Mr. Whole Grain, convo with a stranger about rocks (Celiac disease, explained)

Most people think ‘gluten’ is a fancy word for wheat OR a cool way to say, ‘low carb diet.’ To them, gluten-free is a weight loss diet fad. Celebrities do it!

Gluten is an indetectable-to-the-human-eye PROTEIN. There’s nothing fancy about this. Call it a rock. There’s this rock in some food.

Celiacs cannot digest gluten–I mean rocks

Celiac is a genetic thing. Those in advanced stages of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, can’t digest lots of things (like me!). If rocks are continually ingested, Celiacs progress to worse things (like mum, from whom I inherited this). Not to mention getting some rocks in my food might shut down organs–which don’t come back.

They end up with bowels removed, colostomy bags, liquid food ports in their chest, etc. — all because they unknowingly ate rocks (or chose to continue eating rocks). They suffer from ‘failure to thrive.’ Mum looks like the photos of people coming out of concentration camps after WWII. She also takes a lot of medication, one steroid costs $1800 a month. Just to keep alive!

Mr. Whole Grain was queued in front of me at Chipotle.

They remembered me. This caused a bit of a stir in the queue as workers quickly changed gloves, removed ladles and switched out food bins (food can still be used by others but I require ‘untouched by rocks‘ to avoid cross-contamination; in effect: poisoning). Remember when I said rocks are indetectable to the human eye? There’s no way to tell if rocks are on or in something (plate, knife, butter in a tub or lettuce in a bowl)! Since restos are well-prepared, they have bins of ingredients, waiting. They move the rock-contaminated bin to the side (to be used next for normals) and grab a fresh one, with fresh gloves and fresh utensils. Chipotle is great because I can watch them doing this and don’t have to trust them (that means you, Bluefish Grille–poisoned me from their rock-free menu, in their rock-free kitchen–symptoms of 3 days food poisoning and 3 more weeks of the worst flu ever).

Mr. Whole Grain: What are they doing?

Me: I’m Celiac. I can’t have rocks.

Doesn’t that mean bread? Excuse me, wheat?

I don’t like talking to people about it because they think that you’re making things up. RARELY do you see the light of recognition click and when you do, it’s a relief. ‘My friend’s kid…’ or ‘My ex-girlfriend was…’ and it’s followed by ‘concern face.’ Thank you, goodly concerned people! I don’t need your concern but it’s a lot better than people calling you a charlatan or making a joke about diarrhea. I don’t ‘just’ get diarhhea. It’s like having the worst flu you’ve ever hand (I got H1N1 that first year it went around and that was similar but not as bad).

We had Rock 101 in queue.

But…But…WHAT DO YOU EAT????!

The light had clicked on! 

Everything else.

He said the smartest thing ever — smarter than I!

You should NEVER eat out!

Indeed! Let me just say my trips to Chipotle came in at about twice a year and that was the first few years of my diagnosis. Now, I take food with me and eat it while others order wonderful-looking things, wherever we are.

When I got off rocks, I gained tons of fat because my body healed (and I’m a great Ozark cook, which means I eat it all)

I’d been diagnosed with anemia and malabsorption since I was a kid. I could eat twice the amount–I put away 4,000 calories a day without blinking.

When my body healed, it started absorbing all . that . food . I ballooned. Worse, I was in a depression over the diagnosis and I ate to console myself.

Mr. Whole Grain continued his lament for my life, explaining that I’d better be very careful:

I surely wasn’t getting the nutrition I needed to be healthy (in spite of the fact I’m obviously 25% body fat, therefore “healthy”).

You need to eat whole grains to STAY ALIVE–for your heart, for cholesterol, for…

Mr. Whole Grain spewed forth everything the US government tells us is healthy’ and required for staying fit, avoiding heart disease and cancer.

I listened with interest. It’s not that I’d never heard these things. I’ve always loved reading about nutrition and fitness (if behaved poorly). These things I, too, had read/ heard/ taken to heart for decades.

It was amazing hearing them all thrown at me (with great fret-filled emotion). I had so much compassion for Mr. Whole Grain. What a sweetie! He was so worried about me: not eating BREAD and PASTA! Amazing.

At this point, we were both leaving.

You must spend a lot of time studying health. Have you ever heard of Paleo? He hadn’t. If you get a chance sometime? Google it. It’ll explain what I eat. It works for me. ::big smile, wave and goodbye::



One thought on “Mr. Whole Grain, convo with a stranger about rocks (Celiac disease, explained)

  1. I was SO HAPPY when I started school last fall because there is a Chipotle across the street!!! Walking distance! I eat there more often than I should 🙂

    And way to go spreading the word! Sounds like an interesting conversation!!


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