The Best (and the Worst) Part about the Gluten Free "Trend"
I'll try to make this quick. About 8 years ago I was in excruciating pain every day for about 9 months and my doctor couldn't figure out what to do other than put me on acid reflux meds. My mom said "hey, maybe you're celiac like your aunt. Maybe they can test for that."
I'm so glad she said that.
My doc said "ugh. You don't have celiac disease. Almost nobody has that. But if you insist..." A week later (right before my 23rd birthday) I got a voicemail saying "yup, you have celiac disease, so just don't ever eat gluten again and you'll be fine."
Cool. Got it.
My aunt suffered numerous ailments because her celiac disease went undiagnosed for so long. Awareness of the disease saved me.
Thank God for "trends," eh?
If you want some details about the disease, it's easy to google and research today. I don't even need to recommend articles for you. The danger lies in the realm of Facebook-like fake news/word-of-mouth jokes that people don't realize are damaging and insensitive.
If you have celiac disease, it's the difference between extreme pain, a long list of health concerns, and eventually a long list of life threatening conditions and secondary diseases.
FORTUNATELY, thanks to the "gluten free trend," more brands and restaurants have an awareness and understanding. AND! more people are being diagnosed and able to heal! I don't know how my health, career, social life, love life, or any other aspect of life would be right now if I hadn't been told to stop eating gluten, but I am grateful EVERY DAY. In the few times I have accidentally eaten gluten, I'm still grateful and think "this isn't my all day, every day pain that I don't understand."
So, the best thing about the "gluten free trend?"
Awareness of celiac disease! People getting diagnosed! And more options for us gluten free people!
So what about the bad?
There was an episode of "Two Broke Girls" that came out right after I was diagnosed. I've never watched that show, but a friend saw a scene and I had to look it up. Here it is: one waitress asked the other waitress if they had gluten free food for her customer, and got an answer something to the likes of "tell her she's not allergic to gluten, she's just masking an eating disorder."
I've got to say, this made me even more afraid to eat out. I've always been embarrassed to express my gluten free needs. It's stupid. I know. I feel like I have to explain that it's for medical reasons and a single crumb can literally leave me writhing in pain within hours, for hours, and then bed ridden for days and flu-like and brain-fogged for weeks. It's awful. I'm not exaggerating.
Bullying people about their health problems and diseases is nasty, and maybe some people don't realize that's what they're doing. But, seriously, gluten free is not a trend, especially people with celiac disease.
Gluten isn't like a peanut allergy (unless you have a wheat allergy.) I'm not going to go into anaphylaxis. Instead, hours later, when the food hits my intestines, the horrible nightmare begins.
My sister once worked for an Italian restaurant that served gluten free noodles. She said one day the cooks ran out and just served regular noodles to their patron without telling them. The cook said "meh, it's just some dumb new way people are trying to loose weight."
It's little actions like this that are highly damaging. I'm hoping these people are just ignorant, and that they don't find joy in making fun of people's health problems.
Sure. Some people think it will help them lose weight or feel better. Go ahead, give it a try. Listen to your body and do your best to heal and be well. I'll happily be your guide to all things delicious and gluten free. Hit me up.
So, the worst part of the "gluten free trend?"
Bullying people about their food allergies and health problems and making it more difficult for them to ask for what they need to be healthy.
It was, and still is, difficult for me to ask for gluten free food. I've gotten eye rolls and all sorts of exasperated remarks for it and felt like I had to give the whole run down on how I wish I didn't have to. No one should feel ashamed to ask for what they need like that.
Stop bullying people with food allergies and spread some love.