Dude note: To help celebrate and promote Celiac Awareness Month, I will be writing 30 blog posts over 30 consecutive days (weekends excluded) with the theme “30 Days of Helping 30 Celiacs”. Each post will be aimed toward helping one specific person or group of people. If you or someone you know needs help, guidance, advice or a shoulder to cry on, please contact me and I will do what I can to help. On the 31st day, you’re on your own. Totally kidding.
Today’s 30 for 30 blog post is for: A whole buncha people!
When I kicked off the 30 Days 30 Celiacs extravaganza, there are a few things I didn’t expect that altered my schedule a bit.
- I didn’t expect to suffer my worse glutening since I got diagnosed with this disease.
- I didn’t expect my work life to be so crazy (a good problem to have).
- I didn’t expect some personal issues to arise.
- I didn’t expect social media to anger me so much that I had to take a mental break to keep my sanity.
What does all this mean? With only 4 days to go in Celiac Awareness Month, I’ve only helped 23 people. Well…I’d like to think I’ve helped a lot more, but you know what I mean.
There is only one way to catch up.
It’s mailbag time!!!
Q: Have you seen that video from when Charlize Theron was on Handler’s show?! Outrageous!! Please for the love of Celiacs everywhere tell me you’ll rip that clip apart. What a good chance for some serious education.
I saw it. And yes…I’ll be approaching it in my own unique way All in due time.
Q: Yesterday at work, someone offered me a Starbucks muffin. I turned it down kindly, and once again explained that I have celiac disease. I have told her this before many time, but I understand it’s not her job to remember. However, today one of my students said in class, “Ms, Ms. ***** said she brought you Starbucks and you said you didn’t want it because you didn’t like it and that was rude.” Whether or not those were her exact words, the fact is she felt strongly enough to discuss the situation later with a student. This is not the first time I’ve felt almost discriminated against at work. Once I had to go to lunch by myself because my coworkers would not go to any of the several GF restaurants near by. I also get very rude comments at staff luncheons. I’m a definite people-pleaser and I hate conflict, but I also have to stick up for my immune system. How do I navigate the workplace with Celiac Disease?
You know how they say “you can’t fix stupid”. Well…you can’t fix ignorant either. I will never, ever understand why people care so much what we eat. Whether they understand the disease or not, how about a little compassion? Look, you can’t change people and this person, who would go so far as to mention it to other people, is beyond repair.
So what’s the solution? Educate where you can. Speak up for yourself when you are treated unfairly. And just keep working on your inner strength. As a celiac, you’ll need it.
Q: My husband has been in the military for the past five years, and he’s about to get out this summer. In order to get a few things sorted out we’re going to be staying with his mother over the summer, and visiting other family members in the meantime. I have no idea how to go about being gluten free in other people’s homes. Usually if we go to social functions I eat beforehand. All of our family knows I’m gluten free, and I’m sure they’ll be understanding, but it still worries me. I expect that I’ll have to refuse some food, bring my own food, and make my own meals. I just don’t want to come across as rude or insulting. If anyone in the community has any advice on how I can make this temporary transition a little easier on not only myself, but those I’ll be around, I would be so appreciative.
As a celiac community, we need to get off the idea that we’re being rude. We’re not. We’re treating our disease. If you are staying long term at these other houses, I would say it really depends on how receptive your hosts are to learning what needs to be done to keep you healthy. A little education ahead of time can go a long way. Just be as diligent as possible. Shop for your own food. Help with all of the meals so you can keep tabs on how things are prepared. Your hosts may have the best intentions in mind, but if they don’t understand the nuances of our disease, and how easily we can get hit, all of those intentions will go for naught. Keep it simple and have a great summer!
Q: I’m 16 and just got diagnosed with celiac disease. I’ve been getting prepared to go into the military for the past year going to military camps and such. I just realized that I am not allowed to join the military and am really depressed. I’ve had depression and anxiety and now this, and I don’t know what to do. I know there’s medicinal marijuana but I know doctors give a hard time about it. I’m in constant pain and don’t have a clue what to do so if you wouldn’t mind just answering this so I could get some advice from you that would be greatly appreciated.
You’re young and you’ve got your whole life in front of you. Heck…I was in my 30’s before I really decided what I wanted to do with my life. You will find your path. As far as your pain, I wouldn’t go the medical marijuana route so quickly. Find yourself a good doc. They’re out there. Good luck to you.
