No matter your politics – and I prefer not to discuss mine here – I was excited to hear that Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, has Celiac disease and follows a strict gluten-free diet. OK, I’m not “excited” that he has this awful autoimmune disease – but I’m excited that someone in the national spotlight can bring attention to Celiac disease and gluten-free diets in a positive way.
Too often the focus of gluten-free diets is fodder for jokes. For some reason, our society thinks it’s okay to eat crap, but then make fun of someone trying to eat healthy. No matter your health, gluten is so bad for you. It’s difficult to digest and leads to all sorts of diseases from digestive discomfort to dementia. I think it’s interesting that junk food companies can donate money to children’s hospitals and cancer research yet they continue to feed us foods that lead us to these awful diseases in the first place! Who should be the butt of jokes?!? Our society has it all wrong!
In February, another presidential hopeful, Ted Cruz, said he was tired of political correctness in our government and jested that he would not provide gluten-free meals to our service men and women. Joke or no joke, he thought it was okay to poke fun at those of us following a gluten-free diet. Not funny. Use something else to make your point – but don’t joke at people trying to eat healthy. Not cool.
Johnson is pro-GMO labeling, because everyone deserves to know exactly what is in our food supply. He says on his website, “While I generally resist the idea of government mandates, public safety is a legitimate government function. For many people, certain food ingredients can do serious harm, and knowing what is in food is absolutely essential. For example, I have celiac disease, and absent adequate labeling, I cannot risk eating foods that may have gluten. For millions of Americans in similar situations, knowing what we are eating is not a matter of preference or convenience; rather, it is an issue of basic safety.”
As for eating healthy, in a Libertarian Presidential town hall meeting moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Johnson says he and his fiance plan to “keep up Michelle’s garden” if elected to the White House. “Michelle’s garden” is a reference to Michelle Obama and how she planted the first vegetable garden at the White House since WWII as part of her Let’s Move initiative. Watch the CNN townhall clip here.