Celiac Rant: I Can Avoid Gluten, but I Can’t Avoid Stupid

celiac disease sucks

I love this rant for so many reasons. It’s got a little bit of everything. Great passion, subtle humor and a comeback for the ages. And it speaks to that one topic we face over and over again: ignorance. And in this case, how it relates to her two children who have celiac disease. We can spread the truth, but you simply can’t fix stupid.

Mom…take it away.

I have two little girls growing up with celiac disease. My 10 year old was diagnosed at 7 years of age. My 7 year old was diagnosed a year before her big sis, at the wee age of 3.

To us, it’s totally fine. Yeah it can suck sometimes, but it’s our normal and we own it, we handle it, and we are a happy, healthy family. If only my kids didn’t have to go to school, everything would be pretty simple and easy.

But alas, I’m shooting for “normal” childhood for them and so every day I send them off to the education factory and pray they aren’t poisoned by the copious amounts of goldfish and cheese crackers seemingly raining from the sky. Of course to protect them I’ve established 504 plans – only I’ve discovered that 504 plans are just words on paper and completely useless if people don’t read or implement them.

So to further protect them, I’m on campus for every food event or event with potential for food. Of course I come across as a overbearing paranoid mother who needs to relax, but at this point I don’t really give a shit. I’ll do anything to protect my kids. Sometimes though, sometimes…these incompetent, ignorant individuals who somehow have access to vulnerable children get the better of me and I lose my can-do momentum.

For instance, the parent who recently told me that a little bit of gluten would be okay for my daughter while I was reading and analyzing labels at record speed because I’d had NO warning there would even be food that day. How did I respond? I was speechless. I wanted to say, “Oh please, tell me more about about this incurable genetic auto-immune disease that my children have? They can have a little gluten? Whew! What a relief! I can’t believe I’ve been worrying over nothing all these years! What a God-send you are, you celiac disease expert, you!”

But my mouth instead just hung open. And my blood boiled. And my ears burned. And I hated her. I hated her so much that tears stung behind my eyes and I couldn’t breathe. I hated her for me as a mom to the best and bravest little girls in the world. I hated her for my girls who are going to face versions of her for the rest of their lives. I hated her for every single person who has this shitty disease and has had to advocate for themselves and for every parent desperate to protect their precious children from the ignorance that is the true poison of celiac disease.

I will never understand why people feel it necessary to speak as if they are an authority on a subject they actually have no clue about, especially when their ill advice can seriously harm someone. It’s truly mind-boggling. Sometimes I feel like the culprit in celiac disease isn’t gluten as much as it is ignorance. I can avoid gluten, but I can’t avoid stupid.

So what did I tell her? I took the high(ish) road – I said, “It’s like having a little bit of poop; is it okay to eat just a little bit of poop? Let’s not find out…”

Onward and upward.

Thanks Dude for letting me vent. I actually do feel better.

Need to Vent?

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.

Email me your anonymous rant.

Don’t you feel better already??

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28 thoughts on “Celiac Rant: I Can Avoid Gluten, but I Can’t Avoid Stupid”

  1. That’s like my dad offering me some meatloaf he specifically made just for me. When I asked if it contained any bread crumbs his response was “just a little, not enough to hurt you”. I lost it. I’m sorry, but here is a little arsenic….I’m sure it’s not enough to hurt you. Grrrrrr……and I’m SURE he has Celiac too but refuses to even broach the subject with his doctor, let alone get tested.

    1. Or when my friend said “I had my mom make you a cake that has only 25% glutened ingredients. 25%, 25%, do you want a cake that only 25% of the ingredients are poison?

  2. I love this Mom! Great rant! Although I secretly wish she would have said what she wanted to say…Oh, please….. and then kicked the lady in her ass. I have to say, having celiac myself and raising a celiac child. I had way more stress and anxiety with the child and I also was an “Overbearing, protective Mom.” It’s OK.

  3. Good for her. I always say, “It’s like the rest of the world can eat rat poison for food, but to my (celiac) son it’s still poison in any amount.”

  4. “So what did I tell her? I took the high(ish) road – I said, “It’s like having a little bit of poop; is it okay to eat just a little bit of poop? Let’s not find out…””

    Personally, I like the response she did give. Made me laugh. I wish I could have seen the woman’s face she said it to. Even if her response wasn’t educational or informative it gets the point across. And it gets so damn tiring explaining every single time. So, thank you Gluten Dude for staying the course and being such a great advocate and source and giving people a place to vent. And thank you to the mama in this post – you can’t mess with celiac disease and you shouldn’t mess with mama either!

  5. Hell hath no fury like a Mom on fire protecting her kids! Your response was well measured and kudos to you mom for keeping your cool! Well written rant and love your response!

  6. I agree the other parent’s comment was WRONG, but I can understand how she would say it given that we hear over and over from the mainstream media that special food restrictions are just “anxiety” and that everyone needs to relax about what they eat. If the mainstream media changed its tune about dietary restrictions and took our community more seriously, I’m sure it would help people like this uninformed parent at the school to be more empathetic to our circumstances.

  7. There is no messing with a mom trying like hell to protect her children. I think that people need to realize that this is not a fad; this is real & the fact that is seems to have exploded is probably due to the fact that others think this “gluten-free” thing is a great way to lose weight or something. Never be ashamed that advocating for someone. Who cares how the uninformed see you?

  8. I love this rant, I could have written it as this is my experience! As I attended yet another school bake sale today to deliver gluten free sweets to my daughter, I wear the crown of omnipresent Mom gladly. There are those times, though, when the comments like above are delivered, or that I hear that “at least it’s not anaphylactic reaction,” that make my head want to pop off. I consider my other role as educator and, of course advocate, the best way to manage my frustration.

