I’m sitting at Peet’s Coffee in Larchmont Village – a very sweet little section of Los Angeles that makes you forget you’re in LA. It’s very east coast and sleepy little town like. I feel at home here.

When people sit in coffee shops, their conversations are quite audible to the the quiet folks tapping away on their computers next to them (like me right now). I try my best not to listen to what they are saying and just to focus on what I am doing but when I hear the word “gluten”, I just have to hear what is being said. After all, it is my world.

This man and this woman were talking about a mutual friend of theirs who is gluten free. They were essentially making fun of her for her fears around cross contamination and getting something in her food that might cause a reaction. It made me think about the issue we food sensitives face: the disbelieving judgment of others.

I try to weigh it out from where they sit. They simply don’t understand what it is like to nurse yourself through a reaction that can last for days – things like a nasty rash, a migraine, severe fatigue, bowel distress or painful inflammation in the muscles. I feel like if they had the same problem, they certainly wouldn’t make fun of the situation. But then I think by the way they were talking about this person that they weren’t crazy about here for a number of reasons. Then I feel a little better.

Seriously though, It is important to feel respected by the people around us. It is hard enough saying no to the home made bread at the table or asking if the chef used flour to thicken the sauce. We don’t want to do these things – we have to.

If you find yourself criticizing a friend or being criticized for your food reactions, you are not alone. I think it is human nature to pass judgment on things you don’t understand. Just keep taking care of yourself in the best way you can. My Mom has the best advice ever and always says just before I hang up the phone with her – “Take good care of my baby!” Thanks Mom, I will!

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