Realizing that your food allergies is a blessing was discussed in part one. However, even though we are feeling better, we still have to deal with something; something unpleasant, something that can actually be very trying for a person with food allergies and sensitivities. And that is the uninformed people. The annoying ones who think they have all the answers, think you are fanatical, or don’t even try to understand. There are many things a food allergy sufferer (although I hate that word because I don’t consider myself a sufferer) would like to say to people if we could toss decorum out the door and just be blunt. I took a Facebook poll asking what people would love to say to others if they could. I got Facebook and email responses and some are my own. (I’m hoping it didn’t leave anyone’s out, if so, my apologies). I use “I” and “we” interchangeably, but what I’m referring to is the gluten free, allergy friendly community in general. Not all “I” statements are actually from me (AFTK author). Read on to see if you can commiserate, and add your own in the comment section below if you wish.
“I’m not a picky eater…I could die (or get really sick) if I ate that.”
“I’m not being a fanatical, over the top food police.”
“Don’t tell me just a little bit [of food] wouldn’t hurt.”
“Just because something is baked doesn’t make it safe.” (Often heard about eggs and milk).
“I’m not doing a fad diet. This is necessary for my wellbeing.”
“No, I cannot leave my child at this party alone. Doing so would jeopardize his/her health as he/she may eat something he/she shouldn’t. And yes, this is hard on me, but don’t make it harder by thinking I’m a nut case.”
“Just because I do not eat (you name the food) does not mean I eat boring or tasteless. I actually probably eat better and tastier food than you.”
“Celiac is an autoimmune disease just like rheumatoid arthritis etc. It’s not in my head.”
“Sure I do not have actual celiac disease, but gluten still makes me sick and sometimes for 3-4 days from one little bit. I’m not a hypochondriac.”
“Eggs are not dairy folks! They do not come from a cow!”
“Cross contamination is real. Yes, cutting my gluten free bread with a knife used to cut regular bread could quite likely spread gluten on my sandwich.”
“I didn’t wake up one day and decide to eat this way. This way chose me.”
“Uh duh, I eat normal food. Gluten free or allergy free doesn’t equal tree bark and cardboard. Your pork chop and baked potato is gluten free, so is that salad (minus the croutons), soup, and fruit and vegetables. And I still eat ‘fun’ desserts, cookies and rolls.”
“Hello…butter and yogurt are milk.”
We also hate to hear (or see) certain things. It often comes in the person’s delivery using sarcasm or patronizing tones. For instance, “oh yeah…you do not eat out much” with a tone of voice that indicates we are somehow less than you because you do eat out every week and we do not. Or people say things like, “you do not eat much good stuff” when they are referring to candy and other foods that no one should really be consuming.
Or the patronizing people who say things like, “oh that must be hard” when we really just want to say, “do you think?”
We also hate eye rolls and obvious annoyance. This often comes from wait staff at restaurants when we ask to return something or ask what is in the food.
Then there are the friends or family who invite you to a pizza place and get mad at you for ordering a salad and act put out because you are not “participating.”
Then there are the friends who no longer invite you over to their place. We would love to get invited to your place. It’s not hard to prepare food for us. Grill meat, steam vegetables, make a soup, have a potato bar, taco night etc. and ask us to bring something. We do not mind bringing dessert or GF bread. We’d be excited to actually be invited by someone and take a night off from cooking. We’d feel cared for. We’d feel loved.
So, what this means for us is we become advocates. We become that person who educates about food whether that’s in our personality or not. We extend grace by not responding the way we sometimes wish we could. We end up helping others newly diagnosed. It’s not all that bad, we are not alone, and there are millions of us. We become a better person.
Also shared at Allergy Free Wednesday .