Diet fads come and go. But the difference with gluten-free eating is that many people are following the diet in order to
address real and significant health concerns, many times at the suggestion of
their doctors. Of course, that hasn't stopped the haters from poking fun.
Let’s just say I didn’t run to Le Boulangerie the second I read one of these incendiary headlines (Jezebel’s “Gluten Sensitivity is Apparently Bullshit” is my personal favorite). Articles, I might add, that are based on a single study of 37 self-reported gluten-intolerant individuals in Australia. One study a scientific conclusion does not make, nor does it negate the large body of evidence that links non-celiac gluten sensitivity to a health problems ranging from allergies to GI issues to autism.
For those of you who still bear sympathy for your gluten-intolerant friends (and for those of you who recognize that other people’s opinions and food allergies should never be in the same room together) here is a friendly guide of things not to say when talking to your gluten-free friends. Trust me, they'll be grateful for the break.
"SO ... WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU EAT GLUTEN?"
You are putting us in kind of awkward position here. We can give you the gory details, but then you know the inner workings of our digestive systems, and you'll never look at us the same way.
"Don't you miss [fill in blank amazing food item]?"
Why yes, yes we do.
THINGS WE ALSO MISS, if you must know:Fudgey, gooey brownies
Piping hot, cheesy pizza
beer (crisp IPA, rich chocaltey porter...)
Yeah, this rice cake is awesome though, thanks for reminding me.
"CAN'T YOU JUST HAVE ONE BITE OF THIS CUPCAKE?"
Should we go get ramen, pizza, or crepes?
There is nothing for me there.
"I CAN REMEMBER TONS OF TIMES THAT YOU ATE GLUTEN AND you SEEMED FINE."
The thing is, we didn't know we were sensitive then, so we probably weren't keeping track of our diet and subsequent reactions. Also, if we did get sick, we probably didn't think to call you the next day from the bathroom and tell you all about it.
"ARE YOU JUST DOING THIS TO LOSE WEIGHT?"
As much as most of us would love to lose five pounds, that is probably not the reason we cut gluten out of our diets. Some people actually gain weight when they stop eating gluten, since the food (and calories) are actually sticking around after we eat them (if you know what I mean…).
"DID YOU READ THAT ARTICLE THAT proved GLUTEN-SENSITIVITY ISN'T REALLY A THING?"
"ARE YOU SURE THAT IT ISN'T ALL JUST IN YOUR HEAD?"
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