Response to Roger Cohen, NYC Times This Column is Gluten Free

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I was deeply troubled by Mr. Cohen’s article entitled “This Article is Gluten Free,” labeling all who say they are gluten free as one in the same. His “black and white” approach targeting a certain food issue is very problematic and dangerous to those who suffer from a serious auto-immune condition.  Mr. Cohen uses only his own anecdotal experience to cast a negative light onto all who eat gluten free.

As a filmmaker with celiac disease myself, I have had the opportunity to meet many people in the gluten free community, most of whom have suffered for years trying to get to the bottom of their health issues. Many of these people literally had one foot in the grave before they were found to have an issue with gluten (most of these people have celiac disease, but others do not).

I really don’t understand why Mr. Cohen is so inconvenienced by others’ eating choices (regardless of why they make these choices). I can assure him that there hasn’t been one day of my life (post celiac diagnosis), as he suggests, that I have “felt special” by having a special dietary requirement nor have I taken any joy in calling over a waiter or asking to speak to a chef.  Quite the contrary–I miss the days where I could meet up at the corner bar to grab a beer and a burger with friends and just be part of the crowd.

Being gluten free is in no way a “political statement” to me, however I am passionate about helping educate the public about the realities of living gluten free.  I would suggest to Mr. Cohen that being so troubled by what other people put in there bodies is much more “narcissistic” than someone who is simply trying to avoid something that is harmful to them.