So this appeared on my Twitter feed and I felt compelled to send out a message to others.
I know that being on a gluten-free diet isn't always easy. In fact, sometimes it's bloomin' hard work. But that doesn't mean you can just have a sneaky bagel or a sip of beer. A coeliac diet is for life.
Symptoms differ in coeliacs. Some people are 'silent' coeliacs, meaning they don't get noticeable symptoms but still inwardly suffer if they eat gluten. These are the people that worry me most because it must be so difficult to abstain from gluten. For me, I get a very painful cramping followed by other unmentionable things so the mere thought of deliberately eating gluten brings me out in a cold sweat.
A quick warning: the effects of eating gluten long-term as a coeliac can be very damaging. Click here for Coeliac UK's list. If you can't be bothered, or wish for a simplified explanation, the worst things that can happen include osteoporosis and cancer (of the intestine).
Warning aside, what bothers me is the message that's sent to others. If you're going to eat gluten, stop telling people you're coeliac! It damages the reputation for other coeliacs. I've lost count of the number of times I've been told I can have a little bit, or so-and-so doesn't get as sick if they eat gluten, and (the worst) "other coeliac customers are fine with cross-contamination".
So please, if you're coeliac and you're not going to stick to your diet (and you really can't change your ways), find another way to eat gluten-free without mentioning the word coeliac. Or come and see me for a good old-fashioned telling off. Whatever you do, don't ruin the hard-earned reputation good coeliacs have formed.
Are you a coeliac who 'cheats' every now and then? Do share your thoughts below!