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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Ted Cruz Declares War on Gluten-free Soldiers

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Ted Cruz is against gluten-free meals for US troops. Photo: CC--Matt Johnson

    Celiac.com 02/19/2016 - Did senator Ted Cruz just declare war on gluten-free soldiers? It kind of looks like that.

    Photo: CC--Matt JohnsonIn an attempt to show he can be tough on American servicemen and women with celiac disease, the Republican presidential hopeful declared that, in the event the American people find him serving as their president and commander-in-chief, there will be no gluten-free MREs for soldiers anywhere under his command.

    Campaigning in South Carolina, and courting pro-military voters, the Texas senator seemed to believe he was striking a blow against what he describes as a culture of "political correctness" in the Pentagon.

    Speaking in broad strokes, Cruz said that "…the last thing any commander should need to worry about is the grades he is getting from some plush-bottomed Pentagon bureaucrat for political correctness or social experiments -- or providing gluten-free MREs;" the shorthand term for Meal, Ready-to-Eat.

    According to Ted Cruz, it's a bad thing to be in favor of soldiers with celiac disease having a gluten-free meal when they're in the field—while they might be putting their lives on the line in service to our country.

    Should American servicemen and women with celiac disease or gluten intolerance have their medical treatment made into a political issue? Apparently Cruz thinks so.

    However, since celiac disease is a bona fide medical condition, and a gluten-free diet is the only currently recognized treatment, regardless of whether you are Democrat or Republican, Ted Cruz, or anyone else who aspires to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces, should simply not be treating them like second-class citizens.

    All soldiers with medical conditions deserve proper treatment, that includes service men and women with celiac disease and medical conditions that require treatment with a gluten-free diet.

    Let the senator from Texas know what you think: Ted Cruz on Twitter @tedcruz

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    This is complete and totally misleading and inaccurate.

    He did not say at all that no gluten free meals would be served and you know it. How shameful of you to publish this so blatantly false information.

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    As the wife of a Marine and Mom to a son with celiac disease, it does make sense to me. Although my son would make an incredible asset to our military, he should never see the likes of combat oversees or in a hostile environment. By signing up to be a soldier means that he could be stricken for days at a time in locations where his nutritional needs could not be met as opposed to someone who does not suffer from celiac disease. Further, if ever taken hostage his ability to maintain his health could be far more compromised than that of a soldier who could eat an unrestricted diet given by another. It's a lot to consider no doubt with varing views but ultimately I think we can still find ways for intelligent and willing Americans to serve our country without their intake limits hurting them or putting their fellow soldiers in comprised positions.

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    I don't really wish to impugn the motives for authoring this piece. However it is my understanding that the military service policy in this nation is that people with Celiac Sprue if identified as such prior to applying for military duty, can be rejected for same based on this condition. That is my understanding. Now in the real world, I am sure people get into the military who do have Celiac Sprue. The question is salient as to what to do then, plus a lot of other questions along with that. Let's look at history in this regard: A young man who obviously had Celiac, John F. Kennedy, got into the military. Now of course he had to pull strings because his official diagnosis was Addison's Disease, although that was bogus. But because he pulled strings, he got into the Navy and became a war hero in World War II. The rest is history as they say. So there are a bunch more issues here than meets the eye based on this article is my point.

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    This is complete and totally misleading and inaccurate.

    He did not say at all that no gluten free meals would be served and you know it. How shameful of you to publish this so blatantly false information.

    Please tell us what part is inaccurate? Ted Cruz said MRE's, and that is what this article said...

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    Please tell us what part is inaccurate? Ted Cruz said MRE's, and that is what this article said...

    I think what you should be up in arms about is the fact that people, including in this case Ted Cruz, use the term gluten-free as shorthand for trendy, or pampered, or whatever disparaging remark they want to make. I sincerely doubt Cruz actually wants to deny soldiers medically necessary items if they are feasible to provide. Please keep the campaign snark off this page.

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    I think what you should be up in arms about is the fact that people, including in this case Ted Cruz, use the term gluten-free as shorthand for trendy, or pampered, or whatever disparaging remark they want to make. I sincerely doubt Cruz actually wants to deny soldiers medically necessary items if they are feasible to provide. Please keep the campaign snark off this page.

    Donna, while we agree with your comment that Cruz's use of "gluten-free" was probably calculated and aimed at his base, once he made this comment it became a fair topic for this site to cover, as Celiac.com's aim is to cover all news and information related to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet. Any time someone with Cruz's stature comes out with an anti-gluten-free position, Celiac.com will be here to shed light on it, and hopefully make them reconsider their position.

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    What if Cruz said that when he is president you can't get any more tax deductions for gluten-free food, or that it would never be considered a disability? A person who is running for president and targeting people on a gluten free diet is definitely a topic for this site.

     

    It seems like the army needs to wake up to the fact that over 25% of Americans now say they are on a gluten free diet, and if they want to be able to recruit enough people they will need to offer gluten free meals.

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    Please tell us what part is inaccurate? Ted Cruz said MRE's, and that is what this article said...

    DID HE WAGE WAR???? REALLY?

    This problem has been a long standing one with the military LONG before Ted Cruz. You are apparently ill informed.

    Clearly you just wanted to make your political statement and get people enraged. You did exactly as you intended.

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    DID HE WAGE WAR???? REALLY?

    This problem has been a long standing one with the military LONG before Ted Cruz. You are apparently ill informed.

    Clearly you just wanted to make your political statement and get people enraged. You did exactly as you intended.

    Actually it is Cruz who is ill informed and made a political statement that was intended to get people enraged, we are just reporting it.

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    Actually it is Cruz who is ill informed and made a political statement that was intended to get people enraged, we are just reporting it.

    I agree. It IS in celiac.com's purview to bring these topics up for all of us. Then, we all do what we want with the information.

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    Guest Gail Rothenberger

    Posted

    Tell Ted Cruz and the Justice Department to stop speaking out of ignorance and read the medical evidence. While sending people into harms way, they can protect them by serving them food that won't kill them.

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    Thank you for bringing up a topic that is totally relevant to your site. Cruz has definitely been quoted as you stated -- he did say what you claim, that cannot be denied. This is a microcosm of how he believes people who are "different" should be treated. Politics aside, does anyone want this mentality in the White House? He is not only ill-informed, but open to his own form of politically correct! It's time things like this were out in the open. I find it difficult to believe that any celiac or gluten-sensitive person can defend him on any level.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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