9 Things People With Celiac Disease Wish Loved Ones Would Say More Often

Even though celiac awareness is thankfully higher than it used to be, people still often misunderstand how serious celiac disease is and how strict we have to be with our gluten free diet. Sometimes, even family members and friends can be unsure of how to support loved ones with celiac disease.

9 Things People With Celiac Disease Wish Loved Ones Would Say More Often

Which is, of course, where this post comes in! Inspired by The Mighty's post, "15 Things People With Fibromyalgia Wish Their Loved Ones Said More Often," I decided to share 9 things that people can do to support loved ones with celiac disease. So if you know someone with celiac and need help knowing the right words to say...here's a guide. And if you have celiac disease and want more support but don't know what to ask for, here are some good places to start.

1. "Your diet's no big deal. Promise."

Eating gluten free is easier than it used to be. However, it still takes planning and research and just plain effort to live safely with celiac disease. So it's super reassuring to be told that my loved ones don't mind the extra work that is often involved in me eating out or finding safe gluten free beauty products.

2. "How are you feeling? Really?"

Because living with chronic illness means how you feel can change a lot even in one day. So it's awesome when people check in with how we're doing and really want an answer.

9 Things People With Celiac Disease Wish Loved Ones Would Say More Often
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3. "That looks really tasty. Can you show me how you make it sometime?"

This comment is awesome because 1) it acknowledges that gluten free food can actually be dang delicious, despite its commonly "gross" reputation, and 2) it sets up a fun activity we can do together sometime in the future. A win/win since everyone gets to enjoy some very yummy food in the end. ;)

4. "I know you need to eat gluten free and there probably won't be many options at *insert social activity here.* Anything I can do to help?"

Because, yeah, sometimes socializing can be really awkward when you have dietary restrictions from food allergies or celiac disease. So it's awesome when people offer to have a gluten free section of the party table or tell us what will be served so we can bring a gluten free version to the event. And even if there isn't anything other people can do to help...the offer is always appreciated!

9 Things People With Celiac Disease Wish Loved Ones Would Say More Often

5. "Having celiac must be really hard sometimes."

Now, it is totally possible to have celiac disease and enjoy a freakin' ammmazing life. But there are bad days. Days when we get glutened or just really wish we could just have a plain slice of regular pizza. And although it can be hard to understand the hard parts of living with celiac disease without personally having it, it makes a difference when people openly try.

6. "I know you have to be careful with what you eat." 

Like fibromyalgia, celiac disease is an invisible illness, and sometimes that makes it easier for people to discount the seriousness of our condition or our need for a 100% gluten free, cross-contamination free diet. So to the people who understand that we can't just have "one bite" or pick the toppings off a gluten-filled pizza...props to you!

9 Things People With Celiac Disease Wish Loved Ones Would Say More Often
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7. "Why don't we go somewhere with gluten free options?"

Because, I mean...who doesn't love people who don't mind going where we can ALL eat?

8. "Don't feel guilty for your gluten free diet. It's not your fault."

Even though it's been over five years since my celiac disease diagnosis, I still sometimes find myself feeling embarrassed, ashamed or even guilty for the accommodations I need to eat healthfully. In fact, I've apologized to my boyfriend for needing to eat at certain restaurants or asking him to brush his teeth after he eats gluten and before he kisses me more times than I can count. But each time, this comment has been his response. And these two sentences can really mean the world.

9. "I love you. All of you."

Celiac and gluten free diet, included.

9 Things People With Celiac Disease Wish Loved Ones Would Say More Often
Me at the first annual Gluten Free Teen Summit

The Bottom Line of Supporting Loved Ones with Celiac Disease

Sometimes, it's hard to know what to say or do to help someone with a chronic illness like celiac disease. As all of these bullets hopefully show, though, the feelings behind the words are even more powerful than those particular phrases. And what feeling do all of these comments have in common? Understanding. Compassion. Empathy.

So if you know someone with celiac disease and sometimes find yourself at a loss for words...these are a few solid phrases to start with. And if you have celiac disease and need some extra TLC - well, just read this post and imagine me saying every single one of these lines to you. Because if you ever need a cheerleader or someone to have your back, you know I'm here to help!



What is one of the most comforting or supportive comments someone has ever made about your chronic illness, or that you've ever made to a chronically ill loved one? Tell me in the comments!

Comments

  1. Thank you for this! Now, if we could only make everyone who doesn't have celiac disease read it ...

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  2. Thanks for this blog! My 10 year old little cousin is being tested for Celiac. She was put on a Gluten free diet about a month ago. It's been a challenge to say the least.

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