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We'Ll All Be Eating Gluten In About 15 Minutes...Sorry
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I do not necessarily expect the world to revolve around my diet, however I do expect people to consider my feelings.

--Tonight my husband (who usually cooks because of the way our responsibilities are split) calls me from the grocery store and informs me that the rest of the house will be having pizza tonight (which will be cooked in our oven at home as soon as he gets home and he is leaving right then). He did say he would fix me something else...but I'd rather have had time to duplicate the pizza and have something similar to everyone else. He also brought home store bought chocolate chips that I can't verify the ingredients of so no sharing in that either :(

--My inlaws (who live an hour from any store that sells rice noodles) suddenly decided that during the time we are visiting they must have lasagna. There is no offer for me to even be able to cook anything that I can eat at all.

--My mother refuses to allow me to bring my own food to her house but then I'm starving because there might be a side of vegetables that I can have at each meal. We live for hours away so this is for several days.

--My "friends" who invite me for dinner and then call me that afternoon and ask me to bring a dish that must contain gluten (unless I want to make a 2 1/2 hour round trip to get alternate versions and there really hasn't been time). I was hoping they would allow me to bring something that I could eat and share the rest but this has not been the case.

I feel great off of gluten and night shades. You wouldn't believe the changes. More energy, mystery acne gone, joint pain gone, lost lots of weight and not just because I didn't know what to eat, thyroid anitbodies are going down. Those are just a few things! I don't want to go back on gluten. The times when I've had it accidentally have not been good.

So in the above situations, what I am supposed to do besides have a pity party. I would like to be able to handle these things smoothly afterall living off vegetables for days on end or worse just not eating is not something that makes me happy. The other things I'm super disappointed about as well. Mostly just hurt that these are all people who are supposed to love me and don't understand.

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I do not necessarily expect the world to revolve around my diet, however I do expect people to consider my feelings.

--Tonight my husband (who usually cooks because of the way our responsibilities are split) calls me from the grocery store and informs me that the rest of the house will be having pizza tonight (which will be cooked in our oven at home as soon as he gets home and he is leaving right then). He did say he would fix me something else...but I'd rather have had time to duplicate the pizza and have something similar to everyone else. He also brought home store bought chocolate chips that I can't verify the ingredients of so no sharing in that either :(

--My inlaws (who live an hour from any store that sells rice noodles) suddenly decided that during the time we are visiting they must have lasagna. There is no offer for me to even be able to cook anything that I can eat at all.

--My mother refuses to allow me to bring my own food to her house but then I'm starving because there might be a side of vegetables that I can have at each meal. We live for hours away so this is for several days.

--My "friends" who invite me for dinner and then call me that afternoon and ask me to bring a dish that must contain gluten (unless I want to make a 2 1/2 hour round trip to get alternate versions and there really hasn't been time). I was hoping they would allow me to bring something that I could eat and share the rest but this has not been the case.

I feel great off of gluten and night shades. You wouldn't believe the changes. More energy, mystery acne gone, joint pain gone, lost lots of weight and not just because I didn't know what to eat, thyroid anitbodies are going down. Those are just a few things! I don't want to go back on gluten. The times when I've had it accidentally have not been good.

So in the above situations, what I am supposed to do besides have a pity party. I would like to be able to handle these things smoothly afterall living off vegetables for days on end or worse just not eating is not something that makes me happy. The other things I'm super disappointed about as well. Mostly just hurt that these are all people who are supposed to love me and don't understand.

I am sorry you are going through this, really I am. I've experienced a bit of that myself. But here's the thing: You need to take care of yourself. If your Mom won't let you bring food to her house, then don't go. No one can expect you to starve while visiting. You might just want to say "Mom, I am going to bring along some food so that I won't get sick," and then that's it. You take your food. For friends who call and say bring a dish, bring one! There are plenty of foods that are naturally gluten free that you can make in a heartbeat. You don't have to go miles away to get gluten free specialty foods when you have a plethora of choices in your local grocery store.

For your husband, there will be times the rest of the family will want to have some gluten on the fly. Keep some frozen gluten free meals or pizzas on hand for those occassions. When you are at your inlaws and they decide to have lasagne, prepare something delicious for yourself. There is no "offer" involved. They are aware that you cannot have gluten and will not expect you to starve. Be prepared.

