Gluten and free: Two words that strike fear in the hearts of wait staff, hostesses, and elementary school teachers everywhere. As someone who didn't even know what gluten was, or that it was apparently the devil, my celiac diagnosis two years ago came as quite the shock. Imagine my surprise when I also found out that people freaking hate the gluten-free. Hate! Just wait for the comments below, and you'll totally see what I'm talking about.
While I may have the legit celiac disease -- an autoimmune response to gluten that causes your body to attack the villi in the small intestine -- those people who break out into a giant skin rash because of the gluten intolerance are just as worthy of being taken seriously when they ask for the gluten-free menu.
From gluten-free Gwyneth, to the "no substitutions" policy of farm-to-tables, to your horrible relatives who think you're faking it for attention, people who are gluten-free get a bad rap. Sure, I get it. We're annoying, what with our rice breads and tendency to engage in Cross Fit. But that's not me! I'm neither vegan, paleo, nor Cross Fit crazy. I'm just an incredibly irritated celiac who wants to leave my house without fear of crapping my pants.
Sure you can pick up my copy of Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, & Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free and learn how to deal with the most annoying disease in the world (at least according to assholes everywhere) or you can check out my handy dandy tips below on how to be the chill celiac. Hey, why not do both?
When dining out at your local bistro:
Asking the waiter, "When can I come into the kitchen and make sure the chef has washed his hands?"
Same waiter, different request: "I'm sorry that I'm the most high-maintenance patron you'll meet all night, but you see, I'm going to throw up on your shabby chic table if I ingest gluten."
While looking for something that won't kill you at the monthly office birthday celebration:
After the candles are blown out, announcing, "Hey guys, I hope you enjoy your caramel layer cake, but some of us -- ahem, ME -- could get cancer if we eat this delicious and decadent treat. Thanks for nothing!"
Let it slip to the office busy body that 1) your birthday is next month, and 2) there's a local bakery that makes amazing gluten-free cupcakes. Provide the address and flavor request and compliment his or her wardrobe every day leading up to the big event. (Warning: This might also get you a new girl/boyfriend.)
As you compile your online profile for Match.com:
"I love gluten-free baking classes, celiac disease meet-ups, and training chefs about the dangers of cross-contamination. *Wink*"
"I'm a super model rocket scientist."
When attending a dinner party of a new acquaintance:
Calling every day for a week prior to check (and double check, and triple check) the host's ingredient list, explaining, "I just want to be sure I can eat something."
Call and offer to bring your famous coq au vin/cauliflower gratin/chess pie. Just make sure you actually know how to make those gluten-free and "famous" for the right reasons.
See? You too can be a non-annoying, gluten-free type while still getting your gluten-free eat, drink, and lovin' on. And if all else fails, fuck 'em. Anyone who likes to spend their time attacking someone with an autoimmune disease that is painful enough, what with the lack of beer and giant soft pretzels in your diet, isn't worth a gluten-filled crap.
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