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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Gluten-free Dating
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16 posts in this topic

Hi. It may sound funny, but for me it became a real problem. I'm a single woman, 54 years old and recently was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. I live in New York. Huge city, lots of single people. For some reason, almost impossible to start a serious relationship even for younger and healthier people. There were several occasions when I thought I met a good person and something promising might happen. The moment we start discussing where we're going to have lunch or dinner and I mention my problem, the guy gets cold feet, and it's over before it starts :( . I'm looking for people with a similar problem. Any comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Alexa

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Hi,

I have a few ideas! Of course it depends on how much time and energy you want to devote to dating but...here are my ideas: 1. Contact several gastroenterologists and ask if you can post your e-mail or contact information for dating purposes for people with gluten intolerance, 2. There is usually a Celiac support group within metropolitan areas, 3. Ask if you can post a flier in health food stores

More tips...I found that although I am not dating, this did impact my marriage. Once I found that there were Three restaurants that we could both eat at and he could enjoy as well it greatly reduced the friction between us.

Also, most people will not have gluten intolerance. Yet, many people will have dietary restrictions, low sodium, low fat, other allergies, very health conscious dates and vegetarians. I have found a lot of how other people treat me has to do with how I present myself. Flexible but not willing to not be worked with. It is still a hugh challenge for me but I am moving forward!

I would love to hear when you land that great relationship! :D

Tammy

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I think it's a good idea to not bring it up right away. It's pretty much dating-suicide to reveal too much about yourself on or before a first date. I don't bring it up and if I'm going out to eat, I do my best to find something I can eat. If there's nothing, usually a salad with chicken does it. If he brings it up (aka "are you on a diet?") then I say slyly "I like to stay healthy" and change the subject". This works for me. Later, when things get more serious, then it will come up again and it's ok to talk about it. But in general, I avoid getting too deep in the beginning--don't want to scare him off!

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Personally, I would never risk my own health just to NOT offend or scare off a date. There is no way I'd take a chance eating out in a restaurant without the server being aware of my problem. Who knows what's going on behind those closed doors, and what might get touched prior to touching your meal, what might be in the salad dressings, marinades, etc. and how terribly ill you'll get if contaminated! :o

Since most first dates tend to be dinner out, I'd definitely tell the person you have some food allergies, but not really go into a lot of detail at this point. It seems like a bit of an explanation would be necessary in order to be given the choice of where to eat. (have a few in mind that you know are safe-this may mean some pre-date visits to restaurants or phone calls.) As many of us know from the previous board, Outback Steakhouse is a safe bet, and I've now found the PF Chang's China Bistro (I'd never heard of them before, they may not be everywhere) has gluten free items on their menu. Our local Champps can accomodate me. The manager advised they have a scratch kitchen and can modify anything on their menu for me. Mom & Pop places tend to be your best bet since they are usually scratch kitchens as well. However, if there IS an Outback or Chang's I'd probably chose them, since they have a MENU, which will show this potential mate that you are not alone in your problem and it's more common than one would think

If someone backs off because of your food issues, just imagine how they'd react down the road if something else medically should arise. Be glad they backed off now instead of getting involved with someone so shallow.

Are there any specialty food shops near you with a gluten free section? Maybe make it a habit to stop there a few times a week and see if you find someone else shopping for gluten free things?

Hang in there. You'll find someone. :D

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Alexa, I also live in New York. I have limit my socializing because I this disease. I would not bring up about this disease on your first date. If the gentleman ask you to go out to dinner, tell him you prefer to go to a movie intead. I know there are two restaurants in Manhattan that are glutten free. If you want to e-mail me I could be reached at loretta1922@hotmail.com. If e-mail me I would e-mail you the restaurants that glutten free in Manhattan.

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While I think it is probably best not to mention anything at first and just set the situation up in a way that is good for you while keeping your privacy (it is your business only after all), I also feel that any limitation or good personal belief, road block or obstacle only serves to weed out the losers. I would consider it a blessing, why waste months or years on someone only to find out that they are insensative, selfish, did I mention loser? This gives you a test that you can use early on to see what kind of person your dealing with, it gives you added insight...I think any time you go into a situation as a underdog, as someone that feels they have to work to get what they want, you will lose. Switch it around, you are a person of value, if he wants to spend time with you, this is the deal, this is my situation...no apologies. Any time someone senses that your apologetic or "worried they won't like me if things are too hard", they will take their cue from you and assume you know yourself better than they do and so obviously you don't think your worth it, so they won't either. Playing hard to get shouldn't be a game, but there is a reason it works, when you meet someone they don't know you so they read you based on what you know of yourself. It follows that if you know your a quality catch, you aren't going to just let anyone in, they will have to earn that. They sense that and they will rise to the occasion if they have it in them, my Mom always said "Start off they way you mean to proceed." And that is true, high standards about how someone treats you cannot be implimented later without extreme emotional uphevel and damage to your relationship.

