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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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    Wow. Just wow. I read this article for medically relevant information to help my daughter. Seeing political bashing is disgusting and a shame that you would ABUSE your access to this platform. Shame on you Celic.com for publishing such trash. This "quote" could have been relayed in an objective manner. Your personal opinions of political candidates needs to STAY OUT of this forum!! What a shame!

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    I'm sorry but kosher or other diets don't cause our soldiers to fall ill on the battle field. There is a good reason that celiacs aren't admitted to the armed services. It could affect the life and death performance that other soldiers are depending on. I have celiac disease and so do my young adult children and have investigated the issue. I think politicizing this message is taking it out of context. I usually like your articles but your argument is weak here. Ted Cruz meant the crazy self entitled babies who just want special treatment, not the medically necessary brave men and women who serve.

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    admin: you are right. Is he ready to stop pampering guys with insulin shots?

    Totally agree with you, Admin and Ski Mom. Obviously the idiots who support Ted Cruz don't have and have had nothing to do with celiac disease. We only get snippets of news on the American Presidential elections here in NZ, but whoever you choose has got to be better than ignorant Ted Cruz! What an eye-opener. Good job this has come out now.

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    The US military currently provides kosher meals to Jewish troops. What if Ted Cruz said that US generals shouldn't have to worry about providing kosher meals to our Jewish troops? Would that be news? Would that be considered acceptable public policy?

    Why doesn't your foundation send Mr. Cruz a film about celiac disease, maybe he just doesn't understand how it will almost immobilize a person if they get a dose of gluten and if they die from it---there isn't a lot of help at the front--their families can sue for malfeasance.

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    I don't see how a celiac would be in the field. According to Military.com, having a Intestinal malabsorption syndrome (like Celiac) can prevent you from joining. So it appears this is just stirring the pot for no reason.

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    So you do realize that our Jewish and Muslim combat troops can get Kosher and Halal MRE's, right? (https://www.troopsupport.dla.mil/subs/rations/programs/rel/relabt.asp) Apparently some past Commander in Chief or Congress has believed that religious dietary issues are important enough to accommodate US service men and women in combat, so why not accommodate those who need a special diet for medical reasons?

    ARE YOU KIDDING? If they eat something that wasn't Kosher or safe for the Muslim Religion most likely they'll NEVER KNOW, nor WILL THEY GET SICK.

     

    I completely understand your passion, but I have to agree with most that this is way out of proportion.

     

    And on a side note, I am currently trying to get my FAA Medical back due to celiac so that I can do my job and collect a pay check. I guess you can write a story about how my airline will not supply those of us with celiac a safe gluten-free crew meal. Or how about the fact that 99% of all airports DO NOT have safe food options for us, non cross contaminated food or kitchen staff that know how to properly handle food so I don't get ill while flying an airplane with 150 passengers on board.

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

    Cruz was talking about what he himself should be worried about. Don't take it out of context.

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    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.

    The fact that Cruz happened to choose "gluten-free" as part of his speech opened him up to scrutiny. I would have thought that his speeches would be more tightly scrutinized by his campaign staff to know when he was hitting a potentially very "hot" button. The casual mention of gluten-free tells me he is only looking at this as a fad diet or a choice; not something of medical necessity to live.

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    The US military currently provides kosher meals to Jewish troops. What if Ted Cruz said that US generals shouldn't have to worry about providing kosher meals to our Jewish troops? Would that be news? Would that be considered acceptable public policy?

    Again, someone eating a non Kosher meal will cause ZERO harm to said person. And if supplies are low and there's only non Kosher meals at hand I'd bet my last dollar it would be eaten without even thinking twice about it on the battlefield.

     

    Regarding Cruz's comment, in his eyes (as with most who are ignorant about Cleiac) those that eat Gluten Free are people that need to be coddled. At least this is my take on it, which is not right in my opinion and it is only fodder for those that think gluten-free is a fade diet. But at the same time, arguing whether or not someone with Celiac needs to be on the battle field hoping their gluten-free MRE made it in the supply line is ridiculous. Everywhere you read, those entering with Celiac are not accepted and for good reason, but if diagnosed after joining then they will most likely find something for you to do, probably stateside and behind a desk.

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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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