Not everyone is going to understand, nor or they equipped to meet your dietary needs, so you have to be prepared, explain what you are going to do to take care of yourself, and then do it.

You probalby would have been glutened by the lasagna at your MIL even with rice noodles, because of cc. So consider it a blessing! :D

In a perfect world, we could be accomodated everywhere. Unfortunatley......

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The friends asked me to bring chicken nuggets and they expected me to be the ones to fix them at their house. That's what threw me for the loop. I can most definately take something gluten free. It's when they specify that I bring something that's difficult to find gluten free on the fly.

At MIL's, I thought we were going to be able to find a local grocery store that would sell things I could eat. In order to find something I could eat, I ended up with rice cakes and salsa (before I realized I couldn't have nightshades). The stove is occupied at their house when dinner is being prepared. However, since then they have been good about allowing us to stay in a vacant house of theirs where we have our own kitchen should we need it. This is fine.

My mom, was a lone of Christmas because we told her we couldn't come back.

I think these people need to clue me in on their plans ahead of time. I truthfully think that if you know we are coming to your house, you can surely plan a menu for three days and tell me what it is rather than pulling something I can't have out of your freezer at the last minute. You can surely allow me to go to the grocery store (in the case of my mom) and purchase food that I can eat. If I earn more money, then my money should go towards things that I can eat. If I work all day, school the kids, do the laundry, do the dishes and the only thing he does is cook, I think it can be gluten free but my point is that I had a 15 minute warning and we don't currently have those kinds of meals in our freezer because like I said, we don't have grocery stores around here that sell them. I would have to drive an hour and fifteen minutes to get to one. I found the time to do that exactly once in the 3 months.

My point is not, that they can't have these things. My point is that there really isn't anything "quick" that I can have. It puts me in an awkward position. I want to say "NO, I'm not going to touch chicken nuggets and want to bring something that I CAN EAT!" but obviously that's not appropriate so I took the chicken nuggest, put them on the baking sheet, and washed my hands really good. At my mom's I just flat out gave up and ate gluten and paid dearly for it. By the time I go to my inlaws on that same break, I quite honestly didn't care what came out of my mouth (one of the effects of being glutened for me) so they did get a mouthful (and hey they made changes!). I told my husband what I thought. Maybe I shouldn't have but he is at home all day and I had been asking him what the plan was for dinner for HOURS while he was playing on the computer. A planned day out for pizza with the kids is different too. Eating it infront of me with no warning right now is NOT ok for me. It's just not.

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Hello

You can have a pity party for yourself for a short time then its time to move on & focus on your well-being.

The gluten-free lifestyle does take alot of pre-planning. You need to be responsible for your gluten-free diet. You need to talk & discuss with your spouse your feelings & feeling left out at times. Years down the road this issue will lessen! He needs to be supporting you to better health. In turn you must not expect that everyone will understand your new lifestyle or even want to try to accept it....its just the way people are. Not everyone wants to bother with a change if it doesn't reflect them. I think that is the sadest part...

I take a bag of gluten-free food in my car for snacking always. When I get invited to someone's house that I'm not sure about, I just ask many questions to see if there will be anything I can partake of. If not I explain the reason why I asked in the first place. You must ask tackfully!!! I tell them how sick I can get & then I tell them how I would love to come & dine & eat with others but I need to bring my own food. I try to make something as close as possible to whatever will be served to the gluten eaters.

Many times my gluten-free food has become the topic of conversation . I get to educate people about celiac.

If your mother does not allow you to bring your own gluten-free food then tell her you will not be joining her for meals ever as this is an illness that only can be healed by NO GLUTEN....I hope she wouldn't like you to be ill .. you need to get printed info to share with your family so they can learn & understand. After all they also may someday need to be following the gluten-free lifestyle.

Many of us have no close place to do shopping for gluten-free foods. I drive hours away several times a year to stock up because of no gluten-free shopping. I also do mailorder, purchased a small freezer just for gluten-free foods & goodies. I stay well stocked & make lasagne,soups , cookies, cakes, ice cream sandwiches & so on & freeze them so when I do get invited out I'm ready to go....

