When Friends, Family or Loved Ones Just Don't Get It by Danna Korn
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2006 edition of Celiac.com's Journal of Gluten-Sensitivity.

Celiac.com 04/30/2010 - The gluten-free lifestyle is a big part of who we are.  So when friends, relatives, and loved ones don’t get it—I should clarify—when they seem to choose not to get it—we sometimes get a little cranky.

I know—I was reminded of how it feels when loved ones don’t choose to get it this past Thanksgiving when one of my relatives who shall remain nameless glutenized the mayo jar.  Now I realize it may seem petty to get tweaked about someone dipping a knife in a mayo jar—but it had gluten all over it, and worse yet, she did the same thing last Thanksgiving, and I threw a tizzy about it then.

Realizing the first dip alone contaminated the entire jar (of course it was the club-sized jar that is the size of a small Volkswagen), there was no point in stopping her from doing it again.  But I watched incredulously as she taunted me, dipping the knife into the jar—then onto the (gluten) bread—over, and over, and over again.  How many gobs of mayo does one need on a piece of bread?!?  I found myself seething, and my blood boiled with every dip-and-spread motion; I swear she was doing it intentionally.

Yes, I know I should have had a squeeze bottle handy, and I even write about that in my books. My mistake, but I also write about doing the “gob drop,” which is—as the name implies—the process of taking a gob of (insert condiment here) and dropping it onto said piece of gluten.  Using a separate knife, you spread.  It’s really not that tough.

The bigger point here is that it made me wonder why, after fourteen years of going through this, she didn’t care more about our gluten-free lifestyle.  I spent about six minutes pondering this when I remembered that it’s not that she doesn’t care—maybe she does, and maybe she doesn’t.   The bigger point is that she wasn’t thinking about it at that moment—and that’s okay. 

This is our lifestyle, and we love it.  Those friends and family who do care enough to call and make sure the meal they’re serving us is gluten-free are to be cherished.  Those who make a special trip to the health food store to buy a mix and make gluten-free cookies are to be downright hailed as saints.  Even those who make a beautiful gluten-free meal and then top it with teriyaki sauce (of the gluten-containing variety) because they don’t know any better are to be adored for trying.

I write about this stuff in my books, and it surprised me a little to find myself getting miffed about such a petty thing.  I thought I had outgrown those feelings 14 years ago.  I guess my point is that we all face certain challenges from time to time, and we need to put our brightest face forward and meet those challenges with a good attitude, lest they get the best of us.

The most important thing that helps keep me on track, for what it’s worth, is to remember that the gluten-free lifestyle is the key to our health and ultimate happiness.  We’re blessed to know that a simple change in lifestyle is all it takes to be perfectly healthy—and that’s worth a lotta mayo.

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