Last week I told you all about the anxiety I was going through prior to meeting an elementary school teacher and classmates out for dinner in Annapolis. In this post I will tell you all how I handled the situation and then touch on the stigma that we all live with when it comes to Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, or Food Allergies and how we can get the message across about how serious our illness is to the “doubters”. (We get to the “Drano” which is a blue liquid, toxic, drain de-colgger at the end)
I arrived early at the Thai Restaurant and talked with the waitress. I told her about my experience a couple of years ago. She said they get a lot of requests for GF meals and that they use clean pans and utensils but can’t make any guarantee that my meal will be GF. Then she added that she has been there for a year and a half and has never been told that they got anyone sick. I asked her if they see many people with Celiac Disease and she said that the majority are just making a “dietary choice” and not Celiac. I explained that I have Celiac and I did get sick last year and that a person who is just making a “dietary choice” probably would not know if they were exposed to gluten or not. I told her that I appreciated her honesty but could not take a chance dining there. She clearly understood me and the seriousness of my situation.
My friends arrived and we enjoyed some wine. When it came time to order I just explained that I have Celiac Disease and it is not safe for me to eat there and that I planned ahead and ate at home. Everyone understood, one “teared up” and I explained that it is no problem for me and I just want to enjoy everyone’s company. That was the end of that and we all had a great time.
I thought about how lucky I was that this went so smoothly and was so thankful that I did not hear any of the nonsense that we all have heard from family and friends at one time or another. We have all heard the term “drink the Koolaide”. Well, I have my own term “Drink the Drano”. Below are the insane things we often hear from doubters followed by my standard answer that I give. Many of you have heard me say this in my restaurant and in previous articles. People are very “visual” I have seriously considered carrying a little plastic container of blue dish soap with me. It would be my prop of “Drano” and would come in handy in every situation. (see photos at bottom)
“Just a little won’t hurt you” – “Really? Drink this Drano first and let me know if it hurts you”
“What is the worst thing that can happen?” – “Drink this Drano and find out”
“It won’t kill you”– “Drink this Drano and let’s see how you make out”
“I am a vegetarian; I know how you feel”– “Drink this Drano and let me know if this is how you feel when you don’t stick to your vegetarian diet”
“Are you trying to lose weight?” – “Drink this Drano and tell me if it would be worth avoiding at all costs”
“I heard that is a FAD.” – “Drink this Drano and let me know if avoiding it will be a FAD or a way to avoid illness for you”
“I read on the internet that you can have sourdough bread and wheat grown in Germany” – “Drink this Drano and let me know if you want to buy into that nonsense”
“How can you survive without bread” – “Drink this Drano and you will see why not eating bread is the only way I can survive”
“It is gluten free; there is no wheat in it.” (Chef to Celiac who was questioning why there is Barley Soup on the GF Menu..yes; it was real barley in the soup). – Run to the nearest exit!
I chose to make a stand for myself and for all of those with Celiac Disease and Food Allergies by telling the waitress that it was not safe for me to eat there!
What are your thoughts? Will you make a stand? Would the “Drano Challenge” help you when your Celiac/Food Allergies or Gluten Sensitivity are not being taken seriously? Feel free to leave comments here on the blog.