What do you say?

When you are gluten free and go out to eat or go to someone’s home for dinner, it can be hard to stress that gluten free eating is important.  I’ve been gluten free for a year and a half now and one of the things that I struggle with is how to tell people that I absolutely cannot have anything with gluten in it.

For example, when you go to a restaurant and tell them that you can’t have wheat products, they seem to get it.  But when you are a Celiac it becomes more than that.  You can’t have barley or rye either and cross contamination is a WHOLE other subject.  I have told people that I’m Celiac and can’t have anything with gluten and get the glassy eyed look.  Sometimes they seem to get that it’s important (Celiac does sound like it could be bad) but not WHY.  When I ask if they have anything gluten free, a salad is a common answer although a lot of dressings have wheat.

So, what do you do?  Should you go into detail about Celiac Disease and what consequences it can cause?  How do you handle this?

4 thoughts on “What do you say?

  1. My teenager struggles with the whole “drawing attention” to oneself when trying to explain or ask about gluten free food. He prefers to eat a salad rather than ask or question. BUT between himself and his friends and his family, we find that it is best to ring ahead the restaurant or cafe or go on-line and view the menu. Unfortunately having Coeliac Disease means that it is difficult to be spontaneous or go out on the spur of the moment. I am not sure if you have access to Coeliac Information cards from your state Coeliac Society,
    but they are handy to have, to give to the waiter to explain what gluten free means.
    If you want to explain how serious Coeliac Disease is, you can say it is like a peanut allergy but the reaction is on the inside and often immediate.
    We went to a new Mexican place yesterday for lunch. My son identified the gluten free statement on the menu and ordered accordingly. He has had an accidental ingestion of gluten, (a combination of circumstances) so he knows the excruciating result, so he won’t take risks.
    It is all about risk management so I suppose you have to work out the best way to manage your risks. My son loves sushi, but the soy sauce at take aways has gluten. If he knows he will be having take away sushi, he puts a couple of gf soy sauce in his pocket or the car or his bag.
    Your close friends will learn to understand and then make sure that social events are planned for places that serve gluten free options.
    It is also about getting back to being happy within yourself because your diagnosis is a terrible upheaval and it does knock your confidence about as you are always on the alert… Never be embarrassed about having to advocate for your health. You just need to find a way that you feel comfortable with.

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