This post’s topic is not even on the Gratitude Challenge list, but May is Celiac Disease Awareness month, so I’m going to write about being gluten-intolerant.
Let me start my clarifying that eating gluten-free by choice, and eating gluten-free because a person is gluten-intolerant or has Celiac Disease is not the same thing.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that seriously damages the intestines when gluten is consumed. Gluten-intolerance does not damage the intestines, but can manifest itself in many different ways ranging from canker soars, to digestive issues, to mood swings (sometimes all three) as well as other symptoms. There are levels to how sensitive a person is, and I am one of those people who is unfortunately, pretty sensitive.
Those crazies who are eating gluten-free because it’s “trendy” or “healthy” aren’t doing much to help the cause. Many of them are actually confusing restaurants and food companies on what it actually gluten-free and what is not.
Now, you might be wondering why I’m grateful for being gluten-intolerant. To be totally honest, I’m not – if my body could suddenly digest a real cinnamon roll with no side effects, you can bet I’d be stuffing my face with them. But I am grateful for how far the world has come in the variety and awareness of gluten-free food. My dad found out he had Celiac Disease in 2003, and guess how many food options our family had? It was minuscule, and the bit we had was disgusting. If you think gluten-free bread is gross now, imagine eating and actual rock instead. That’s what gluten free bread used to taste like. But so many companies have become aware gluten, what is it, and how to replace it with things that still taste good! I have purchased delicious gluten-free donuts, cakes, pizzas, and many other things now that even ten years ago wouldn’t have been available. Even though some of the awareness has come from the trendy-ness of the diet, most companies genuinely get it, and will work to make sure people like me can eat there food. (Shout out to Disney World who does gluten-free the best.)
Another myth about eating gluten-free is that it’s healthier. It’s not really true. I can still eat cake, I can still eat pizza, I can still eat french fries – it’s just the gluten-free versions, and I can promise you a gluten free cake is not any healthier than a regular cake. However, being gluten-intolerant has forced me to find alternate foods to eat. For example when I eat at a restaurant, I am usually forced to buy a salad, or something grilled rather than fried. When someone brings fried chicken or pizza to work for everyone, I still eat the food I brought from home because I have no choice. I also buy different things at the grocery store than most people. Ramen and spaghetti-o’s are not kind of cheap-y items I can eat for meals over and over. Instead I opt for rice and beans, grilled chicken, or salads. So, while going on a gluten-free diet doesn’t actually make you healthier (just do a low-carb diet, guys) it has helped me to keep myself healthy, and I’m grateful for that.
I will now end this post by a list of things I (and every other gluten-intolerant/Celiac person) will be very grateful to never hear again.
“Just eat around the gluten on the (sandwich, burger, pizza, fried chicken, ect.)
No. I freaking can’t eat around it. There are now crumbs on the meat and cheese, and I can’t possibly get them all off, so yes I will still get sick if I eat it. Would you tell a person with a peanut allergy to scrape the peanut butter of his or her sandwich??
“We both have vouchers for free (insert gluten item here), and since you can’t eat yours can I have your voucher?
Seriously? You want me to not only sit here and watch you eat your delicious gluten-filled item, but also watch you eat the wonderful gluten-filled item that was meant for me too?? Okay, I’m a nice person so I’ll probably give it to you, but do you enjoy watching other people eat things you can’t? No. So think twice before asking.
“You can’t eat gluten? So like, sugar?”
Okay, it’s been awhile since I’ve gotten this one (thank God), but just to set the record straight – gluCOSE is sugar, gluTEN is a protein in wheat. They are completely different, please don’t get them confused.
“If I was gluten-intolerant I would just eat it anyway.”
So you enjoy frequent digestive issues and feeling terrible all the time? I mean, okay but you’re making those of us who actually eat gluten-free look like we’re lying about this being an actual issue.
“Oh my gosh you can’t eat gluten?? How do you SURVIVE?!”
It’s fine, I promise. Calm down.
“Wait, so what CAN you eat?”
Quite a lot, actually. Does it have wheat in it? No? I can eat it.
For more sarcastic comments see the article below:
Thanks for listening to my rant! Truthfully, I’m very grateful I found the source of food that was making me sick for so long. I’m also so glad I have so many options of food to eat now! And now that you know what it’s to be gluten-intolerant or have Celiac Disease, go raise awareness!