When we go out to eat we choose places where I also can enjoy the food....there so many gluten-free places to dine out these days.

For the holidays I always either prepare everything or if I go to another home to eat , I take my own, stuffing, pie & even chicken or turkey if the stuffing is in the bird.....I eat usually the vegetable & the potato

When you take charge of your gluten-free eating & pre-plan will be able to do anything , have fun & enjoy your healthy well-being.... I've never missed out on anything once I started to pre-plan....

When someone has a birthday party go & enjoy the companionship of others.... take your own gluten-free cake....

Something I enjoy is baking for everyone so they can see & taste gluten-free goodness............

hth

mamaw

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But that's my point. I am having a difficult time preplanning when I ask about the menu and I'm told "I don't know". It's hard to take a frozen lasagna four hours justs incase they decide that's what they want to have. It's hard to have something we wouldn't normally eat on hand "just in case" someone decides they want us to bring it to a party.

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If someone asks me to bring food, I'm not bringing it unless I can eat it. I think it's inexcusably rude to expect someone to bring something that is harmful to them, and I would suggest you not let your friends get away with that.

As for the pizza and the lasagna... Well, there are a lot of things that I and my husband eat differently. Sometimes, I like to make chili, but he can't stand the stuff, so he scrounges on his own. We don't have to eat the same things, and if it's your own expectations making you unhappy that you're eating something different - then what needs to be worked on are the expectations. Not that it's easy to do that, not that it'll be accomplished overnight.

As for the "not allowed to go buy food I can eat" thing... I think you totally did the right thing. I also would never go back to a house with that rule.

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The friends asked me to bring chicken nuggets and they expected me to be the ones to fix them at their house. That's what threw me for the loop. I can most definately take something gluten free. It's when they specify that I bring something that's difficult to find gluten free on the fly.

At MIL's, I thought we were going to be able to find a local grocery store that would sell things I could eat. In order to find something I could eat, I ended up with rice cakes and salsa (before I realized I couldn't have nightshades). The stove is occupied at their house when dinner is being prepared. However, since then they have been good about allowing us to stay in a vacant house of theirs where we have our own kitchen should we need it. This is fine.

My mom, was a lone of Christmas because we told her we couldn't come back.

I think these people need to clue me in on their plans ahead of time. I truthfully think that if you know we are coming to your house, you can surely plan a menu for three days and tell me what it is rather than pulling something I can't have out of your freezer at the last minute. You can surely allow me to go to the grocery store (in the case of my mom) and purchase food that I can eat. If I earn more money, then my money should go towards things that I can eat. If I work all day, school the kids, do the laundry, do the dishes and the only thing he does is cook, I think it can be gluten free but my point is that I had a 15 minute warning and we don't currently have those kinds of meals in our freezer because like I said, we don't have grocery stores around here that sell them. I would have to drive an hour and fifteen minutes to get to one. I found the time to do that exactly once in the 3 months.

My point is not, that they can't have these things. My point is that there really isn't anything "quick" that I can have. It puts me in an awkward position. I want to say "NO, I'm not going to touch chicken nuggets and want to bring something that I CAN EAT!" but obviously that's not appropriate so I took the chicken nuggest, put them on the baking sheet, and washed my hands really good. At my mom's I just flat out gave up and ate gluten and paid dearly for it. By the time I go to my inlaws on that same break, I quite honestly didn't care what came out of my mouth (one of the effects of being glutened for me) so they did get a mouthful (and hey they made changes!). I told my husband what I thought. Maybe I shouldn't have but he is at home all day and I had been asking him what the plan was for dinner for HOURS while he was playing on the computer. A planned day out for pizza with the kids is different too. Eating it infront of me with no warning right now is NOT ok for me. It's just not.

So sorry these things happened!!

It's totally appropriate to tell the friends that you can't bring chicken nuggets. People don't understand the finer points of this complicated disease. Newbies like me are doing research projects just to learn about it ourselves. Gentle reminders are appropriate and necessary for your health. I would have said "I would love to bring chicken nuggets but I don't have the ingredients to make them in a way that I can eat them. Do you mind if I bring .... (whatever it is you can bring.)"

