I started typing a status on Facebook and as I typed my second paragraph, I realized that I was in the wrong forum. Remembering that it has been months since I've blogged, I decided to come back blogger and deliver a post. So, hello blogging friends- here I am.
My status on Facebook had to do with a recent phone conversation I had with a local Thai restaurant. I called said restaurant to see if they had gluten free, vegan options. After the guy on the other end explained that they had options for me, he wanted to know why gluten free was the new fad like no MSG was years ago. He preceded to tell me that soon people will abandon gluten free for another fad. As he was speaking, I could hear my heart racing and adrenaline pumping through my body. All I could think was "WTF!! This isn't a fad for me!"
After he was finished speaking, I took a deep breath and calmly explained to him while it might be a fad for some people, those of us that have Celiac Disease have to eat gluten free for the rest of our lives. I explained how I would get "very sick" if I consumed gluten. I said that what I have is an autoimmune disorder and that I have to follow a strict gluten free diet for the rest of my life (even when I say it aloud I think "WHAT THE HELL!"). I could not tell if he did not believe me or if it was the language barrier, but he wanted to keep talking about the new thing that doctors will discover next and tell people not to consume. Again, I calmly explained that the new fad did not matter to me as gluten free (and veganism) will be a part of my life for the rest of my life.
There is an obvious need for education, especially in the restaurant industry. While this diet may be a fad for some people, it cannot be a fad for me- unless I want to cut my life short. I get frustrated when I meet people who follow the diet halfheartedly as it makes others think that there can be exceptions. Well, good for them, but I cannot make exceptions. Don't get me wrong, I have wanted to make exceptions. There have been several times where I have considered the possibility, then I remind myself of the long-term consequences and I come to the same conclusion. It is not worth it!
So, I ask you this to all of you who follow a gluten free diet -- if you are going to stray from it, please do it discretely. Please do not allow others to think that all gluten freers can make exceptions. In a couple of years you might be back to your old way of eating, but I will not. I'll still be following a gluten free diet because I have to a a vegan diet for the animals and environment.