The word “gluten” has at least two definitions:
♦ For persons who live with celiac disease or other forms of gluten sensitivity, “gluten” are the proteins in wheat, barley, and rye that cause problems for us.
♦ Farmers and food scientists (and the majority of other people), “gluten” refers to the proteins found in virtually all cereal grains.
Obviously, this can cause major failures in communication. When we ask for a “gluten free meal”, our host might assume that corn and rice must also be eliminated. Corn and rice certainly contain gluten(as defined by most people) but not the specific forms of gluten that cause problems for us. When we are seen consuming dishes containing corn or rice, people might think that we are careless about our diet and/or really do not understand it.
My personal strategy for dealing with this problem is to use the sentence: “I react to wheat, barley, and rye”. I generally avoid using the word “gluten” except when I am in a situation where I know people can handle more information.