I also think the term allergy is a good one to use because we know it's not an allergy it's an autoimmune disorder that is more serious than allergies, but they don't know that. For most people food allergies make them think of anaphylaxis and giant welty rashes and they certainly don't want that. Remind them that you are allergic and can't eat that. It's a word they will get. Maybe some will disagree with me, but it's all about getting what you need at this point. Then over dinner if they are interested you can explain the real deal with this.

As far as your mother, good for you to refuse to visit again if she pulls that sort of nonsense. What is her issue with you bringing food? Does she feel guilty as if she needs to be the one providing? Is she willing to talk about it? There has to be a solution or you just can't go there.

It's okay to speak up for yourself as long as you are polite and to the point and matter of fact. You shouldn't suffer for 2 weeks because somebody doesn't understand or refuses to accomodate you.

The last thing is, I would order things online and keep the pantry stocked. You can make chicken nuggets if you have cornmeal and brown rice flour on hand. You can make mac and cheese with gluten-free pasta. There really isn't anything gluten-free you can't make if you have the ingredients on hand.

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But that's my point. I am having a difficult time preplanning when I ask about the menu and I'm told "I don't know". It's hard to take a frozen lasagna four hours justs incase they decide that's what they want to have. It's hard to have something we wouldn't normally eat on hand "just in case" someone decides they want us to bring it to a party.

I wouldn't try to mimic what they are eating. I would just bring my own food and eat it. Have you given your inlaws some ideas for cooking too? It's so easy to make some sort of meat, some veggies and rice for dinner. If you are only there 3 days, there is no reason they can't do steak one night, chicken the next, and fish or whatever. Then bring lunch items. Breakfast is easy. Scrambled eggs and fruit or you bring your own cereals.

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I totally understand how you feel. I also agree with the other posters.You have every right to be frustrated at the ignorance and insensitivity of friends and family. But there's a better role for you to play in this scenario than that of the helpless injured heroine. You can be much more proactive here! But that's difficult when you can't see all the possibilities. We may be able to help you here by cluing you in to EASILY AVAILABLE ways to make typically gluteny foods gluten-free.

For example, you can make gluten-free chicken nuggets cheaply from scratch by buying raw chicken tenders, dredging them in cornstarch, dipping them in beaten egg, rolling them in seasoned corn meal or potato buds, and then frying them. Or you can bake them if you spray them with PAM or drizzle with butter or oil. Either way, start to finish only takes 30 minutes.

You can keep corn tortillas on hand as emergency gluten-free pizza crusts. The best way to prepare these is to brown them on each side in a little olive oil, then make a "sandwich" out of two of them with a slice of provolone. Put on a greased cookie sheet, top with your favorite sauce and toppings, and broil for 2-4 minutes. Voila--pizza.

I've fed these to a bunch of pre-teen boys (all gluten eaters except for my son) and they scarfed them down and hollered for more.

At home, you might discuss with your hubby the possibility of changing your assigned chores so that you do the bulk of the cooking. That way, you can make EVERYTHING gluten-free except for the bread for their sandwiches--just make sure that you make it taste good! And there are gluten-free recipes for everything under the sun (including bread, pancakes, cookies, cakes, pizza crust, pasta dishes, etc).

Forget the specialty items except for gluten-free flour and pasta. All the rest is overpriced and totally unnecessary, and usually tastes like cardboard. Make everything from scratch--it's cheaper, healthier, tastier, and doesn't have to take longer than getting take-out! Look up Rachael Ray's cookbooks--almost all of her recipes are easily adaptable to gluten-free, and most of her cookbooks contain a "Make Your Own Take-Out" section--and ALL of her meals are 30 minutes or less.

You don't need to go shopping anywhere. A-M-A-Z-O-N dot com will deliver all kinds of gluten-free pastas and flours to your door. Everything else you get at your regular grocery store because it's NORMAL food--fresh fruit, fresh or frozen veggies, salad stuff, raw meat, fish, chicken, etc.

I buy betterbatter flour 45 pounds at a time. It comes in convenient 5-pound boxes, and I use it like regular flour, except in recipes for things like bread. Their website has fantastic recipes for all kinds of things--check it out. www.betterbatter.org. I make bread in the bread machine 2-3 times a week, I make pizza crust from scratch, muffins, birthday cake, cookies, pancakes, etc from that gluten-free flour mix.

