Breaking the Food Allergy Stigma
In a positive light it has helped grow awareness, made restaurants take note, made brands change the way they do things and more. But in a negative light fads can mean lies, fads can be temporary and fake “dietary restrictions” make people never believe those who have real restrictions… For example, the basic banquet server who has experienced more “I am gluten-free but the pasta is fine…” and “I am vegan but I’ll eat the bacon,” compared to the usual restaurant manager who says “We cross contaminate our fryers so come in next week and I’ll make sure they are clean for you.”
After getting a new job I am always concerned on how they are going to treat my celiac. This recent job seemed to take it on very well but the usual questions and curiosity came up and I stood tall and explained myself. As the months went on, it became normal for them to make sure I had a separate meal or that I would stay away from certain items and they began to laugh with me about it most of the time which made the transition easy… But I did notice after my first “glutenation” at this job and the usual after effects such as brain fog, hives, sluggish, and exhaustion that come along with all of it that the people at this job noticed… They saw the affects it had and they seriously were like “Wow, this is real, not just a fad…” I literally had someone say this to me.
I also love to let people know and have a little joke to myself (also a great ice breaker) is that I go well “Yeah its real, I was celiac before it was cool…” Pertaining to the fact that I had been celiac for years before most people even had heard the term. Normally this makes them laugh, walk away and helps avoid “What happens? You just have to use the bathroom? What is gluten anyways? That’s so weird! You can eat potatoes?!”
I’ve literally heard it all… Especially since gluten isn’t my only allergy.
But as I grow in this niche and I educate myself consistently, I have found that this stigma around being a person with food allergies, the positives and negatives comes along with almost all diets…. “You’re not really vegan?! What do you mean for health reasons?! Where do you even get proteins?!” or the “C’mon you can have one piece of cheese, your dairy allergy isn’t that bad!?” or my personal favourite – “The knife just touched the walnut, it doesn’t mean you’ll react, stop being weird about it.”
“Normal is boring, why not be weird instead?!” – Quoted by my babysitter who helped me build my confidence about being different at 8 years old.