantic distinction between “it” and “they.” It’s a question of overall effect and impression passed on from a Hollywood talk-show host: viewers are likely only to remember that “hey, it annoys Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel’s cool…he’s funny…so I’m annoyed too.” Because Kimmel does not mention celiac specifically (not a huge deal but notable), viewers might assume that the next person they see trying to order gluten-free in a restaurant is another one of these people who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Kimmel says at the beginning that people who are “anti-gluten” “bother” him. Annoyed…bothered…the repetition in the setup is there for a reason.

    He makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to a “yoga class.” One could argue that a yoga class might provide a sample of people interested in their health, eating nutritious food and combating stress and other environmental toxins, but here it’s part of the condescending tone of the piece, not far from the way we used to (and still do, actually) demonize vegetarians as hippies.

    But the transcript you provided stuck with me for some other reasons: “Everyone has an OPINION (emphasis mine) about what you should and shouldn’t be putting into your body” is one, and the memorable line, “I’m very pro-pizza, and you can’t be pro-pizza and anti-gluten.” So for starters, although nutritional science is a burgeoning field, we do have SCIENCE that can tell us a great deal beyond an opinion about what’s nutritious and healing, what’s harmful, and what leads to inflammation and disease. That’s not an opinion, but again, the intent here is to lure viewers to agree with Kimmel’s opinion (or else the humor doesn’t work) and discount those who might are questioning and making different choices. As for the second line I mentioned, it’s an inaccurate statement of course because gluten-free pizza is pretty readily available both in restaurants and stores. But who cares about that, right, because the humor depends on setting up this “pro-pizza” “anti-gluten” opposition to be effective. These are classic humor techniques.

    The fact that this video went so completely ape-shit viral — it was almost every story on my gluten-free section of ZITE for several days and people were posting it all over social media — is a testament to the fact that the humor techniques worked and it appealed to a wider audience beyond Kimmel’s show. As so many others have said here, it goes beyond this one segment to the cumulative, viral effect of Kimmel’s and other comedian’s gluten-free spoofs and jokes. And none of these same talk-show hosts seem interested in presenting a more balanced approach to the topic, as you noted. So it’s hard for members of our community to get equal air time (some have tried to no avail) with these targeted audiences and now we have even more pre-conceptions and assumptions to deal with as we try to manage our disease not just privately, but in public settings (eg, the office pizza party).

    Personally, my objection to all these jokes and the opinions they cultivate at large goes even beyond our own community of celiacs and the topic of gluten. You don’t need me to tell you that our country has enormous health care issues and costs, starting with children who for the first time ever are developing metabolic syndrome (a whole cluster of conditions and risk factors) and children so dangerously obese they need bariatric surgery. We are marketed to constantly by the processed food industry, often backed by government subsidies. By presenting these gluten-free eaters as not “pro-pizza” like Kimmel is (in this example), we are continuing to push processed food as what’s “normal” in the media, at restaurants, at the doctor’s office, at our work environments, everywhere.

    Instead of demonizing these people who can’t define gluten, I’d much rather see us demonize all the forces that make it so easy to become addicted to unhealthy food.

    A joke here and there wouldn’t get to me. But if we’re going to move the needle on becoming a healthier population, we need a new conception of “normal.” Once we do that then maybe the jokes will stop.

    Thanks again and peace!!


  28. So I was going through my facebook newsfeed today and I see someone posted another Kimmel video. One taken from the last few days of his show, where he gets real doctors to address the anti-vaxxers who have irresponsibly refused to get their kids vaccinated, which has now spawned measles outbreaks in several areas. The doctors urge these parents to do the right thing.

    It’s a great message to be sure, but unfortunately JK goes and lumps us GF people in with these anti-vaxxers. “Parents … are more scared of gluten than they are of smallpox.” Sigh. Which of course draws a huge roar of laughter and applause from the studio audience. Double sigh.

    The hypocrisy is simply STUNNING.

    He excoriates anti-vaxxers for creating a health care crisis because they follow unaccredited online sources that vaccines are supposedly dangerous, instead of paying attention to actual, trained, medical professionals who without exception agree that vaccinations are the right thing to do. He lectures them pretty hard on this.

    But… on the other hand you have JK (and so many other self-appointed, but medically uncredentialled “experts”) who see GF as a threat to the “pro-pizza” establishment and just LOVE to clown gluten. They would have an entire society believe that it’s all nothing but a big joke. Because of this and how their material has spread around online, they are contributing to a situation where celiacs and others who require GF diets are not being taken seriously enough.

    Kind of like… surprise… the frustrated doctors in JK’s latest skit who have to constantly combat the anti-vaxxers and their quackery. JK eagerly (and rightly) criticises the anti-vaxxers, but he himself is EVERY BIT as guilty of spreading anti-intellectual pseudoscience that poses a threat to public health care. Oh well, at least it’s only been viewed nearly 10 million times in the last 48 hours or so.

    There’s still a full 10 months left in the calendar year, but you, Jimmy Kimmel, are a serious contender for Irony World Champion of 2015. YOU are a part of the very problem you so vocally call out!

    Jimmy Kimmel: if you really do care about public health issues and this isn’t just some self-aggrandising scheme to boost your program, why don’t you do a skit featuring some real, bona fide GI specialists urging your audience (a) that GF is no joke, (b) that people who suspect they might have dietary-related health issues should go get themselves tested and (c) that people who pass around all these gluten-clowning jokes, articles and videos online are truly no better than the anti-vaxxers.

  29. Perhaps it’s time for the celiac community to disassociate from the words ‘gluten free’ to something like ‘celiac safe’ so others understand that celiac people don’t eat this way as a fad. Shame on Kimmel for his pathetic video.

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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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