Dude Note: The following article, written by yours truly, appears in the latest issue of Simply Gluten-Free magazine. It’s a good publication run by good people. You can subscribe here.
Since you are reading this magazine, you most likely have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. So you know all about cutting the toxic foods out of your system. Not only gluten, but any foods that cause your body duress. I’ve learned over the years that dairy, soy and corn are totally not my friends. So I waved a sad goodbye to them and then moved on.
But this article is not about toxic foods and removing them from your life. This is about toxic people and waving goodbye to them as well.
I’m not going to lie to you. I’m blessed. I’m more than blessed. The people I surround myself with are friggin’ awesome.
Mrs. Dude and the Dudettes? Simply the best.
My brothers? Very cool.
My friends? So much fun.
My in-laws? Amazing.
And it goes on and on. I have an amazing support system and I would not have it any other way.
But sadly I hear story after story of people who are surrounded by total turds and it just saddens me to my core. Here’s an email I received recently:
I was diagnosed 7 years ago with celiac disease, so it’s not anything new to them. We usually bring the entire meal, so they don’t have to worry about accommodating my diet, not that they would anyway. At least I know I’ll be able to eat/celebrate with them.
I was very sad when I opened my gift this year to find a giant tin of gluten-filled store-bought cookies!!! I was so taken aback. I said, “Thanks, I’m sure my husband will enjoy eating these.” I know it’s the thought that counts, but then WHAT was she thinking? Giving gluten cookies to a celiac is like giving a basketball to a blind man or a work-out video to someone in a wheelchair.
I felt very sad. On the way home, in the dark, I shed silent tears.
Or how about this one:
But wait…there’s more:
And how about one last one for good measure:
Hi Gluten Dude. I just recently came across your page. I have a question for you about gluten etiquette I guess lol. For the past two years I have not eaten gluten; every time we go to my mother-in-law’s house, whether it be for Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc., she has absolutely nothing to offer me for food.
I have to sit there and watch my husband eat. My sister has gone gluten-free in the past year and she deals with it with her husband’s family also.
Are we expecting too much that our family members would have at least one thing to offer us? From our standpoint we would never have somebody come to our house and not have something for them to eat. It just seems that they obviously don’t care enough to try to have something.
What is your whole take on that situation?
My take? Who does this?? Who treats people so callously because they have an autoimmune disease? Does how we eat affect you in any way, shape or form??
But I think it goes deeper than just the food. If someone is mistreating you because of your celiac disease, it speaks volume about them as a person. If it wasn’t celiac, they would find some other reason to make you feel bad about yourself.
When you first get the dreaded celiac diagnosis, it is absolutely overwhelming. You feel like your entire life has been overturned. And in a way, it has. Nothing will be like it once was. I still remember going grocery shopping the day after my diagnosis and all I kept thinking as I was going up and down the aisles was “I can’t have that. I can’t have that. I can’t have that. I can’t have that.” It really sux.
But if I had to do it without Mrs. Dude’s support? I cannot even imagine. Immediately, she immersed herself in education about the disease. She went out and bought separate utensils and pots and pans. She made part of the kitchen off limits to everyone but me. She labeled all of the drawers, counters, etc. “gluten free” to remind the kids and our guests. But more than anything else, she just made me feel like I was not in this alone. And because of this, it’s seven years later, I’m (somewhat) healthy, I’ve never cheated and living gluten free just feels “normal” now.
We all deserve this type of support. If your family and friends are not behind you 100%, dig deep and figure out why. It is a tough journey having celiac disease and it’s one nobody should go through alone. And at the end of the day, if they cannot support you, you need to find another support system. The celiac community is indeed a wonderful group of people. Immerse yourself with them and all of the sudden, you won’t feel so alone.
Join Twitter and hashtag gluten and celiac.
Follow some of your fellow celiacs on Facebook and Instagram.
Find a celiac support group in your area.
And by all means, feel free to ping me whenever you want.
I’m 50 years old (350 in dog years) and I’ve come to a basic acceptance of our society: the world is an ugly place and it’s getting uglier by the minute. We’re losing our way as a civilization. We’ve been given this amazing planet to live on and instead of sharing our resources peacefully, we argue and we fight and we kill. Over land. Over religion. Over politics. Over money. What a waste.
My point? Life is short. You deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy. Celiac or no celiac.
If you are surrounded by people like those above, get them out of your life. Now. Family or no family. It’s inexcusable for anyone EVER to make someone feel bad about a condition they have no control over.
Get the toxins out of your life and find yourself some peace.