Yes. Imagine almost everyone you know has decided rat poison is delicious. And miraculously, they can eat it without harm. You, on the other hand, it makes violently ill.
Now, imagine that just about every restaurant picks up on this new trend, and starts putting rat poison in most of their dishes, and — rat poison is so pervasive throughout the kitchen — restaurants cannot guarantee that dishes without rat poison are not cross-contaminated.
If you spent a few seconds imagining this scenario, then you have an inkling of what it’s like living with Celiac Disease, or many other medical conditions for which a gluten-free diet is prescribed.
Why am I bringing this up?
This morning, I became aware of an ad from Party City (which has since been taken down) that essentially calls people with Celiac “gross.” (If you haven’t seen it, you really need to take a minute to read Gluten Dude’s post and watch the video.) This is only the latest in a series of slams at people who have to eat gluten free, or have food allergies and require medically restricted diets.
Yes, it’s good that Party City has apologized. But that’s not the point. If lots and lots of people didn’t think of eating gluten free as a weird and annoying “choice,” it never would have become the topic of an advertisement. Somehow, we need to get people to understand that for many of us, eating gluten free is not a choice.
if you run across someone who’s having trouble empathizing with people who have to eat gluten free, ask them to imagine rat poison is the new food trend, and it’s everywhere.
Oh, and maybe we can just stop making fun of people. Period.