Going gluten free isn't easy, and not having the proper support group around you makes it even harder.
Trust me - It's bad enough having to fight the everyday temptations in your office cafeteria, going out to the bar with your friends, or making your way through the grocery store. When you don’t have the proper support on top of that, you feel alone and crazy.
I wish I could tell you the journey will be easy, but it’s not. You will probably loose touch with some of your close friends and family members for two reasons; 1) you will get sick of defending your diet and 2) you will realize that they are bringing you down and not supporting your goals.
My biggest piece of advice to you is to start by surrounding yourself with like minded people. The Internet makes it easy for you to connect with others on social networks and blogs too. Here are a couple I love:
After a few hours exploring the web, you’ll quickly start to realize you are not alone, and there are many people like you out there! Remember gluten sensitivity affects at least 30% of the U.S. population.
About a year ago, before I got my genetic testing done for gluten sensitivity, I started reaching out to more holistic doctors and trying to diagnose myself. As I continued to research on healthy eating and ways my diet habits could help cure my stomach pains and hypothyroidism, many of my family and friends didn’t understand how that was possible. At first you will try to explain and educate them until you are blue in the face, but you will eventually learn that they aren’t worth your time and energy.
One family member suggested that I could have Orthorexia (a.k.a obsession with only eating organic, pure food. I actually think it would be awesome if more people had this “disorder”!) I responded by writing a lengthy email, explaining how my hypothyroidism and diabetes could be triggers from my gluten sensitivity and I was trying a new diet to see if it could help heal my body naturally so I could avoid being on prescription drugs my whole life. By my family member's response below, I think it’s safe to assume she didn’t get it-
"We think you have convinced yourself that you have food allergies and therefore you do have food allergies. It began with what seemed to be your obsession with aspartame, then HFCS, then lactose, and now gluten, which is growing to other categories. We believe these are distractions to repress the anxiety you have in life with job, Andrew, family, etc."
These types of people will also probably be the ones to tell you that you aren’t fun anymore or that they “just want you to be happy again”, and while it’s hard not be offended I remind myself how far I’ve come and how GREAT I feel. To heal your body naturally, it takes time and patience, and while you might not be able to do the “fun things” that people are used to doing with you, i.e. drinking all night at the bars, eating rich foods at fancy restaurants, and enjoying your hangover breakfasts, I’ve found new friends that enjoy juicing and will wake up early Saturday mornings to workout with me.
Today I’ve made a conscious effort to only share my knowledge with only those that ask for my advice and help. For those friends and family members that challenge me, I choose not to participate in the conversation with them anymore and repeat Dr. Wayne W Dyer's works in my head "The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about”.
Have you experienced this type of harassment? If so, how did you respond to the situation?