Navigating Celebrations & Special Occasions Gluten-Free

9 years ago

When you first find out that you have serious diet restrictions due to celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or other health issues that involve eliminating gluten from your diet, the thought of eating out at social events might send you into a tailspin.

The first thing to do is to acknowledge that you have choices. Everybody wants to feel like they are in control. Acknowledging these choices will empower you.

CHOOSE GOOD HEALTH
You could choose to ignore your diagnosis and eat whatever you want, but would that be smart? Would you really enjoy the aftermath? Sure, you need to mourn the loss of your old favorite foods, but choose to move on to discover new favorites.

Another positive choice you can make is to view the occasion as an opportunity to enjoy the company of other people and not just as an opportunity to eat. True, most special occasions are centered around traditional foods, but you can choose to focus on the more meaningful aspects of the occasion.

After you reframe your outlook on the situation there are several other options from which you can choose.

HOST THE EVENT
Offer to host the event yourself for complete control over the food.

EAT AT HOME    
If the event is casual and you find the “I have food allergies…”, conversation with the host awkward, opt to eat a safe meal at home before the event to ensure a full belly. Kendall of Gluten-Free Living reminds us, especially if you are driving, that appetizers are usually not going to be enough if you choose to imbibe. http://gluten-freeliving.blogspot.com/2008/12/shrimp-do-not-absorb-alco…

SNEAKY SNACKS
Alison, of Sure Foods Living (http://surefoodsliving.com/), sneaks gluten-free crackers into her purse that she can munch on and not feel deprived or hungry. Depending on how sensitive you are to cross-contact, you can always bring a snack that will substitute for the food you are allergic to and use that to enjoy the safe foods that are available. This tactic would work best at a casual event.

FULL DISCLOSURE WITH NO EXPECTATIONS
Explain to the host that you have serious food limitations and that you don’t really want her to go out of her way to accommodate you. Offer to bring a dish or two to the event that you can eat. This route follows the guidelines of a good guest and solves your food dilemma at the same time. Most of us with a sweet tooth are satisfied if we can at least eat the dessert that we brought.

FULL DISCLOSURE AND OFFER TO HELP
Explain to the host your situation, and if they are genuinely interested (and I stress genuinely) in accommodating you, offer to guide and assist them through the meal planning and preparation.

SAFE SEASONAL GLUTEN-FREE FOOD IDEAS & RECIPES

Gluten-Free Living has put together a complete gluten-free recipe guide featuring festive foods.

http://www.glutenfreeliving.com/blog.php

Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl has created the mother of all gluten-free cookie lists.

http://gingerlemongirl.blogspot.com/2008/12/2008-gluten-free-christmas-…

Rachel at Personal Web Nutrition has some expert advice about making the healthiest food choices at a party.

http://personalwebnutrition.com/blog/?p=104

Alison at Sure Foods Living created an allergen-free gingerbread house!

http://surefoodsliving.com/2008/12/22/i-made-an-allergen-free-gingerbre…

Kelly Courson writes about all of her favorite gluten-free food finds at http://CeliacChicks.com

This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.

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