I started out cooking for our family of 5 with me being the only gluten-free one. Now 4 of us are gluten-free. I also have a full-time job. If I can do it, anybody can!

Perhaps that is the biggest value of forums like this one and others. You are not the first person to blaze this trail. Others have figured out the ins and outs (thank heavens!), are willing to share experience and recipes.

Good luck, and please keep us posted--let us know how things work out for you, okay?

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You might look into buying a Japanese rice cooker for yourself and another one for your MIL. If you don't already have one, these are wonderful gadgets--you dump rice and water in, plug it in, press a button, and in 25 minutes you have PERFECT rice.

We make basmati rice, and add a cinnamon stick, cardomom pod, and a couple of cloves, and it tastes amazing. Japanese short-grain rice is yummy, too.

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You have gotten some great advice already. All I can really add is you need to make your pity party short and turn it into what IMHO it should be anger. These freinds and family are being nothing short of cruel. You need to sit these folks down and hand out some info on celiac, the reactions, the extra kitchen precautions we need to take and the the length of time we feel the results of a glutening. If they don't understand and show some compassion after that they are not worth your time.

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My guess is you are fairly new to the gluten-free diet. There's a heap a things to learn when you get started. I live alone except for Muffin the cat-head. But she is very picky and will only eat her certain foods and nothing else. So Friskie's Seafood Sensation it is gluten filled or not. She isn't about to adjust for me. She might attack my toes a little more often just for the heck of it, but eat different? No way!

Special gluten-free foods are nice, but they can sometimes cause problems too. Making your own foods from scratch is a good way to go. Rice and veggies and meat, muffins or cookies or peanut brittle for treats, burgers with a Mission corn tortilla for bread. There are lots of things to eat that are naturally gluten free. You can also get Betty Crocker gluten-free cake/cookie mixes in many mainstream grocery stores now. Lara Bars are a wide sold gluten-free snack, and Joyva Halva too.

It is not just you that needs to adapt to your medical condition/new diet. Your relatives and friends need to adapt also. It may take them a while to do that and some may be like Muffin and be unwilling or unable to change. I suspect you will find ways to cope with that as time goes on and you learn more about the diet yourself. I know I had an awful lot to learn myself and felt pretty lost and alone at first. Now after 2 years it is not so bad at all. Just the normal way of eating. I still make mistakes sometimes and am still learning. But it is worthwhile to do it because of how much better I feel now. I hope it works out that way for you also, although in a shorter time scale! :-) Some people (and cats) are just stubborn I think. ;)

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None of this is easy or simple but it will begin to become easier once you start to change the way you were used to living.

I say Kudos to you for standing up to your mother. She will come around.... Again I think for your family & friends the major word is : EDUCATE...........it is hard for people who have no idea of the damage eating gluten can cause to someone who has celiac. Most after they learn & see first hand they become more aware & understanding. After years I still have some family members rub it in that I can't have this or that . It's okay because I tell them but I'm the healthy one!!!!!

I do think you need to have a big discussion with your spouse..... our house is shared by gluten & non-gluten with no problems but we did have to make some strict guidelines & rules to follow. I never expect anyone who is not gluten-free to only eat gluten-free because of us who are gluten-free.

Have I lost friends because I could no longer eat gluten & did not fit in anymore with some things we all used to do. Yes, but now they try very hard to make eating out at a place that I too can enjoy a gluten-free meal. I know they like Olive Garden & now they have a gluten-free menu but I'm not secure in eating there as yet so I refrain from going when they choose Olive Garden. It's okay.

We do kids birthday parties at Chuckie Cheese, our kids cannot have their pizza but the other kids love it so we take our own gluten-free pizza. So all the kids get to play together & eat together.

I also think most of us have a gameplan for just about every occasion that comes up. Take one day & cook & bake for yourself & freeze it....or order some of your favorite things....

Once you get onto gluten-free cooking & baking everyone will eat it & not know the difference...even the ones who tease me about being gluten-free like the gluten-free foods now....

