On gluten cheat days…

There is a phenomenon I’ve seen floating around the interwebs called “cheat day.”

A person with celiac disease or gluten intolerance posts a picture of cake with an assortment of hashtags such as #glutenintolerance #cheatday #Imsobad.

In sum, cheat day is when folks with celiac disease or gluten intolerance eat gluten in spite of any consequences.

I am NOT a fan of cheat day.

I’ve never had a cheat day. Migraines, skins rashes, diarrhea, risk of osteoporosis, risk of cancer, and risk of other autoimmune disorders are enough to convince me to never consume gluten again in my life.

The impact of cheat days extend beyond the individual doing the cheating.

Since I’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, I’ve gotten a range of responses when I ask restaurants about their food options.

The majority of restaurants are honest, and if folks can accommodate they will.

However, I once had a manager tell me, “You won’t have any reaction – unless it’s psychosomatic.” That was INCREDIBLY insulting to both me and my diarrhea.

I once had a restaurant bring me a wheat bun, and when I tried to confirm whether it was safe the eat the waitress said; “You’ll probably be ok.”

And every celiac I know has been served croutons on a salad, only to get the salad returned with crumbs from the tiny death cubes. As if picking off the croutons now makes the salad safe?

People don’t understand the severity of celiac disease. And some people think that gluten intolerance is a joke.

And people that have cheat days are NOT helping.

When you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease you are now a representative of the community. We represent less than 5% of the population. So when people meet us, they look to understand what we are doing.

As my husband says, “People are learning about this disease via you – so don’t be a dick.”

When you have celiac disease and eat pizza, people think I can do that same thing. But I can’t without getting sick.

When you have gluten intolerance and eat cake, people think you are a hypocrite. Do you really want to be that person?

So, for me, for the community, and for your own health – please don’t have cheat days.

And if you do, please just keep them to yourself.


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