I know. You’re probably thinking… “Wait a minute, is celiac an allergy?” Many, many times throughout this website, I will recommend that you remind your waiter or waitress that your gluten free wishes are an allergy.
Why do I do that when both Celiac and Gluten Intolerance are not allergies at all?! Let me explain.
What Is Celiac?
Let’s get all technical for a second. Celiac is an “autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine.” This means instead of a typical allergy, it’s sort of a “malabsorption syndrome” whenever somebody consumes gluten (found in wheat, rye, barley, soy sauce, your grandma’s kitchen…).
What Is A Gluten Intolerance?
Being intolerant to gluten, but not having celiac is technically “non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” (And don’t you let anyone tell you it’s not real!). This is what happens when you body has a “stress response (often GI symptoms)” but does not really cause the intestinal damage of celiac.
So…Is Celiac An Allergy?
Nope. It isn’t. But you know who doesn’t care? Your restaurant. Saying you are “sensitive” to gluten or you “don’t absorb gluten very well” does not trigger red flashing lights. You need red flashing lights for the kitchen to prevent contamination.
You want them to basically think you will die if you eat gluten. That way, they don’t say “Eh, she’ll be fine if I plop this pork chop on the grill that just had breaded chicken.”
Allergy = Restaurants Understanding You Have A REAL Issue
You are not high maintenance when you have an allergy, you are ill. It makes your life easier. It prevents cross contamination that can make you sick, sick, sick. So next time you order gluten free crust or a gluten free sandwich – remind them: “It’s an allergy. Please try to prevent contamination.”
Please Note: There actually is such a thing as a WHEAT ALLERGY. If you have that… well… then telling your server you are allergic makes perfect sense!