A post came up yesterday on Facebook about Panera Bread’s gluten conscious monster cookie. People were generally outraged that the cookie wasn’t labelled gluten free and that they had “some nerve” even having this item on the menu.
I simply stated that a quick online search would provide ingredients in the cookie which would verify whether or not these cookies are “safe”. Rather than debate the point, why not just search Google? It’s an easy solution. Ah, but that might actually take a bit of effort. It’s easier to argue about something you know nothing about, then to resolve the argument by proving your point.
Well, here is the information. It only took a couple of clicks online to find this:
If you look at the allergen list, it clearly states “may contain wheat”. This is because oats can be contaminated with wheat. Also, there is the issue of cross-contamination in manufacturing. If you would like to peruse Panera Bread’s gluten conscious menu, you can find the link here.
As I have said from the beginning of this journey, you must realize that whenever you step out of your own kitchen, you are taking a risk. It doesn’t matter how good you think that restaurant, fast food joint or family member is at being careful with gluten or other allergens, it’s something you must understand and must expect. Especially if you have celiac or other food allergies. Panera Bread specifically states:
Avoiding gluten? As long as you don’t have celiac disease, a heightened gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy (in which case you should check with your doctor), we’ve got some great options on our menu that are made without gluten-containing ingredients, and could be just what you’re looking for.**
They obviously are not safe for gluten intolerance or celiac disease. They state this plainly. Yes, I think it’s ridiculous-if you are only going to have a gluten “conscious” menu, why bother? People who avoid eating gluten just because they think it’s better for your health, are sadly mistaken, and shouldn’t be encouraged. Personally, I wouldn’t go to Panera Bread, or most other “fast food” places, because I don’t want to get sick.
Yes, it sucks. I can’t just go on a road trip and stop for lunch or dinner. I have to plan well ahead. A good example of this is my upcoming trip to Hawaii about Norwegian cruise line. While there are some menus posted, they are outdated. They do list ingredients, but how accurate is that, especially if they run out of a certain ingredient? They do work with you on choosing safe options, but we are human, and we make mistakes. I expect to get glutened at least once. Or dairyed. I will carry Immodium and my Epipens (in case of nut allergy). But I am going into this vacation with my eyes wide open, as should you when you step out of your house, and your own control over your food.
There really is no safe option. We take calculated risks. If we didn’t we would never leave our homes or go anywhere. As long as you realize that risk, you can live a fulfilled gluten and allergen free life. And you don’t have to argue about it on social media.