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Jennifer2

Explaining Celiac To Friends/coworkers

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Hi everyone

So I've been diagnosed a whole 2 days now.

My friends/family/coworkers have all been really supportive so far when I've mentioned it. They all get the obvious stay away from breads/pastas/etc... made with wheat, barley, or rye. But, they don't seem to get that ANY amount of gluten is bad. I was talking to one co-worker about how I think it won't be that big of a deal as far as cooking for myself, but I wasn't sure what to do about going out to eat or even going over to a friends house for dinner because while I know they will avoid feeding me things like bread, pasta, etc... I'm concerned about marinades they may use or ingredients they may use. The response was "well just a little bit everynow and then won't hurt will it?" So, I tried to explain that ANY amount of gluten is an issue and even cross-contamination is an issue. But, I don't think they really believed it. And in reality, I'm not sure if I understand it well enough to explain it myself yet.

So, how do you explain to people that this is more than just a "it makes me feel sick" situation?

THanks

Jennifer

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here's mine:

whenever you eat..everything eventually makes it to to your intestine. when gluten gets there (ANY amount of gluten) it damages the villi which is what is used t absorb nutrients. when those are damaged they can keep you from absorbing anything. it is basically poison to our system. it is possible that we may not even feel sick on the outside but over time small amounts of gluten add up very quickly! you could use the analogy of a poison. you wouldnt eat even a small amount of arsenic. and even though gluten wont immediately knock you over, it can over time lead to stomach cancer, colon cancer, etc.

hth a little at least

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You can try the poison thing. Or, since it's an immune response, tell them that every time you get even a little bit of gluten it's like getting the flu. How many times in a row would they be willing to suffer through a stomach flu before they started being careful of what they did?

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Here's how I explain it now: "Forget it, you don't really want to know..." ( sorry, I get tired of people not "getting it".)

HOWEVER, it sometimes helps to explain that gluten causes an AUTOIMMUNE REACTION and that is why any amount is bad. Your body sees the tiny amount and sends in the troops (antibodies) to attack itself- SOME people seem to get this. It is difficult for people to understand although if someone tells me they're diabetic I don't have difficulty understanding they need to avoid sugar for the most part...

good luck,

lisa

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"It's an auto-immune reaction. So, just a tiny bit of gluten gets into my intestines, and it starts a chemical cascade - the reactions are self-sustaining for up to two weeks. That reaction attacks my intestines, and makes it harder for me to absorb nutrients. It also makes me feel like sh!t."

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"It's an auto-immune reaction. So, just a tiny bit of gluten gets into my intestines, and it starts a chemical cascade - the reactions are self-sustaining for up to two weeks. That reaction attacks my intestines, and makes it harder for me to absorb nutrients. It also makes me feel like sh!t."

Somehow as soon as I mention "auto-immune" and ppl ask what the hell it is and I describe it .. they look at me like I am insane. This includes even educated people who themselves may have hashimotos or something but have not gone to the extent of understanding anything.

I realised I just deal with it by saying .. "I can't have it because I choose not to" instead of going into the why's.. ppl start looking like you've come from Mars..

It is frustrating but what the hell..

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I actually rarely go beyond saying 'it makes me very sick'. I figure most people really aren't interested in the hows and whys...

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Somehow as soon as I mention "auto-immune" and ppl ask what the hell it is and I describe it .. they look at me like I am insane. This includes even educated people who themselves may have hashimotos or something but have not gone to the extent of understanding anything.

I realised I just deal with it by saying .. "I can't have it because I choose not to" instead of going into the why's.. ppl start looking like you've come from Mars..

It is frustrating but what the hell..

Well, that's the answer I give to people who ask for the details. If they look at me cross-eyed when I say auto-immune (and I think that may have happened all of once, and almost everyone I know has heard my schpiel), eh... that's they're problem for not knowing. They don't have to understand or believe, just respect my decision on what food I put in my own mouth. (Yes, yes indeed. It's a bit of an arrogant "attitude" about it. I like to think of it as just good self confidence. ;) hehehe :D)

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I guess I would just say, "Yeah, it really sucks but my body attacks even minute particles just like I'd eaten a big ol' loaf of bread! Then it's like Space Invaders (showing my age) in there and I'm sick as a dog for days."

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