Conversation Woes of the Gluten-free

Florio.Gluten Free“Gluten is a vague term. It’s something that is used to categorize things that are bad. Calories, that’s gluten. Fat, that’s a gluten,” says Seth Rogan in “This Is the End”.

That’s a nice try, but no Seth. Gluten is a protein found in foods processed from wheat and other grains such a barley and rye. Gluten helps dough rise and gives it its chewy texture. Many people have celiac disease or are intolerant to gluten and are forced to live a life without being able to eat whatever their heart desires.

Being gluten- free myself it sucks on so many levels going out to eat with my friends because I have to watch as they devour bacon cheeseburgers and fried chicken fingers like animals right in front of my face. But the one bright side is the entertaining conversation I repeadly have with anyone who doesn’t know what the heck gluten is.

I order a hamburger without the bun and my friend watches me start to eat it with a fork and knife.

Confused Friend: “Why aren’t you eating the bun?”
Me: “I can’t. I’m gluten free.”
Confused Friend: “ Oh, so you cant eat the bun?”
Me: “…No. Gluten is in wheat products.”
Confused Friend: “Oh. Okay.”

Five minutes later

Confused friend: “Wait so you can’t eat bread? Ever?”
Me: “Nope.”
Confused Friend: “But like, you can eat pasta right?”
Me: “No can’t have that either.”
Confused Friend: “Wow.”

He/she looks at me in pity and then continues to happily eat his/her hamburger while pondering what it would be like to not be able to consume such an amazing meals everyday.

Confused Friend: “So what do you eat all the time? Like lettuce and stuff?”
Me: “No I eat more than lettuce! I can eat meat, vegetables, fruits, gluten free foods, and other stuff. Gluten- free foods are actually good.”
Confused Friend: “Ew, that’s gross.”
Confused Friend: “So seriously for the rest of your life you can never eat real bread? Or real pasta? Or pizza? Like you can’t eat anything at the Big O? No fast food?
Me: “NO!”
Confused friend: “ Wow HAHA that SUCKS! I could never do that!”

He/she is sitting there laughing thinking about ordering another hamburger with the bun just because he/she can, when all of the sudden he/she has an epiphany and their jaws drop wide open.

Confused friend: “WAIT… So you can’t drink beer!?”
Me: “uh, no.”
He/She puts their head in their hands and leans against the table in pure disbelief. Then he/she looks up and whispers…
Confused friend: “So um… what happens if you have gluten…”

And this is where I end the conversation.

Being gluten-free isn’t as horrible as it seems, but it is to people who eat bread and wheat flour based foods everyday. Every gluten free person has this conversation or will have this conversation with people who don’t understand. So the next time your friend sees you in the dinning commons wrapping your lunchmeats in lettuce, prepare yourself for some funny curiosity.

Photo by Sam Florio


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