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  • Writer's pictureAli

Advice you should never take as a Coeliac

It all started so promisingly: "5 tips for entrepreneurs who double as parents." It was a post from Entrepreneur on Twitter.

With over 3million followers, you can probably see why I like them. Usually their posts are insightful and, most importantly, useful.

Sadly, that wasn't the case this time.

The chap who'd written it clearly wasn't a parent. (Or certainly not someone who lives in the real world.)

In a nutshell, his advice was to:

  1. "Set an alarm 2-3 hrs before your kids wake up."

  2. Make children do the cleaning.

  3. Have 2 sets of clothes - one lot in the car & the other in the house - so that when you go away you don't have to pack.

To follow this advice I would have to:

  • Get up at 3am.

  • Teach my baby to hoover.

  • Repack the car every other week to ensure the clothes still fitted my offspring.

It reminded me of what it's like to be Coeliac and get advice from people who don't have coeliac disease.

There are well-meaning comments from friends and family. Usually these echo the sentiments you had when you were newly diagnosed yourself:

"Can't you just eat naturally gluten-free food?" (Ideally, yes, but this can take up a lot of precious time & effort for meals like lunch.)

There are medical professionals who should know better:

"It's unlikely you have coeliac disease because you're overweight." (Losing weight isn't the only symptom of coeliac disease and it's certainly not one I had.)

Then there are the dietitians who've read the text book but haven't the faintest idea otherwise. Newly diagnosed, I asked mine if I could eat sweetcorn and she told me, "I can't tell you about specific products". I made it clear I wasn't asking about brand names and she was forced to admit she didn't know whether sweetcorn was gluten-free. (Honestly, what was the point in talking to her? What?!)

Weirdly, the Entrepreneur piece has been shared by 1,000 people. Of course, it might have been shared by other people who aren't parents with friends of theirs who have children, thus sparking a gratitude versus rage debate (i.e. I'm grateful to my friend for thinking of me when they shared this article but honestly it just beggars belief they think I could live like this).

The only reassuring thing I can say as a Coeliac is that it happens to us all: rubbish advice from non-Coeliacs where it's probably just easier to shrug it off than start a rant. Unlike having children, coeliac disease probably won't happen to the majority of the advice-givers you experience, and there'll never come a time when they realise how difficult things have been for you.

What's the best worst advice you've been given by a non-Coeliac? Do share your stories below!

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