Montreal Style BagelOn April 23rd, 2014 we shared a post on our Facebook page entitled “Gluten Rant From A Waitress“. The post was described by Joel Balsam at APT 613 as harsh and inflammatory. You know what? He’s right. It was. We posted the link to the FB page and proceeded to get a series of comments from people who were upset about it. We sincerely apologize. We make bagels most of the time, and we should have prefaced that share with a small note at the very least indicating our position on the matter a little more sensitively. We understand why some people were offended by it. The original piece was written sarcastically, comedically, and humorously from the perspective of someone working in the food service industry. The spirit of the post is something we were interested in creating dialogue about.

We think “gluten free” is more of a diet than medical requirement for the vast majority and we think people should be more informed about it.

Celiac disease is no laughing matter. It’s painful, inconvenient, and challenging. It requires a precise management of your diet every day, all day. Celiac disease is different than a wheat allergy though. Both of those are different to “gluten intolerance”. All three of these are different than just saying you have an allergy to gluten or that you “can’t eat gluten” for health reasons when in reality you’re just trying to avoid it for dietary reasons.

We understand avoiding certain foods to improve your health or lose weight – but some people take it way too far (scroll all the way down). Saying you have a food allergy when you don’t really have one isn’t cool. Celiac disease affects 1% of the population or 1 in 133 people according to the Canadian Celiac Association. Contrary to popular opinion – food allergies are not rampant. “Research shows that as many as 20 percent of people claim to have food allergies when the number is actually around 3 to 4 percent,” says Hugh Sampson, director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

“‘Celiac disease,’ ‘wheat allergy,’ and ‘gluten intolerance’ are often used interchangeably,” says Suzanne Girard Eberle, a certified sports dietician and nutrition therapist in Portland, Oregon. “However, there is a difference between these three medical issues.”

Dr. David Stukus of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital asserted the gluten allergy is not real during an annual meeting at of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. In his presentation he said that many of his patients often misdiagnose themselves as having a gluten allergy when really it’s another condition completely. There’s a bit of a culture of misinformation about gluten, clearly.

One of the comments on the original Facebook post mentioned that you can’t paint everyone with a food sensitivity with the same brush. That’s absolutely correct. Our idea that the original post was funny was clearly a misjudgement on our part, and if we wanted to more effectively start a discussion on the topic, we should have done it differently.

People ask us why we don’t make a gluten free bagel. Good question.

We can’t! Our products all contain gluten, and anyone who has Celiac disease knows that eating any gluten free product that has been contaminated by a product that contains gluten has serious implications.

Thoughts? Comments? Share them with us!