Last year I found out I have a gluten intolerance. If you aren't too sure what gluten is it the blanket name that includes different types of proteins that can be found in everything delicious from pasta, breads and cakes to lesser known things like soy sauce, malt vinegar and different kinds of gravy. Basically, if it is delicious, chances are I can't eat it. I just found out about my allergy within the last 18 months which makes it kind of hard to explain to people why I just stopped eating pasta, and also has made learning to go out to eat a whole new experience. Everyone I know (and people I don't) have had something to say about my allergy but here are the things I am particularly tired of hearing.
"Why did you just develop an allergy all of a sudden?"
I consider myself a smart girl but I can not explain the chemistry of why I developed an intolerance. But since you are so interested in the topic of food intolerances I have this lovely article reviewed by the University of Illinois - Chicago's Medical School for you to take a peek at on your own time.
"You used to eat gluten though. I remember."
I remember too my friend. I remember it fondly. It is so clear in my mind that my mouth waters every time I remember how good Olive Garden breadsticks, and bagels used to taste. Unfortunately that is the case no longer. I can not longer enjoy that brown bread from the Cheesecake Factory or hibachi noodles. Oh, I miss noodles so much.
"I am lactose intolerant and I just suffer. Why can't you do that?"
I get it cheese is delicious. You don't want to give it up. I felt the same way about bagels. But, my reaction will leave me in bed for one to two days. I will be tired, lethargic, and feel like I have a stomach flu. That is not how I want to feel. So, I will not just suck it up and enjoy that cupcake.
"Is this even real? It seems like a lie"
(Yes someone actually said this to me.) I do not even have the words for this. Just stop. Please stop.
"Is it an allergy or a preference?"
Let me paint you a word picture. You are in the restaurant having just spend ten minutes looking through the three gluten free options trying to find something you like. You didn't really want to come here but everyone else did so you just went along with it. The waitress comes over and asks if you are ready to order. You say "Yes, but just so you know I have a gluten intolerance." This is usually met with an eye roll and the dreaded question "Is it an allergy or preference?" Here is a free tip, a lot of people with intolerances (myself included) already have plenty of anxiety when it comes to eating out, or honestly even eating at other people's houses because we know how to not make myself sick and at home we can control all of the variables. Please just try to help a girl eat her food without all the extra attitude. Rant over.
"I LOVE gluten, I couldn't do that I feel so bad for you."
This one seems like it is coming from a nice place, and for the most part it is. When it is said with a piece of fried chicken, or a breadstick in your hand it seems less nice. Then it comes out more like "wow this food is so amazing I can't believe you can't eat it that must be so sad." Honestly, I feel bad for me too girl. Carbs are in basically every comfort food ever and we all need comfort food once in a while.
"Are you sure you can eat that?"
YES! I would not be eating it if I wasn't sure. No one likes to be sick and not eating gluten is a great way to not feel bad.
Food allergies and intolerances are THE WORST. Besides the fact that we miss out on yummy treats no matter what the food is we also deal with constant stress, anxiety, and worry about eating out, grocery shopping, and having to eat at other peoples houses. So next time maybe consider grabbing the gluten-free pasta, or peanut-free treats instead of offering unsolicited advice.