Some things you find easy about life, someone with Coeliac Disease finds to be a right royal pain in the arse. Here are some things your coeliac friends wished you understood…
We hate being ‘that person’ at restaurants
If someone else got to choose the restaurant then odds are, your coeliac buddy will have to do the big “HI I’m a COELIAC what is GLUTEN FREE HERE” song and dance with the wait staff. If you’re a little bit shy then this is absolute torture. And even if you’re not, it still gets old quickly to have to do the “and um, how do you cook that? Yes but is there flour in it? In the oil? Can you check with the chef?” etc etc. We try to email or call ahead to see what’s an option (and thank you to those restaurants that mark GF options and put their menus online) but just know, this part of the meal often makes us cringe.
Sometimes we just can’t come out to play/are going to need to cancel short notice
Because stomach pain, and tiredness. But we’d love it if you came over and watched trashy films with us while we hug a hot water bottle and not really talk that much.
Sometimes symptoms happen without warning
I know half an hour ago we were laughing and joking but now I really feel like I’m going to throw up/need to barricade myself in a bathroom for an hour/go home and lie down and curse life. (Sorry!)
If you get really badly glutened, the recovery period can be long
Have you ever had stomach flu? Like how it completely wipes you out and you feel like you’ve never been this bone tired and empty and gross? It’s a lot like that. Except it goes on for weeks, if not months, and there are other ridiculous symptoms you can experience like rashes, brain fog (where...did I put...that thing...) and mouth ulcers.
We’re not just trying to lose weight
Honestly, you usually put actual weight on when you go gluten free and you start healing - this isn’t our latest attempt to drop a few pounds before getting in a bikini. Or some guff like that.
Hanging out options that don’t involve food are the absolute greatest
Because let’s face it, these are so rare. When you think of meeting up with someone, what’s your first thought? Maybe, “Let’s get brunch!”? Or “how about a coffee?” or “pub - yes?”. All these things are good, but to be honest, hanging out and not playing the stomach roulette is so great. Favourite non-food hang outs include: the cinema, going for walks, bowling, visiting city farms and actually just hanging out in front of the TV is perfect.
Work friends, we love it when you buy inclusive treats
Work birthdays: when it’s yours, it’s a bit embarrassing, but when it’s other people’s it’s often an excellent excuse for CAKE!
Ohp, but wait, that’s not usually on our menu. Except there’s a fair few great high street stores and supermarkets that do v. tasty cake that even the non-coeliacs will love. (May we point out that Marks and Spencers are particularly good in this area?) Anyway, those of our colleagues that think to buy something sweet we can partake in too – whether it’s popcorn or chocolate or actual GF cake – just know that you’re the greatest <3
(See also: fruit is not pudding_
As gfreeb points out every Christmas Party season: #fruitisnotapudding. Okay sometimes it’s great, but if you’re out having a special meal or people are celebrating with cake and you have a bowl of berries…? Sigh. (But pair those berries with some ice cream and we can talk).
and finally....we really appreciate you guys
Those friends and family members who don’t mind all of the above and don’t take it personally when you’re a bit rubbish or you have to hibernate or you need to cut an evening short…those friends who cook you delicious food (safely) and remember you can’t eat ‘x’ but you can have ‘y’, and never make you feel weird for it and the friends who text you about new gluten free restaurants or recipes… and basically treat it as a normal, boring part of who you are…we love you muchly. You’re the best.