Gluten? What's that?... people ask as they are baffled with that "Is this gluten free statement?". No flour, they immediately think as they then proceed to hand you oat, rye, wheat, and barley filled meals. It's a constant struggle full of miscommunications , stress, and lack of knowledge.
Let me start off by saying a gluten free lifestyle is absolute hell. It's definitely a change that I would never take on if it wasn't for needing to because of my health. Some reasons people need to be on a gluten free diet are but are not limited to a gluten sensitivity, gluten allergy, or celiac disease. Just for some quick education on how to decipher between these few- a gluten allergy produces an anaphylactic response, a gluten sensitivity doesn't do any harm to the body but it makes one very uncomfortable; this includes anything from vomiting to "number 3" (Ew, gross!). Celiac disease is the double bang, meaning you get a response similiar to a gluten sensitivity along with the gluten literally eating away at and destroying your intenstines.
With this being said, none of these are ideal situations and due to the possible reactions and severity of damage please know that we aren't being the biggest pain in your ass just because. We HATE needing to be that annoying person with all the dietary restrictions. The back and forth between the kitchen, waiter/waitress, and you at restaurants is dreaded and the awkward I can't eat anything here at parties is your worst nightmare.
Cross contamination is our greatest fear the paranoia regarding it comes from how often and easily it can happen. French fries are gluten free, right? Not after they were fried in the same fryer as your chicken fingers. "Just eat the ice cream off the top of my brownie" gluten transfers...that ice cream touched gluten and is now contaminated. This whole concept is accepted when it comes to peanut allergies but for whatever reason come gluten people think we are crazy and making things up. Why? Not a clue in this world, but one thing for certain is that it is very annoying and unfair.
With all of this being said, I would never understand why someone would choose to be on a gluten free diet just because. The fact that it is healthier is a myth. The majority of people need some gluten in their diet because it aids in the break down of food. Also, gluten free foods are significantly higher in sugars. They are higher in sugars to give the gluten free food more flavor. Also, the majority of people on a gluten free diet for health reasons don't lose weight. For example, if someone is affected by Celiac Disease, they are more likely than not malnourished while eating a diet containing gluten. Malnourished because the gluten prevents their body from taking in vitamins and nutrients necessary for growth and development. Therefore, once gluten is taken out of their diet, they begin to gain weight due to the proper digestion of nutrients and vitamins.
Bottom line: I don't enjoy being gluten free and dealing with all the nuisances that come along with it. Please utilize this article to educate yourself and understand that for many of us gluten really is a terrible thing. Oh, and here is a little shout out for all the restaurants and family members that put up with my gluten free diet, I know it can't possibly be easy.