IE Grapevine Updates

Celiactive: How to cope with gluten-eaters

If you’ve had celiac for any length of time, you’ll know how frustrating it is to watch or be around someone who eats food you can’t have. That person might be your coworker, your friend, or you may even live with them.

Isabela Moreno

Isabela Moreno

I understand that it can be disheartening when someone comes home with a special surprise and it turns out to be a normal doughnut. It’s happened to me more times than I have appendages to count on. I also understand that this can be considered a minor issue. That’s why I’m going to give you some tips on how to cope with gluten eaters.

Firstly, do not take it to heart; they didn’t mean to upset you. In many cases, the person or people were just trying to cheer you up or do something special for you. It was not meant to be a selfish act or a deliberate. This is a time that you may need to step outside your own mind and see it from their perspective, which leads me to my next point.

Your intolerance may be on your mind at all times but it’s not on everyone else’s minds. Celiac disease is something that I’m constantly thinking about both consciously and subconsciously. There is never a moment where I don’t have it on my mind. I know my boyfriend is the exact opposite. He doesn’t have to deal with it at every waking moment like I do. And even though he tries his hardest to keep my condition in mind, he flubs up sometimes.

He’s offered me bread, and crackers, and various other poisonous foods before and there are times when I’ve been so irritated with him for it that I can’t occupy the same space as him. But I always have to tell myself that he doesn’t live with it like I do. And that’s OK.

An issue my mom (and I, but not so severely) has come across is people not understanding that intolerance is an actual condition. Her boss has mocked her condition on numerous occasions going as far as leaving food on her desk with notes. He once told her that because she “doesn’t stop breathing, she can eat whatever she wants.”

This is not the case especially for my mom. Both of us are very different people without a gluten-free diet and we know this. We also understand that other people don’t know this.

Your symptoms may not look like much to other people but they’re something to you. That’s what is important. Don’t let them get the better of you and don’t let them belittle you. And while I cope pretty well with people offering me things, I do try to prevent it because, well, let’s face it: it’s annoying and it does irritate me. So you set boundaries.

I personally bought a new toaster. It is my toaster and no one else can touch it. My mom, who is also celiactive, doesn’t let people eat sandwiches, cookies, etc. near her desk at work. We both don’t let our animals kiss us on the mouth (we don’t use gluten-free pet food, plus that weirds us out). I informed all my friends what I can and cannot eat. I’ve shot their food offers down so many times that they don’t even ask anymore.

These aren’t sure ways to make people stop offering food you can’t have but if you enforce your boundaries then you’ll be healthier physically and as a person. I’m sorry that this is just a self-faith article. I know how frustrating it is for someone, especially someone who has been through it, to hear the words “deal with it.”

These little tricks have helped me though and I believe that they can help others too. I wish you all luck on your celiactive paths.

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