There's something I have to get off my chest. Back in the days B.C. (before celiac, duh), I remember watching a commercial for Rice Chex and listening to the mom talk about how hard it was for her to feed her gluten-free daughter. And I thought, hmmm, here's another control-freak mother trend-dieting her kid to oblivion. I remember seeing things with gluten-free labels in stores (like hard cider, I definitely remember saying this about cider) and asking Luke why the heck I would care that it's gluten free.
Fast forward a few months.
Now, I sorta tear up at the Chex commercial 'cause I'm a dork and I feel so bad for the kid who will NEVER get to experience *real* Chicago deep-dish pizza. And I "you-go-girl" the mom for being so proactive and making sure her kid is healthy and happy.
And I have literally hugged products in the store when I saw they had "gluten free" on the label.
It's all about perspective.
I wasn't a bad person six months ago for not knowing what celiac disease is. I wasn't a bad person for disregarding nutrition information that I didn't think applied to me. I might have slightly been a horrible person for judging the Chex commercial mom. But just slightly.
I don't expect people to have any idea what I am talking about when I tell them I have celiac disease. Why should they? I can't get mad when someone asks if I can have something, or what gluten is in. I can't even get irritated when people think my concern of cross-contamination is full on crazypants central. Because I didn't know, either.
It is not the world's responsibility to cater to me, any more than it's my responsibility to always have sugar-free candies in my bag for any diabetics that I stumble across. To most people, we're just the outliers, ladies and gents with some funky diet thing who make things awkward or difficult.
But it sure would be nice if more people knew something about this serious disease. And that's why it's important to have National Celiac Awareness Month. Because you never know when it's going to be you reading labels to find something safe. You never know if it's going to be your kid who desperately wants to eat what other kids are eating. And being armed with a little bit of knowledge is better than nothing.