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Savvy Celiac: Why so much anger with the Gluten-free movement?

It seems there’s a backlash brewing against the gluten-free community and nobody is reallys sure why.

Want to get the celiac or gluten free community riled up?  I think we now know how.

A vile Facebook entry earlier this month by self-proclaimed “chef” Damian Cardone in Colorado did just that when he said “gluten free is bulls*#t”  and he would serve “high-gluten flour” pasta to anyone who ordered gluten-free.  While the entry had been up for a few days, it really didn’t hit the blog-o-sphere until early last week and culminated in pure outrage within a couple of days. The Facebook post has since been pulled down.

See the print screen of the Facebook Status from The Celiac Handbook

Twitter was packed with comments about #DamianCardone who recently left the restaurant Florindos in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Folks are understandably angered.  Such public comments like that from an apparent chef– who we count on to bring us safe gluten-free food when requested– does nothing but hurt our cause to raise awareness.

But the haters don’t stop there.

Just last Sunday The Savvy Celiac received this angry comment about a restaurant post from a few months ago.

“Screw you, the restaurant has no obligation to bend over backwards for you.  Do society a favor and don’t eat out anymore, anywhere!!”– Anonymous blog comment

Sounds as vile as Cardone’s post.  All we know about that comment is that it came from an IP address in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Hating the Gluten Free Movement

But what purpose do these “haters” serve?  I am using the word Hater– even though I don’t really use it in day-to-day speech– because I really feel that all they’re trying to do is needlessly put a pothole in the road to greater celiac awareness.

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I looked up the word Hater and found a few places that actually defined it as an acronym: Having Anger To Everyone Receiving Success.   Not sure if this is actually where the term came from but let’s just go with it for a little bit. Are Cardone and the other commentor jealous of our success in creating a reliable community that helps each other out on Facebook and Twitter?  Or are they frustrated with a community that is gaining strength in numbers and as a result is creating significant change in restaurants?

Or do these two people really just hate us and the “inconvenience” they think we cause at restaurants?

We’re all for free speech, but what does this nonsensical angry speech do for ANYONE? My best guess right now is that it’s not just about us…that they hate a lot more than the celiac community and decided to let loose on us, just like they probably do with anyone and everyone else.   Is it necessary?  No!  It accomplishes nothing other than causing hurt feelings and fueling angry rhetoric.

I can tell you none of us wants to be a pain or raise a stink about our health issue.  But we do what we need to so we don’t have to worry about whether the next 24-48 hours will be spent vomiting, with diarrhea, a migraine and more. Want to tell us something constructive?  We’ll take it. We want to help restaurants, schools, families grow with us– in an educated way.

I hope this is just a well-publicized hiccup  (which has the potential to turn into a gluten free awareness advantage) in the quest to get restaurants on board with serving safe gluten free foods.

Other notes: A tv news piece tracked the issue Wednesday (although they could have used a gluten-free person for the more human element). With the owner saying all gluten-free orders went through him, so Cardone couldn’t have done what he claimed in his Facebook status.  A different report had a quote from the owner saying Cardone was a part time server and not a chef.

This post was written by Amy Leger and posted on the Savvy Celiac. Follow her on Twitter: @AmyLeger