‘Tis the season to talk about the Gluten Free Diet. Love it or hate it, this is the time of year people fondly refer to as The Holidays. For people with food allergies, intolerances and celiac disease the focus on food can be dreaded. The lack of awareness often surprising.
If the strategies you used last year left you feeling joyful, included and able to eat safe food at every occasion then you are in good shape for a worry free eating season. If not, you might want to try something different this year.
Goals For Talking About The Gluten Free Diet
Let’s be clear, it is NOT your job to change anyone’s mind. You actually can’t do it. And you don’t want anyone trying to change your mind either. But you can share your knowledge and opinions about a topic that affects you and your family…the topic of celiac disease and the gluten free diet.
Not everyone gets it. Not everyone wants to get it.
So this holiday season why not sprinkle some facts into the conversation at the dinner tables and buffet lines you find yourself in. Eventually this gluten free diet thing will be more widely understood…and some day the best choice for safe food everywhere will be more than a few raw carrots.
Conversation Starters For A Gluten Free Diet
These statements are written the way I would casually say them at the dinner table. I hope you will reword, revise and create some that are meaningful to you and are easy to share with family and friends. It is these conversations that will lead to a better understanding of celiac disease and the gluten free diet. Please add your own humour and sarcasm as appropriate.
- Celiac disease is not an allergy, it is an autoimmune disorder. That means my body attacks and damages its own tissues. Basically if I eat gluten I’m killing myself.
- Yes, some people ‘cheat’ by eating gluten. Not everyone with celiac disease has the stomach issues you think of as the main problem. Unfortunately it’s one of those situations where “what you don’t know will hurt you”.
- 1 in 133 people have celiac disease. In people with first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) who are celiac that increases to 1 in 22. That’s why all family members should get tested.
- Autoimmune what? An autoimmune disease is a problem where the immune system is not acting the way it is supposed to. Things like rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis and many others are autoimmune diseases.
- Any type of diet can be healthy or unhealthy. A steady diet of gluten free junk food and gluten free processed food can’t be healthy. But I think it is generally agreed upon that the North American diet includes too much processed carbs…that category includes a lot of gluten.
- Believe me, some days it seems like there is gluten in everything but really, many foods are gluten free. It is processed foods where you find gluten and it’s surprising how many foods we eat that are processed in some way. From simple raw meat with added spices to likely every jar in your fridge, there is an ingredient list that includes additives and preservatives that could include gluten.
- Why get tested? Undiagnosed and untreated celiac disease can lead to other autoimmune disorders, serious health problems and lost years of life. Do it for the health of it. #JustDoIt
Good luck to everyone eating out this holiday season. If you have a positive experience to share I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.