People like to make rude food comments about food. I don’t know why our society is so obsessed with what the other person is eating but alas, that is our life.
A huge aspect of managing celiac disease means sharing with others your gluten-free needs. Whether it be in a social setting, at a restaurant, etc. we are constantly put in a place where our gluten-free diet is the topic of conversation.
While these settings can feel uncomfortable, especially as you’re learning to communicate your needs, they can be especially difficult when you’re responding to rude food comments. This is something that comes up A LOT on my Instagram.
So let’s discuss how to respond to rude food comments.
Would you comment on someone’s body size? I hope your answer is no. Because commenting on someone’s food is just as harmful and hurtful as commenting on someone’s body size.
It implies judgment and even if it’s well-intentioned, can be very triggering for someone. Ultimately, someone’s food choices are no one else’s business.
As I like to say “eyes on your own plate”.
A rude food comment is any comment that is made about your plate, your preferences, and your eating habits. They often involve people discussing the type, amount, or quality of your food. Rude food comments about a gluten-free diet might look like:
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the “food police”, it’s a concept introduced in the Intuitive Eating framework developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch (that is an affiliate link to their amazing book on Intuitive Eating if you want to check it out).
Essentially, the food police are either the voices inside your head judging and shaming your for your food choice or it’s actual people doing the same.
In this case, while diet culture is definitely present in the game, handling the food police might be a little more nuanced than usual. That being said, the spectrum Shelly introduced is helpful none the less.
So I won’t break it down too much because I think Shelly did a great job in her post, but essentially pay attention to the nature of the comment and assess your response from there.
Are there kind or mean intentions behind their comment? Are they genuinely curious or open to learning or are they shutting your needs down?
Depending on where on the spectrum the tone and purpose of their rude food comment lies, will help you determine how you’ll respond.
Kind intentions or ignorant intentions might be easily met with education and discussions where meaner intentions might be met with a change in subject, acknowledgement of the rude comment, and even just walking away.
Ultimately, the way you respond to rude food comments and what feels best for you is up to decide. That being said, I’ve drafted some sample responses to help you build up your own toolbox.
Living gluten-free with celiac disease can invite a lot of unwanted attention to your needs thanks to diet culture. Hopefully this post was helpful in helping you build confidence in managing responses to rude food comments you might face with celiac.
If you need more help building confidence and finding peace in your gluten-free life, feel free to reach out. I specialize in helping people build a better relationship with food, their body, and their gluten-free needs.