One of the challenges in going gluten free can be getting family and friends on board. Because they are not dealing with whatever it is that got you on the gluten-free track, they may not be able to relate. Chances are, they are not aware of all the places where gluten is hidden or how to deal with your dietary needs. Despite the best of intentions, family and friends may just not get it (even if they think they do). And that’s ok! This next section will help you navigate those waters successfully.
Attitude is everything! How you express yourself about your choice to go gluten-free can greatly influence the way people respond to you. Focus on the positive (“I wasn’t feeling well and now I feel so much better!”) rather than the negative and you will be more likely to get a supportive reaction rather than criticism or dismissal. Don't be surprised if people try to give you advice or share personal stories. Keep an open mind, but remember that you've made this choice for your own health and well-being - and that's what matters most!
Sometimes we are our own worst critics and think we're being a nuisance to others. If you catch yourself thinking that you are “being difficult” or "just a picky eater," take some time to understand why you are feeling this way. Try to remember that you are requesting gluten-free foods because you are prioritizing your health, not because you are “needy” or “high maintenance.
Sample "Sound Bites"
- I’ve always aspired to be high maintenance, and now my health is supporting that goal!
- I can’t eat wheat or gluten because I have a severe reaction.
- I don’t eat wheat or gluten. It’s no biggie. So, what are you up to this weekend?
- If I eat wheat or gluten, I’ll end up monopolizing the bathroom all night!
- I have a bad reaction to eating gluten, and it’s surprisingly hidden in a lot of places!
- We can all agree that smoking is bad for our health, and you wouldn’t insist I smoke, right? Well gluten is damaging to my health...
Whatever approach you choose, try to come from a place of educating, not defensiveness.