Happy Memorial Day!
Thank you to all those veterans who served our country and to those who continue to still serve! Your service is greatly appreciated.
As we are all going out to our Memorial day cookouts, don’t forget to pack that gluten free sunscreen and prep yourself with you gluten free essentials!
Where am I going with this? Well, when you have celiac disease, it’s hard eating out but almost harder when you have to attend family events. When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, everyone around me tried so hard to show great support. The biggest concern was that family and friends would not fully understand the disease, and what cross contamination is.
It was hard for me the first few years, when family would cook something that was gluten free and I felt awful if I didn’t try it. It was hard to just say no thank you, I’ll bring my own food. One thing for sure is that years later, i’ve mustered up the courage to just say no thank you as politely as possible. I am the only one who can help my body stay safe from gluten.
If you haven’t heard about Coral with Serving Celiacs, I suggest checking her out. She has these great downloadable resource cards that explain exactly what celiac disease is and cross contamination! I found these super helpful recently, as I have been going out a lot more to family events. Before finding those downloadable cards though, I had to figure out the best way to approach family and friends. When an event or invitation would come up I would just tell them not to stress about finding or making food for myself and to be safe and avoid cross contamination I would love to bring my own meal if possible. Not obviously at major events like weddings, this is not possible. Most people understood and gladly obliged that it was one less thing to worry about. Some people however, insisted they make a gluten free dish. In the past, I would risk eating their meal and feel awful later it. Trust me, it is not worth the effects! I would feel sick and it would last for 24 hours or so. It took a few days to get myself back to normal.
So here are a few tips when heading out to a party or family gathering. (weddings not included) :
If you don’t know the meal that is going to be served ahead of time, bring a gluten free dish or two. This will help to say that you didn’t know what they were having and wanted to bring a side or extra meal. (then you can also stick to eating these foods and staying safe) Be sure however to keep it separate from gluten containing foods.
Don’t expect any host to know 100% what celiac disease is. If you feel comfortable with that person ask them about what food will be offered and ask if it would be ok to bring your own food or eat ahead of time. Just be honest and tell them any chance of cross contamination will have side effects on your body.
For cookouts I would bring your own hot dog or hamburger rolls anyway and just let the host know you are bringing them to keep separate on another plate.
Make sure you check the condiments at parties for hidden sources of gluten.
I will always try to eat something ahead of time, but that’s just what i do to hold me over.
Now I have reached the point that with the people I feel comfortable with, I will tell them not to stress or worry about my food. I will still get some that offer items like gluten free brownies etc, however those people are now so fully aware of how sick I get that i trust that they take those extra precautions.
I know these are just opinion based tips but they were some that really helped me out. It’s hard to just tell people that you can’t risk eating their food, unless you feel 100% comfortable with them.
On that note I am off to the cookouts!
Wishing you all a safe Memorial day!
The Celiac Corner