We’ve all heard them before, to continue my Celiac Awareness Month fun I decided to compile a list of what not to say to a celiac. Feel free to add your own gripes in the comments section 🙂 Here goes!
5. It must be so easy to eat gluten free with all the products they have out now.
– No, actually it’s not that simple. Thanks to so much misinformation out there, it’s not a simple as it seems. Trips to the grocery store take extra long as I continue to read all the labels before things go into my cart. Companies don’t always stick to the same recipe, and I’ve actually caught products that are no longer safe, even though they previously had been. Just because an item does not have gluten in its ingredients does not mean something wasn’t processed in the same facility or even on the same equipment as gluten. To someone with celiac, those little details matter…it’s the difference between a normal day and spending the night on the bathroom floor!
4. I could not survive without bread, that must be so hard.
– Is it hard for you to buckle your seat belt? What about crossing a busy street without looking? Would you drink twice your weight in alcohol? NO! Of course not! These things are seriously unsafe, unhealthy, and could possibly KILL you! Gluten has a very serious affect on my personal well being, and if that means I can’t eat certain things then so be it. I’d much rather be healthy and adapt to the restrictions. If I want bread, pasta, or beer I have options. There are plenty of products out there that allow me to enjoy the typical gluten filled food that I miss, and ways of making things like bread or pizza dough on my own. Do I still have days that I miss being able to eat without thinking, I’d be lying if I said I don’t. But that does not mean I feel my life is hard, or that I can’t handle it.
3. Oh you’re gluten free, I tried that diet once.
– How many times do we have to explain that this is not a diet? A dietary restriction due to an actual medical condition, yes. This is not some Hollywood fad diet like the Master Cleanse, South Beach, Atkins, Cabbage Soup, or so many other ridiculous trends that come and go. Please stop referring to gluten free as a diet, for celiacs gluten free is far from a conscious choice!
2. Well it’s not that bad is it? Just a little gluten is ok, right?
– No, a little gluten is not ok. In fact, the risk of cross contamination stresses me out more than the risk of actually gluten. It hides everywhere, and a shared kitchen can be a nightmare for me. Think of gluten as arsenic. If just a little smidge got into your dinner, would you eat it? Before you go off about bacteria and whatnot in food, please let me stop you and refer you to my page What is Celiac? pay close attention to the long term health effects, and what undiagnosed or untreated celiac can lead to. Even the smallest amounts can trigger reactions both visible, and not. Personally, I don’t want anything listed on that page…so even the littlest bit of gluten is not welcome on my plate!
Drum-roll please…the number 1 worst thing to say to a celiac is….
1. So what can you eat?
– For the love of god please stop saying this to us! I can eat just about anything if it came from an animal, is a fruit or vegetable. What do I eat? Steak dinners, with mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli. I have bagels in the morning (thank you Udi’s!), make pizza on a semi regular occasion, and thanks to my bread machine, I can have sandwiches whenever I want. I enjoy grilling out in the warm weather…chicken, kabobs, hot dogs, burgers. My favorite sides are anything from roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli to my summertime favorite of corn on the cob. Don’t pity me, I eat very well thank you very much!
Last nights dinner: Brown rice pasta, ground turkey, tomato sauce, veggies, and Udi’s french baguette.