Have you ever been served a dish that you were told was gluten-free, but really wasn’t?
Case in point:
A lovely woman I met through my local cooking classes (we’ll call her Anna) told me that her sister made her a special gluten-free cheesecake and served her a slice to try. Upon closely examining the slice of cheesecake, Anna discovered that there was a crust on the bottom and inquired what exactly it was made of.
“Oh, just graham crackers, but you can eat the rest!“
No, Anna can’t “eat the rest.”
Anna can’t eat the entire cheesecake because she has celiac disease (and even if she didn’t, this rule still applies to anyone with a sensitivity or who is avoiding gluten). Once you add gluten into a recipe, even if it bakes on the side or the bottom, or you add wheat croutons or breadcrumbs to the top, nothing in the entire dish is gluten-free anymore. Nothing.
You can’t “pick around the gluten” and be fine. You can’t eat what’s on top and figure it’s okay.
Everything is contaminated and you will get sick.
If you’ve got a family member or friend who doesn’t believe you, email them this post right now!
And if you’re someone reading this who hasn’t taken someone in your life seriously about eating gluten-free and has figured “it’s not a lot of gluten, it won’t bother them”, it will. You are making someone you love sick. You are not helping them. You are hurting them and that isn’t showing them any kind of love.
Gluten-free means gluten-free, not gluten-sort-of.
Bookmark this page so that the next time someone does this to you, you can show them this.
I don’t understand why family members often dismiss what is said by those who are diagnosed with celiac, gluten sensitivity or any other issue that requires a gluten-free lifestyle. It’s not a ‘claim’ that folks like you and me make just because we feel like throwing a wrench into everyone’s life.
Nor is it a fad diet or some far-fetched idea that’s all in your head. People including myself have experienced incredible physical transformations as a result of removing something from their diets that was causing physical health problems. (You can check out my personal story here and see my ‘Before & After’ photo here.)
But one last word to those who might not yet have the gumption to pass on the “sort of gluten-free” dish:
Don’t eat it. And don’t feel bad.
Eating gluten-free means that you have to radically choose to take care of yourself. It means you have to stop putting everyone else’s needs and desires before your own. And for many out there, this is really really hard. It’s why you’d rather appease someone else’s kind gesture than graciously thank them and explain that you simply can’t because you’ll become/stay physically ill. Guilt is a powerful emotion and sadly many of us are accustomed to carrying around a lot of it.
I know this is all easier said than done, but when you get a diagnosis where gluten (or any other food is a problem), you’ve got to re-prioritize. You’ve got to make yourself Numero Uno.
Have you ever been served a ‘sort of gluten-free’ meal? How did you handle it?