This Monday, May 16 is World Celiac Day, this pathology which affects 1% of French people and which forces them to remove gluten from their diet, a substance found in certain cereals such as wheat, rye and lard. ‘barley. But other pathologies can make it necessary to stop consuming gluten, in particular autoimmune or digestive diseases. In total, 8% of French people eat gluten-free.
If there are many alternatives for cooking gluten-free at home, and in particular the many flours that do not contain gluten (buckwheat, rice, corn, millet flour, etc.), eating in restaurants or with friends who do not are not affected by this food intolerance can be more complicated. According to the 2022 barometer of Because Gus, a site on the theme of gluten-free food, produced with the Dietary Sector and the French Association of Gluten Intolerants, 80% of celiac people limit their dining out.
Restaurant owners are more familiar with gluten today
Clémentine Miserolle, author of the book Cooking without gluten published by Hachette in 2016, and a blog of gluten-free recipes, still found that it is less difficult to eat at the restaurant today than when she started this diet, after being diagnosed with celiac disease . “Ten or fifteen years ago, when I asked if there was gluten in a dish, people asked me what vegetable it was…”. She explains that gluten has been better known since it became a fad a few years ago when the media and the general public took interest in this diet by presenting it as a way to lose weight rather than as a medical diet, necessary to avoid pain and digestive problems. “In turn, catering professionals have benefited from this education, and they now know which foods contain gluten.”
This does not mean that they include gluten-free dishes on their menu. But Clémentine Miserolle says that by explaining herself, she always manages to obtain an adapted menu: “They are always benevolent, I have never had a problem. You have to introduce yourself to the waiter, ask him to check with the chef, and they always offer an alternative”. For example, they replace pasta with rice, or remove a sauce from a dish.
To dine with friends, you have to anticipate and explain
Dining out with friends isn’t easy for gluten-free people either. “You have to be proactive, take the lead. I always warn the person who cooks, ”explains the author. His strategy, in addition to asking the person for his recipe and indicating the possible alternatives, is to bring the dessert. This is perhaps what seems the most complicated to cook for a host who is not used to gluten-free, and it allows you to make a good impression in the face of any a priori.
Another reflex: she always warns her friends not to worry about the bread. “Often, the person buys me cereal crackers to replace them, but they put them in the basket, so they’re contaminated and I can’t eat them. It’s very frustrating for both of us, because she went to the effort to buy them. Instead, she brings her own bread, as well as snacks, so as not to embarrass her friends.
The canteen: still complicated for children who eat gluten-free
According to the Because Gus barometer, 48% of parents of a child who cannot eat gluten report problems at school, whether for reasons of stigma, unpleasant remarks, or downright inability to eat. in the canteen. Clémentine Miserolle has also noticed these difficulties of care in schools. She recounts a memory of a child in primary school who was placed at a separate table because the headmistress of the establishment was afraid that she would swap her lunch box with her neighbours’ plate. Eventually, the parents hired a nanny to take her home for lunch.
“The older the children, the easier it is because they manage themselves. You have to trust them, they know it makes them sick and they don’t want to. “Even if it is possible to eat in the canteen by choosing only vegetables or starchy foods that do not contain gluten, the simplest thing, whether for young people or for adults, is to bring your own meal. . “The bento is back in mores, now, and it’s best for the wallet. »
To find where to eat without having to ask for an adapted recipe, some sites or blogs list the addresses of restaurants that offer gluten-free dishes, including Because Gus, but also Gluten free. On the other hand, these addresses are mainly in the big cities.