Be Heard: How You Explain Your Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Be Heard! Speak out for celiac awareness monthEvery 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 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.


Don’t forget about our special month-long subscription offer, where you can receive a one-year subscription to Gluten-Free Living for just $20 — $5 of which will be donated to support celiac research. You’ll also be entered to win a 10-piece cookware set with bonus tools from Swiss Diamond. Subscribe today.


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