OK, even though I’m gluten-free, I concede that there are many annoying gluten-free people out there. Unfortunately, it’s true.
I can say such a thing because I’m gluten-free. I’m not sure someone who isn’t gluten-free can say this without coming off as an insensitive bully. But because I’m gluten-free – and will be for life – I am standing up today and saying, “Yes, some gluten-free people are so unbelievably annoying. I wish they would please STOP!”
I don’t know if these gluten-free people mean to be annoying or if they just are.
Whatever they case, they totally get under my skin.
My husband reminds me to judge people favorably. I don’t know what’s going on in their lives or what it’s like to be them so I can’t judge their actions. I agree with judging people favorably and knowing that they are likely doing the best they can with the tools they’ve been given… but where my sympathy for them ends is when they begin to put my health and safety at risk.
Why Some Gluten-Free People Annoy Me
I’ve read a lot of articles about annoying gluten-free people ordering off the gluten-free menu and then ordering a beer to go along with their meal. Anyone who has spent time as a waiter in a restaurant could attest to this phenomenon.
But I’ve never actually seen such a fiasco… until recently.
A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a family-style lunch with a few gluten-free friends and few non-gluten-free friends.
The group of us that were gluten-free explained to the server that we are gluten-free and we asked him to take our request seriously when preparing our meals. The server said he understood that our gluten-free request was serious and he would communicate that to the chef.
When the food came, those of us who were gluten-free began to eat our dishes and the others began to eat theirs too. All the dishes were quite yummy.
But then IT happened…
One of my “gluten-free” friends decided it would be okay to take “just a bite” of one of the gluten-y dishes on the table.
“Wait,” I said. “That dish isn’t gluten-free!”
“It’s okay,” she told me. “It’s just a bite. It looks so good.”
I asked her, “But won’t you be sick?”
She replied, “Yes, I’ll pay for it later today, but it’s worth it.”
Really?? Worth it? Ug.
Worst of all, the waiter witnessed this exchange. I couldn’t help but wonder if he, too, thinks gluten-free people are annoying. I imagine he did in that moment because I was beyond annoyed with my friend. I also thought my friend was disrespectful to me and the process we went through to get safe gluten-free meals for our table.
My gluten-free faker friend raved about the dish so much that another one of my gluten-free faker friends decided to try it too… “Just a bite,” she said.
I was mortified at what was unraveling in front of me and in front of our server.
Ug. Ug. Ug.
This was the FIRST time I had witnessed first-hand just how annoying some gluten-free people (aka, gluten-free fakers) can be.
For me, being gluten-free is serious business. The gluten-free diet remains the only way to treat my diagnosed celiac disease and keep me symptom-free.
This disastrous lunch made me begin to wonder what others – especially servers – really think of my gluten-free diet. Do they think I’m a gluten-free faker too? Do they take my request for a safe, gluten-free meal seriously? Or do they question the seriousness of my request?
I began to have some serious doubts…
To Me, Being Gluten-Free is Not a Fad
A fad diet is one that many people try, usually in an effort to lose weight. Fad diets come and go. But for me, the gluten-free diet is no fad diet; rather, it’s a way of life. I have to be gluten-free for the rest of my life in order to stay healthy and symptom-free.
The honest truth is that a gluten-free diet is not a weight loss diet. Most gluten-free packaged foods are full of sugar and gluten-free white refined grains. Gluten-free bread is no better for you than regular bread, and a cookie is a cookie no matter if it’s gluten-free or not. For anyone going gluten-free for the purposes of losing weight, I hate to break it to you, it doesn’t work.
On the flip side of things, there are gluten-free people who say they have to be gluten-free for health reasons, which I totally get, but then so many of them are hardly serious about it. They cheat on their diet all the time. (My friend who “cheated” in front of me experiences symptom flare-ups all the time – no duh!) When you cheat on your gluten-free diet, you’re simply undoing every effort you’ve made to be gluten-free. Seriously. Undoing it all. So stop being gluten-free if you’re not going to take it seriously. It’s ruining it for those of us that need to be taken seriously each and every day.
I’m Sick of Begging
When I eat at a restaurant, I have to be firm about asking for a gluten-free meal if I want to be taken seriously. It shouldn’t be that way. I should be able to say, “No gluten please, I have celiac disease,” and the restaurant staff would know exactly what to do. But so many people are tossing around these exact words (even if they don’t have celiac disease) and then still sneaking in a bite of gluten on the side.
Because of this, I have to literally BEG servers to take me seriously.
I have to say things like, “I honestly need a gluten-free meal. I have celiac disease, I really do, and it’s a serious condition. No gluten can come in contact with my food. Please ask the chef to change his gloves and prepare my food on a clean surface. I’m not faking it. I really do need a gluten-free meal. Please take me seriously.”
Why do I always have to go through this spiel just to be taken seriously and get a safe, gluten-free meal? I know why… it’s because of those annoying gluten-free fakers!
Am I the Crazy One?
Even though I’m not a gluten-free faker, I can’t help but wonder if servers and restaurant staff think I’m just another one of those annoying gluten-free people. I also can’t help but wonder if my friends think I’m annoying too. I know they want me to have a safe meal, but one of my friends told me the other day that she feels sorry for restaurants when I test my food with my Nima Sensor, especially when I find gluten in my meals.
Wait a minute? She feels sorry for the restaurant? That seems so backward. I think she should feel sorry for me and my plight to get a safe, gluten-free meal, right?
I chalk this up to just another example of how people can’t help but see gluten-free diners as annoying. I get it. I often feel like a bother to my servers, and I really do hate asking for them to give me special treatment. The worst is when I have to engage in a difficult conversations with them if my Nima Sensor shows the message “Gluten Found.” It’s not fun. Seriously. Not. Fun. At. All.
I wish my friend felt sorry for me… not the restaurant!
Despite Appearances, I’m OK With Being Gluten-Free
Believe it or not, I’m okay with being gluten-free and standing up for myself when eating out. I’ve become a stronger and more assertive person, and I can only hope my efforts pave the way for safe dining for others who truly need a safe, cross contamination-free and gluten-free meal.
Of course I wish it wasn’t so hard, at times, to get a safe gluten-free meal. I wish I didn’t have to be so firm in order to be taken seriously.
Perhaps a few gluten-free fakers will read this article and think twice about sneaking a bite of gluten after declaring to their waiter that they have a “gluten allergy.” Here’s to wishful – and hopeful – thinking.