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Jane Anderson

What You Should Never, Ever Say To Someone Who Can't Eat Gluten

By February 21, 2014

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We've all heard, well, remarkably insensitive statements about our diets and conditions (many of which seem to deal with the impossibility of giving up gluten-containing foods). These statements get old, but they don't seem to stop ... and sometimes coming up with a less-than-snarky response can be quite the challenge.

If you struggle with keeping a smile on your face and the sarcasm out of your tone when you hear one of those statements (as I do!), then this article is for you: What Not To Say to Someone Who Can't Eat Gluten.

In it, I run down the seven most common (and most annoying) statements I've heard from day to day on the subject, and some not-snarky possible comebacks. There's also a place where you can add the most ridiculous statements you've ever heard about the diet ... and your response to those statements (I can't wait to hear!).

Of course, we all put our feet in our mouths from time to time. If you're wondering what not to say to someone who has a particular health condition -- or to someone who's just trying to improve their health -- then check out this overview article from Christine Luff, About.com's excellent Guide to Running: What Not to Say About Health Issues.

In it, she provides links to several dozen "What Not To Say" articles from our fellow health guides, ranging from "What Not To Say To Someone on a Diet" to "What Not to Say to Someone with Breast Cancer" and "What Not To Say at a Funeral." We all likely can find something not to say in this collection (I know I did).

Keep up with the latest in the celiac disease/gluten sensitivity world -- sign up for my newsletter, connect with me on Facebook and Google+, or follow me on Twitter - @AboutGlutenFree.

Photo Getty Images/Ryan McVay

February 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm
(1) Liz says:

My favorites so far are:

1. But you don’t look sick! (A classic, useful for all invisible illness)

2. Surely they have something you can eat here. I hear this mostly from relatives who don’t want to try new foods and are trying to push me into going to an American-style family restaurant instead of the Thai, Indian or Ethiopian places which are safer.

3.Why are you sick if you haven’t been eating wheat? This is how a lengthy diatribe on the risks of cross-contamination and how sensitive immune reactions can be usually begins.

4.Is this like, a diet thing? I almost miss the days before GF dieting became a trend. I never used to get raised eyebrows and rolled eyes when I’d explain it was a medical condition.

5.Has someone been hitting you? Believe it or not, I get this one fairly often. Celiac has left me permanently unable to process vitamin K properly, which means I bruise very easily. When I’m feeling well, I do active things like snowboard, gardening and behavior rehab for overzealous shelter dogs. It seems inevitable that the first time someone sees me in short sleeves or bare legs, I get this question.

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