After being diagnosed with Celiac disease or discovering a gluten intolerance, the support of friends and family becomes very important. Although they may love you, they’ll be unable to lend you a hand without personal experience with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. So you’re the only gluten-intolerant person in your social circle – don’t fret! Just enlist some of those close to you to help you wade through the gluten-free waters.
Your primary goal is to educate – the more your friends and family know about your diet they more they’ll feel comfortable lending a hand. Break their misconceptions that gluten-free cooking is expensive, complicated and tiresome. Invite your close ones and teach them to cook a gluten-free meal. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved at a dinner party, but it’s an even better opportunity to show that cooking sans gluten can be just as easy. The kitchen is a great place to explain the dangers of cross-contamination and how to avoid it. Introduce several of your favorite recipes so that those close to you can invite you over for dinner or make you soup when you’re under the weather.
Another option is to host a gluten-free tasting at home. Lay out a selection of gluten-free snacks: naturally gluten-free foods and gluten-free alternatives. Hopefully this will spark discussion and your guests will come away with a firm understanding about what foods contain gluten. Show your guests that gluten-free snacks can substitute traditional gluten-containing snacks and taste great! Maybe you can convince your closest friends to stock some gluten-less snacks in their pantry!
Don’t feel that you can’t go out for dinner with your friends just because you don’t tolerate gluten. It can be really discouraging when you have to decline invitation after invitation because you can’t eat anything at the restaurant. Next time a friend invites the gang to a gluten-filled restaurant suggest a gluten-free friendly one instead. Unfortunately this means having a backup list of gluten-free friendly restaurants committed to memory – make sure this includes a few with gluten-free items on their happy hour menu. Those close to you may hesitate to take you for food somewhere for fear of trampling your dietary needs. Relieve their burden by taking them to your favorite gluten-free haunts.