I wanted to dedicate a post to dispel some of the common myths around Coeliac Disease and a gluten free diet.
I’ve been a Coeliac for just over 2 years now and whilst ‘free from’ products are becoming more readily available in supermarkets, there is still a long way to go (in my opinion) in educating people with what Coeliac/ gluten free is all about.
So here goes…..
Myth 1: People assume gluten free means you can’t eat dairy products. I’m not sure how, but people seem to link gluten with dairy, here’s an example of a conversation that took place in an ice cream place recently: I asked “does any of the ice creams contain gluten?” Response “it’s ok we’ve replaced the milk with soya so it’s gluten free”……. I tried to ask what has the milk got to do with gluten, but this didn’t help.
Myth 2: Coeliac’s enjoy interrogating restaurant staff. I’ve become a bit of an expert of what questions to ask when ordering food in a restaurant, asking how its prepared and cooked. This can become a bit more of a challenge when there is no indication on the menu what food items are gluten free. It’s time consuming and I don’t enjoy these conversations.
Myth 3: “A little bit of gluten won’t hurt”Unfortunately for coeliac’s and gluten intolerant people this is a life long diet. Consuming gluten will make us sick – FACT!
Myth 4: Coeliac’s are fussy eaters. It may seem to onlookers in cafes, restaurants and shops that I’m a fussy eater: asking lots of questions, analysing labels and in the end ordering a plain jacket potato or chicken. This is due to the fact that these are probably the only items on the menu that are gluten free.
Myth 5: Gluten free will make you thin. No it’s not a weight loss programme or a fad diet. Gluten can be found in most processed food products, particulary sauces. My diet is more healthier since I’ve been gluten free and it feels good. It doesn’t mean I’ve lost weight since my diet started, but my stomach is no longer bloated.
Myth 6: Coeliac’s combust into a puff of smoke as soon as they consume gluten. The reaction for many Coeliac’s/gluten intolerant people come many hours after eating the offending item. So when a waiter/waitress asks “so how do you feel?” whilst in the middle of eating your meal at a restaurant is not a particulary helpful question. My normal response is “ask me in about 6 hours.”
Myth 7: “Gluten, that means you can’t eat bread and wheat.” And the rest… Barley and Rye also contain gluten, many sauces, all the range of Kellogs Cereals contain Barley that’s unsafe to eat for Coeliac’s. To be honest the list of food containing gluten is endless…..
Myth 8: Coeliac’s don’t get offended by people who don’t understand or choose not to acknowledge our diet. Or worse still eating places who don’t cater for Coeliac’s. Fact – we do (well I do). Picture this – you’re on a long journey, you’re hungry and you stop at the services which happens to be McDonald’s. You’re a Coeliac, it’s lunchtime – you’re starving – your choices – fries and house side salad…. Wow that’s going to fill me up (Not!). At least I can sit and drool over everyone else enjoying their food.
Anyway rant over! I’ve embraced gluten free living, I eat healthier (which can be a challenge on chemo days), but food is fuel and I’ve never been bloated since my change in diet (massive bonus!).
Couldn’t resist this one: