People Just Don’t “Get It”
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Sep 23 2011

People Just Don’t “Get It”

I’ve been told more than once that I’m a bit Pollyanna-ish when it comes to living gluten-free. I eat better tasting food – both at and away from my house – than I did when I ate gluten.  We probably travel a little more now than we did before going gluten-free.  My point is that for the most part, I have nothing to complain about when it comes to being gluten-free.

But everyone has days where things just get on their nerves – or rather people do.  For some reason, several odd things have happened recently that really got under my skin.  No one involved meant to be annoying at all which makes it hard for me to admit I feel that way I do about these insignificant things.  Even so, like everyone else, I have my bad days on this sometimes strange gluten-free journey.

Obviously, when someone is gluten-free their family and friends either accommodate their needs or they don’t respect them.  I’ve been fortunate that most everyone I know has been wonderful about my dietary needs and lifestyle.  I have celiac disease and can’t eat gluten even if I wanted to.  This isn’t debatable, period.

When someone has a lot of gluten-free friends, their experience is very different (in an awesome way!) than the average gluten-free person that doesn’t have a large gluten-free community in their area.  Both my gluten-free and non gluten-free friends are usually so very thoughtful that I can’t complain.  Whether it’s letting me pick the restaurants we dine at or calling me to inquire about ingredients someone is serving at a party, everyone knows my diet is to be taken seriously and that I can’t have even a smidge of gluten.

Every so often, you encounter situations where you realize that in the end, people who are not on a restricted diet really don’t truly “get it” when it comes to your diet.  I can only speak for myself, but I’m pretty sure I was the same way when I wasn’t on a restricted diet so this is perfectly understandable.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not annoying at times.

There will always be times when you can’t choose the place you’re eating at or at least you find yourself with severely limited (and often unfortunate) options when it comes to dealing with the glutenoids in your life.  In those cases, you do the best you can even if that means you eat before an event if need be.

The truth is that most people don’t mean to seem uncaring or less than thoughtful.  How would they know that places with extensive menus don’t necessarily have something safe for us to eat? Talking about cross contamination issues is like speaking gibberish in some cases.  Many people have a hard time believing we can’t eat fries that are fried in a fryer that is also used for gluten foods.  And when I first heard of that issue, so did I.

People don’t know how it feels to pass on the bread basket and dessert when gluten-free options aren’t offered because they don’t have to do it.  Trust me when I say if they did, they’d be much more concerned that we eat at places that offer specialty gluten-free menu items.

In the end, I have to remind myself is that unless (or until) a person has to pay attention to what is in every morsel of food they take in 24/7, they will never really “get it” when it comes to my diet.  To think otherwise isn’t fair to anyone involved – especially those of us on special diets.

Article Written by:

Tiffany is considered a gluten-free advocate as well as the most discriminating gluten-free diner around. Her goal is to help others learn that there is life after a celiac diagnosis. Gluten-free dining and travel are two of her favorite things to do. Tiffany is a contributing writer and the Advertising Manager at "Delight gluten free" magazine. Check out her local blog, Gluten-Free Atlanta, for tips and tricks about living gluten-free in the ATL! Follow Tiffany on Twitter!

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Comments

  1. Carolyn Acuff says:

    Tiffany,
    Please join us on Weds, October26, @ 1:30 pm to hear Dr. Peter HR Green give an update on Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity. Public invited to this community health initiative for Celiac awareness. Free admission with ample seating & parking @ Wallace Memorial Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN. CSA Resource Unit 3033.

  2. Janelle says:

    Tiffany, it’s like you opened my brain and looked inside. Most times I too am completely and totally happy living gluten free. I love trying new restaurants with gluten free offerings and making new gluten free friends, via twitter and facebook. But sometimes, it’s just like no one understands it fully! Hearing, “well you can always just get a salad right?!” can be really upsetting. I love salad! But, I also like to have options and prefer not to eat it at every meal. Or, “can’t you just pull the meat off the sandwich and eat that?” No! Like you said, cross contamination is one of the things that people have a very hard time understanding. For now, I’m thankful for the online gluten free community that offers so much support!! Thanks for the post :)

  3. Janelle – Like you I’m usually overly happy being gluten-free, but every so often something happens that rubs me the wrong way and I’m reminded that people who don’t have any dietary restrictions will NEVER know what it’s like to deal with it. Most people who’ve said the “can’t you just have a salad?” comment to me know better than to ever do it again ;)

    Kim – Glad you liked it, I wish I could give it to a few people myself….lol!
    .

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