Last weekend Ash and I went to Byron Bay to celebrate our anniversary, which you can read all about here. If you read the post you will know that I accidentally ate gluten. Sad face.
They did tell me the food was vegan and gluten free, and I left it there and trusted them. I do think this was mostly my fault as I should have been more clear on the severity of my allergy/intolerance/reaction, and done a lot more follow up questions about if they include, oats, barley or any ingredients that have gluten etc.
I’m not sure exactly what it was on my plate that made me sick, and I don’t really want to analyse it and obsess over it. It happened, and I won’t eat there again.
But this was a really big lesson for me to stick to my guns and follow my intuition. I know I should have asked more questions, and probably found a safer place to eat.
When we are out with family and friends, I always refuse to eat, and I never eat at a restaurant unless its a raw one where I know its safe. This does make for some awkward situations, more so for other people than for me. And I do feel like other people at the table think I am being dramatic, over the top and do it for attention. Although, this could just be me and my insecurity about the situation. I am working on that too!
I have been wondering lately whether I should loosen up a bit and try ordering simple vegetable dishes when we are out. But this reminds me exactly why I don’t do that, and that I really need to follow my gut (no pun intended) and be even more careful.
Do I wish I could eat at restaurants like a normal person? Yep, absolutely!
Is it worth being so sick I need to be in bed for 2 days and will still be feeling the ramifications weeks (or months) later? Hell no!
And thats the part people don’t see. Which is exactly why I can’t let other people decide what’s okay for me.
Having celiac, or any food allergy is a life long lesson in being strong, both in will to not eat the food, and with other people when they get uncomfortable and pushy. Remember, it is their fear of being different that makes them not deal with your situation well, and nothing to do with you as a person. Embrace being different! It’s the only choice any of us has. There is no normal. So go with it, and be a bit weird. I think its fun to be the one who chugs that ‘weird green stuff’ every day!
All of that said, my really close family members who I spend a lot of time with completely get it. They respect it when I say no, and they no longer try and force the situation to be what makes them comfortable. I think this has a lot to do with how I approached it. When they first found out about the celiac, they would always say how bad they felt that I wasn’t eating and suggest things for me to eat, but I would immediately say ‘it’s totally okay, I’m fine with it, don’t worry about me’.
Behind the scenes it was a bit upsetting, I did feel left out and wasn’t totally okay with. But letting them feel sorry for me would have only made it worse. Now I am fine with it, and it hardly gets mentioned.
And Ash has been the one who has really helped me get through the transition. He knows I hate it when anyone makes a big deal about it (even him), so he just does what he can to make it easy for me, defends me when people get freaked out about it, and listens to me whinge behind closed doors about feeling left out. What a champ.
Some family members and friends who I don’t spend as much time with still make a big deal out of it and bring lots of attention to the fact that I’m not eating, and they probably always will. Some do it out of love and some do it because it makes them really uncomfortable.
Some have even stopped inviting us over for dinner – which is fine and I don’t let anyone cook for me anyway. I said yes a few times, got sick every time and learn the hard way that its just not gonna happen. I’m okay with sitting there and not eating, but sadly other people usually aren’t and its just too uncomfortable for them, which results in Ash and I not being invited over at all and seeing less of those people. Which is fine - the only persons attitude and behaviour you can control is your own.
So I choose to not make a big deal out of it, be extremely grateful for those who accept me as I am, and remember that those who are uncomfortable with it are coming from a place of fear and I send them love.
How do you deal with people being uncomfortable with your food allergies/intolerances? Do you have some awesome supportive people who help you get through it? Give us some tips!