Q: Hey Dude. I’ve had Celiac Disease for around 7-8 years now. I recently got married and after that applied for life insurance. They hiked the premium for me by $560 because of my Celiac Disease. Have you ever heard of this before? Have you or anyone you know had this issue with insurance? Thanks for everything you, your team and this community does every day. Before I was mostly hiding from the disease but now trying to meet it head on! Thanks again Dude!
Yikes…that sucks. I’ve had term life since before my diagnosis so I have no experience with this. Not sure what you can do. Perhaps a note from your GI that says life expectancy should not be affected as long as you stay on a strict gluten-free diet. Other than that, look online and ask for quotes from multiple vendors. Perhaps some of them have a clue.
Q: My co-worker, who also has celiac, is insisting there is a pill from Australia that helps celiacs digest gluten. I’m trying to convince him that digestion isn’t the issue. He isn’t hearing it and is hell bent on getting it. Sounds like snake oil to me, and will cause more harm than good. Have you heard about this?
As Springsteen says, “At the end of every hard day people find some reason to believe”. There are a number of companies out there pushing pills that say they help celiacs, including the utterly ridiculous Gluten Cutter. To me, it gives the non-disciplined the hope they are looking for to be able to cheat. And it’s complete crap of course. Can it help “digestion”? I have no idea. But I’m not putting my health in anybody offering false hope.
Q: I recently started a new relationship and my partner is Celiac (found out at 23/24 – 4 years now). Poor bugger. Naturally every time I had him over for dinner or on a date, I always ensured the the meal was gluten free. but somehow he always ended up in some pains. This has been quite hard lately as I have been interstate for work and he is alone at home. The burden of food shopping, preparing his meals and choosing what drinks he can have when he goes to a bar (as they most certainly do not stock GF Vodkas) has really gotten to him and he has become a shadow of his former self. Gluten Dude – is there a correlation between Celiac Disease and Depression? I try to remain a positive influence in his life, but every time he discovers another thing to add to his “cannot have” list, it hurts him even more.
It’s tough love time. Is he really complaining about the “burden” of food shopping and cooking? He’s 27 years old. That’s life. If he’s been diagnosed four years and he’s still depressed about food he cannot have, than perhaps there’s more going on than just celiac. I’m sorry, but while giving up some of your favorite foods is tough at first, it is absolutely no reason to be depressed about it four years later. Perhaps he should speak to a professional about what’s going on. Seems to me he’s using celiac as an excuse to be depressed.
But I will give him something to smile about. Non-flavored vodka is gluten-free!!! Hopefully that will put a smile on his face
Q: I just got diagnosed with Celiac in October of last year and I’ve been having a lot of issues since then. I’m a senior in high school and I was just wondering: Does the morning nausea ever go away? Does the depression and food envy decrease? Will I ever feel normal again? How long will it take me to find a medicine that works for nausea and cramping that doesn’t have gluten in it? Am I going to die because I feel like I am.
Not sure why you have nausea and cramping. May or may not be related to celiac. Get yourself to a doc about this please. Yes, the depression and food envy definitely gets better. You’ve gotta move on. You’ve got celiac. You will have it for life. The quicker you can process that, the better off you’ll be. You are NOT going to die. Ever. Just kidding. Hang in there. I know it’s a drag and at your age even more so. Try to keep a positive attitude. You got diagnosed. Your body will heal and you will live a long, healthy life.
Q: My 18 yr old recently diagnosed, celiac disease. Bought gluten free cereal, stored in plastic container (live in Florida). He seems to get sick after he eats it. Can it be cross contaminated????
Cross-contaminated from the plastic container? Highly doubtful. Cross-contaminated from the “gluten-free” cereal? Unless it’s certified, I suppose it’s possible. Living a celiac life can be summed up like this: If you eat something and you don’t feel well afterwards, don’t eat it again. Yes…it really is that basic.
Q: I wanted to hear from you and the community about something that has been on my mind recently. I am at an age where I should be thinking about having children soon. My problem is that I am terrified I will pass Celiac onto them. I cannot imagine a worse feeling than basically knowing I gave Celiac to someone, especially a young kid. It’s such an awful disease that I am almost scared to take the risk. Since I have Celiac and plan to have kids someday (of course I’m aware of the high infertility rate of Celiacs too), is it worth it to have them biologically or should I consider other means?
With all due respect, I think you’re over thinking things too much here. You want to have kids? Have kids. If they end up having celiac, you’ll deal with it.
We cannot live our life in fear folks. Yes, celiac sucks. But it’s manageable. No need to be depressed about the food. No need to think you’re dying. No need to stop traveling. Is that really how you want to live your lives? Not me.
As Andy Defresne says: “It really comes down to a simple choice. Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
I prefer to live.