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This has been annoying me for days

So, last week or the week before Jennifer Esposito was on the Daily Show to talk about her celiac disease and her new gluten-free (and generally vegan, nut-free, etc.) bakery. Even though it's Mom and not me with the sensitivity, I try to keep myself aware of the whole thing, look up recipes, etc. although she's always discouraging me from trying to make her/us GF things for some reason.

I know a lot of celiac sufferers get told there's nothing really wrong with them and get made fun of because ~obviously~ everyone can eat bread, but why is the response to turn around and say "celiac is real and crippling, but nobody else is sensitive to gluten at all"? Even if people are technically wrong about the part of the wheat that causes the reaction - which I've read may be the case - humans are intolerant of/allergic to so many things, what's the point of punching down and saying this one in particular isn't real because it doesn't affect other people exactly the same way it affects you? One person gets hives from strawberries and another has an asthma attack - that doesn't mean the first person is a loser who's glomming onto a fad.

And then the thing that really irritated me was that Esposito's bakery is still obviously catering to both people with gluten sensitivity and people who just think eating gluten/nut/dairy/whatever free makes them feel better or healthier. So basically, if you think eating gluten gives you diarrhea, you're trivializing celiac disease; if you think eating gluten isn't good but you pay her $15 for a couple cookies, you are a-okay.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/784088.html - comment wherever you please.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 12th, 2014 03:31 pm (UTC)
I think there are people all over the map on this. From annoying GF evangelicals who claim everybody should go gluten-free to conspiracy theorists who don't even accept celiac disease as a real thing. I don't love that it's also a fad diet in that spectrum but I also know there is potentially mounting evidence of various psychiatric improvements for many patients without celiac who restrict their gluten consumption.
Jul. 12th, 2014 05:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, definitely. On all of that.

It just bothers me that her reaction (and other people's) to her own issue being minimized is to minimize someone else's to prove her own is real. I'd rather quietly let GF dieters take restrictions that might be unnecessary than risk people with a genuine medical problem being belittled for not explaining all their symptoms.
Jul. 12th, 2014 03:45 pm (UTC)
My brother doesn't have celiac, but he is gluten-intolerant - to the point where just a little bit of gluten can make him very, very sick. He doesn't have a lot of patience for people who treat it like a fad diet, I think because he feels that that's going to cause people to take his very real health concerns less seriously. Or like people are co-opting his experience, or something.
Jul. 12th, 2014 05:34 pm (UTC)
It is a pretty nasty thing. I'm very glad I don't have it.

It's tough, because in a way I do think the dieters are often trying it as a wonder cure (and if you cut out flour, that can be a great way to lose weight) and might be drawing an equivalence between extremely mild symptoms and the awful ones. But if the aggressive deniers would quiet, then there wouldn't be as much of a need to go "I'm real, not them."
Jul. 12th, 2014 06:08 pm (UTC)
I agree with all you say but a) there *are* people over-playing how real their problem is and so b) that contributes to backlash too. Mostly I wish people would just worry about themselves, in consultation with their doctors (there is a LOT of self-diagnosis going on with this too).
Jul. 12th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
While I don't doubt A exists because of human nature, it's impossible to tell who is or isn't overplaying their symptoms in a casual encounter, the same way you can't tell why someone's fat or thin from seeing them in the street. I think it's more the idea of A that motivates the backlash, and that's not really controllable.

There's a lot of self-diagnosis, and I'm a bit skeptical of people who say they feel generally better in an indescribable way, but it's a fairly simple thing to test for with an elimination diet. It's definitely best to have a doctor on board, but doctors aren't always right, and if something doesn't turn up on a blood test they can sometimes be resistant to believing it's not stress-related etc.
Jul. 12th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
I hear what you're saying. Moderation in all things, right? Particularly in situations where the whole thing is a spectrum. This doesn't have to be a "my experience is the only valid one" situation.
Jul. 12th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
Yep, pretty much! You can't demand to be taken seriously while continuing exactly the same minimizing tactics that are being used against you on the people a step or two down the same ladder.
Jul. 13th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC)
I'm gluten sensitive. I might some day write up the discovery of the sensitivity in all of its nasty glory but it really is a barf-inducing story. Anyone interested can look up the definition of 'dysentery' because that's what eating anything with gluten induces in me. Dysentery followed by a trip to the hospital.

I also have IBS. My gastroenterologist hates that because he likes to define what's wrong with a person and IBS is a catch-all for 'your intestines are trying to kill you and we don't know why'.

Most of my adult life has had moments of discovering that what I love to consume is trying to kill me. This is not in a philosophical bent, you understand. Literal. As is: "I love chocolate but it is a migraine trigger for me and nobody likes to barf for ten hours so I can't eat chocolate' followed by appropriate and heart-felt whining.

All of this plus addictions has led me to discover that people are weird.

If I tell someone I won't have a drink because I'm an alcoholic--I am--they will, nine times out of ten, spend far too much time telling me I so am NOT an alcoholic, they can tell, so just have a drink with me. If I say I am a drug addict--I am--I will be told there's no way, they can tell, ya da ya da ya da. If I say no thank you to this or that food because of my sensitivities I will be told it's all in my head. No, it's in the toilet bowl full of blood. But saying such would be impolite. As opposed to some ego-driven douche barrel telling me they know better than anyone.

Gluten-free is now fashionable. Whatever. You want a flat belly, not my business. But let me advise you that a huge percentage of what is called gluten-free and therefore 'good for you' is junk food of the lowest quality just without gluten. One can get fatter than fat eating gluten-free especially if there's a lot of white rice flour and sugar involved.

So they can all bite me. What's dangerous is when someone decided to prove to you that you so are not gluten-sensitive so they try to dose your food. I should by law be allowed to cut someone for that.
Jul. 14th, 2014 12:35 am (UTC)
I can't believe people would argue with you for saying you can't drink. Ugh. Why do other people always feel the need to have everyone else drink (let alone do every other thing just as they do)?

That all sounds so terrible. Do you have a general auto-immune problem? Wondering because my mother has the gluten + migraines + [many other things] and has always had a messed-up immune system, and they seem to be interrelated.
Jul. 14th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
I might. I have allergies. I eat an f-ton of Benadryl. :D

I have a weak digestive system which I believe I inherited from my grandmother. I've had an ulcer...that puppy got to be 3 cm long before the antibiotics finally killed the h.pylori deader than dead. I produce stomach acid as if it was a valuable resource, so I'm on PPIs.

With me though, I think the drinking was a factor that likely acerbated the mess. My poison of preference was tequila, straight. Not that I blame alcohol. It's just a fluid. I'm the problem.

I get around the 'you're not a (fill in the blank)' by not saying it. "Have a drink" "No, thanks." "C'mon have a drink, what are you anti-social?" "No thanks, stomach's bothering me. I'd hate to see come up all over the floor or all over your shoes." "Oh, okay." Never tell anyone I'm an alcoholic at a place where people are drinking. I'd just be asking for trouble. You learn your way around it even if I wonder why I'm bending over to keep other people from being appallingly rude. :D

Just keep smiling, that's all.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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