Gluten eaters, this one is for you. If someone you know was diagnosed with Celiac or gluten intolerance, read on. Even if they weren’t, read on. If you have Celiac and want to add your own thoughts, please also read on. Basically, just read this post, mmkay?
1 – Don’t sympathize. Empathize. If you don’t “get it” don’t say that you do. If you don’t know what it’s like, don’t pretend like you get it. It’s ok to not understand what your newly diagnosed gluten hating friend is going through. Being diagnosed with something like Celiac disease (or any food allergy/intolerance/etc, I’d imagine) comes with a strange mourning process. Don’t try and understand it, just be there for them. And tell them you love them.
2 – Don’t suggest that ‘it’s ok to have a little, right?’ NO. It’s not ok to have a little gluten. Ever. People still ask me ‘Well you *can* eat gluten, right? You just won’t feel good afterwards?’ NOPE. Gluten is like poison to a Celiac. Not only do I feel like dying after I’ve had a little, it can do some major long term damage if I don’t avoid it at all costs. It’s not worth it, so don’t piss off your gluten hating friend by trying to get them to take a bite of your delicious cinnabon. Mmm cinnabon.
3 – Become a gluten hater, too. At least in spirit. Get educated. Learn about the disease. Find out what gluten is and what it means to have Celiac disease. Your interest in your gluten hater’s life and disease will be appreciated. (And had you done this first, you could have avoided point 2.)
4 – Find some gluten free restaurants in the area and invite them to dinner. When they’re ready. There is a lot of anxiety that goes with eating out once you become a Celiac. It can be scary – I hate trying new places because I know that ‘gluten free’ does not always mean gluten free in the restaurant world. Find some reviews here: http://www.glutenfreeregistry.com/ PF Changs is always a great go-to option for me – one of the better chain options, in my experience!
5 – Don’t be offended if your gluten hating friend doesn’t want to eat at your house for dinner. I appreciate offers to cook for me – but I know my diet better than a gluten eating person. And I know my dishes & utensils are gluten free. My decision not to eat your food has nothing to do with not appreciating you – but everything to do with making sure my health comes first. And let’s face it, if you did get me sick, I’d be crying in the bathroom and you’d feel horrible. That would suck for everyone. So don’t take it personally.
6 – If your gluten hating friend has to run to the restroom when you’re with them, get some pepto bismol ready for them when they come back … and then pretend it never happened.