Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Setting the Record Straight on Food Restrictions

Photo by Charles Votaw
There’s little more frustrating than when people fail to acknowledge your food allergies or restrictions.

We all would like to be able to eat whatever we want. We simply can’t – without getting sick.

Some of you may know that I am a contributor at Forbes. I write for a blog called Work in Progress: Career Talk for Women Who Mean Business. Most of what I write there is focused on life in Corporate America and working women’s issues, although during food allergy awareness week I took the opportunity to write Five Things Every Boss Should Know About Food Allergies.

Last week I was dismayed when one of my fellow contributors at Forbes wrote a post titled What We’re (Not) Eating: A Potential Danger of Gluten-Free. In her article, Meghan Casserly tells the story of some high school girls who were claiming to need to eat gluten-free to hide their eating disorders. While she does stress that some do need eat gluten-free, she suggests that perhaps many are just jumping on the bandwagon, unnecessarily restricting their diets.

I, for one, like to eat.

My food-allergic son likes to eat.

There’s nothing we would like better than to have a regular old pizza made with wheat and cheese. But we can’t. So we eat (a lot) of the foods we can eat, and we enjoy them.

And instead of focusing on negative issues, we focus on what can we can do to call attention to the right issues. The current issue for the gluten-free community is the need for food labeling laws. The recent Gluten-Free Food Labeling Summit in Washington is the kind of news that should be getting our attention. To that end, I invite you to head on over to Forbes and check out my article Setting the Record Straight on Gluten-Free Eating and Celiac Disease: An Entrepreneur Takes on Washington, and let me know what you think.

(Note: I have intentionally not provided the link to the Casserly article, as I do not wish to call more attention to it than it has already received.)


Anonymous said...

My son is allergic to multiple things, luckily gluten is one of his "ok" foods. However I still see what you are talking about. Although in writing the article this woman thinks she is raising awareness of eating disorder she is also (maybe unmeaningly) playing down the importance of allergy. We both know that allergy is already not taken seriously enough as it is so I feel your frustration at this too. I know that people will think my son is just being fussy as he is older and will not realise the full implications of his allergies and it's a sad fact that goes along with having allergies. I hope this will change one day!

Alisa Fleming said...

Fantastic job Colette! I love the article and the positive message it sends. Hopefully the labeling will improve soon from all of these efforts.