Monday Manners #5

I felt the need to write another post on manners. So . . . here goes.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 

Now, I don’t know about y’all, but growing up I heard this from my mama and most other adults in my life about 5 billion times a week it seemed. Those weren’t all directed at me, mind you, but it was a great reminder throughout my childhood. It became engrained in my mind as much as John 3:16 or the Golden Rule, and though I may choose in my meanest, angriest moments to not follow this advice, the common principle behind it is applied to much of my interactions with others to this day. So, why this chat on the aforementioned statement in bold print? Well, I think it has a link to what I wanted to discuss today, and that is:

Differences aren’t license for ridicule.

I know, I know . . . there will ALWAYS be people who get their kicks from tearing others down. Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that. But that’s not what I’m talking about. See, people in the Gluten Free Community (myself included) fight on a regular basis to have our intolerance/ allergies/ Celiac Disease recognized as a real problem. You see, most of us didn’t choose this life style. We HAVE to eat this way in order to avoid a plethora of unsavory symptoms, which luckily are mostly preventable simply by following a Gluten Free diet.

Therefore, when people mock us for eating a certain way so we don’t get sick . . . it’s quite offensive. You see, 1 out of every 133 people suffers from Celiac Disease and even more people have a Gluten Intolerance. Making light of their legitimate dietary restrictions is just not considerate.

That’s where the statement about not saying anything comes in. If you, or the company you work for believes that  cracking a joke about Gluten Free Living is the best way to boost laughter or page views, you may be right. But, you’ll ALWAYS catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so why tear people down to find your five minutes of fame? All I’m saying is that the next time you’re thinking about cracking on joke about Gluten Free living, or telling your coworker it’s a made up condition, think about this statement first:


Just because we eat differently doesn’t mean we’ve become immune to ridicule. Please just be considerate of the folks around you. It makes life a whole lot easier.

What are y’all’s thoughts on this topic? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below, but please be nice.

Have a Marvelous Monday, y’all!

Monday Manners #2

Gluten Free Manners aren’t something you’re going to learn in school, so I decided to teach a “class” on them here at my place. I am pulling from my own experiences with living Gluten Free in addition to some other things I feel need to be covered.

With that being said, let’s get started on today’s “lesson”.

Rule #2: Do NOT use someone else’s allergy or intolerance to make yourself look good.
Eating something different from the group you’re sharing at . . . hmm . . . let’s say, a dinner party is not necessarily the most comfortable position for you. Making a big deal about it doesn’t help the situation feel less awkward. If you think accolades will come from touting your “compassion” as a host/ hostess by preparing a special meal to suit your guest’s dietary restrictions, I believe you’re sorely mistaken.

For example, you’re at this dinner party, and y’all are having steak as the main course. Now let’s say you wanted your steak medium rare as opposed to well done, and the host/ hostess walked around bragging to everyone how great he/she was because he/she cooked your steak medium rare, and displaying your medium rare steak to all the other guests at the table. It’d seem a bit odd, wouldn’t it? That’s how it feels when people announce that they’ve cooked something special for someone with a food allergy or intolerance. Just as you hopefully wouldn’t have made a huge deal over that medium rare steak, you shouldn’t feel the need to find kudos in your choice to make a gluten free option for me when I didn’t ask for one.

Let me explain something here, having an intolerance or allergy to any kind of food isn’t fun in the day to day. You already feel a wee bit freaky because you have to adapt to or account for so many variables in deciding what’s safe to put in your mouth. The last thing you want at that point is someone pointing out your intolerance or allergy for their own benefit or accolades. I personally don’t want to just be known solely for my dietary restrictions or have the virtual banner cast around my neck because you want to be patted on the back.

Would you?

In conclusion, the golden rule is a great rule of thumb for this type of situation. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Would you want your special dietary restrictions or preferences put on display, or would you prefer to be left to eat your meal in peace without drawing any further attention to the fact that your plate is loaded with salad minus the stuffed shells and chunky slabs of baguette slathered in garlic butter? I can usually find something at most meals that will not compromise my need to eat gluten free, and I will bring my own food rather than have attention gathered around me from your efforts to make accommodations specifically for me.

If you find yourself in the situation above, first off, I’m sorry for the inconsideration of that type of person. The best advice I can give you is to not mention it to the person in front of a group. If you know the person well, I’d suggest maybe mentioning privately at a later date that you’d prefer they not draw attention to your special needs publicly in the future and explain how it made you feel. If you don’t know the person well; bite your tongue and demonstrate the graciousness they’re clearly lacking.

Did this post strike a chord with you? Have you experienced a similar situation? Let me know in the comments!! 😉

Until next time y’all!

Monday Manners #1

Okay, so I don’t know about y’all, but having a food intolerance/allergy as a teenager is HARD. Personally, I’ve found people are unsure as to whether you’re able to handle it on your own, or if they need to watch you like a hawk and keep you “out of trouble” like a first grader with a peanut allergy. I understand their desire is to be helpful. I really do. Yet, I’m perfectly capable of taking care of my intolerance and diet restrictions, but well-meaning people don’t always “get” that.

So, today I’m going to talk about exercising manners toward those within the Gluten Free community, as well as explain to others who aren’t familiar with the specifics how to “get” it. This will probably be a recurring series here on the blog, because I don’t want to bombard y’all with a ginormous never-ending post. So look out for more posts, and feel free to leave your ideas and opinions on Gluten Free Manners in the comments! 😉

Rule 1:
Do not tell people what they can and cannot eat. Although it may seem sweet and thoughtful to read the ingredients label for me and see if it has any wheat products, there is really not a good way to communicate your findings without making the person on the receiving end feel about five years old.  I’m sure your intentions were to be helpful, but normally teenagers with specific diet needs are used to reading labels on their own. and you forcefully stepping in with no prior experience to Gluten Free Living isn’t exactly the way to go about it.

So, in the future, maybe say “I think this may have wheat in it; would you like for me to check?”  Just don’t do it automatically, unless you’re with a child who can’t read labels or take care of their intolerance or allergy independently. Otherwise it can come across more harmful than helpful.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of this behavior and don’t know how to respond, here are a couple ideas:
“Thanks SO much for looking over that for me! It was really thoughtful of you, but I’ve been reading labels for quite awhile now and may find ingredients containing wheat that you may not notice. Do you mind if I take care of it myself from now on?”

Or, you could go with, “I’m so glad you thought of me, and my ______________ (fill in the blank with your allergy or intolerance) but I’d really prefer to handle it on my own since I am familiar with the different terminology and specific things to look for on labels. Thanks though!

Overall, there are tons of ways to handle situations like the one above. Pick the way that works best for you. The ideas above are simply suggestions. Remember, be kind and address their input respectfully and with a good attitude.

What are some ways you would handle the above situation? Don’t forget to let me know!!

Have a marvelous Monday y’all!  Also, check back for more Gluten Free Manners posts soon!