I can’t tell you how often people start eating something in front of me, see me, and cringe. “I feel so bad you can’t have this!” or, “I could never survive not being able to eat this!”. The sympathy is welcome of course, as it’s better than apathy or someone flicking breadcrumbs at my gluten-hating body. But to be completely honest, it’s not so horrible having food allergies. Actually, there are some things that really rock about it.
Food allergies are the best excuse to be picky
And I am picky. And suspicious of UFOs… unidentified food objects. When my mom tried to feed me ice cream for the first time as a toddler, I screamed my head off. If you’re a picky eater, than you can’t be hassled by people telling you to try something because, sorry, you’re allergic and you don’t want to inflict the consequences of your choosy body on them.
And they’re an excuse to be healthy
So many people say, “I’d be skinny too if I couldn’t eat bread!”. It’s true—food allergies make binging on junk food easier to avoid. People bring donuts into work? Sorry, can’t. Your friends are ordering a Dominos pizza with all the works? Ugh, wish I could, guys. You know, I’m just going to enjoy treating my body like the highly sensitive, pure temple it is.
People can’t steal your food without invoking your wrath and a serious guilt trip
Because, your food is special and expensive and the only thing you can eat. Luckily, most people also won’t want your food in my experience. “Ew, gluten free pasta? No thanks, man.”
Finding a new food you can eat feels like Christmas
OH MY GOODNESS, I am so crazy happy that Cheerios are now gluten-free! I can’t even tell you how much jumping up and down I’ve done. You, too, get to experience that childhood joy many times over each time you discover a new food you can eat. Oh, Chipotle’s menu is mostly gluten-free?! YES. YES. Thank you food gods!
People bring you food
A lot of my friends, family, coworkers, random strangers I interact with, will feel bad for my sad, deprived life without gluten. So when they spot something I can actually eat, they’ll often surprise me with it! Yay, free food!
First picks on restaurants or where you’re eating
Well, if the people you hang with are decent people, that is. Your vote on where to go to eat gets extra weight, it’s like your food allergy has its own vote too!
You become something of a foodie
You’re an expert of food labels, a master of the grocery store. You’ll probably realize that it’s easier to just do your own cooking. There really needs to be a food-allergy friendly version of Chopped or Master Chef. Because you’d be the star.
See? Food allergies can be fabulous. There’s actually a medicine in the works that will cure my celiac and to be honest, I don’t know if I’d take it. While it would be nice to eat a lot of gluten-containing foods again, there’s quite a lot of awesome that comes along with being gluten-free.
Post and Photos by Gabriele Boland.