Media "health experts" consistently stress the dangers of following a gluten-free diet if you are not medically diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. They ominously describe the "high sugar content" and "lack of vitamin and mineral fortification" of many gluten-free foods.
Besides ignoring the millions and millions of people in SouthEast Asia who live their entire lives gluten-free because wheat, barley, rye or oats are not part of their traditional diet, the reporters ignore unprocessed staples of the gluten-free diet: meats, dairy, vegetables, fruits, nuts, non-gluten grains like rice, beans, eggs and seafood. Unprocessed. You know, those foods that do not have to be fortified with synthetic supplements because they NATURALLY contain vitamins and minerals.
Without fail, the foods the medical contributors describe are processed gluten-free foods.
Well, the ABC producer who once interviewed me admitted she had tried every diet to lose weight and knew absolutely nothing about nutrition. She mentioned the sweet potato diet worked best for her...although her skin turned orange.
Sigh. From my experience, here is how news reporting seems to work in TV news land.
Producers, under huge pressure to find something sensational every day, do the interviews and write the stories. They are not necessarily experts in the subject matter. The producer who interviewed me was off to cover a new type of car squeegee after my interview.
Medical contributors, grave looking urologists (urinary tract expert), dapper cardiologists (heart expert) or pretty nurses, then read the stories off a teleprompter, provide a few comments and frown or nod wisely at the appropriate times.
So why do they portray the gluten-free diet as if it contained virtually only processed foods?
Maybe the producers do not have time to research the truth. Maybe they focus on the sensational parts of stories instead of covering topics objectively. Maybe they think the entire United States population gorges itself on Hamburger Helper, Mac and Cheese, Oreos and Big Macs and therefore all the people who are gluten-free must slurp down their gluten-free substitutes.
Do they? Do gluten-free people only eat processed gluten-free foods?
My foods are almost all unprocessed. I buy the ingredients and I process them myself. I want to know what I eat and frankly the food I make tastes GOOD.
But that is just me. What do other people eat?
Unfortunately, I meet non-gluten-free people who think only foods that have a "gluten-free" label on the box are gluten-free. Misinformed by the media, they have no idea what gluten-free means. Their eyes widen when I tell them I eat steak, potatoes, apples, eggs, PF Changs Lettuce Wraps, Bonefish Lily's Chicken, brownies, margaritas and a whole lot of other foods they recognize.
I wanted to find out what Gluten Free Works visitors eat so I asked our Facebook friends whether they eat unprocessed or processed foods.
Their answers did not surprise me, but will probably shock the news producers and their frowning, nodding medical experts who are supposed to be covering the gluten-free diet.