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Oregon Gluten-Free Travel: Where Gluten is the New Al Qaeda

Celiac.com 08/31/2015 - It is possible that Oregon could be one of the gluten-free friendliest places on Earth. I had never been there before, but after a road trip to Oregon this summer I will definitely be back.

Photo: Scott AdamsOne interesting thing that I already knew about Oregon before my trip was that, for some reason, it is a hotbed for the test marketing of new gluten-free products. Many large corporations roll them out there first, before launching them in other states. These companies also pump a lot of marketing money into Oregon to promote these products—on a level that I've not seen in other states. Here is a picture that I took in downtown Portland of a huge billboard for Coors Peak Copper Lager. Not only can I not find this new gluten-free beer anywhere in the California Bay Area, but I also have never seen advertising done here on this scale for any gluten-free product.

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Perhaps due to Oregon's history of being very progressive when it comes to food and beverage trends—for example the microbrewery and organic food movements took hold there very early on—it seems that the gluten-free food movement has also progressed there faster and is far more mature than many other places that I've been. This was very apparent to me when I first crossed the border and stopped at a Subway and found that they offered a gluten-free sub roll option, and the staff was well-trained in how to prepare my sandwich in a way that would minimize any cross-contamination risks.

Besides large corporate chain restaurants which offered unexpected gluten-free options, every local or family owned restaurant that I ate in also offered gluten-free options and/or a gluten-free menu. In fact, there is even a huge food truck culture in downtown Portland that is centered in parking lots near the China Town area, and many of these trucks advertise that they are either entirely gluten-free or have gluten-free options.

Photo: Scott AdamsSo you may be wondering where I came up with “ Gluten is the New Al Qaeda” in the title of this article? While in Portland I visited their huge “Portland Saturday Market,” which covers most of the waterfront in the downtown area on Saturdays and Sundays from March through Christmas. In one of the booths I found a vendor who was selling t-shirts and tote bags with this phrase on it, and since I happened to need a tote bag I picked one up. Looking back on this trip now I believe that this vendor's idea pretty much summed up my gluten-free experiences in Oregon—where those who are gluten-free will find many like minded people and therefore wont' have to waist much time explaining themselves when they order food—and a place where gluten is now being avoided by many Oregonians like most people in the world hope to avoid Al Qaeda!

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10 Responses:

 
Lizzy
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
01 Sep 2015 8:20:26 AM PST
Offensive title, regardless of the pun or the t-shirt.

 
Scott Adams
( Author)
said this on
01 Sep 2015 9:45:12 AM PST
They don't seem to mind it so much in Oregon.

 
Lindar
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said this on
07 Sep 2015 6:38:03 AM PST
Great article but I agree with Lizzy. I have a great sense of sarcasm and humor but not with this. Would love to have a catchy gluten free shirt but this isn't it.

 
Diane
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said this on
07 Sep 2015 1:28:10 PM PST
I agree with Lizzy and Lindar, and I am a native Oregonian. This can be read two ways: gluten is bad; making fun of or insensitively insulting those who must be avoid gluten.

 
admin
( Author)
said this on
08 Sep 2015 11:21:06 AM PST
I suppose you could look at it in the more negative way if you like?

 
Susan Norman
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said this on
07 Sep 2015 7:31:39 PM PST
Seattle area has also become a great place to live if you're gluten intolerant, especially in the last five years or so. For one thing, the area has come to demand more transparency in the make-up and origins of our food. Maybe our proximity to Canada with their heightened awareness and acknowledgement of celiac and gluten intolerance has an affect. Another influence may be that the booming local tech industry has drawn more people to the area who demand and can afford gluten-free alternatives.

 
Coleman
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said this on
07 Sep 2015 7:42:14 PM PST
I live in Portland, Oregon and found the title of this article in poor taste. Just because one little vendor at Saturday Market doesn't mean that Oregon is down with it. Oh, and Saturday Market is more for tourists and out of towners.

 
admin
( Author)
said this on
09 Sep 2015 2:18:20 PM PST
Sorry I was a tourist and "out of towner" Coleman...the glass is either half full or half emtpy...eh?

 
Mary
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said this on
09 Sep 2015 2:26:59 PM PST
In spirit the comparison made in this article is no different from common sayings in the English language like: "I avoid it like the plague." Obviously the plague killed tens of millions of people, perhaps 25% of mankind, and is still a very serious disease that people get each year, however, we still don't think twice about saying such things, and I doubt anyone here would take objection to using this phrase. I too avoid gluten like Al Qaeda!

 
Adele
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said this on
17 Sep 2015 8:42:16 AM PST
I thought the t-shirt was funny! We must have a sense of humor about our situations, and let's face it, gluten could eventually kill someone with celiac disease, so the comparison isn't that far off. Anyhow, here in Colorado (where they probably make it) we don't even have that GF Coors, so I am very jealous! Hopefully we get it soon. This article makes me want to visit Oregon!




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