The week that I found out that I should be following a gluten-free diet, my grandma sent me a care package. I opened it up and inside I found a beautiful, hand crocheted Christmas tree skirt & a container of mouthwatering, sugar cookies with pecans that taste oh so amazing. My heart sank. Knowing that these cookies couldn’t stay in my sight, I left some for my husband to snack on and then I took the rest to the girls at work.
When I brought them to work I just told the girls ‘hey my grandma made cookies & I brought them to share! Eat up!” I didn’t say anything about my gluten sensitivity. Towards the end of the day, I noticed that there were still quite a few cookies left and I told them they could take more and that I wanted them to be gone at the end of the day. One of my co-workers asked why I wasn’t eating them (an unusual ocurrance for me, as I am a cookie monster). I told her that I found out recently that I should be following a gluten-free diet because of some health issues. Her response, “Ugh, I think I need to start following that diet.” To which I just turned around and said nothing.
The weekend before I left, hubs took me to one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago, Carnivale. I absolutely love this place. They have amazing food, an upbeat atmosphere and the best sangria I’ve ever had. I was nervous to go here because they don’t have a gluten-free menu but since it is Latin based, I was sure that I’d be able to find something to eat. Our server came to the table and I said politely to her, “I have to be gluten-free, what on the menu do you recommend?” She had just started working there so she asked me what entrees I had in mind and she would go back and check with the kitchen. Fair enough. So she comes back and asks me, “Well how sensitive to gluten are you?” I gave her a blank stare. What kind of question is that? My husband could see the look on my face so he stepped in and said nicely, “She can’t have it at all so if you can find out what she can have we would greatly appreciate it.” Note to self: I really need to get better at this because when things like that happen, I feel like I’m being a troublesome customer.
In the three weeks I’ve been deployed, I’ve lost a noticeable amount of weight. This is not a result of having to live a gluten-free lifestyle, this is the result of having limited options in the dining hall & an increase in my workouts because there’s nothing else to do and it helps pass time. Yes, my goal was to come here and shed some el b’s, but definitely not like this because how I’m eating now isn’t maintainable. So the fact that this episode of 2 Broke Girls just play off a patron’s need to be gluten free as masking an eating disorder really struck a nerve with me.
The same co-worker who made the comment about the GF diet e-mailed me and asked how things were going. So I was just explaining to her how it was here & how the food situation was. (I just want to note, she’s not a random co-worker her and I are pretty close so I felt comfortable in telling her this) To which she once again responded, “Ohh I forgot that you can’t have gluten, that must be so hard. Maybe I need to start following that ‘diet’.” To which I then explained to her this isn’t something I chose. People with food allergies don’t choose to have food allergies. And there’s still plenty of “junk” food that’s gluten free: cupcakes, cookies, pasta, etc. I also explained that gluten is in a lot more stuff than what people realize and not just the obvious (breads, carbs, etc). I think she finally understood after I explained it a little more in depth.
I think it’s hard for people to understand those who have to follow certain diets for “health reasons.” I get asked, “What will happen if you have it?” I simply reply with, “I will get sick”. There’s a lot more to it and there’s still a lot that I’m learning myself.
But I’m curious, for anyone else that has to follow a gluten-free diet, have you ever had this type of encounter where people just think you’re doing it to lose weight? If so, how do you deal?