21 Struggles Only Gluten-Free People Will Understand

(15) Stop Calling My Diet a Fad Diet!

Eating gluten free is no fad diet for me nor the millions of people who have celiac disease or who suffer from gluten sensitivity. Quit calling it a fad and thinking it’s okay to dismiss us – just stop.

Gluten free is no fad diet and if you still think that, you’re just a big old ignorant bully. Read a book.

(16) Having to Always Bring Food

It’s such a drag to have to bring along my own food on trips and to events. I do it because I never know if there will be safe food for me, even if I’m assured there will be. I’ve been let down too many times to count.

On top of that, there are only so many non-perishable foods you can pack – and quite frankly, stand to eat – for a two-week trip. At some point you need a warm meal.

We always need to be prepared. Period.

(17) You Only “Think” It’s Gluten Free?

I was at an event where I requested a gluten-free meal three times ahead of the date, and yet the plate of food placed in front of me came with this caveat, “I think it’s gluten-free. I did my best.”  

Wait, you only think it’s gluten-free?  You mean you don’t know for sure?

Come on, people. I need a little more assurance than that. I don’t put food in front of my guests and say, “I think it’s edible,” or “I don’t remember if I put arsenic in it, eat up!” Please don’t just think it’s gluten free, know it is. Thank you.

Also, while I’m on the topic, it’s always nice when my food is wrapped or contains a toothpick that says, “gluten free” or “allergy.” This way I have some peace of mind knowing that this is the gluten-free meal or dish I ordered. It’s easy to confuse meals in a busy kitchen.

(18) Sad Desserts

I appreciate people trying to accommodate me with an entire gluten-free meal, but sad desserts (like rice pudding and vanilla almond cake) make me sad, especially when everyone else is enjoying molten lava cake or fudge brownies doused in raspberry sauce. I’d love a piece of chocolate cake, too. 

(19) Feeling Alone, Uncomfortable and Isolated

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when you’re the only one that eats gluten free. It can feel lonely when you’re the only one looking for a special accommodation and everyone else is already moving on to dessert.

This happened to me during a recent trip. Everyone in my group was enjoying appetizers, breads, noodle salads, stews and breaded chicken while I waited (and waited) for that special gluten-free meal promised to me. After a long wait and after feeling so alone (and hungry) while everyone indulged in beautiful foods, a sad piece of chicken on top of bean sprouts was placed before me. It made me cry.

I hate sitting there like a sad lump while everyone is indulging in delicious foods. It makes me uncomfortable, and it makes the people at my table uncomfortable too.

I recently attended a special event where I requested a gluten-free meal (if possible). The caterer assured me it was possible and a meal would be provided. Great! A ton of courses of food came out of the kitchen for everyone else… but still nothing for me. The others at my table didn’t know if they should eat or wait for me. It was uncomfortable to say the least!

Before I could even tell everyone to go ahead and eat without me, one woman at my table said, “I like gluten so I’m going to go ahead and eat.” Her comment made me feel awesome – not! It’s no fun watching others eat while you just sit there. No thanks.

(20) Fake Gluten-Free Eaters

When well-meaning friends tell me they eat gluten free too, I of course think they’re serious about it. I even go out of my way to bring them gluten-free goodies and support them however I can.

But then I get so confused when I see them eating a bite of gluten, or talking about how they still eat gluten from time to time. 

Obviously they can do whatever they want… but what they don’t realize is that their wishy-washy actions affect me. They are making me look like a fool. I hear things like this all the time: “My friend Heather eats a little gluten from time to time and is okay. How come you’re not?” 

How am I going to get servers, caterers, friends and family to take my diet serious when other so-called “gluten-free eaters” are okay eating gluten? I don’t get it.

(21) Ill-Informed Doctors and Advice

My whole life I thought my doctor knew everything… but I now realize I have been sorely mistaken. Doctors do not know everything, especially when it comes to celiac disease, gluten sensitivities and nutrition. In fact, doctors have received very little nutrition training. The bulk of their training is in pharmaceuticals. There is so much about gluten-free living that doctors know little to nothing about.

One doctor made my blood boil. He told my friend that eating strictly gluten free would give her diabetes (gulp!). This is not true – and actually – quite the opposite is a more likely scenario.

Another doctor tried to scare me by sharing this awful, inaccurate study that tried to prove eating gluten-free would result in heart disease. It doesn’t.

The struggle to find a doctor who “gets it” is hard. I suggest working with a functional medicine doctor or finding a doctor who has studied gluten disorders and nutrition in earnest. Stop placing blind faith in all doctors. Many of them don’t get it and still believe the gluten-free diet is just a fad (and they’re the ones still recommending low-fat, grain-heavy diets to their patients).

Please note there are great doctors out there who get it. You just need to find them. 

Am I Speaking Your Language?

I have a feeling, if you eat gluten free like me, that you have faced many (or all) of these struggles. 

The struggle is real.

I’m curious, which one of these struggles resonates with you the most? Are there other struggles you face as a gluten-free eater that I did not include on this list? If so, please leave a comment to share.

21 Struggles Only Gluten-Free People Will Understand

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