One of the things I struggle with since being diagnosed with celiac disease is explaining my diet needs to others. Even after twelve years I hear myself apologizing for being a pain and having to request gluten-free food options. I find myself getting angry and impatient with people because I have to explain again that I can’t just eat the filling out of the pie and I can’t eat the cheese dip after someone has dipped their wheat cracker into it.
I found this article today at celiac.com and hope they don’t mind me sharing these five things that people with celiac disease need their friends and relatives to understand about this illness.
1. We are NOT on a Fad Diet — Celiac disease is not some vague, make-believe condition. Celiac disease is a potentially serious immune disorder that, if left untreated, can lead to a very deadly types of stomach, intestinal, and other cancers. Just because a bunch of people seem to think that gluten is the new high fructose corn syrup, doesn’t mean that I’m one of them. Remember, for people with celiac disease, eating a gluten-free diet is no joke and is the only way for them to stay healthy.
2. We Won’t Be Getting Over It — Currently, there is no cure for celiac disease, and the only treatment is a gluten-free diet. That’s the only way to avoid the gut damage, lower risks for other types of auto-immune conditions, and minimize the risk of various types of cancer associated with celiac disease.
3. Celiac Disease is a Serious Condition — Since the effects of untreated celiac disease unfold slowly over time, it’s tempting for some people to look at celiac disease as a minor inconvenience. However, it’s important to understand that celiac disease is a potentially serious autoimmune disorder that, if left untreated, can leave people susceptible to other autoimmune conditions, and to deadly types of stomach, intestinal, and other cancers.
4. A ‘Little Gluten’ Might Hurt Me — There’s no such thing as ‘a little gluten’ to people with celiac disease. Gut damage happens with as little as 20 parts of gluten per million. That is a microscopic amount. A ‘gluten-free’ diet means no gluten. Period.
5. When in Doubt, Ask — If you’re not sure if I can safely eat a certain ingredient, or a certain food, just ask. Figuring out what is or is not gluten-free can be tricky, even for me. So, it’s best to ask if you’re not positive.
Are there other items you would add to this list? Or just feel free to vent in the comments if you like – I get it.
I wanted Maizy to play FRISBIE with me, but she was busy looking at that computer! Then I got in her lap so she could see me better. She said a 40-lb dog is NOT a lap dog. How can I make her UNDERSTAND that I NEED to play Frisbie?