Well, today I had a much more light-hearted blog post planned (all about my favorite pool floats!) but then I saw this over on Elle’s Instagram and became so enraged I had to vent (and reading through many of the comments I’m not alone).
I will preface this by saying I’m sure the person who created it and posted it meant no harm (but that caption, “We all have that friend . . . ” is the WORST), so here’s why I
still feel like slapping said person(s). Just kidding, violence is never the answer, but a virtual bitch slap? Feels so good. thought this was a good opportunity to open up the dialogue.
Listen, I get it. So many people are “gluten-free” as a fad diet. But then there are the rest of us. Those who struggle with feeling like we are isolated and live in a bubble – not by choice — but because something as stupid as gluten, the protein found in wheat and barley, as well as hidden in TONS of foods you would never suspect, literally decimates our insides, poisons our bodies and brains, making it impossible to absorb nutrients, which not only causes major digestive distress, but neurological problems. Not to mention feeling sad AF sometimes not only emotionally because it’s an effing challenge to figure out what to eat, but feeling like we live in our own bubble because we literally can’t eat out AT ALL due to cross-contamination issues (it only takes 1/8 of a teaspoon of gluten to set off a reaction). Oh and because over 90% of serotonin is found in the gut, and that gut is now one leaky gut, which means often we have depression and anxiety on top of it.
It’s the same as making fun of anyone with any auto-immune disease or any disease period. Would you make fun of a diabetic person who can’t eat a cupcake? Or someone with a peanut allergy who will go into anaphylactic shock and die if they eat peanut butter?
My name is no.
My sign is no.
My number is no.
You need to let it go.
But something about our culture here in America permits this. I say in America because other countries like Italy, France and Australia are lightyears ahead of the curve in understanding and diagnosing Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, and restaurant employees are trained in how to deal with it. In those countries, diagnosis happens in under one year. Here in the US? It takes 10+ years to get a proper diagnosis. That’s TEN YEARS of needless suffering, harm to your body, and being told you’re crazy. Or in my case, 20 years. TWENTY YEARS.
The struggle is real. And the bubble is real. Trust me, I feel it all the time.
I feel it when I walk through a grocery store, starving yet again, staring aimlessly trying to figure out what I can eat. I’m hungry right now for the record.
I feel it when I’m invited to a friend’s house for dinner and the only way I can say yes and safely not get sick is if I bring my own meal.
I feel it when I’m invited to a blogger lunch with someone I admire and have to choose between risking not eating anything at all and being whispered about as someone with an eating disorder (again, nothing to be gossiped about), or coming across as high-maintenance because I have to explain to the waiter repeatedly that I need the salad completely dry, no dressing, no spices, and that I have Celiac disease which means I can’t eat wheat (or dairy or corn – yup) and then hope and pray he understands and listens, only to then be delivered a salad that visibly has something on it, and when I confirm again and he swears no, no, no nothing is on it, only to then take a bite and immediately taste vinegar, vinegar that if it is made from apple cider is fine, but if it’s made from grain will literally keep me in bed for THREE WEEKS (turns out the tomatoes were marinated in something).
So, do I think this is funny?
Okay, rant over.
I’ve been meaning to share more about this for, well, ever, so I guess there’s no time like the present.
Are you Celiac or gluten-intolerant? Know someone who is? Give them a hug, okay?
p.s. If you think you may have Celiac disease or gluten-intolerance, and if like me you have Hashimoto’s or thyroid problems or any auto-immune disease for that matter which also means you can not eat gluten, this blog post may help. I also highly recommend the book Jennifer’s Way by actress and Celiac-sufferer Jennifer Esposito (or this video) for anyone with any of the aforementioned and to anyone who loves anyone with the aforementioned.
p.p.s. Read this.
p.p.p.s. Next up, those pool floats…
Update: As of May 25th, Elle removed the comic from their Instagram feed. I’ve yet to see an apology posted anywhere, other than by the creator of the comic itself which was only in the comments of that post, which is appreciated. But Elle, what the hell?
Keep in touch!