Having a gluten allergy is no picnic, especially since most picnics involve eating lots and lots of bread. So, to further enlighten the gluten-eating community, we asked people with a gluten intolerance to school us on the most common questions thrown at them. Below, the Q's and the honest A's, though we left out the part of the answer where they sigh loudly before repeating themselves for the millionth time.
Educate yourself on the nitty-gritty of gluten-free living below:
Are you actually allergic to gluten, or are you just on a weird diet?
"I am actually allergic. There are so many cheaper ways to lose weight!"
So being gluten-free is expensive, huh?
"It can be, but as long as you don't go overboard on purchasing super-expensive fresh vegetables, you can make it work. Plus, if things go bad, you can always just eat buckets of tapioca."
Don't you miss pizza?
"Not really -- pizza with gluten-free crust isn't that bad. Just kidding, there's a huge hole in my soul where pizza used to be."
Oh you can't have that, because it's got rice!
"Not true! Rice itself is completely safe, we just have to look out for what's mixed into it. Like RAZOR BLADES. Or seasoned mixes made with wheat products, or whatever."
Wait, can you have potatoes?
"Potatoes are also naturally gluten-free. Just please don't coat my baked potato in flour to make it crispier."
Can you eat meat?
"Yes. Unless scientists have somehow crossbred a chicken with a barley plant, in which case, I can't eat that imaginary animal."
Isn't it hard for you to watch your friends eat bread when you dine out?
"Not really. The bread basket only fills you up with empty calories. So, while my friends fill up, I can eat twice as much of their steak."
Aren't you being a little overly cautious reading that label? You can definitely eat that.
"Actually, we've got to account for all the random things that go into seasonings, dressings, extracts, and packaged foods in general. Even the innocuous-seeming Starbucks yogurt parfaits have vegetable oil with barley malt in it."
But there's barely any flour in it, so you should be fine, right?
"Nope, even cross-contamination can get us. For instance, if we eat a 'safe' sausage from a pot of sauce that at one point had meatballs in it, we'll still have a reaction. And fast-food fries that're cooked in the same fryer as the onion rings are also a no-go. It is a scary, gluten-filled world, friends."
You won't really get that sick, though, will you?
"Yes. Yes, I will."
Wait, what happens when you have a reaction?
"Let's just say my stomach gets upset and leave it at that."
Hold on, what really happens?
"It's weird, I can see the future for a second, and then everything goes black. Now go eat pizza in front of me, you bastard."
Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist. She does not have a gluten allergy, but she sympathizes with her afflicted brethren. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.