You’re too weak and you wanna cheat on your gluten-free diet? Go for it. It’s your early funeral. I just have one simple request.
KEEP IT TO YOURSELF AND DON’T DO IT IN PUBLIC!
When you’ve got celiac disease, I’m a big believer that you represent the celiac community. And with that comes a responsibility to our community. And if you knowingly cheat, you are making it more difficult for the rest of us to be taken seriously.
I see it on Twitter time and again; celiacs who think they are being cute when they’re really being idiots. Stuff like this:
“Ooops…I shouldn’t have that bagel but it looked soooo good. I’m so bad. #celiac”
“I am so going to regret having that piece of pizza. #celiac”
After seeing these types of posts far too often, I finally spoke up. Here’s how a recent Twitter conversation went.
Her: I’m going to start following my gluten free diet. Celiac disease will never take me. Holy shit are those bagels?
Me: Please don’t make it seem like cheating is an option for celiacs. Makes it harder for the rest of us. Thanks.
Her: I’m a celiac and I cheat. I’m not saying everyone has to. It’s an option. Anything can give you cancer, it’s just a matter of what triggers it. In my case it’ll be something I love ((pizza)). Also celiacs is relatively new; people have lived entire lives having it untreated and die from unrelated causes.
Me: I don’t care what you do to yourself. All I’m asking is not to publicize it, cause it diminishes the disease. Thanks.
I was trying to keep it civil, while helping her and the community at the same time. Naturally, other boneheads had to jump in and go in attack mode, telling me I was berating this person and being totally condescending. I even got railed on by a fellow celiac, who isn’t shy about how much she detests me. Whatever. Social media at its worst.
Look…I personally don’t understand anyone who has celiac disease and cheats. It’s poison to your body. And a piece of pizza is worth it? I’m not saying the struggle isn’t real. I’m not saying the diagnosis isn’t absolutely overwhelming at first. And I’m not saying that temptation won’t rear it’s ugly head once in awhile.
But do you really want to deal with the following:
“If celiac disease is left untreated, complications ranging from iron deficiency to osteoporosis to cancer may develop. Some of these problems can occur because of the small intestine’s reduced ability to digest food and absorb nutrients properly. Other problems may develop from damage to the intestinal lining that may or may not cause noticeable symptoms.” – WebMD
As I said, your body…your life.
But celiac disease is the real deal. It sucks and it’s life-long. And by your cheating and being public about it, it tells the world that it’s ok for celiacs to cheat. It tells the restaurant workers that a little gluten may be ok. And it tells the community that “we” are the ones being too careful.
Be cool. Don’t cheat. The life you save may be your own.
And if you do…