Delightfully Gluten Free (TM)

Food and Wine – A Diatribe

It’s bad enough when you see misinformation in some small, non-food-related magazine.  But very bad information in a big food magazine?


That’s right, Food and Wine Magazine, I’m talking about you.

Rule number one about writing: Joe’s opinion does not a fact make.  Or, in this case, Lionel’s.

Just because someone who supposedly has celiac disease says he eats spelt does NOT mean it is okay for celiacs.

Because, it is NOT.

Unfortunately, this is still a battle we are fighting with the health food stores, which happens to be most people’s first and only education about Celiac Disease.

Did I mention this is appalling?

Spelt is a member of the genus Triticum.  Have you heard that word before?  Most likely, you have, in some form or another.  It’s the WHEAT.  Look at this list of species in the genus Triticum, from the USDA.

Kingdom  Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom  Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision  Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division  Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class  Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Subclass  Commelinidae
Order  Cyperales
Family  Poaceae – Grass family
Genus  Triticum L. – wheat P
Contains 19 Species and 21 accepted taxa overall
Down one level
Species  Triticum aestivum L. – common wheat P
Species  Triticum aethiopicum Jakubz. – Ethiopian wheat P
Species  Triticum araraticum Jakubz. – wheat P
Species  Triticum boeoticum Boiss. – wild einkorn P
Subspecies  Triticum boeoticum Boiss. ssp. boeoticum – wild einkorn P
Subspecies  Triticum boeoticum Boiss. ssp. thaoudar (Reuter ex Hausskn.) Schiem. – wild einkorn P
Species  Triticum carthlicum Nevski – Persian wheat P
Species  Triticum compactum Host [excluded] P
Species  Triticum durum Desf. – durum wheat P
Species  Triticum ispahanicum Heslot – wheat P
Species  Triticum karamyschevii Nevski – Karamyschev’s wheat P
Species  Triticum militinae Zhuk. & Migush. – wheat P
Species  Triticum monococcum L. [excluded] P
Species  Triticum polonicum L. [excluded] P
Species  Triticum spelta L. – spelt P
Species  Triticum timopheevii (Zhuk.) Zhuk. – Timopheev’s wheat P
Species  Triticum turanicum Jakubz. – Oriental wheat P
Species  Triticum turgidum L. – rivet wheat P
Species  Triticum urartu Thumanian ex Gandilyan – wheat P
Species  Triticum vavilovii Jakubz. – Vavilov’s wheat P
Species  Triticum zhukovskyi Menabde & Ericzjan – Zhukovsky’s wheat P

So, while Lionel may be content with damaging his intestines and increasing his risk for other autoimmune disorders, cancers, and general bad health, don’t let that be you or a celiac you know.

When you see bad information like this, call them out on it.  Share GOOD information.  Hand them a pamphlet from the Gluten Intolerance Group.

In case you need a refresher of some of the names, here’s a pretty good table from the Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation (fyi – I have not read the booklet).*Rice bran is okay, but it would be labeled as “rice bran”.






6 responses to “Food and Wine – A Diatribe”

  1. Colette Martin Avatar
    Colette Martin

    Oh my gosh! You hit on one of my major pet peeves! You nailed it Cassandra. Spelt is not only a gluten grain, it is indeed from the wheat family. Which also means that those with wheat allergies (even if they can tolerate non-wheat glutens) must also avoid it.

  2. Jen Avatar

    Thank you for posting this! There’s a bakery in my hometown that sells spelt bread with the claim that it’s “low gluten” and safe for those with gluten intolerance. I haven’t had a chance myself to go in there and explain to them why this is so wrong. A family member saw it and recommended it to me, so I had to explain to her that I cannot in fact eat spelt!

  3. Suz Avatar

    When will this madness end?! Spelt is a part of the wheat family (love the charts by the way) and it’s horrifying that this continues to happen over and over again. Check out my recent diatribe when I found lots of local places offering GF “spelt goods.” This is unacceptable for a national, well-noted publication. Unacceptable.

  4. Colleen Avatar

    Unbelieveable. I have people tell me all the time they have a celiac friend who can eat a little wheat or spelt/barley doesn’t bother them. Well, good for them – not for me! This kind of article is just the sort of thing that makes life hard for us.

  5. Earthtonegirl Avatar

    The online recipe has been updated, now, thanks to some very vehement commenters. 😉 They removed all the references to gluten & celiac and an editor acknowledged in a comment that it is not celiac-safe. Still, too bad that it happens at all.

  6. Mindy Avatar

    Thank you SO much for the list of how spelt is related to wheat! This is also a major peeve of mine. I always educate, gently, those who suggest this as a possible “great gluten free food for you.”

    It’s wonderful that the recipe has been updated!