Every Monday in May, we’ll be asking readers to answer a single question and share their #myGFLstory. On Thursdays, we’ll share some of our favorite answers that we received. Here’s this week’s question:
How do you explain your gluten-free lifestyle to people who haven’t heard of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? How do you handle people who think it’s a fad diet?
Here’s what our readers had to say.
When I finally had learned about my diagnosis of having Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (+ some other autoimmune problems), I was so relieved. I heard a LOT of extremely invasive, hurtful and just plain rude comments about my health. What I heard most often was “I WISH I had your problem.” or “I wish I could lose weight like that.” Always, my response was, “Trust me, you don’t. I would never wish this on anyone.” – Courtney from LPHJ Kitchen; read the rest of her blog here.
I explain that I follow a gluten-free lifestyle for medical reasons. I tell them for me it isn’t a choice, but the only cure for celiac disease, which is a genetic disease. Following a gluten-free lifestyle allows me to live a healthy and full life. – Gluten-Free Go-To Guide
I tell people that it is a condition like diabetes, but I can eat sugar, just not wheat. Then I amaze them with how many foods have wheat in them, not just bread. – Sheila Williams
Just tell people you are gluten free. I have a lot of people ask how I know and what are my symptoms. I explain that for me it hits my stomach, like it is being cut in half, for my husband it is his arthrits, and my mother her heart. It is not a fad for us, but for our health. Usually they start asking more questions and I answer the best I can. – Diane Hinz
I say my Celiac diagnosis is a blessing and a curse, I can no longer eat the junk food, but I have learned not only to eat very healthy , but also to love a whole new way of eating. It is fun to inform people and teach them about the disease. I believe most people want to know. – Sara Schnaedelbach Ryland
I explain that for me it is an illness that requires me to stay away from wheat and any grains. I also explain my symptoms when I do eat wheat and that usually does it. I also tell them that I have been wheat free for many many years, way before it was prominent and before there were so many alternatives. I had NO choices but rice bread and rice flour. – Christine Hendy
I have explained my daughter’s illness that kept her out of school for 6 months on homeschool due to this issue that was ONLY resolved by following a gluten-free lifestyle. A 17 year old, straight honor student who was very active in school suddenly ill and not returning due to medical reasons has been enough of the story I have had to share so far. – Nina Hull
I tell people that it’s not a choice for me, that even a small amount of something with wheat, rye, oats or barley can affect me. For people who think it’s a fad, I say that I think it’s crazy for people to spend more money for something that often tastes pretty bad, if they don’t have to. –Pattie White
“I am always amazed when people say, “come on..one little bite won’t hurt you!” My response is as follows: “go ahead…step out onto that busy street…you will be fine.” They look at me funny and 99% of the time they just clam up and walk sheepishly away.” – Terri Twedt
Be sure to come back on Monday, where we’ll have another question ready for you to answer. And remember: Speak out. Raise awareness. Be Heard.
Note: The views, opinions and positions expressed by our Be Heard commenters are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Gluten-Free Living or its staff.
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