Lisa

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Why don't you just suggest a restaurant where you can eat. There are several in NYC: Risotteria in the village indicates gluten free items on thei rmenu and even has gluten free desserts. Rd Bamboo in the village has a gluten free menu available if you ask. Josie's (there is one on the east side and one on the west side) isn't a gluten free resteraunt but is mostly organic and very health conscious. Evertime I have been there the waiter/waitress has been more than helpful and willing to make sure my meal is gluten free. You don't have to hide your celiac from your date- it shouldn't turn them off. Just don't overemphasiz it- there's a lot more to who you are than celiac and that's what you should talk about.

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I want to thank everyone for your responses. I just found them, thought my post was lost. You're right, if such thing like a special diet can scare a man away, it says a lot about that man. It's better not to have a boyfriend at all than to have a shallow thing. Thank you for your support.

Alexa

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Hi, I too haven't ventured back in the dating world but I did find

myself in a new department within my company and wondering

how to handle the xmas luncheon and goodies being brought in daily.

When I was asked I just said "I have a food allergy". People are

amazingly accepting of that, and no further discussion was had.

That might help you intially if the topic of food comes up.

As I am allergic to wheat if I ever get brave enought to date again

I will try that approach and hope it works. I hope a nice person

would accept that answer at least for a start. Good luck. I often

wondered if there is a gluten-free gentleman where I live, that sure

would make it easier.

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Oh my goodness, if people lose interest in you because you have a food intolerance, good riddance! I cannot believe people could be so ignorantly shallow. I've never had a problem with dating or letting people know that I have celiac disease, mind you I was diagnosed at the beginning of relationship that I've still in (it's been 2 years) and his aunt also has it, so his family naturally understands. But at work or with friends I have no qualms about telling people why I can't eat certain things, I explain it well and if after that there is still an issue, I leave it with them.

I'm so sorry to hear that people are having difficulty dating as a celiac, but if they do not understand or are that insensitive, you are better off without that person.

I have alopecia - try telling your suitor that you're wearing a wig, that's stress, but I've gotten thick skinned and have learned that if they have issues outside of concerns for my health, than they're not worth the trouble!

I don

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I think having a gluten intolerance can actually make you a more interesting date because you have to think of other things to do besides eat in a restraunt. If it's nice outside you could go for a picnic in the park, see a game, or even just walk around in a nice area of the city. If the weather is terrible you could go see a movie, or a show, or an indoor game. The trick is to think of things YOU like, bring your own food and have a firm but relaxed attitude. Also, if you can't already cook, learning how to (Gluten-free) is really a worthy investment. The truth is no one likes a date to feel pressured and as long as you're not fretting or focusing on your gluten intolerance, avoiding a formal dinner may actually make a date seem less like an interview.

If it's too much for a man just to do something different on a date he's probably a stick-in-the-mud anyways. If you are still having health or psychological issues related to your gluten intolerance always take care of those before re-entering the dating scene or getting into a relationship. If you do and something goes wrong it will be too easy to blame it on your diet and that will only foster resentment.

If you are ready to start dating, the key is not to let anything phase you. Think of the details ahead of time so you aren't preoccupied on the date. When a man asks you out try suggesting an activity first, or if he already has and it will be a problem for you, cheerfuly suggest an aternative. Remember that men take women out to dine in order to spend time with them and NOT a glass of wine and a veal cutlet.

Good luck (even people without gluten intolerance need that!)

-Solveig

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I think this really gets to the question raised in another thread about can you keep celiac disease a secret. And more broadly, how do you talk about it to people.

I think that like many things about people, celiac disease can look like a MAJOR problem or it can look like a pain in the neck but not a huge deal. In fact, I think you can use it to show off good things about your personality -- an ability to deal with adversity, thankfulness that you don't have something worse despite the undeniable neck-pain factor, an ability to maintain a sense of humor about difficult things, and so on.

