If you’re a vegetarian or vegan you know all too well the common questions that come along with the diet and lifestyle. Just ask anyone who’s either a vegetarian or vegan what they’re asked on a daily basis.
“What do you eat?”, “How do you get enough protein?”, “How do you get your vitamins?”
Now imagine a diet where you were prohibited against eating gluten-containing products which includes everything from bread to pasta to pizza. That’s where the questions get even more repetitive, and annoying, during formal outings and events.
Just ask Susan Daily, a stay at home mother of two who was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease, an auto-immune disorder which causes her body to react adversely to contact with gluten when ingested. Oh yeah, she is a vegan too, abstaining from using any animal products whatsoever.
“The questions are ridiculous sometimes when I go somewhere and say I need a vegan and gluten-free meal” Daily says, “I’m lucky if they know what a vegan is let alone gluten-free.” Daily says most restaurants, especially chain restaurants, are more or less apathetic to her situation, “I’d just like to see a little more education on modern dietary restrictions. It’s kind of ridiculous.” She has reason to be irritated-imagine going out with your friends for dinner on a Friday night and not being able to eat anything on the menu besides a salad and telling the waiter to “hold the croutons.”
Daily has a few favorite restaurants though, “There are a few local vegetarian and vegan restaurants that offer gluten-free dishes. I go there as much as possible.” She also says that when she first started on her vegan and gluten-free diet after being diagnosed with celiac disease there were very few resources for people like her. “Now there are great websites like Vegiac.com,” which she says has “helped me dramatically in finding new recipes and ideas for new foods and restaurants to try.” Vegiac.com is an online community for vegetarians and vegans with celiac disease who are following gluten-free diets just like Daily. “It’s a great resource and it gives me hope that these certain dietary restrictions will become more mainstreamed” Daily says.
Veganism and vegetarianism have been around for a long time in the United States, but Celiac disease is just recently being leaked into the mainstream. Each diet on its own is relatively easy to manage, but a combination of two, or in some peoples’ cases even more if they have other medical problems such as diabetes, can be very difficult. Luckily for Daily things are starting to look up as new resources like Vegiac.com become available and restaurants gradually begin to offer new dishes.