My trek into gluten freedom has certainly raised some eyebrows among my friends and colleagues. I really don't want to become one of those people I hate -- you know the kind. The vegetarian who insists everyone in his or her presence eat that way because he or she does; the dieter who is intolerant of those who aren't. The organic god or goddess who won't touch an apple unless it's certified.
My eating gluten free has not been a choice. After I went through the elimination diet and realized most of my gastric woes have healed and I'm BETTER, I simply connected the dots. To some extent, I did make a choice to examine the need. But largely, once I knew there was a legitimate allergy there, there was no choice.
The problem, of course, is a lot of people around here have seen me through diets, exercise, and more in the past 12 years, and I know some of them are shaking their heads and saying, "yes, this too shall pass." Sure, I did give up carbs for close to a whole year back in what, 2001 or 2? And I did get on this whole mega vitamins thing in 2003 because of pre-menopause. And in 2002 I lost a lot of weight (I've gained back only 15 pounds or so).
I admire my friend Amy who takes her food with her and simply doesn't bother to explain. I haven't gotten that far yet. I still feel like I owe it to servers, people, etc. I have found that the word FOOD ALLERGy works wonder. People fear anaphalaxys.
So please, to quote my students, bare with me as I go through this. I mean bear, but that always cracks me up when they do this. Thanks, I think I'll keep my clothes on right now...
As I eliminate more and more sources of gluten from my diet, and more and more allergens, I am finding eating out difficult. It doesn't mean I don't want to go with you. I just might not eat. And yes, I am doing some weird things with my food. I promise not to force a spoonful on you.
But it is hard for me to make people understand a few things:
1. No, I really can't just take the meat off the sandwich. And no, for the most part, I don't eat luncheon meat any way (unless it's Boar's Head or I know it's GF.) Pizza is even worse, so please don't get hurt when I decline.
2. Sorry, pizza places are hard for me. Not because I love pizza (I'm a good Italian girl, after all). But the flour dust really flies at a pizza place, and unless I know they make my salad over there, I don't want it around. But still invite me, or I'll feel left out. I might come along for the company, who knows?
3. I DO want to have a birthday party and contribute to the parties-celebrations of others. Sometimes I do eat ice cream. And if it's my birthday, bring me some fruit salad, like my lovely coworkers did last year! I think that's very special.
4. Please don't roll you eyes and make a snide comment when I ask about ingredients when we go out to eat. Don't YOU want to know how your food is prepared? I am not being difficult. I have an allergy. It makes me sick. Trust me, you'd rather see me well like I am now. I promise not to be an asshole about things and embarrass you. I promise to respect your needs and choices.
5. Yes, I know it's crazy that I might go to the country store to get my food. But hey, it's colorful. Tell me to shut up if you don't want to hear the story.
6. If you come to my house, I might cook GF, but trust me, if it doesn't taste good, I don't eat it. If I come to your house, I will ask questions, but you don't have to change the whole menu to suit me. I am polite about things and will make do.
7. Don't worry, I will NEVER try to convert you to this lifestyle. EVER. I won't proselytise about the benefits, etc. If I find a tasty food, I'll share a tip, but you need not worry -- I wouldn't wish this on anyone, even the most annoying person I know.
Much love and thanks for understanding me!