Friday, May 9, 2014

Not everyone eats everything: get over it

It's happened again: I've seen enough of the "never ever go gluten free unless you have a definitive celiac diagnosis!" to want to speak up.
This is the one I saw today:
with this caption:

Unless you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, going gluten free will do *nothing* for your health.
Image via Skepchick.

In my experience, people who get upset over other people not eating things fall into three categories"

People like the woman I responded to in this post , who seem to feel they're special snowflakes and only they get to give up certain foods;
People who can't stand food trends;
And people who think anyone who does something so hippy dippy as an elimination diet is some anti science nut who rejects all research and doesn't vaccinate and take their kids to acupuncture for cancer, because people can never be balanced thinkers who take advantage of modern medicine while eating whole foods.

Given what I've seen of Skepchick , I'd say this falls into the last category.

I won't go too much into the fact that yes, people without a diagnosis of celiac disease can experience benefits of removing gluten from their diet. I'll just share this article from Scientific American . The reason I won't go into it that much really shouldn't matter.
Unless you live in the same home as a person who gives up gluten...or dairy...or pork products, it's not that likely to affect you. , People eliminate particular foods for any number of reasons, including health, religion politics, and plain old aversion. So what? It shouldn't matter why a person doesn't eat a particular type of food. Even if you have no allergies and no religious proscriptions, there's probably something you don't eat. My husband won't eat peas because of the casseroles his mom used to make. A friend's life mate is so repulsed by pickles he won't eat things that have been on the same plate as them. Should they "get over it"?
As far as trendy goes: are we going to start hating on people who eat chia seeds and Greek yogurt? Tapas? Sweet potato fries?

A note about dining out:

If you're the wait staff, it's not your job to discern if someone "really needs" the food accommodation they ask for. It's your job let them know if you can provide it, so they can decide. Nobody needs a note from their rabbi to ask for no bacon. No one needs a doctor's note to get a gluten free meal. Just because you saw someone order a burger last week, does not make this week's request for a vegetarian meal less valid. Be aware that if the person has a real cross contamination issue, or keeps really kosher or halal, they have probably done some research to see if they can eat there in the first place.

And if you're the guest: You did do that research, right? Pretty much every restaurant has a website, and most managers are happy to answer your questions ahead of time. They want your business, but even more than that, they don't want you to get sick and then complain. The most important thing is to make yourself their favourite customer, because you are asking for special consideration. We all know that even if you eat everything in the world happily, you shouldn't go out unless you're willing to be nice to your servers and leave at least an 18% tip. If you have ANY special considerations, you need to take that up a notch. You need to tip at least 20% , and you need to be not just pleasant, but SUPER SWEET! Make your charming personality, not your special food requests, what people remember.

Eat what you want, and let others do the same.

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