Worried about going gluten free and being that person at the party or that friend at dinner who seems like they have to ask all the questions and need ALL the things!!?? How do you go gluten free in a way that serves you and doesn’t impose on your relationships with friends, family, and significant others around you?!
In the spirit of national Celiac awareness month, I wanted to take things beyond the (gluten free) food. If you’ve ever had to go on a restrictive diet or give up any of your favorite foods you understand that going gluten free goes far beyond just the food itself. Because food is such an integral part of our quality of life and we MUST eat to survive, changes in diet can ultimately change our social lives and the community around us. It’s easy to let yourself BECOME your diagnosis and let it own you in a way. Say no to being jail-bound by your gluten free lifestyle and say yes to it providing the opportunity to help you feel your best and live your best life! How to do that?
I’m here to share the scoop as someone who has gone through the ups and downs and ultimately found some of the secret sauce.
How to go gluten free & still maintain a happy body, mind & social life!
Always come prepared
If you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac or gluten just simply doesn’t love you back in the way you wish it did-introduce yourself to your kitchen appliances. Bringing my own gluten free dishes and/or baked goods has become a regular part of my attendance to a social gathering. This way, I always know I’ll have something to eat at that summer bbq or get together. Never expect your friends/family to be completely on board with having food for you-especially when this is a new diagnosis or lifestyle for you. If they happen to cook things for you-hooray! That’s a huge win!
Do your dirty work behind the scenes
Whenever going to a restaurant, ALWAYS call ahead and ask that they can accommodate you-specifically asking if they can avoid cross-contamination with gluten if you have Celiac disease. Using a script as follows has been very helpful to me: “Are you able to provide a safely gluten free meal for an allergy that will avoid any cross contamination? Can you share with me what items on your menu would accommodate that so I can plan ahead? Do I need to ask to speak with anyone in particular like a manager?” This way, you will get to the restaurant armed with an order in mind and you don’t have to be “that person” asking a million questions at the table in front of your friends. Always remind your server of your allergy when you get there.
There is no need to apologize for your allergy or food preferences-but ALWAYS be grateful for those around you who help support, accept and accommodate for you. Gratitude puts out good energy into the world and brings that positivity back your way. Those around you will be that much more likely to support and help (and maybe even make you some gluten free treats) when you genuinely thank them for going out of their way. If family/friends aren’t supportive or don’t seem to get it, have patience and be kind to them. Stay present to this fact: Those who have never had to personally deal with a food allergy on their own will never fully understand eating gluten free like you do-and that’s ok!
Laugh it off
Some of the best advice I have ever been given was: “Stop taking yourself so seriously”. This may seem silly and somewhat counterintuitive being that Celiac is a serious thing but sometimes we need to be reminded to laugh it off and that life is never perfect! Remembering to laugh when the going gets tough and making fun of ourselves can be so healing! Surround yourself with those who enjoy laughing and joking around like you do and remember that mistakes and screw ups are part of what make us human.
Looking for a tasty and crowd pleasing gluten free recipe to bring to your next get together? Try my Mediterranean Seven Layer dip here!