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Do You Expect Relatives To Cater To Your Gluten-Free Diet?

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 01:44 PM

I think they sound like they're trying to be accommodating and that's good. In fact, I'd RATHER take my own food/desserts so I won't get glutened w/ the best and most loving intentions. My incredibly sweet, late MIL bought me a loaf of gluten-free bread but it was disgusting tasting and I felt like I had to eat it because it was expensive and she went so far out of her way to find it. I'd rather bring my own bread!

I ask people never to cook to accommodate me because I don't trust that I won't get glutened! It's just easier... and safer... for me to bring stuff!

Truer words were never spoken! My family are determined to not get this whole thing and it's probably because many of them have it also and choose to stay in denial. I bring a cooler with me whenever I visit family because they will end up making me sick. It's a pain to have to tote food around but it beats the hell out of getting really sick away from home.

I also do not like anyone to buy anything gluten-free for me because we all know that there is really great gluten-free food and really horrible gluten-free food. No different than regular, gluten loaded stuff. They always end up getting something horrible or something that is not even gluten-free....my mother is famous for that because she refuses to read labels. I have found that if you are emotional about food, then being Celiac and trying to lead a normal life will be incredibly hard. Just take care of yourself and yours who need to be gluten-free and ignore everyone who will never understand anyway. I have come to accept after 5 years gluten-free that the vast majority of people on this planet have no idea what is in their food that they eat everyday. It is what it is. :blink:
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Posted 14 September 2010 - 01:02 PM

I read your post last night and it got me thinking. I have gluten intolerance, and I only have to look out for myself. It must be hell trying to protect a child from gluten. And I agree, a relative knowingly glutening a child is horrifying. This answer might be sort of off topic. But whenever I'm heading somewhere, like most everyone else on this board I eat a huge meal before I go, and then pack some snacks. I have found that when I've been questioned about why I'm not eating at a party and I say "Oh I 'don't' eat wheat or dairy" instead of "I 'can't' eat wheat or dairy" it seems to sort of shut people down more quickly. Maybe I sound a little imperious, but I think it comes across as "it's not really up for discussion" where as "can't" seems to invite "Why?" "What about white bread?" "I don't think this soy sauce has wheat?" "A little won't hurt you." (Of course in a restaurant I say "can't)

Your relatives actually sound very supportive to me. Since going of gluten and dairy I am the one who has done the crash course about what is safe for me. I was so incredibly ignorant about all this 6 months ago. The least I can say for myself is that if someone left their child in my care I would have been as careful as possible to make sure what he/she was eating was safe.

My situation is very much like yours srall and I try to handle it the same way.

All I really ask is for people not to be offended. Please don't buy me special food or go lots of trouble, just let me do my thing without a guilt trip and I'll be fine. That said, I haven't eaten at relative's places yet. I flat out told my dad I wouldn't be eating at their place again (I don't get alone with my step mother enough to bother educating her, and they live so close by it's easier if we just eat out) and with my mum it'll be a combination of me doing the cooking, or keeping a close watch on things when she cooks (there are a bunch of meals she always makes when I visit that I know are gluten free by ingredient, I just have to be careful about cross contamination.

Going back to the original post, I think they sound like they are really trying. With the dessert/cake option, maybe you could bake a batch of stuff they could freeze? That'd allow for more spontaneous treats so she doesn't feel left out. I wouldn't trust baked goods in a gluten containing house so no point in them making anything like that anyway. It's nice that they are being careful not to contaminate the gluten free by ingredient meals.
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Posted 14 September 2010 - 05:06 PM

I think your relatives sound terrific! Consider the following:

Unknowingly they are doing the right thing. It is extremely hard to figure out what is really gluten free and what isn't. You can't always go by what the package says as often something is processed on a line that also processes wheat and you get a reaction any ways. By them asking you to send the food they will know what is safe and can have it on hand at another time. Asking them to pick something out that a kid will like (you know kids can be picky) is inviting frustration on their part and possible glutening. If you sent the food and she gets sick then they can't be blamed for picking the wrong thing. Keep sending her with her own food.

It's great that they are making the accommodations they can at family events. However this is a dangerous path to follow. Often when I'm invited somewhere those who know about my gluten problem will try to accommodate me. Fresh fruit is cut up on a cutting board (contaminated of course) or something else that could be gluten free is innocently cross contaminated. It why we had to buy all new cooking dishes, blender, mixer, toaster etc. when I went gluten free. Getting it out of the cooking implements is hard. It is far easier to set up a protocol where you bring your own food. It gets very messy when they go to special effort and you know you should turn it down because of the cross contamination risk. However they went through all the effort, you eat it, and then get sick. Just always bring your daughters food. It is safer for her and gets her into a good habit for the future.

