By straight definition? NOTHING By commonality? PLENTY! They are all food movements of one kind or another reflecting food choice whether medically necessary, of religious foundation or nutritional concerns. These food ‘movements’ are trend signals of what people are now choosing to eat. AND, they all require a commitment by food service to provide special accommodation.
There seems to be a lot of truth to ‘you are what you eat’ and regarding food as medicine. Recent headlines are full of health issues that stem from our diets. Healthy choices yield benefits. Poor choices yield consequences. Eat right and you maintain the right weight and side step most of the medications taken to sustain health. Eat well and you can control Celiac and auto-immune reactions. As a consumer, you have the choice to do your own research and decide what is best for your diet, make your own choices and experience the consequences or benefits of those choices.
By cooking at home, we have complete control over our food choice and preparation. With dining out, we don’t. And that is what needs to change.
In defense of restaurants that do things right, raw food comes to the dining table raw, vegan food remains vegan from kitchen to tongue, kosher food is not unkosher by the time it is served and whole food remains whole. So why is it that gluten free food can’t be served completely gluten free?
A recent article, posted by Food Editor Beth Hillson in Living Without, illustrates one possibility. That being that some restaurants just simply should not offer gluten free or allergen free options. In some situations, preventing cross contamination is just not a reasonable expectation. Disclaimers on menus state “…unable to guarantee that any menu item is completely free from any particular allergen, and we assume no responsibility for guests with food allergies or sensitivities”.
OK. Then why bother to offer foods that are gluten free if the commitment and ability to serve it so is not complete? For the Celiac or gluten intolerant even a SMALL contamination is a BIG problem.
Serving gluten free diners profitably and safely seems to be an elusive accomplishment for many restaurants. That needs to change. Gluten free should mean exactly that and not just a notation on a menu. It should mean that we can go to any restaurant of choice and know that the responsibility to eat well and eat safely is shared by the establishment and not a “…we assume no responsibility…”.