You are only harming yourself by eating gluten........

good luck

mamaw

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While I agree with the advice above to take charge, I also don't think what you've written is at all a pity party. You have good reason to be angry about some of these situations. I was most shocked by this:

--My "friends" who invite me for dinner and then call me that afternoon and ask me to bring a dish that must contain gluten (unless I want to make a 2 1/2 hour round trip to get alternate versions and there really hasn't been time). I was hoping they would allow me to bring something that I could eat and share the rest but this has not been the case.

The friends asked me to bring chicken nuggets and they expected me to be the ones to fix them at their house. That's what threw me for the loop. I can most definately take something gluten free. It's when they specify that I bring something that's difficult to find gluten free on the fly.

My friends would never ask me to provide food for them that I couldn't eat. If I sign up for dessert at a potluck, they know they're getting something gluten-free. Likewise if I sign up for a main dish -- it'll be gluten-free and vegetarian. I don't think it would have even crossed their minds to ask me to both provide and cook something for them that I can't eat, and I would be shocked if I were asked to. I've never been asked to bring a specific food anywhere -- just a specific course (of course, when a food has been a hit, then I'm asked to bring it again, but they also know I can eat it and I like making it). I don't know... it just struck me as odd.

I'm used to not eating the same thing as my family -- I've been a vegetarian for 15 or so years now -- so not eating the same thing as people around me has never bothered me. My friends and family, though, have always made sure I can eat something, even though my new dietary restrictions are much harder than just being vegetarian. Generally, if they want to feed me they'll get something prepackaged so there's no risk of CC or they'll make something naturally gluten-free like a baked potato. They also make sure they never throw away packages so that I can read the ingredients or check the gluten-free status of a brand (this is helpful when we have tortilla chips and salsa, for example). Hopefully your friends and family will come around.

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I agree with what others have said.

The only gluten-free specialty items I keep on hand are flours, pasta, and bread. Everything else in my house is just normal grocery store items. I've had to switch brands of a few things, but nothing that is specifically made for the gluten-free customer.

As far as trying to duplicate what others are eating, I always try to bring something better! Occasionally at work, we'll have a lunch meeting and they will bring in food. In my town the only things you can really order out for are pizza and subs, both of which I can't eat. Since I have to bring in my own lunch those days, I bring in lazagna or chicken cordon bleu or manicotti, etc... So I never feel "deprived". I'd take lazagna over pizza or subs anyday!

I tend to cook at least 2 big meals on the weekends and freeze it in single servings-so I always have quick and easy meals available.

As for your friends. I agree, I wouldn't bring something I couldn't eat. But, are you sure they're not just forgetting about your dietary limitations? I've had that happen. I have a group of friends that have get togethers for brunch or dinner about once a month. I don't expect them to cook special for me (although one friend is really great that way-but we spend alot more time together than I do with the rest of the group), but I always bring some sort of main dish so that I'm not stuck eating just fruit or something. There have been times when they've said, "oh you have to try this" and I'll say "it looks great but I can't". They just forget sometimes.

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Boy, you've gotten some good advice here. Your health is your number one concern. I'm sure your friends would miss you greatly if you were unable to be there because you were sick. At age 65 I've lost a lot of friends who didn't take such good care of themselves, and now I realize the importance of taking care of myself. I hope you find your value and self-worth, and are able to put that above any other concerns. My family & friends are now so used to me bringing my own food, that on Christmas Eve one of them explained to a newcomer who asked me what I was eating, since it was different than the other guests, "Oh she always brings her own food." Those words were music to my ears, because it has been 8 years of education to get to that point. Maybe you could transfer your focus to the wonderful news that you can eat and enjoy the foods you can, since many of us have other food intolerances as well as to grains. I, personally, can eat only meat, fruits & vegetables. All grains, all milk & dairy, egg whites, yeast, casein, whey, msg, and maltodextrin and modified food starches from sources other than corn are off-limits. Yet I am still grateful that I can eat salads, beans, corn tortillas, rice, tamales, chicken, turkey, beef, fish, and have even recently found a salad dressing from Walden Farms that has no grains, no milk or dairy, or anything else that is harmful. I'll be hoping that you will find happiness in your new lifestyle. I'll bet your family and friends will LOVE the new, more independent, determined and HEALTHY you! Please email me at welda@att.net if I can help in any way. Welda

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Regarding your friends and family, there are two aspects where you do have some control.

