My roommate and best friend has food issues so I’m super familiar with her need for a clean kitchen, a safe meal when she dines out and how it’s not a joke when she ingests gluten or dairy. Unfortunately, I think I might have hurt her feelings in the spirit of being “in the know.” We were with friends and I called her a “glutard.” It’s something I heard before and I thought she would think it was funny. Turns out, she did not.
I’m a guy in my junior year at the University of Texas, Austin. Everyone here gets what gluten-free is and I’ve managed to eat pretty well since starting school, despite having celiac disease. But after three years of navigating college life, I’m really, really, really, really tired of my friends throwing keggers. I know this is college. And sure, I bring a flask—but not only do I look weird, I’m still expected to chip in for the beer and pizza.
I have a new job in an office of about 30 people. They recognize everyone’s birthday with a big party that always involves cake. Since I’m gluten-free and dairy-free, I never join in. Yes, it’s a bit isolating but at the same time, I don’t really need to be eating cake two or more times a month. I’m pretty okay with this. But here’s the thing. My birthday is coming up and I’m wondering if I should just call in sick that day.
I’ve been living gluten-free and dairy/casein-free for the past five years and I feel a million times better. I’m lucky to have supportive friends and family in my journey to optimum health—mostly, that is. Since I’ve never been given an “official” diagnosis, people who first meet me (and if I’m being honest, some people I’ve known for years) tend to be skeptical that I really have something wrong with me. This is most frustrating at work when I’m having lunch with colleagues or potential clients.