I know that I’ve written about my frustrations with misconceptions about gluten free living and dietary restrictions before, but really & truly it drives me a little nuts when I am told “oh so and so is gluten free and they’ve lost all this weight”. It bothers me, not because I am jealous that so and so has lost a bunch of weight (although I admit I am a little jealous). It bothers me because I fear that people think of the gluten free diet as being just that “a diet” and not a medical condition that requires significant attention and attention to detail regarding ingredients in foods, cooking preparations and so much more. I feel these views create a lack of seriousness in regards to what we go through and have to do each day.
It bothers me to hear that so many people view the gluten free diet as a diet meant to simply lose weight. For some, maybe cutting out gluten does enable them to lose weight and if so good for them. However, please do not belittle my very frustrating dietary restrictions into simply a weight loss program because that is not it at all.
I have to be careful when speaking with these people because after all they are never people I consider to be close friends or family members who know me well, know my dietary restrictions (Celiac) and know me as a strong willed, determined, sometimes overly cautious individual. Instead these people think I am just one of many following a fad diet and so-called “making a big deal over nothing”.
I have even found that some of these people feel that having to eat gluten free is “no big deal”. Ummm are you kidding me? Seriously? I think it’s a pretty big deal. I think I’d much rather not have to be so careful. I’d much rather be able to simply eat whatever I want whenever I want without direct consequences. I would much rather have my main concerns when going out to a restaurant for dinner be the question of “should I have the pasta or the pizza tonight”. But instead I have so many more things to keep in mind and take into consideration. I need to ask about preparation and contamination, I need to ask about seasoning and spices used; I need to ask questions to ensure the restaurant understands the severity of my dietary needs and knows that I cannot simply assume it is ok for me to eat. There are just so many things we with Celiac must take into consideration before we put any food in our mouths.
People just don’t seem to get it and while I do believe that we as a gluten free community are increasing the amount of information available to those people who do not understand, I want to do more.