Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gluten comes from wheat in case you forgot (again)

Something I don’t write about very often is celiac disease.
It is pretty simple if you ask me. Avoid gluten. 'nuff said?

Gluten is in wheat barley and rye. It's a protein. When someone with celiac consumes it, it destroys the lining of the small intestine and makes absorbing nutrients difficult. Our bodies react negatively to the presence of gluten. It often causes all sorts of GI symptoms. Gas, bloating, nausea and diarrhea. Lovely right? It helps that I am "down" with farting and pooping so this stuff doesn't embarrass me.

Sometimes I can cheat with a bite here or a lick there. Sometimes I get symptoms right away and sometimes it takes days. It is not an allergy or a sensitivity (OR a fad diet thankyouverymuch). It's more like a dysfunction. It's an auto-immune disease much like diabetes. People with diabetes are far more likely to have celiac than people without. There's your very basic explanation from the encyclopedia of Scully. No googling required and please don't quote me.

Here:     GLUTEN = BAD

Gluten+me = (even more than usual) gassy and pukey

I don't eat gluten. It's pretty simple. You don't have to remember that gluten is also in barley and rye. It's in soy sauce and Rice Crispies. That's a bit advanced and more than I expect you to remember. However, to remember that anything with wheat in it is off limits is not that hard, is it? Wheat, flour.. it's kind of a main ingredient.

In an office lunch meeting:
Pizza comes around and I'm trapped in the room in which I usually escape from when food comes out. I'd rather avoid the questions. Plates go around, napkins get passed. I get the looks as I pass it on by. I can feel the onslaught of questions. When are these people ever going to remember? When are they going to stop passing judgement? I mean, how long have they known me? Long enough one would think to remember I can't eat gluten. It’s not a choice. Guess what? I LOVE pizza and cookies just as much as the next person.

Person 1: “Oh right, you don't eat this stuff, it's not healthy.”
Person 2: “Look, we got a vegetarian pizza so you can have some!”
Me: “It's not the pizza it's the gluten I can't have.”

The curious looks of complete confusion washes across the room as if this is the first time they've heard of this.

Me (trying to contain my bitchtude): “It has flour in it. I can't have flour because it has gluten in it.”

Cue silence, crickets and glazed over looks of everybody trying to figure out what the eff gluten is.


I know I'm complicated but is it that hard to just put forth a bit of effort to remember that I have celiac and diabetes?

Other times: Someone inevitably comes around to tell me there are doughnuts or cookies in the lunch room. Now, I wouldn't eat a doughnut even if I could eat gluten because it's just not worth the havoc it wrecks on my BG. I also wouldn't eat a doughnut because yes, I am a health nut and my will power consists of all or nothing. Thirdly, doughnuts are made with FLOUR.

They usually say first: “Oh I know you can't have one because of your diabetes.” As they go to offer me one and then quickly rescind. I usually respond with: “No, I COULD have one, I just take more insulin for it. However, I can't because it has gluten in it.”

Followed by the poor you “look”.

I tell ya, half the reason it bothers me is because I know it's coming. I don't want pity from you. It doesn't bother me that I can't have the stuff, I'm sorry it bothers you.

I don't know, sometimes I just feel like I confuse people too much. With the diabetes comes the pre-conceived thoughts of what I CAN and CAN'T have. With celiac nobody ever seems to remember the simple fact that flour comes from wheat and contains gluten.

I don't expect you to remember when my birthday is or what my boyfriend's name is. But could you please remember I have celiac and I can't eat gluten? 


  1. I don't want to let your coworkers off the hook--because they spend a lot more time with you than I do--but I have to confess that I sometimes forget about your dietary restrictions when it comes around to offering food. Like that time I gave you some delicious cheese after you stopped eating dairy. Oops! Sorry.

  2. Sometimes I'm tempted just to agree with the nonsense reasoning as long as the basic premise comes across.

    "Yes, you're right. I don't eat jellybeans because I'm bald. But sometimes, especially if I haven't shaved in a few days, it's OK". Conversation over. Next topic.

    The more asinine the theory, the less likely they are to spread it, but they just might get the picture.

  3. It is like you just took the thoughts right out of my head. I too get the same comments day after day. I have thought about getting little cards made that I will start handing out to people everytime we have food at work. The thing I hate the most...the look of pity. We don't need pity, just some understanding! Good post.

  4. I love this.."ooh ya you cant eat that right?" to which i respond "yes i can. the only thing i cant eat is poison. oh and (insert food) made with poison." you could just say flour instead of poison and that may make it easier for them. or just hand them their card....

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  5. okay my comment may have been a little harsh, but geez folks, common, use your head. it's not that hard to remember that the person you work with, see everyday, have known for a while now, has a condition that does not require your pity, only your understanding!!

  6. I can't even imagine how frustrating that must be for you. Seriously. I get annoyed enough with the diabetes comments.

    I am glad for friends like you who teach me about different things, like celiac. I'm thankful that you share because it will help me in the future if I run into someone else living with celiac. I know that's not much consolation, but I wanted to tell you anyway. :)

  7. My little sis has a gluten allergy so I get it. Right down to having a separate cutting board so I don't cross contaminate when I make dinner for her and the rest of my family.

    I have a question about the lingo though. Are YOU celiac or do you HAVE celiac? I always thought that you have celiac disease or you are celiac (kinda like you have diabetes or you're a diabetic). In your post you said that have celiac so I'm confused...

    I solemnly swear to only offer you fruit and larabars when you come over and I promise to only serve you gluten free soy sauce (a bottle of which I happen to have in my fridge) and Mary's crackers because they're just so darn tasty!

  8. stupid people suck

    that is all

    oh, no, it's not...wondering if symptoms start with 'just' a bad tummy ache and not the other GI issues...Bean's having really bad tummy aches that just started and I'm trying to figure them out because there aren't any other 'sick' symptoms.


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