Everyone’s a Celiac Expert Now

Last weekend I met two guys in bars who said they were gluten free. A year ago I would have thought, “No way! SOULMATES!” Now I try to suppress the urge to roll my eyes, and then ask them something like, “Oh really? Do you have celiac disease? How long have you been gluten free?”

One guy’s response was, “Well, I’m gluten free…on Thursdays!

What are you even talking about, bro? Is that a joke?

Context: This guy was out at the bar for his high school reunion. Because the planning committee knew that he was “gluten free,” they actually brought Redbridge beer to the event for him. What was he drinking as he was blathering on about his “gluten free diet”? Bud Light.

So, that guy was obviously just a jerk. But, it’s an example of how nowadays it seems like everyone thinks that they’re an expert when it comes to celiac disease.

Typically I try not to make my celiac disease or diet a topic at bars or when meeting new people, because it’s kind of a downer and there are other things I’d like to talk about. But now that my job is all about food allergies, it usually gets brought up within the first five minutes of talking to someone, immediately following the “So, what do you do?” question.

Then I end up answering all kinds of questions about what I eat, what I can’t eat, when I was diagnosed, what I can drink, what I can’t drink, etc. Then I’m subject to whatever cliche or tired commentary this person wants to give me. News flash: just because you saw something on Dr. Oz doesn’t make you an expert.

Things like: “Did you know that Dominos has gluten free pizza now?”

Grr. That was like 9 months ago, and I would never eat it because of cross contamination. Thanks though…

Sometimes I think about what life will be like in 5-10 years. Will all of the trend eaters fade away and just let us live our celiac hermit lifestyle? Will so many people be gluten free that we can finally stop making it a topic of debate and bar conversation?

Until then I’m going to just grin and bear it, I guess.

Have you had any interactions with these gluten free wannabes? Dish!

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6 responses to “Everyone’s a Celiac Expert Now

  1. AHHHHH I totally feel the same way! It drives me crazy when people jump on the gluten-free bandwagon. It’s not a bandwagon people, it’s a disease that I will live with the rest of my life. And while it’s nice that more people are aware of it, their understanding is so misconstrued that it’s more detrimental than helpful (e.g. the Domino’s thing). It’s extremely frustrating.

  2. The worst is people who know a less vigilant Celiac, or who confuse Celiac/severe gluten intolerance with mild gluten intolerance and insist that I CAN have a tiny bite because their friend does all the time 😦

  3. I don’t have celiac diseae, but I haven’t eaten gluten in over a year after realizing I have a pretty bad intolerance to it and it would rip my stomach apart! When I gave up gluten I lost a lot of weight right away, and what bothered ME back then was when my friends would suddenly say they wanted to give up gluten for weight loss. It’s ridiculous. As soon as I started sampling all the delicious gluten free cakes and cookies, OBVIOUSLY some of the weight came back (but I hit the gym, so thankfully not all of it). But yes, it bothers me when people jump on the bandwagon for aesthetic purposes only.

  4. I’m newly diagnosed and I can’t imagine wanting or pretending to have this disease. It’s not fun at all. They bar guy and the beer is a perfect example of how people are confusing wheat/carbs with Celiac. So many people don’t seem to understand Celiac is much more than just giving up bread.

  5. I am fortunate in that I do not have Celiac’s, but I do have a pretty serious intolerance to gluten. I suffered for years not knowing the cause and underwent medical tests, scopes, prodding, poking… the nine. After they eliminated Chron’s, cancer, IBS, etc. it was left to me to try and pinpoint the cause of my middle-of-the-night struggles with abdominal pain so severe I would sweat, my general fatigue, a constant bloated-ness, and not being able to dine out with friends without needing a bathroom immediately after the meal.
    I suspected for a while that it could be gluten, after months of researching, but the lifestyle change seemed so daunting. Now, after being gluten free for almost 2 years, I have never felt more tuned in to my body and its needs. Not to mention I no longer suffer from the above mentioned symptoms.
    I guess the issue here is, yes, people often think it is a trend, but also that there are so many forms of gluten intolerance ranging from severe Celiac’s to mild discomfort. I feel as though my issue isn’t taken seriously, because I say “No, I don’t have Celiac’s, but I can’t have gluten.” Then that turns into a full-blown discussion. There have also been many times where I end up unintentionally “glutened” because of it; as we all know, that’s not a fun time.
    I do encounter the naysayers, the friends who ask me about going gluten free to lose weight, and the people who act annoyed or inconvenienced as though my condition is a choice. But I have also been able to help a couple people face that lifestyle change when they actually needed it by being open and talkative about the ways of gluten free. I guess its a catch 22.
    (Just adding to the conversation! I am glad I came across your blog.)

  6. I am fortunate in that I do not have Celiac’s, but I do have a pretty serious intolerance to gluten. I suffered for years not knowing the cause and underwent medical tests, scopes, prodding, poking… the nine. After they eliminated Chron’s, cancer, IBS, etc. it was left to me to try and pinpoint the cause of my middle-of-the-night struggles with abdominal pain so severe I would sweat, my general fatigue, a constant bloated-ness, and not being able to dine out with friends without needing a bathroom immediately after the meal.
    I suspected for a while that it could be gluten, after months of researching, but the lifestyle change seemed so daunting. Now, after being gluten free for almost 2 years, I have never felt more tuned in to my body and its needs. Not to mention I no longer suffer from the above mentioned symptoms.
    I guess the issue here is, yes, people often think it is a trend, but also that there are so many forms of gluten intolerance ranging from severe Celiac’s to mild discomfort. I feel as though my issue isn’t taken seriously, because I say “No, I don’t have Celiac’s, but I can’t have gluten.” Then that turns into a full-blown discussion. There have also been many times where I end up unintentionally “glutened” because of it; as we all know, that’s not a fun time.
    I do encounter the naysayers, the friends who ask me about going gluten free to lose weight, and the people who act annoyed or inconvenienced as though my condition is a choice. But I have also been able to help a couple people face that lifestyle change when they actually needed it by being open and talkative about the ways of gluten free. I guess its a catch 22.
    (Just adding to the conversation! I am glad I came across your blog.)

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