Friends can come and go and this blog has covered many unfortunate stories of friends bailing when you have to go gluten free.
Co-workers? They’re too busy trying to climb the corporate ladder to worry about the nuances of celiac disease.
But family? Man…they gotta be there for you. If you can’t count on family…well, then there is no hope in this world.
Which leads us to today’s Celiac Rant of the Day.
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease four years ago, a month before I turned 38. It was a huge adjustment to throw out all of my gluten-laden food and re-learn how to eat again. I never knew just how much gluten I was consuming until I couldn’t have it anymore, because for the first time in my life, my stomach no longer hurts. I didn’t know that it wasn’t supposed to hurt. The absence of pain is astounding. I no longer have to keep a mini bottle of air freshener for those unavoidable trips to other people’s bathrooms.
My friends and all of the co-workers I’ve had since then have made an effort to educate themselves about my disease. They’ve started to see their groceries according to whether or not they’re gluten-free, and I love that about them. If they find an article about eating gluten free or about Celiac, they clip it or forward it to me. They no longer give me dirty looks when I make my way out of the break room when they’re cutting someone’s birthday cake. They lobby on my behalf when there’s a work luncheon, and the parents at the school where I teach know to include gluten free options for the annual teacher appreciation lunch.
Know who still has no idea what I can and can’t eat? My own family.
I never push anyone to accommodate my dietary restrictions because I find that it turns into an attack that begins with, “Well, what CAN you eat?” and “Why don’t you pick the restaurant, then?” and, my personal favorite, “Why don’t you have a salad?”
I’m staying with my mom while I recover from surgery and unless I accompany her to the grocery store or give her a very specific list, she never comes home with food that is safe for me. It never occurs to her to look at the ingredients, or just to skip to the end where it will read, “Contains eggs, dairy, WHEAT”. By accident, she bought gluten-free taquitos, but it was, indeed, an accident. I realize that she’s in her 70′s and it’s asking a lot for her to learn about this, but I’m her daughter!
I’ve read up on emphysema, COPD, alternative treatments for arthritis…and she still doesn’t understand that those ice cream Drumsticks are poison for me and if she buys them, I’m not going to eat them to make her happy.
When my brother cooks, he tends to use glazes and marinades that aren’t safe for me. I’ve told him over and over again that it’s a popular location for hidden gluten, but he still doesn’t check. Thanksgiving is a nightmare unless I stay in the kitchen and cook as much as possible before someone adds that special touch of gluten where there would normally be none. Dessert is still brownies and pie. If I want something I can eat, I have to make it myself.
I have a birthday coming up. I would love a birthday cake, but as the last four birthdays have shown me, if I want one I better make it myself.
I’m going to end this rant on a positive note. GF grilled cheese sandwiches are the BEST. The absolute BEST.
(I appreciate your willingness to keep this anonymous. Not that any of the aforementioned family members would read a website about eating gluten free, but…)
I hate celiac. You hate celiac. We all hate celiac.
With all that pent up anger, people need a place to vent.
Well…I invite you to lie on the Dude’s couch (figuratively speaking) and spew away.
There’s just one rule: Once you’re done venting, you need to move forward and put the negative vibes on the back burner. Positive energy brings positive results.
Don’t you feel better already??