If you’re gluten intolerant or have coeliac disease then you’ll probably have heard every one of these at some point in your life.
I believe that the awkward questions stem from people feeling uncomfortable because they don’t fully understand, but I have to admit that at times it’s difficult not to burst out laughing.
These are 8 things that will either infuriate anyone who’s gluten-free, or will have them in fits of laughter:
1. Oh! I was thinking of trying that diet too!
Although the gluten-free diet has attracted many people who don’t need to live a gluten-free lifestyle for their health, the majority of people on a gluten-free diet are not doing so because they think it’ll help them to lose weight. If anyone with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance eats gluten it’s typically a very uncomfortable and often painful experience. It is NOT a diet. It’s a lifestyle change because their bodies can’t tolerate gluten.
2. You’re such a picky eater!
This is possibly the most common thing said to anyone who is gluten-free because they always have to ask what ingredients are in recipes, or eat what might appear to be strange combinations for lunch. If they are asking for a 100% beefburger without the bun it is because they can’t eat bread. If they request salad without the dressing it’s because most sauces contain hidden gluten. It isn’t being a picky eater – it’s trying to avoid the pain they experience when they’ve eaten gluten by mistake.
3. Why don’t you just try a bit and see how you get on?
If someone has been advised by a doctor to follow a gluten-free diet then it’s a permanent change. Your body can’t just suddenly stop being intolerant to something, particularly if you’ve completely stopped eating it. Once you cut something out of your diet it actually becomes even harder to reintroduce it, so yes, just one sandwich will hurt. In many cases even a crumb will hurt. No, they are absolutely sure they don’t want to just try.
4. But all of the best foods have gluten in them!
Yes, most of them do. All that this statement does is simply remind anyone who’s gluten-free of what they are missing out on…as if they weren’t already aware.
5. So what exactly can you eat? Just celery?
This always makes me laugh – celery is gluten-free, yes, but there are many other foods that are acceptable on a gluten-free diet. Although it’s restrictive it’s not THAT restrictive. There are loads of naturally gluten-free foods available, as well as plenty of packaged products.
6. Would you like some cake/a cookie?
People who are gluten-free are aware this is often simply a slip-up because the person offering has forgotten they can’t eat it, and that’s totally understandable, but it doesn’t mean it feels any less like a slap across the face. Although it gets easier with time, it is always hard to watch someone offer you something you can’t have.
7. I would literally die if I couldn’t eat gluten!
In some very rare but very severe cases of coeliac disease this could actually be a possibility if someone does eat gluten, so it’s not the best thing to say.
8. What actually happens to you if you eat gluten?
If you’re going to ask someone this then you need to be prepared for the conversation to more than likely end in some kind of toilet talk. The truth is that everyone experiences different symptoms, but my advice is to never ask someone this question while you’re eating a meal. It’s just not going to end well.
Check out my recent post debunking some gluten-free myths.
What is the worst/funniest thing anyone has ever said to you about being gluten-free?
Read more posts about being gluten-free:
Gluten-free? It’s safe to step outside the free from section
I always get, so-and-so just went paleo and feels so much better, do you feel better too?! Well, yes, because I have Celiac Disease, not because I tried a fad diet! (I swear I don’t judge people who are on paleo, I’m just sick of the comparison, especially because many of the foods I eat aren’t paleo worthy.)
Oooh I’m yet to hear that one! I usually get “so you’re basically doing the Atkins diet”. I know what you mean though; I’d never judge someone for trying to be healthier, but when it’s been medically advised that you go gluten-free it is completely different.