5 Things I Am Not Saying When I Tell You I’m Gluten Free

By Leanne Overlander | GF Information

Apr 21

gluten freeAssumptions, right or wrong, people make assumptions all the time.  In the case of Celiac Disease, this is no different.  Those who are uneducated on gluten and its effects on the bodies of people afflicted by this disease can be guilty making assumptions based on what they here in the media.  I want to clear up some of those assumptions and help raise awareness and educate others. Here are 5 things I am not saying when I tell you I am gluten free.

I am NOT judging what you eat. 

When I tell someone that I am gluten free, it is not to tell them that they are eating the wrong things.  I tell people I am gluten free to protect myself from eating foods that may make me sick and lead to further health issues later in life.  I believe people should have the right to eat whatever they want.  I have my opinions on what is best for me, but I cannot force those on anyone else.  What is right for one person is not always right for everyone.  So when you here someone say they are gluten free, please don't assume we are scoping out what you eat and secretly judging you.  We are not.assumptions  I am NOT asking you to switch to a gluten free lifestyle.

When I tell you I am gluten free, I am not trying to turn anyone to gluten free living.  I am not trying to persuade you away from your favorite foods.  Living a gluten free lifestyle is not easy and if it is not necessary, you shouldn't feel like you need to switch.  I do believe that there are many health issues beyond Celiac Disease that can be made better by living a gluten free lifestyle, but I only suggest it to those who are seeking alternative answers.  I will not push gluten free on anyone.

 I am NOT on a fad diet.

Celiac Disease is a very serious condition, not just a upset tummy disease, that requires strict dietary adherence to a gluten free diet in order to heal and remain healthy.  Celiac Disease is also known as a companion disease to other autoimmune diseases.  If I eat gluten containing foods,it can trigger other autoimmune diseases.  Beyond the risk of triggering other diseases or cancers, gluten changes who I am.  I feel psychotic, anxious, depressed, moody. I get brain fog and can't function as well.  I also get the typical intestinal issues, which diminish my quality of life.  Choosing to eat gluten free because you want to follow a trend and having to eat gluten free to save your life are two very different things.  Fad diets come and go, a gluten free lifestyle is for a lifetime.gave up gluten I am NOT asking you to cater to my food restrictions.

When I tell you I am gluten free, it is not for you to make sure you have something I can eat if I visit. I appreciate when my friends and family do have gluten free offerings, but I NEVER expect it. I still feel like a burden to them, because I am different and I always try to bring things for myself, because it is my issue not theirs.  I feel cared for when they try to understand what I need and make efforts to help me out.  

 I am NOT asking for your pity.

Although living a gluten free lifestyle can be challenging, I actually feel like it is a blessing.  There are many other people who are in tougher situations than me.  I am thankful that this can be managed in a fairly simple manner and a normal life can still be led.  There are so many I see who have so many struggles and hurdles to overcome and still cannot live a full life. I feel blessed my struggles are insignificant in comparison. I don't feel like being gluten free is a condemnation, I feel it has been liberating.

About the Author

Classically trained in Biology and Genetics at the University of Minnesota St. Paul Biological Sciences campus. Gluten free for more than 5 years.