The Gluten Bigot: When Do I Out Myself as a Celiac / Gluten Intolerant

Monday, March 4, 2013

When Do I Out Myself as a Celiac / Gluten Intolerant

One of those fun things about being a gluten intolerant or celiac, is you encounter scenarios where you have to try to assess if someone 'needs to know' you gluten-bigoted health status. While most people around me are aware I can't have gluten, there are many people who are not. But how do you determine who needs to know and who does? Here's a few things to consider when sharing the information.

Not everyone needs to know about your diet
I mean that in the kindest way possible. But if you meet someone in a social situation and you find yourself going on and on about your gluten free diet, note they mightn't be interested - especially if you brought the topic up. Personally, I keep it quiet in those casual social situations by not bringing it up - unless someone is persistently trying to share some food item with me which I cannot eat. Most people who know me casually never learn that I am gluten free.

Who are they?
Your relationship with a person may impact who you tell. For example, your mom will probably need to know (so she can make you delicious GF dinners like my mom does). Your close friends will find out, even your casual friends. Your colleague may - in a previous job I kept my lunches in the fridge, and so no one would take them I marked them gluten free (very off putting for most awesomely enough if you work in an office with lunch snatchers). But you probably don't need to go out of your way to tell those that don't know you personally about your special requirements. 

Did they ask?
Most people will be very curious once they find out you're gluten intolerant or celiac, and will ask you all sorts of questions - but some won't. Be mindful of oversharing and on the flip side don't feel compelled to share details you are not comfortable sharing.

What about when I start dating someone?
This is probably the most awkward. If someone wants to have a romantic meal with you, you'll need to make sure it's gluten free. Sometimes this isn't as discrete as you'd like it to be if you, say, need to interrogate your server and send them back to the kitchen ten times to ask different questions. Be upfront that you have a special diet and suggest restaurants you know accommodate your needs. From there, it may come up naturally (maybe the server asks you), or you may need to go out of your way at some point. Also note that it is possible to be glutened by kissing - this seems to be critical information if you are on a date that is going well. 

Really, the choice to tell someone you are celiac or gluten intolerant is up to you and your comfort level. My best advise is to just try to avoid being the person the above comic is referring to :)

When do you out yourself as a celiac?

1 comment :

  1. I find it impossible to be in social situations without it somehow coming up... people talk about food way more than I ever realized before going gluten-free/vegan. I don't hover around the subjet...but i'd rather explain my allergies to gluten/dairy than have people wonder why I can never eat in most social situations and why I normally have to eat beforehand. It sucks, and a lot of people are not receptive to it at all, but I base how in depth i go with the subjet on their initial reaction.


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