Have you ever used your gluten sensitivity to avoid buying or eating something? If you’re so inclined to use this strategy, being gluten-free is a built-in excuse to avoid eating all the sweets that come to the office this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time those items look great and I wish that I could partake. But other times it’s a great excuse to stay away from the junk food or to decline without hurting anyone’s feelings. It means I don’t have to explain any further than “It looks great but I can’t eat that. I’m gluten-free. Thank you though.”

This even works with my kids, who are not gluten-free. When we pass those holiday cookie samples at the grocery store with the bright colored frosting and the appropriately colored holiday sprinkles my kids always want them. What kid wouldn’t?  But get this: when they ask if we can buy them and I say, “No. Sorry, they aren’t gluten-free,” and it actually works! They say, “Oh, okay,” and keep moving. I love it! They can eat cookies filled with gluten but they know I can’t and for now they are comfortable forfeiting certain things. I will use this to my advantage as long as I can.

I also use my gluten-free restriction when we order in food for meetings at work. Knowing my preference for certain places, I often offer to select the caterer, select the menu or at least tell the person ordering how I need my meal prepared. It’s a built-in excuse to avoid a certain establishments and a legitimate way to influence the menu selection. Plus I’m happy to do the added work if it ensures something that I can eat safely.

It’s all about perspective. Eating gluten-free does have its advantages at times.