  9. You go MOM!

    I am probably older than you and would LOVE my mom or anyone to support me like that!

    You do what you have to do!

    GF Hugs,

    Donna V

  10. “I hated her for me as a mom to the best and bravest little girls in the world. I hated her for my girls who are going to face versions of her for the rest of their lives. I hated her for every single person who has this shitty disease and has had to advocate for themselves and for every parent desperate to protect their precious children from the ignorance that is the true poison of celiac disease.” I don’t know you. I have never met you, but you read my mind and said it all so well! My girls are 16 and 10. I had to “train” them on how to handle those situations because I know I can’t be with me forever but it broke my heart to have to teach them those skills and it still breaks my heart every time an incident occurs. I’m totally stealing your “little bit of poop” comment!!!!!

  11. My favorite response to people like this poor, uninformed mother (the one the writer encountered) is to let them know that my body reacts to gluten as to a poison. A little bit might not send me to the hospital, but it will definitely hurt me!

  12. Wow, I really needed this today!! Especially after getting my daughter home in tears because a little sh&# in her 5th grade classroom keeps saying “Gluten free food is gross” in spite of the fact that the GF muffins, etc we bring in get DEVOURED happily by her classmates. He’s clearly going to grow up to be one of “those” parents. We’re working on the moving forward over here….

    1. Suggestion for the ignorant sh&#: Have the teacher blindfold him and give him a “normal” treat and then a gluten free treat. If he comments that both treats were awesome (or whatever descriptor kids use these days to express satisfaction), the teacher needs to tell him that the second treat he ate was gluten free. Watch his reaction. If he feels completely stupid, ashamed and apologizes profusely for acting like a dickhead, mission accomplished.

  13. My go-to response to ignorant b&^%$#@s is to suggest that they stick around me for a little while after in the event that I decide to heed their ill-advised words and eat what they want me to eat. Then they need to help me in the bathroom when I shit the bottom out of the toilet because “a little bit of gluten” won’t hurt me. I work in Nursing (as a Personal Support Worker/”Professional Shit Wiper”) and I’m always looking at other people’s “bottom lines” (bottoms), so the thought of having them wipe my bottom after the diarrhea doesn’t faze me any. Once I describe the diarrhea and how they’ll have to help me clean it up, people shut their traps and back off (the gross-out factor is a big help).

    1. This is pretty much exactly how I approach it when people get stupid about it, like they know better. I tell people to imagine the worst flu or stomach bug or food poisoning they have ever had, and that a crumb of gluten will do that to me. When I was still fairly new to my office, in a teasing and completely non-malicious way (we all get along great & break chops all the time), someone asked what would happen if they gave me regular bread but stuck a gluten-free label on it. I simply replied, “I will s*** in your desk. Not on it. In it.” We all had a pretty good laugh, and two years later, people still say, “Don’t feed Glutsy (my office nickname that I find absolutely hilarious) any gluten, she’ll s*** in your desk!!”

    2. I wonder how many times your are or have been insensitive to what others are going through simply because you DON’T know what they are going through.

      Amazing thing is that if a person doesn’t have coeliac disease they more than likely won’t know a thing about it unless they study it or have it.

  14. I love you! This is ME! I am at school at EVERY food event. I am the mom who cried – ok, lost it – in the office at Halloween because MY child was being EXCLUDED with the GD nut-safe list that is 80% food my daughter with Celiac can NOT eat. Yes, I seem overbearing, but my daughter means more than your stupid stares and your stupid comments.

  15. My daughters are involved in Girl Scouts. They were having an event so, as usual, I was inquiring about the menu. It included baked goods and fruit salad….
    To which I was rendered speechless when one mother said, “You DO know that all fruit is gluten-free, don’t you?”
    No, no! I had no F’in clue fruit was gluten-free. I’ve only been feeding three celiacs since 2006. Thanks for the new bit of information.

  16. This was published on my birthday- and is the second thing I clicked on your site.
    I’m facing a possible celiac diagnosis- had my scope today- and I could see me saying that to someone about myself, lol.
    It sounds dumb but it made me feel like I’ll be alright- like those two girls will be with such an awesome mum!

  17. It’s my first day here and i feel like i am no longer alone thanks GF moms for showing me i am not crazy 🙂 my son is only 1 so i have to speak for him and i will be using all of these comparisons in the future to get the point across because explaining the medical side just hasn’t been working for us ( I am a Celiac also). Telling them they will be feeding him rat poison would really drive the understanding home 🙂

  18. Thank you for sharing this rant!!! I feel your pain! You are an amazing mom. Your daughters are so blessed to have you on their side. I swear to God I know EXACTLY what dealing with ignorant and misinformed people feels like b/c I have Celiac Disease and everyone around me….FAMILY INCLUDED…haven’t got a clue and continue to diminish my struggles with this disease. I’ve immersed myself in every book about Celiac Disease and Brain function I can get my hands on and am learning a great deal…but I have nobody to support me emotionally. I’ve just learned to steer clear of the ignorant people and march to the beat of my own drum. That’s all I can do. Thanks again for sharing! xoxo

  19. “these incompetent, ignorant individuals who somehow have access to vulnerable children”

    I stopped reading with this statement.

    How incompetent and ignorant is the author of this rant in relation to 30-100 people or more (depending on the school) around her? Kudos to her (and others like her) for protecting her children but it doesn’t make her any better than any other person around her. She needs to get over herself. It’s not my or any other person’s responsibility to protect her children or to even be able to keep track of what her children need or doesn’t need.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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