Monday, March 30, 2015

It's NOT a Fad Diet...

I'm not ashamed to say that I've been Gluten Free for over 2 years. I may get crooked looks in the check out lane at the grocery store and I may be the butt of many jokes, but I give no shits. This isn't fucking cool to me. I didn't ask for this.

I'm kind of sick of all of the Gluten Free hate that goes on. Mind your own fucking business first of all. What the fuck does it really matter to you what I eat? Right. It doesn't. Next, it isn't a fad. I WILL NEVER be able to eat wheat, barley or rye AGAIN. EVER. I cannot cheat on my 'diet'. I'm not worried about getting fat if I have a piece of regular bread, I'm terrified of the sickness that ensues, and the damage done to my body that can take years to repair (if ever). Another thing, I find nothing cool about having to read every single label every single time I buy anything. There is nothing cool about paying $5-6 for a hard, tasteless loaf of bread half the size of a regular loaf. There is nothing fun about having to plan trips around where I can eat, loading up with GF snacks as back up, or having a granola bar when I'm fucking starving because there is no where that can hand me a piece of hot cooked anything without whisping wheat all over it first.

I have been at this over two years and I STILL accidentally buy glutened foods, I have accidently eaten gluten and, it SUCKS. When I say I'm Gluten Free I mean my kitchen has no gluten. My pots and pans have never had anything with gluten in them. My baking dishes and my cooking utensils. I replaced my entire kitchen.That's how fucking serious this is to me. Does that sink in at all? It's not just about the loaf of bread... it's about the crumbs too. I cannot put the stuff in my body or my body attacks itself. It's not a hip little game for me.

I have to be careful what spices I use. I have to check EVERY item I buy... including frozen broccoli... YEP, Wal-Mart's frozen veggies may contain wheat... seriously...why?! Honestly, I'm not too bummed because I hate shopping there anyway... but I HAVE to, because they have a tiny little GF section where I can buy flour and pasta and cereal. Sure there are other places for me to shop, and I do, but they are 30 minutes away so it's not always practical for me to make a trip... so I end up at Wal-Mart. This Gluten Free living thing sound like a blast yet?

I'm not saying it's the worst. I get by. In fact, I'm doing very well with it. It's rarely, if ever, an actual problem. I gained weight when I went GF. Want to read that one again? Yes. GAINED. You see, I was malnourished because of eating gluten. I could eat all day, but my body wasn't getting nutrients from food because gluten has damaged my intestines. I was starving to death, very slowly, shoving food in my face daily. Not every Celiac gains after going GF, some lose... we are all different. Our reactions to gluten differ as well. But, it doesn't make it any less serious.

Having people around you not 'getting' it can really suck. My brother once told me he'd rather eat rat poison than eat $5 burgers (I was telling him that I could eat at Five Guys Burgers and Fries*). Luckily for me, I really don't give a shit what he thinks. The day I take health advice from him will be a cold day in hell. It's just the fact that he didn't seem to realize that for me eating gluten IS like eating rat poison... and no one would ever knowingly make that choice.

The ignorant posts online taking a stab at Celiacs for needing GF soaps and lotions and such really piss me off. 'Oh, no... I realize for some people this is needed, but I just hate these hipsters who jump on the bandwagon and drive the prices up for you guys.' No... you don't give a shit about Celiacs or the prices we pay for anything. You don't fucking take this shit seriously like I have no choice but to. You have no idea that for some people gluten causes crazy rashes and open sores. It never crossed your mind that we may actually be allergic to gluten because you're so fucking dead set we are playing some hipster diet fad game like... oh I don't know... the juicing craze... or the southbeach diet... or your stupid fun 'addiction' to wine, or coffee, or bacon. No... going gluten free takes a fucking commitment a lot of people are incapable of comprehending until it is forced onto them. It's not a group we are aching to belong to, but once in it we seek each other out because the people around us are absent minded assholes who think we are full of shit... until they see us sick from being glutened. Even then, it's still hard to get it if you don't have it.

I love how irritated people get because I need a soap without gluten in it, but no one stops to question why gluten is in soap in the first place. Why is that not a problem? Why is there random useless shit in everything we buy? I understand that beer can be a great hair rinse... so if it's on purpose I get that. But, why do so many products potentially contain allergens for no good reason? It's really bizarre to me and I don't just mean gluten. I read a year or so ago about a laundry soap that had peanuts in it for no reason. That's a serious fucking allergy, let's put it in soap that lingers on skin all day. What is that about? Let's be honest, if your kid had a peanut allergy... would you really consider checking your soaps ingredients for peanuts? Probably not.

I'm one of those whose skin is effected by gluten. Years ago my legs looked like they belonged to a crack whore. Straight up. I am rarely ashamed or embarrassed, (it's just my personality-lucky me!) but I would not show my legs because of how bad they looked. The sores just would not stop, and scabs. It was nuts. I had no idea what I was doing to make them appear, and stay. I stopped using products... lotions, soaps, anything because I knew it had to be an allergy. I make my own bathing products and while it slightly improved, those sores didn't go away until I stopped eating gluten. I'm still not walking around in shorty shorts (I'm oddly slightly modest when I leave my castle) but I'm no longer self conscious of my legs.

While I have mostly lived my GF journey without shame and embarrassment I have had my downs. Mostly, I have become more aware of the shame other people want to force on those of us with allergies... and chronic illness. I wonder if experiencing chronic pain and illness years before developing Celiac Disease helped to toughen my skin. I'm used to people not caring, or believing me, or giving a shit... and I just keep on keepin on because... Fuck them.

I stood in line at Aldi a few weeks ago with my one box of liveGfree Gluten Free Cocoa Loco Baked Chewy Bars . The lady behind me was showing me these adorable sprinkles she bought for a school ice cream party. She loved them so much, and really... they were cute. Then she said something like 'even if they don't like them, they'll have to do because you can't send anything to school anymore these days... because of peanuts and all of that'. She was super snotty about it, and it just made it's way right under my skin. I kept smiling and said, 'I can only imagine how much having a deadly allergy must suck for a kid.' That shut her right up. Had she never considered that? I don't suppose most people do. Carry on about the inconvenience of finding an allergen free snack ONCE... when this kid and it's mom have that inconvenience EVERY time they buy ANYTHING. So get over yourself you lucky non allergic jerk face. Stop shaming people for something they cannot control. Especially a kid. We aren't choosing to be difficult. It's not fun for anyone, and honestly we really do hate to be such a bother to you.

I go on mini rampages every now and then when some 'funny' little stab at Celiacs comes about. I have a sense of humor. I can laugh at this. I HAVE to laugh at this or I'd go crazy. But, sometimes the fact that people are just uneducated, hating little pricks just sends me over edge.

*While I can technically eat at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, I rarely do anymore. If I'm really hungry I may stop in for fries if they are slow, I tell them about my allergy- ask them to change gloves- and watch like a hawk. I have been glutened from them and so now am very weary. There is an older woman who works at the one I go to, if she is there I am much more likely to order a burger. She takes my allergy seriously.

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