As part of Foster Farm's participation in Celiac awareness month this November, though, I'd like to paint a different picture of gluten free celiacs like me. I want people to know:
|Some of the faces of celiac (thanks to Gluten Dude!)|
I didn't choose the celiac swag life. It chose me. So don't bother saying "how delectable" that freshly baked croissant you're eating tastes and offer me a bite. I'd love to eat it, but I'll always choose to love living more.
Some celiacs are underweight. Some are overweight. Some are "normal." So don't assume that celiac would make you skinny - or that someone must be skinny to have celiac.
Just because something is gluten free doesn't mean I want to eat it. Thank you for buying those gluten free, triple-X-spicy chips at the store. I appreciate you thinking of me. But I'm not a spicy chip kind of gal. Just like you might not be a gluten-filled-cinnamon-roll kind of guy.
In the same course of thought, don't be offended if I don't eat something you promise is "gluten free." It could have been cross contaminated by other eaters or even the dish it was cooked in; it could be produced in factory with wheat; it could contain another ingredient I'm "sensitive" to (like dairy) and choose to avoid. Being nice isn't worth risking my health - or ruining everyone's night by getting sick!
I don't mind people around me eating gluten. Heck, I encourage it! As I always tell my friends or family who feel guilty about eating some delicious gluten-stuffed concoction nearby: " If you can enjoy it, please do! And take a bite for me!"
If I do go with you to a restaurant I trust with gluten free meals, you better bet I'm going to order enough for leftovers! Eating out is a treat for those with food allergies and I, for one, love making the most of it. (So yes, Chipotle, I know that guac is extra and I still want it!)
|A few of my favorite restaurant meals!|
When I'm glutened, the best thing you can do is give me a hug, lay on the couch or bed with me watching Netflix, or ask if you can do anything to help. Even if I just need to let my body do its thing to recover, empathy never hurts.
Finally, if you're the friend or a loved one of someone with a celiac, we don't require much.
You don't need to know everything about celiac - though we welcome questions and love that you care enough to learn more!
You don't need to constantly share ways that we can be "cured" from celiac disease or related stomach troubles. Likely, our Internet browser already houses more "celiac" searches than you can count. Diet is a personal choice - and while occasional suggestions of changes to make aren't bad, we know best what works for our body.
You don't need to treat us differently than anyone else - we love being "normal" for once!
I can't control what people think when they see or meet me for the first time - or what stereotypes I may seem to fit. With some help from Foster Farms, though, I can influence what they think of Casey the Celiac.
I can spread the word that people with celiac disease are unique in appearance and dietary preferences. That we are united by genes that turn eating gluten into a death sentence - triggered by chance, not choice.
Mainly? That we are more than just our celiac disease. And we love the people who realize and embrace that.
What do you want people to know about celiac disease? Comment below!