Gluten-Shaming

Have you ever personally felt victimized for being gluten-free? In a world where people are tarnishing the very words “gluten-free” with their weight loss fads, and their so called “health” it is becoming quite common to not be taken quite so seriously when you let someone know that you need the gluten-free option.

However, mention the world celiac or gluten intolerant and suddenly the person putting your dietary choices down starts to back peddle like they just saw a black bear in the woods. Managers are called out to tell you the nature of how they handle their gluten free orders and people are less snooty towards you. BUT should we have to do that to get some respect?

The answer is simple. No. I am gluten-free, take it or leave it.

This became a issue for me after a girls night out turned a little sour when the gluten-free girls couldn’t have fu-un. A delightfully ignorant Calgary radio show host was not overly accommodating of my auto-immune disorder. When the chance for myself and a friend to win flames tickets over a game of ‘flip cup’ took place, I immediately apologized, motioning towards the not so celiac friendly pints of beer for us to play with, and when asked why? We both smiled and said “Because we are gluten-free!” what came next shocked us both.

“That’s the most ridiculous thing, I have ever heard! Find somebody else to play!”

Uhh seriously? we are at a bar where they sell gluten-free beer and many other alcoholic beverages that are gluten-free and you basically told us to take a hike? How nice of you Krystal Stewart. I am sorry my celiac disease offended you so, that you were so outraged by my dietary restrictions…I guess flames fans aren’t gluten-free. How dare we ask for another beverage? I mean we really should have kept our mouths shut…that is as long as you were willing to hold our hair back later as our bodies spewed the gluten and life right out of us from both ends.

After being diagnosed celiac two years ago I had never felt so ashamed of my disease as I did that night, as well as sad about it. It is a luxury to feel normal when you aren’t and you did a damn fine job of making us feel about as valued as that gum attached to the bottom of the boots you were wearing. Ostracizing someone like your Regina George because you did not like their restrictions? Well honey, go back to high school and maybe re-evaluate how you treat those around you, because in a career like yours, words are everything and the wrong ones will put you out faster that anything. And despite how you embarrassed us, your mean spirited comment left me nothing but more motivated to show my celiac pride.

And to those reading this, maybe think twice before you judge someone. If I could consume gluten, I would. Words cannot express how badly I miss the Stampedes mini donuts and dome beer but sadly they kill me from the inside out. Do I deserve to sit on the side lines because of it? No. And that is why I blog and try to give gluten-free a voice. Fortunately from this experience i took away some an important life experience and enough gusto to write this blog post, to be able to say “Shove your draft beer up your a$%”

And for the record, I am a fantastic flip cup contender despite my dietary restrictions and if there is a next time I am not taking no for an answer.

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