May is Celiac Awareness month! Yay? I mean, yes, I have it, and it sucks… and awareness is good. But like…..UGH. Celiac Disease is obnoxious. The gluten-free trend is a little obnoxious too, but also really helpful for those of us without a choice. But in reality, this whole topic is just all around UGH. Yep, buckle up folks, this is going to be a Negative Nancy post. I try not to do these often, but there’s no other way to really talk about this particular pet peeve of mine.
Leave my food alone, dammit!
I get it! I’m being selfish! #sorrynotsorry my food is different, intriguing, and like a little trainwreck that you just can’t look away from. Or, if you’re my kids, it is clearly WAY more delicious than any of your food. But I have a lot of reasons I don’t want to let you reach into my bag of chips, take a bite of my sandwich, or try whatever is on my plate. I’ll break it down in the least bitchy way possible. Or try to. Gimme a break people, I haven’t had a real beer in over 3 years.
Whenever I get a hamburger I pay extra for a gluten-free bun. That is if it’s even an option. To make anything that is not normally Gluten Free safe for me to eat there is ALWAYS an upcharge. And that’s just eating out! Go to the grocery store and find the gluten-free pretzels. It’s like highway robbery! So when I stumble across my 6-year old chowing down on my itty-bitty bag of 6$ pretzels I want to cry a little. If you REALLY want to try it, pay the extra for it and then we’ll talk.
Every single thing I buy gluten-free is significantly smaller (and more expensive) than it’s gluten-containing twin. For example… bread. It is wonderful and amazing to have gluten-free bread! A sandwich is like a little slice of heaven. Except that they’re always tiny. And expensive. I mean I get it, gluten-free baking is way tricky and more expensive, but who the hell is eating these sandwiches?! Trolls?! Please just let me eat my tiny sandwich guilt-free.
I may not get to eat anything else
I have literally gone an entire day on just Complete mixed with water. Because nothing else was safe for me to eat, or I couldn’t verify it was safe. I try to always have food with me, but it gets a little awkward to carry around a whole meal with me at all times. So when we do get to a point where there is something for me to eat, please let me eat it. It might be my only meal for the entire day, especially if I’m traveling.
Cross-contamination is a thing
It seems totally harmless to reach into my bag of pretzels to try ‘just one’ or use your fork to scoop some of my potatoes. Sad thing is, it’s not. You see for those of us with Celiac Disease, cross-contamination, even just a little, can be catastrophic. Were you holding a sandwich before you reached into that bag? Cool, because now that entire bag is unsafe for me to eat. THE WHOLE THING THAT I PAID 6$ FOR. Was your fork used on your plate of pasta before you grabbed a bite of my potatoes? Welp, they’re all yours now.
If you REALLY have to have some of my food, let me give it to you. But please don’t ask. Because I WILL give it to you because I hate saying no. And that’s not really fair to put me in that situation. Trust me, I’ll offer if I don’t want/ can’t eat it all. This all goes for drinks too.
It might be a huge treat for me
Fries. Fries are fried potatoes, which means they SHOULD be safe for me to eat. However, most places fry them in the same oil as the chicken tenders or other breaded items. Meaning that they are off-limits to me. So when I have fries it is a HUGE treat. HUGE. You can eat fries anytime, anywhere. I cannot. If I have found myself some safe fries I am going to hoard them. Please just let me eat my deep-fried potatoes in peace.
I don’t have as many choices as you do
If I am lucky enough to be at a restaurant that has a gluten-free menu chances are it’s about 3 items long. I might not even LIKE what’s being offered to me, but it’s the only choices I get. I will never, EVER, complain about having a choice at all, but listening to people complain about their food and ask to try mine makes my blood boil. Order something else! Let me eat my troll sizes, expensive, usually bland, food in peace!
It’s really not that good
As far as the gluten-free trend has taken us I am willing to bet that whatever it is I am eating is not as good as the gluten version. If it’s naturally gluten-free it’s probably fine. But if it’s modified so that I can eat it, trust me, your version is better. Especially if it’s beer, bread, baked goods, or snack foods.
It’s not ALL bad
In general, my life with Celiac Disease isn’t all that terrible. It’s an obstacle and I continue to work around it. I’ve gotten really good at cooking gluten-free at home, I have a few go-to’s for fries, bread, baked goods, and ‘beer’. We don’t eat out nearly as much as we did pre-celiac, and I’ve learned to grow some food, which helps offset the outrageous cost of the tiny bread as well as keeps us healthier. I do my best to have a positive attitude, make jokes, be prepared, and find the bright side.
I’m not a fan of making my Celiac Disease a bigger deal than it absolutely has to be. The ONE thing that those around me can do to help? Don’t ask for a bite of my food.
Trust me, I’ll offer if I can. But let ME do the offering!
And for heaven’s sake do NOT take some without asking. Unless you want to watch me transform into a shit zombie, do not help yourself. Spare yourself that literal shit show, mmk?
In case you were wondering (which you weren’t, but that’s ok) I have Type 1 Diabetes too. Which is a whole other wrench in the game. I survive by drinking coffee, taking Juice Plus, and in general, just being an awkward weirdo.