While you don't have control over their lack of sensitivity, you DO have control over their ignorance. As said by other posters, you can educate them.

The other aspect is COMMUNICATION.

Yes, they know you have a problem with gluten. But you can communicate your situation very effectively by saying things like, "No, I can't prepare XYZ because I haven't yet learned how to make it without gluten. I can make ABC instead."

Notice how I didn't say, "Is it OKAY if I make....instead?" That would give them the opportunity to guilt-trip you into making what THEY want. I don't know if your friends would do that, but why give them the opening if you can avoid it while still being sweet, polite, friendly, etc?

If you are invited to THEIR house, tell them up-front, "Hey, since I can't eat gluten, how about if I bring something to share that I can eat, too? Would you like me to bring a main course or a side?"

I have to say, my friends and family have NEVER made me feel left out or uncomfortable. They have been fabulous. Sure, they've all asked the same question we all have, "aww, just a little won't hurt, will it?" To which I've replied, "darn it, I wish it wouldn't, but it really does very nasty stuff to me!!" And I agree with them that, yes, this is SUCH a big pain in the butt. And I try to do it all with at least a semblance of a smile. ;)

I never got nearly as sick as some of the people here (before starting the diet), but even so, those who knew the problems I had before the diet TOTALLY understood the difference it made for me.

I'm assuming that your friends and family are not the world's most insensitive clods, but that they are just new to the whole idea of food intolerances and how they can be as severe as peanut allergies. Many of us here have had trouble wrapping our minds around that fact! But if it turns out that they ARE insensitive clods, even after learning how it affects you, well, then that's a whole different ball game.

Hang in there--we're all rooting for you!

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Thanks so much. I really appreciate the replies and there are lots of good suggestions. I will stock up on the gluten free pasta and I've been eying the Better Batter but I'm having a tiny problem with night shades at the moment. If I'm able to add them back into my diet, I will order it for sure. I have learned to make a lot from scratch and it pretty much comes second nature to us by now (been working on it since September of 09) but that's probably why it's frustrating and I'm not understanding others.

As for my mom, she admits she messed up so we may go back as long as it's clear that I will be bringing my own food. She is very money consious and feels that us bringing food is not good manners on her part. She also knows I like her vegetable soup that has noodles in it and she really wanted to please us (with the soup) and at the same time apparently set boundaries that I would not be "getting my way" with everything hence only offering me broccoli for Thanksgiving dinner when we'd offered to purchase the turkey. By the time we left, I'm sure she wished she hadn't.

My husband was really good about the gluten until about a week ago when I realized the pain I was in was probably from nightshades. It was his suggestion that the nightshades were causing the problem, but we were eating them at every meal and he's a little miffed that my diet is losing foods. I have talked with him about giving me a little warning about the gluten and nightshades but he's suddenly inistent that I shouldn't need time to mentally prepare for everyone else eating a food that I would like to be sharing.

On Thursday, we are invited to an italian covered dish LOL. That one is going to be fun but I have time to figure out what to bring and bring something that I can eat! Hopefully all will be fine. I know there will be gluten and nightshade filled food there by default but I've had time to think about that.

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We all feel your pain! Many of us have gone through similar experiences and have had to learn -- sometimes over and over again, what works and what does not.

As someone said earlier, it really is all about educating those around you. If they don't get it -- REALLY get it, they won't know what to do or how to act. Part of the educating process is sticking to your guns, in an assertive (not aggressive and most certainly not passive-aggressive) way.

Many of us have special lines we use to help educate people. Some of my favorites:

"I'm so sensitive that I even have to use a separate can opener, toaster, chopping block, cookware than everyone else."

"I have to be so careful that I can't even allow someone to pass the bread plate over my plate . . . if even so much as one crumb of wheat falls into my food, I will be sick for at least a week . . . and the more often I mess up, the more the risk of additional disease and subsequently, early death, increases for me."

That one works particularly well.

Most people just don't realize the ins and outs. For example, a good friend of mine said to me "You can have the pizza . . . all you have to do is take the topping off the crust and eat it!"

People just don't get it, unless you let them know. Unfortunately, many of us tell our family and friends we can't eat gluten, and then we expect them to take it from there. When they don't act appropriately, we get angry or hurt (and for many of us, a bit passive-aggressive) because they didn't understand . . . when in fact, we didn't take the necessary measures to educate them and/or stand our ground. That's certainly been true for me!

