As a celiac, or in my case, a mom to a celiac kiddo, you hear a lot of annoying things about food. Sometimes it’s about food you can eat, but often it’s about what you can’t.
While most people don’t mean any harm, sometimes harm is done regardless. Some comments make me cringe, others make me feel like this:
Most of the time I nod and smile, or change the subject, but neither of these coping mechanisms is very helpful. How will anyone figure out what’s offensive if you don’t tell them? It’s tricky though, because people get guarded (I know I do) when they’re called out about saying the “wrong” thing. I get it.
So let me try to make it easier. Here are my top 5 things NOT to say to a celiac, or in front of one, because let me tell you, those small ears hear everything.
Feel free to pass this list along to those who may need some (gentle) help. No judging here.
And now, here it is. The comment first, then my commentary. (You didn’t think I would have nothing to say in response, did you?)
- “I just had the most amazing cake/cookie/pizza/pasta … “
I’m sure you did. I can see it in my mind, and almost taste it. And so can my kid. This kind of careless statement could make a grown man cry. Especially my husband, if you’re talking about chocolate croissants.
- “Do you want to go to blah-blah restaurant? Oh wait, never mind. There’s nothing you can eat there.”
Thinking out loud is really the problem here, and perhaps this isn’t as upsetting if you’re a grown up. But to a kid, getting uninvited to a glutinous restaurant hurts. Probably better to check in with the parent out of earshot of small humans.
- “Wow, that cookie/cupcake/cracker/pizza/etc is really good … for gluten free.”
Ouch! Okay, so this may be true to you in the moment, but to us GF-ers – big shocker here – we may actually like the taste of our GF food in and of itself. So a comment like this reminds us that what we’re eating seems subpar to everyone else. Bottom line: You may not mean it to, but this comment sucks.
- “There’s so much gluten free stuff around now!”
Believe me when I say I’m grateful that my girl was diagnosed in 2011 and not 2001. Or earlier. The GF options nowadays are of better quality and quantity, BUT, that doesn’t necessarily make everyday life easy. Food is social, and so much of it is full of G. Like, for instance, bagels (see #5). And croissants (see #1).
- “Want to go out for bagels?”
Never. Ever. Say this to a celiac.
The bagel thing is just tragic. Seriously. I weep for gluten bagels, the ones I used to share with my girl and husband. The ones that are thick and chewy and melt in your mouth, as opposed to the pathetic GF ones that are really just crumbly wads of bread snaked into a giant puffy circle and then sold for (at least) 2 bucks a piece. Frozen. I don’t even buy them anymore. I think it’s possible that they got more disgusting.
So that’s all I’ve got for now. But I know there’s more. Please let me know what comments make your top 5.