Let me start by saying that this is probably the most embarrassing post I have written to date. It exposes a side of me that most people never get to see, how eating gluten affects my body, immediately. I feel that if this gets the point across, then for the greater good it is. Oh and this is a rant, expressed from my own personal experience and need to get it off my chest.
On that note, I am tired of getting sick when I eat. I’m tired of being embarrassed for having Celiac Disease & having to explain in explicit detail EVERY SINGLE TIME how seriously ill I get from eating gluten, stressing that I am medical gluten free and not just a fadder. Explaining cross contamination to a restaurant that has half their menu filled with little GF’s and their staff who are just above clueless on what gluten free or Celiac disease is.
It seems like no matter how much I stress the seriousness of this illness and the effects, some people just don’t get it. This past weekend I had a friend visiting from out-of-town and we decided to have lunch at a new place that recently opened in Sherman Oaks called, Blu Jam Cafe on Ventura Blvd. My friend had found it online saying that it was ‘gluten free friendly’.
I have become accustomed to warning bells go off in my head when there is mention of tons of gluten-free items on a menu, but decided to check it out and see what is was all about. He was right, there were tons of gluten free items. Yet, when I asked the waitress about safety, her eyes glazed over and I could tell that she was completely clueless about what GF was, even as she was shaking her head in understanding.
The manager then stopped by the table and assured me that even though their kitchen was not completely gluten free, she would make sure that my food was made as safe as possible. I still had my doubts. My question is, if you do not understand the concepts and dangers behind gluten ingestion to someone who gets sick or the ramifications of cross contamination, how can you ‘try’ to make sure my food comes out as safe as possible?
Finally the food arrived: eggs, potatoes and bacon, looking absolutely delicious. I had an inkling that I was going to be glutened because of cross contamination, but I gave it a shot. Halfway through my breakfast I stopped eating and gave my body a few minutes to compute its contents and see if it would react.
My friend sitting across from me, sat there wide-eyed as he watched the small soccer ball started to form where my flat stomach had been moments before. I looked 3 months pregnant in less than five minutes of eating half my food. My friend, who’s in the health industry, finally started to understand the consequences gluten intake can cause someone in my situation.
As he felt my tummy, he couldn’t believe how hard it was, comparing it to a balloon that was on the brink of popping because it was too full of air. All I wanted to do was get home, to my bathroom, to my bed, for at least the next 24 hours. There goes my fun, frolicking weekend with my friend.
These are the before and after photos of what my stomach normally looks like and my stomach after. Here goes:
Bloating is just the first symptom I get within the first few minutes of ingesting a small amount of gluten.
Hopefully these photos help get the point across of how serious Celiac disease is, to me and so many others. I am NOT a flash in the pan and the many problems associated with gluten, aren’t going away.
There NEEDS TO BE regulations for restaurants providing gluten free options. If offering gluten free, the staff and kitchen needs to be educated on the dangers and the protocol. Gluten free food was created so I could eat safely, not so people who want to go gluten-free could eat food without gluten.
GIVE ME MY FOOD BACK. GIVE ME MY FREEDOM BACK.