The Give and Get of Gluten Free
As members of the gluten free community, we are all oh so familiar with giving up. We give up pancake breakfasts, buffet lunches, and pizza dinners. We pack our own food in a thermal bag. We skip meals because there’s nothing safe to eat.
But what happens when someone who isn’t gluten free decides TO BE gluten free? By choice … as a show of support?
This spring, my family made the decision to be gluten free for Lent. Our home is, for the most part, gluten free … or at least very gluten aware. But for a downtown dad and a nine and fourteen year old to opt out of 40 days of their usual gluten-ous breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, I was at first shocked. And then I was truly touched.
It was not easy for them, and there were some mishaps and missteps. But for the most part, my family rallied and supported me fully on my GF path. They experienced first hand how difficult it can be to eat gluten free. They asked lots of questions. They said, “No thank you.” They got it … the challenges, the need to always plan, the going without. But, as you can imagine, I rewarded them with treats from Sweet Ali’s as a hearty and grateful thank you for the solidarity.
By giving up, we who are gluten free also search out those restaurants and people who get it. “They get it.” Just simple words, but say them to someone who is celiac or gluten intolerant, and they hear much, much more. “This restaurant is safe and will take care of you. The server will not look at you like you’re crazy or roll his eyes because you speak in paragraphs when you order your dinner.” To put it mathematically, “They get it” equals normalcy.
In all things, there is good and bad, give and take. Being gluten free is no different. We give up for our health and our happiness, and those who get it help make it all worthwhile.