If you’re open with your diagnosis, really any diagnosis, people will start to speak to you about their cousin’s, brother’s, step-mother’s, half-sister’s, third cousin’s child who has something close to what you’re going through and “I heard that they use blah.” Considering one in every 133 people in the world have Celiac Disease, I can believe that you might know someone else who is related to someone who has it. And I know that this is just an attempt to empathize, and I accept that. But I hate empathy. Honestly, it’s the fakest of all emotions, it’s turning someone else’s situation into something that you can relate to. And it works, up until you start offering friendly advice based on it.
Friendly advice, if unsolicited, is just an opinion that you’re forcing on someone else. And yes, I know that you’re here seeking advice, but I’m not doing anything other than putting it out there. It’s your choice if you read it or not. Choosing to read this means that you’re soliciting it. It’s the people that do that “I read an article about….” and start to give you a lecture of super wheat and why it’s causing so many GI problems in the world, which isn’t helpful because Celiac Disease goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks. I kid you not! If it’s been around that long, I doubt that the GMO wheat is really causing it.
Everyone knows the saying about opinions and assholes, and advice kind of goes down the same road, because without facts behind it, that’s all it is, an opinion. And some of the advice you’re going to be getting is good. Some of it is going to be cook books or recipes.
And then you get to the people that are going to offer the fad diet advice. The kind of advice that comes from Wheat Belly or Paleo dieting, you know the kind that I’m talking about. The ones that talk about their great experience getting rid of whatever the world thinks is bad for them. 10 years ago they were taking to you about Atkins or South Beach. They also proselytize about superfood and how kale changed their lives. You know the at least one person like them. These people will offer you advice about giving up so much more than just gluten. You should also swear off processed foods and chocolate and sugar and…
To them I say a big old FUCK YOU! Seriously, there is only so much of this that a girl can take! People with actual diagnosed food issues are giving up so much, already! Why would you suggest that they give up more?! So they can go out and stare at even more food that they can’t have?! Seriously!?
Listen, we have been given lemons but before we turn them into lemonade you’re making us consider turning them into lemon bombs and throwing them at you. Instead, I think I’ll just make them into a lemon drop with a good gluten free vodka (still gotta get to that whole concept) and have a drink. Because violence isn’t the answer people. It’s never the answer.
But you’re giving up enough. You’re giving up enough for your own health, you never NEED to give up more. Don’t ever make anyone feel like you need to. In fact, I say you should add MORE to your diet!
When I was 13 years old I gave up red meat. Just stopped eating it. I gave up beef and pork and venison and all of it. I stayed that way for 22 years (well pork and bacon came back to my diet…because bacon), and the day I got diagnosed with Celiac was the day I decided to eat beef again. I don’t eat a lot of it, but I’m not going to deprive myself one more kind of dining experience because I can’t eat gluten anymore.
So if you have that food thing that you’re sworn off of for one reason or another, or just something that you haven’t tried because you’re scared, STOP IT. Unless it’s going to make you sick, that it one less thing in the world that you can’t eat. Do you really want one more food thing in the world that you avoid? A tomato is just a tomato, it can’t hurt you if you eat it. I swear.
So, let me step off of the soapbox for a moment, because that’s my opinion and see my statement above on opinions. But, like I said last week, you need to make sure that the information that you look at is good. Check it out. Paleo, if you research it well, show up as not being helpful to most people and super harmful to children and babies. And you’ll probably only run into a few people who talk about that. For the most part it’s going to be the well-meaning but awkward empathy and suggestions about this brand of gluten free food that they heard about, “I think its call Udi’s but I can’t quite remember.” All you can really do is that awkward nodding and listening noises and promises of “oh I’ll have to look into that.”
The best are the care packages. My sister-in-law has been gluten free for years (I call her my Celia Sissy because…yeah) and she brought my over this great care package a few weeks after my diagnosis. All of it was stuff that she liked. Her favorite brand of flour, xantham gum, protein bars and stuff like that. This is the kind of advice that you need. You need to try things, so this was really welcomed. I had co-workers bring me cook books and people point me to blogs or restaurants. One barista at Starbucks, who is now a good friend, spent hours on the phone to see what kind of drinks I could still have. These were helpful. These were needed and wanted and well treasured pieces of advice and assistance.
The rest, well…lemon drops and smiles.