I always tell people what it is I have, for a couple reasons. One is that a few years before I was diagnosed, a friend of mine started dating a woman who couldn't have dairy or commercially-processed wheat (because of mold, I think?). When his friends met her, she acted semi-mysterious about her dietary restrictions. Like, it was an issue in where or even whether we'd be eating, but rather than saying "here's the deal with me, now you know so you can plan based on it," she wouldn't say exactly what she could and couldn't have and it would come up in all these funny ways. And based in part on that, some people kind of had a strike against her from the beginning. So I don't want to be that person, who has everyone going "what's her deal? why won't she just tell us?"

Another reason I tell people about it is that I'm just plain compulsively honest. I don't think I could avoid it if I tried.

Then there's the fact that I want people to know about celiac disease. Whether or not I'm ever going to see them again, maybe if they've heard of it, there'll be a moment in the future when their sister or brother or friend gets diagnosed and they take it seriously rather than wondering if the person is making it up.

Finally, I think it's relevant -- if you're going to know me, you're going to have to know about this. I'd hate to have it come up later in a relationship (of whatever kind) and have the person have to go back through their memories trying to remember if they'd ever put me in an awkward position, however unintenionally.

At the same time, of course, I try to stay well away from the overshare. When people get to know me well they might hear about the nurse who looked at my stool sample, said in a really harsh tone "I know this is a personal question, but is there any chance anything has punctured your rectum?" and then when I stammered "I don't think so" just walked away without saying "well, I'm sure there must be some other explanation." But upon first meeting me, people aren't going to hear that story.

I have a few stock lines. If people ask what happens if I eat gluten, I say (because it's true) that I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to run for the bathroom immediately upon ingesting gluten. I might say something brief about how I used to be depressed a lot and since going gluten-free I'm so much more happy and easy-going.

All this is partly personal style. Like I say, I would have a really hard time NOT mentioning it, and it's something I find it very easy to be wryly humorous about. Someone else might have a different style, or might find it a more difficult thing to talk about without getting emotional in a way that might be too much on first meeting someone. But this is me, and so far it's working ok.

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I lost a girlfriend while I was in India because of celiac disease and other related issues. This winter while I was wintering down in Mexico I met a someone I really liked, and have been e-mailing her. I recently sent her a letter where I complained about getting sick from gluten and have not heard back from her since.

Possibly it is a good thing not to talk too much about celiac disease and it

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To Alexa: My only advice is to perhaps visit restaurants that might be potential locations for restaurant dates. Go to those restaurants at non peak hours and peruse the menu at the front desk, ask to speak with the manager/owner. Discuss your dietary needs and how it will challenge the restaurant. Get their feedback on their ability to cater to you. If you feel bold enough, order something simple after you speak with them. Go with a friend first, maybe.

Find out the hours that the manager/owner to whom you spoke he/she is there. If that person is personable & friendly perhaps mention to he/she that you will be having a date shortly and you are there to scope it out. Maybe you can arrange your date night to coincide with the night that this manager/owner is on the premises to insure that there will be compliance with your needs......

debmidge

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Laura:

Could you go into detail about the nurse/rectum story? Sounds like a funny one that only a celiac could have.

Thanks, Debmidge

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What I told is pretty much the full story, albeit bare-bones version.

I was in the hospital for what they were thinking was violent food poisoning (which it probably was, they just didn't yet know it was complicated and made more extreme by celiac), and the nurse on shift was a pretty abrupt, unpleasant person. She'd already yelled at me about several things that she just had no cause to yell about. She had me collecting stool samples and when I gave her one, she asked if there was any chance my rectum had been punctured. In a very accusing kind of tone. And I, so sick I could barely stand and very scared and confused, in the hospital for the first time since birth, stammered out that I didn't think it could have been, and she turned on her heel and walked out without saying anything more. Leaving me there to contemplate how one's rectum might get punctured and what she thought I might have done to get it that way.

This is also the nurse who told me to discourage my parents from coming to see me.

I have to say, nurses have this great reputation for being nicer than doctors and being the ones to really take care of patients and all, but my experience has been that doctors are pretty nice and nurses are often abrupt heading toward mean. And phlebotomists always think they're going to be able to find my vein even though I tell them that other people have had trouble, and then after like five minutes of rooting around with a needle in my arm, when I'm gasping in pain, they tell me that there are no nerve endings there so I'm clearly imagining it if I think I'm in pain.

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