A favorite "trick" with many for being assertive is to use the phrase "I need you to understand that . . ." followed with "because . . ."

So, for example, with the chicken nuggets: "I really wish I could bring chicken nuggets, but I need you to understand that it would be difficult for me to bring them, because I am keeping a gluten-free kitchen -- even my cookware or hands touching it could make me sick . . . especially if I accidentally drop a crumb onto something or put my hand in my mouth without thinking about it."

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I just wanted to add that, one thing that's worked for me when dining at someone else's house, I ask them to please, please not make anything for me and to please allow me to bring my own food. I will usually bring enough for everyone else, too.

I don't expect anyone to change a recipe or, well, ANYTHING just because I have to eat gluten-free.

The best part of this is that people feel free to invite me over all the time! Because they aren't intimidated by having to figure out how to cook for me, they relax and open the doors.

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On Thursday, we are invited to an italian covered dish LOL. That one is going to be fun but I have time to figure out what to bring and bring something that I can eat! Hopefully all will be fine. I know there will be gluten and nightshade filled food there by default but I've had time to think about that.

See if a store near you carrys Tinkyada (I think that's the spelling) pasta. They make lasanga noodles. Just make it like you would with wheat noodles. I bet no one knows they're gluten free if you don't tell them.

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I would think a lasagna would be great too, the white one with the bechamel sauce and spinach and mushrooms, and three cheeses. It is so yum.

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All I can really add is you need to make your pity party short and turn it into what IMHO it should be anger. These freinds and family are being nothing short of cruel. You need to sit these folks down and hand out some info on celiac, the reactions, the extra kitchen precautions we need to take and the the length of time we feel the results of a glutening. If they don't understand and show some compassion after that they are not worth your time.

Thanks Ravenwood for saying just what I wanted to say...

These people don't seem to love you very much, OP... I'm very sorry for that and very sorry for your pain and you have every right in the world to be angry. My family and friends have been noting short of wonderful and supportive to me. There were times in the beginning that they didn't understand the seriousness, etc and needed some education but they were always willing to listen. Hell, some of my friends have even gone gluten free themselves out of support or just from learning about how icky gluten is. And NO ONE in my life who loves me or cares about me would ever, EVER expect me to touch, bring, or even be around a gluten meal. All of them eat gluten free when in my presence.

I'm only telling you all that so you know the supportive wonderful people who DO exist in this world and use that as a comparison for how you are being treated. This is pretty jacked up, you should be pissed off. I realize you are stuck with your family no matter what, but if something doesnt change with these "friends" Id say find better friends.

Good luck! <3

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Polenta (gluten free corn meal mush) and Risotto (creamy cooked rice casserole) are famous Italian dishes..... so is Pesto sauce over rice pasta, the Pesto being made with basil, garlic, chopped almonds instead of pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil, you should go to Recipezar or whatever that cooking website w/ recipes is called, and pull up some authentic Italian dishes, not "American Italian," which is just Tomato Sauce Over Wheat ad Nauseum.

If you can eat peanuts, you can do a killer Thai or oriental style peanut sauce over rice noodles, too. San J makes a gluten free soy sauce.

Many Asian Indian recipes using lentils, rice, potatoes are gluten free as long as you are careful to use spices with out it. Be careful with yogurts, if you can eat dairy that is low in lactose, because some yogurts are not made/aged in a way that gets rid of it. I can eat hard cheeses without a problem, but still react to some yogurts and have had some exasperating reactions to some that were supposedly gluten free.

You have to politely but firmly lay down the law with all clueless people, that you don't eat food that makes you sick, end of trying to co- opt you into doing otherwise, because otherwise they will continue to try to do just that.

Keep a bag or a lunchbox in the kitchen or hallway entry packed w/ non perishable gluten free snacks, (can include single size, personally packed, rice noodles or instant rice, that you just add hot water to) that you can just grab on your way out the door. If you get in the habit of always packing safe food, you can avoid all excuses to make yourself sick just to please others. And you can share with others as an educational device when they complain they're hungry....

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Thanks for the posts! I am definitely going to use some of these ideas!

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