Hi there! Hopefully by now you’re full swing into your new eating habits, and at least surviving if not thriving yet. Congratulations on making it this far!
Today we’re going to talk about the one common group of people that you may have come up against already; the Non-Believers. They either just don’t believe that Gluten is a real thing, they can’t comprehend the seriousness of what you’re dealing with, or they choose not to care. This group can be diverse and ranges from “Stop Complaining, You’re Fine” to “I love you, but I don’t understand yet”.
To be honest, you will probably battle with somebody in this category for most of the rest of your life, especially when dealing with strangers. There are several ways to work through these obstacles:
· Printed Material – Some of our gluten free peers have chosen to design pre-printed materials to take with them into the general public. Anything from full-blown informational flyers copied from reputable sources to dining cards that explain how to safely cook for you, it may help some Non-Believers to read in hard print what you’re trying to explain to them verbally.
· Reputable Websites & Statistics – Direct your Non-Believing friends and family to reputable websites like Celiac.org and encourage them to do their own research…hearing what you’ve told them through somebody else’s story might help drive the point home. Informational graphics like “Early Diagnosis Lowers Chance for Developing Another Condition” (Celiac.org) are especially impactful. Knowing that I’m now 34% more likely to develop another autoimmune condition makes everything you’re telling folks a little bit more substantial.
· Watch the Fallout – At some point you may need to pull the “Watch This” card…some of my friends were supportive but fairly non-believing until they watched me get the migraines 5 days in a row and how much my belly bloated and distended when glutened. At that point, things got more real for them. :o)
· Don’t Give In – Above all, don’t give in to the peer pressure of “You’ll be fine, just have one bite.” Not only will one bite most likely effect you for longer than you’d like to endure, it’s also a slippery slope. Even if your gut doesn’t have a horrible reaction to this bite, that may encourage you to take more “one bites”, which at some point will lead to far worse health issues.
· Repeat Yourself – Sometimes, unfortunately, it may take telling certain people the same thing over, and over, and over. “No, I can’t eat that pizza because even though it says gluten free, it’s swiped along the same counter as the glutenous crusts. I’ll bring my own, thank you.” “No, I can’t eat at X Restaurant because they don’t even know what gluten is. I’ll eat before hand and have a drink with you.” “I’d love to go to Y Restaurant…they have amazing gluten free protocols and I know I’ll be safe there. Thank you so much!”
· Cut them Off – This is definitely a worst case scenario, but if there’s someone in your group that just can’t – or won’t – understand your new parameters and insists on pushing the boundaries of safety repeatedly, you may need to cut them out of your herd. This is terrible, but only you know what’s truly best for you…so follow your instincts and watch out for you first!