Living with Food Intolerances - Gluten-free is not a fad, stop ruining it!

I'm intolerant to gluten, dairy, soy and people who ask, "so what can you actually eat?" 

No I can't just have a bite. No it wouldn't be interesting to see what would happen to me if I ate that. I'll tell you what will happen, I'll spiral into a world of pain, bloating, digestive disaster, rashes and a whole list of other nasties. 

Living with food intolerances is becoming more common than not. It seems everyone and his dog is 'gluten-free' yet, despite it's prevalence, there's still a lack of understanding (read: empathy) around the issue. I blame the 'trend' - those people who claim to be gluten-free but will still take a bite of their friends burger at a restaurant because, FOMO. 'GLUTEN FREE DOESN'T MEAN 'HEALTHY' PEOPLE! 'Ok, I ate something.. the hangry is gone for now...

This whole 'gluten-free trend' is both a blessing and a curse for those of us with real intolerance's. On the one hand, there's more options out there but on the other, we're not taken seriously because it's perceived as just a trend. I once went to a cafe in Melbourne who had a special section of their menu listed as gluten-free. On that gluten-free menu I saw Vegemite on gluten-free bread with avocado. I asked the waiter, "where did you find gluten-free Vegemite?" His response, "Vegemite isn't gluten-free? Shit, I better change the menu". Just because the bread is gluten-free doesn't mean the dish is magically de-glutened! I also had an argument with the same cafe about goats cheese, which they claimed was not dairy (I'd asked for the dairy-free option), according to them I couldn't possibly have a problem with goats cheese because it comes from a goat not a cow. Don't argue with a person who is hungry and has food intolerance's, they will eat you. Needless to say I still shamelessly went back to that cafe, their coffee was dam good!

Living with real intolerances is a mind field! You never feel 'safe' when someone says 'oh yeah, it's gluten-free', in a very unconvincing tone. I can't tell you the amount of times I've asked for the gluten-free option on a menu only to have someone ask, 'is barley gluten?' But it's not the waitresses fault. She's probably one of those lucky people with an iron stomach who can eat all of the things (I hate her even more now) and has never had to think about it! This is why it's stressful as the intolerant person because people assume you are on a 'fad diet' and don't always take the necessary care to make sure you don't have a reaction (this is not always the case, there are of course loving caring places out there who take care of us with intolerances). 

So to all of you out there ordering the gluten-free bread with your smashed avo, don't be taking a bite of your friend's glutenous meal in front of the waiter after you made such a fuss about getting the gluten-free toast! You're making it harder for the rest of us to be taken seriously! 

End rant. 

About Em

Em is a yoga teacher, writer and health nerd. She is currently traveling around Europe learning about different foods, lifestyles and organic farming. She loves...

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