This is not a political post…so yes, feel free to continue. On Wednesday morning, I wrote the following on my Facebook wall: I’m going dark for a bit as I try to process what happened last night and also try to figure out what my role, if any, is in the celiac community moving forward, which I’ve been mulling over for some time now.
That’s it. I didn’t bash anyone. I didn’t rant. I didn’t cry. I didn’t complain. I’m not turning my site into a political platform. I just simply said that I needed time to come to terms with some things. And what did I get in response? How about these beauties?
So I’ve been pondering for the past 48 hours how to move forward as a celiac advocate and hell, as a person. Well…here we go. You may want to hide the kids…here comes some truth.
To the Celiac Community
I love you. You have welcomed me into your hearts and have given me a purpose in life beyond taking care of my family. I am grateful for that. And to be clear, I got lots of support on my FB post that warmed my heart and gave me hope.
But for those who slammed me these past two days…and I take no pleasure in saying this…just go away.
I have written over 600 articles on this website. I started a forum which now has over 1,000 users so the community can help each other. I created The Faces of Celiac, a place where people can share what celiac means to them. I get hoards of emails weekly asking for help and I try to reply to every one of them. I helped Disney remove a gluten-free bullying reference from an episode before it aired. I helped get the “gluten free people are weak” reference removed from the Super Bowl ad (and took weeks of the most unbelievable abuse you can imagine because of it.) I have gotten products to change the way they produce their food. I’ve gotten them to change their packaging. I have taken it on the chin more times than I care to mention.
I do this because I WANT to do it. I have done all of this to help the community. I do this while running a company that takes about 60 hours of my time per week.
And if you can’t give me one fucking moment of reflection without threatening to “unfollow” me, than seriously just go away. You think I give two shits about how many followers I have? I care about how many people I am helping. Period.
Sorry for the bluntness folks.
To My Fellow Celiac Bloggers
As you read this, please know my heart is in the right place and this is absolutely nothing personal. I consider myself friends with many of you, even though we’ve never met.
Before you write your next post, I implore you to ask yourself one question: Will what I’m about to post help the celiac community or will it just help me? Am I posting it simply to promote a brand or line my pockets, or am I posting it because it may make a difference in a fellow celiac’s health or attitude?
I am well aware that there are a handful of popular celiac bloggers who don’t like me. That’s ok. Not everyone has to like everyone. Respect? As much as possible. Like? Hey…we’re all different people.
But after seven years of having this insidious disease and continuing to struggle with my health, I have come to a few realizations. And the biggest one is this: If I eat like crap, I feel like crap. If I eat too many grains or sugar or alcohol or eggs or dairy or corn, my body goes into “what the hell are you doing to me??” mode.
After spending a weekend with Jennifer Esposito and learning about the AIP Diet, both Mrs. Dude and I jumped into it head first. In two weeks, I lost six pounds of inflammation and have never felt better. I used to feel the need to nap every day. No more. I used to feel awful after almost every meal. No more. I used to crave some foods that I knew were not my friend. No more. My body has healed. Will I stay this way 100% of the time? Of course not. But 90% of the time? Hell yeah. And why? Because I deserve to feel good. We all do. And THAT is the message I will try to convey as much as humanly possible.
My point? Too many of my fellow bloggers promote crap. Either they are in bed with the brands. Or they write articles promoting gluten-removed beer or how the latest Kardashian went gluten free. Or they defend companies who don’t have our health in their best interest. And if I bring it up, I get shit from other bloggers that I am causing problems.
And this is why I say I’ve been struggling with my role in this community. I no longer know where, or if, I fit in. I had the same experience back at the Cheerios Summit where I knew I was the odd man out. I feel like besides a select few, most fellow celiac advocates only care about eating the way they used to eat. And hey, now that Cheerios are gluten-free, I’m gonna do a giveaway! That is not how we are going to heal folks. That is not how a celiac is going to get better.
I know the best advice is just to do what I do and not worry about others. But when others are hurting the community, then it does affect me. I care deeply about the community. I’m not in it for the money, or the popularity. I could give two shits if I’m voted “gluten free blogger of the year.” Seriously, who the fuck cares about that stuff? All I care about is promoting a lifestyle that helps the community and doing it in a way that is passionate, humorous, sarcastic at times, educational and above all…entertaining.
That always has been and always will be my goal.
To All Gluten-Free Companies
Please don’t email me asking me to try samples, unless your product promotes the health of a celiac. Once I become about the brands, I am no longer serving the community. Please note this does NOT including gluten-free beers. By god…yes…please keep sending.
So how do I move forward?
I knew you were going to ask that. Here’s the deal. I’m not going anywhere. Be patient with me as my life is hectic and I am a husband, father and business owner first, and an advocate second. In the past few months, I’ve gotten a bit caught up in trying not to rock the boat too much. Trying to stay on a nice and even keel. And you know what? That ain’t me. I’m boring that way.
So yeah…onward and upward. Just give me some time.
May the snark be with you.