Monday, 23 June 2014

The Short(ish) Goodbye


So after many years blogging here and living through what feels like many versions of myself - the loss of friends and family members over the last year - has definitely thrown perspective of what I value into sharp focus. I think it is time to down tools and stop blogging. I shall be closing out my Facebook page and my Twitter feed too. I'm of two minds about it. I would like to stay on blogging, but quite frankly I'm just too busy in the real world to keep this as a hobby. So at the same time I am glad to be finishing up as I will now have more time to continue with my 'outside' life.

I think I am a bit disillusioned with the whole gluten free scene. Not the community - you guys rock, but with everybody outside of it. Mind, there are elements within the community that are stagnant and so in a way prevent things from evolving and improving through motivations that are are beyond my understanding. I'm an idealist at heart. 

To those bakeries, shops and restaurants that have offered me gluten free options that are actually NOT gluten free - a genuine screw you. Stop marketing your food as gluten free when they are clearly made in a cross contaminated environment. Don't advertise gluten free and then put in the small print (or maybe not even include small print) that they aren't suitable for people who have coeliac disease or for those who are intolerant. Just stop. They are not gluten free, so please why even write those words down, except to dupe some unsuspecting person who will just get sick. Just to be clear - if there is gluten present in your food because of cross-contamination, then your food has gluten in it - therefore not gluten free, no matter what alternative ingredients you use. 


So why do you even bother using gluten free ingredients? Clearly there is a cross contamination issue, so what's the point? At least there was a notice informing the buying public. There are far too many bakeries doing this sort of thing. I can actually feel my blood pressure rising.



Another classic. Friends with gluten? Honestly, I am NOT friends with gluten. I do not want food that is friendly with gluten. This sign was meant to indicate that there were gluten free options available (which incidentally were also not gluten free due to cross contamination, so I guess in a way, it is actually gluten friendly). Clear signage, eh.


To those bakeries, shops, restaurants, small businesses, big businesses and everyone who has ever offered me gluten free options that are actually gluten free - I am indebted. Thank you for showing this rather fed-up and jaded girl that there are decent people and businesses out there who really do want to go out of their way for their customers, who actually want to produce high quality, decent, SAFE food and environments to dine in. You have shown me that my options are not as closed off as I first thought they were when I first started traveling my (unfortunately, very necessary) gluten free road. *insert brass band and firework display of gratitude here*


Stock Image


I only wish I had the conviction and back bone to be a hard core, brilliant gluten free activist (see Gluten Dude  http://glutendude.com for inspiration), but alas, I am just one small voice on a small island that has lost some of its will to keep going.

So to close, thank you to everyone who accepted me with virtual open arms. You lot are an incredible backbone to rely on when isolation, seclusion, frustration and exhaustion seem to be my only friends. Your kind encouragement and brilliant debate kept things good. So I humbly thank you for your interaction, sharing your stories, general online banter and putting up with me when I didn't even make sense to myself or could not make sense of what I was trying to convey.

I will still keep this blog and its pages up and published and I will probably continue to update my beer blog on occasion. If anybody wishes to reach me for whatever reason - my email will still be active glutenfreephotos[at]gmail.com So apart from that - thank you for taking the time to drop by over the years and keeping me company here.

I'll leave you all with a summary of what I've learnt in the 9 years of being gluten free:

Always read the label, always.

Do look beyond the 'gluten free' label and make sure you're not poisoning yourself with other unhealthy & harmful ingredients.

Never chance a 'made in an environment that handles gluten' food item.

Try and eat natural, seasonal foods. The longer the shelf life of a product, the more likely it is not good for you. Avoid.

Go to your GP for regular check-ups and blood work. 

Don't ignore your health. If you feel something's up - that means there is something up! Look after yourself.

Accept the fact that you're going to get 'glutened' sometimes, no matter how hard you try not to. (There's secret gluten everywhere!)

Make sure you always carry emergency gluten free food rations before you go out the door.

Eat a gluten free meal before you go out with your mates for an evening. Sounds silly, but trust me - this is worth doing, especially if there is no advance planning of where you're heading out for the night.

It's okay to feel frustrated by the world and its lack of understanding.

Have a sense of humour, but not at the expense of who you are or your own personal struggle and dietary needs. You are not a target.

Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. Whether to your family and friends who don't quite understand why you are gluten free, or to restaurant/hotel/B&B/etc., or simply demanding a better availability of gluten free food in shops - food is your only medicine, you should be allowed to eat decent quality, safe food and not be limited.

You are not alone - there are literally hundreds of thousands of people living on a necessary gluten free diet. Get onto social networking sites and start expanding your support base. Twitter is a great place to start. There are so many fantastic gluten free bloggers out there. 

Spread the word! Be your own gluten free campaigner. If you know people who are experiencing symptoms similar to coeliac disease or gluten intolerance or have family members who have coeliac disease, encourage them to get a blood test. Help educate your circle of peers. 

Don't give up on yourself or your diet. The health implications are tremendous. You are too valuable.

Like I said, most importantly - always read the label. Always. 

Yours,

Kel
The GFP x









2 comments:

  1. Sorry to see you go, but you ended on a high note. Great post!

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  2. I am reading your blog for the first time. Love everything you've said in this post! You are SO right about the places that offer gluten free with a gluten environment! Sorry to see you are ending your blog, Facebook, & Twitter...just from reading this one, I know I like you. =)
    Best wishes!
    Melissa ( mimi) =)

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