I was enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon with my daughter who was grounded and couldn’t watch her normal shows. We sat down together to watch Food Network to find Dean McDermott on an episode of Guy’s Big Bite. Dean McDermott has celiac disease, so I was shocked to see him sample dishes that contained gluten.
More than a year ago, Dean was interviewed by Allergic Living magazine about his celiac disease diagnosis. He either just doesn’t understand what celiac disease is, or he has the most uninformed doctor on the planet. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Q: Was it hard to cut gluten out of your diet?
Dean: I did it slowly. At first I was eatinggluten-free about 50 percent of the time. So that was easy. It helps that there are so many gluten-free products available now.
Q: Yikes! Celiac experts strongly advise going 100 percent gluten-free following a celiac diagnosis. What does your doctor say about eating a bit of gluten occasionally?
Dean: Since I’m on the low-end of the spectrum, she’s not terribly concerned. But I definitely feel better when I’m gluten-free.
I am sorry to inform Dean that you either have celiac disease, or you don’t, so there is no spectrum that allows you to consume it. Just like you can’t be a little bit pregnant, if you have celiac disease you need to eat gluten free 100% of the time because it is the only way to manage this autoimmune disease.
Dean McDermott gained celebrity status by being married to Tori Spelling, so he has a huge opportunity to become an advocate and work to inform people about the seriousness of celiac disease. Instead, he spouts inaccurate information (see above), gets photographed eating a belVita Breakfast Biscuit (contains gluten), and now he is eating gluten on a national cooking show.
I took to Twitter yesterday to deal with my frustrations and I actually got a response from Mr. McDermott. Here is our brief exchange:
Me: Watching you make dish after dish with flour and breadcrumbs; you have #CD right? Now you are eating gluten #totalfail
Dean: Its not my show. I’m a guest on Guys show. It’s not my place 2 implement GF food into his repertoire. There’s a time & place
Me: Then why eat it when you know you shouldn’t?
Dean: It seems you want to pick apart anything I say, so I won’t.
I just don’t get it…I really don’t. Dean is the father to five kids and he should be concerned about maintaining his health, but instead he ingests gluten to appease a television audience and not offend the host. Dean ate Brussels Sprout Gratin that contained flour in the mixture and was topped with panko. Next he sampled the Grilled Caramel Apple Brioche Sundae that was made with wheat bread. Never once did he make mention of his celiac disease, or talk about flour substitutions to turn these dishes into gluten-free versions. Why?
I also think Food Network missed a golden opportunity to reach out to the millions of people with celiac disease by crafting a gluten-free menu for this episode. How easy would it have been to use gluten-free flour and panko in the brussels sprout dish? Gluten-free bread could easily have been used to make the brioche sundae. Both of these dishes wouldn’t have sacrificed any flavor or taken any longer to make, so why not make the easy substitutions?
No one asked Mr. McDermott to publicize the fact that he has celiac disease. Once he did, then he needs to take accountability for his actions. Cheating on the gluten-free diet can lead to other autoimmune diseases, like diabetes, Crohn’s disease, anemia, and even cancer. He should be more concerned about his heath and less concerned about offending others.
Gluten is poison to people diagnosed with celiac disease and it must be avoided at all costs. Dean McDermott needs to take his celiac disease diagnosis seriously and send a message to the masses that this autoimmune disease is not a joke.
Author Information: Jennifer D. Harris, Atlanta, GA
Jennifer D. Harris, http://www.jenniferglutenfreeingeorgia.blogspot.com
Marketing Coordinator, Pure Knead
President, Just Gluten Free
Program Chair, Atlanta Metro CeliacsTwitter@jenniferGFinGA