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How Do You Say No?

A day in the life of a celiac.

When you have an allergy or a disease that does not allow you to eat a particular food or food product you discover an assortment of people.  You know the ones!  People that know better than you, those that truly mean well and of course those that just don’t get it…and probably never will.  These people all have their own opinions and are extremely happy to share them with you.  So how to handle them?

In all honesty I am not the one to speak up, I’m shy.  But sometimes you just have to.  Sometimes people need to hear, be made to listen, because it could be life and death.  While celiac disease does not mean I’m going to die if I eat gluten right now, my son does have an anaphylactic peanut allergy.  So sometimes I have to be heard!  I think it’s easier with anaphylactic to explain because it is life and death.  I hate explaining celiac; especially to these guys…

I know better than you.

Usually I meet these guys in restaurants; one waitress in particular stands out.  At a restaurant we would not normally visit (went with a group) I asked about gluten free options.

“oh I know all about that!  My mom is on a gluten free diet, she’s lost so much weight!  Did you know there’s gluten in soy sauce?!  Wow!”

Ok so this waitress knows what gluten is….

Then my food comes; croutons on my salad L Now I have to be singled out.  When she brings my salad back

“we’re not supposed to give personal opinions but you know sometimes it’s ok to cheat on a diet, my mom does and she’s still sees a difference.”

Yes and as I said when we walked in the door I have a disease, NOT. ON. A. Diet.  In my head I’m screaming, outwardly I’m extremely pleasant because I don’t want to spend the next 3 days with my head in a toilet.  The rest of the meal goes on in this way. Her telling me about how to be GF and how so many people don’t know what has gluten and what doesn’t.

Me screaming “SHUT UP

Well meaning people

I think this is the hardest because they really are trying.  Often friends and loved ones; so they know what you’ve been through.  They like to hold your hand and point out things that may be gluten free or point out things that “definitely” have gluten.  They try to cook for you and then when you’re sick go over everything that went into the dish about a thousand times when all you want to do in curl up on the floor and die.  Me, trying to explain that a scoop that has been used in flour then used in sugar puts flour in the sugar.  That small amount may not add any flavor but it’s enough to make me sick.  It gets worse when they tell you they bought a new scoop (not new sugar!).   Next time I bring my own food.  “Oh let me warm that up for you.” Takes the dish and sets it down, right in a pile of bread crumbs, where the fresh baguette is being cut.

Just don’t get it.

“Really? That has gluten? What about saltines?  They’re good for you when your sick.  I know let’s have fried chicken?  I know this great pizza place and they have GF crust…  Have you tried that new German bakery on _ street? …” just stop trying to explain and just keep nodding.

Please, please, please…I beg of you!  If you do not have celiac disease yourself don’t tell me what I can’t or can’t eat.  Please don’t tell me where I can eat.  And especially don’t make me food.   I’m not trying to be difficult.  I just don’t want to ruin your night with my vomiting, fainting, insane abdominal pain…  In reality the hardest part for me is not finding something to eat but having to deal with you.


May is celiac Awareness month.  If you have celiac disease, think you might or know someone who does here is a list of awesome resources.

Thank you to Paul Brennan  for the featured picture.

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