Eating out is tricky. You can have on-hand a list of restaurants that are OK and the things your daughter can order safely. Share this with your relatives. Show them by example how to order for her (it takes alot of effort to order gluten free and sometimes you have to abandon the effort if your getting the wrong answers about dedicated fryer, cooking surface etc). Sometimes give your relatives a list of choices on where to eat so they start to become familiar with the restaurants that work. Frankly it is often difficult to eat with people at restaurants because they are talking while tearing up bread (crumbs flying every where etc.) or some such thing so socializing at restaurants is not very easy.

Once a good friend threw me a birthday bash with gluten free cupcakes. I've never heard the end of how horrible they were. Everyone wants to know how can I eat them. What choice do I have? None. You can't expect others to not have a birthday cake just because your daughter can't eat it. It's going to be hard enough for her to continue to get invites socially when she needs special accommodations. It's going to be up to you to make sure she goes with the proper food items so no one feels bad about including/inviting her. When I first went gluten free I still went out the same amount with the same people. But after a few years I didn't get included as much as not everyone wants to go to the restaurants I can go to all the time and not everyone wants to sit through the gluten free ordering process for an unknown (to me) place.

Being gluten free successfully takes alot of time and effort. Over the years your relatives will pick up on what is OK and what isn't but it is a learning curve for everyone.

Best wishes,
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Posted 15 September 2010 - 01:38 PM

I spent a lot of time this weekend saying "thanks but hubby can't have that" in regards to leftover pizza, chicken, potatoes, etc. When my family says "I forgot" I tell them that I don't expect them to, that's my job. My family doesn't usually think to watch out for DH. If we go out to dinner, I call ahead and talk to the manager about menu options.

DH's family also doesn't make any accommodation. I ask what the menu is and try to make the same items gluten free so DH does not stick out because he's eating different stuff. It would be nice if all the members of both families would quit trying to feed him stuff that isn't gluten free, but you can't change people who don't want to learn or change. DH's sister does try and make sure she uses gluten-free ingredients, which is more than I can say for everybody else.

I agree with the other posters who say at least your family IS trying. It's a start.
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Some people merely follow their dreams. Other people hunt them down and beat them into submission.



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Posted 15 September 2010 - 03:53 PM

No. I do not expect others to cater to my needs. This is for a health reason. People who are not bothered by gluten do not understand what gluten is or that there is also the problem with cross contamination. When I go to some one's house to eat I bring my own food and snacks. When I go out to eat with friends I always carry something with me in case the menu does not have something gluten free.

I was eating at a friends house. She insisted that she made a gluten free dish just for me. So I had her show me what she put in it. Potatoes, cabbage, squash, all fine until we checked the dried chicken broth she used for seasoning. Had wheat listed as an ingredient. She never thought she needed to check spices. It's way to hard for family members or friends to do things gluten free.

I would not impose on others the restrictions a gluten free diet entail. It is my responsiblity not theirs.
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1960s-had symptoms-could have been before but don't remember
1970s-told had colitis or nervous stomach-was given phenobarbital, felt great but still had symptoms
Me, dd and ds diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance
2001-had stroke because of medications I was given
June 2003-saw Chiropractor who specialized in nutrition: Celiac Disease not Lactose Intolerance, went gluten free with once in awhile cheating, off soy and dairy for about 6 months
June 2003-found excellent doctor for fibromyalgia (who has found out she has Celiac Disease)
May 2006-went gluten free with NO cheating-excellent! Made all the difference in the world



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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:18 AM

Personally and this is only me, I actually request no special treatment be made. When I eat somewhere like a family event, I take responsibility for my own dietary needs. When I went to Colorado for 4 days, I sent a box of my own food and with that, worked around what mom cooked.

Your family is far more accomindating than most would be. I would have had guilt over that but that's just me. I don't want to be made a fuss over.

If your sweet babygirl has a favorite cereal, I would feel obligated to supply it and send it when she goes somewhere overnight.

You are blessed. Sounds like a wonderful family you have. I would be sure you keep on hand things your daughter can have and always be prepared to take it anywhere.
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Started exhibiting symptoms 1979
DXed IBS 1987
Self Dx Gluten sensitive via elimination diet July 2010
Gluten free since July 12 2010
Carb&Sugar light August 2010
experimenting with being Grain light



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Posted 04 October 2010 - 01:33 PM

I wish! But then other times I don't wish because they truly don't get it. They have bought her a gluten free birthday cake a couple of times. They do buy safe sorbet. But mostly if there is a dinner, I am expected to provide our gravy, our potatoes, our rice, our dessert, or whatever. My mom doesn't like to cook and certainly doesn't like to make more than one thing. I have bought some boxed gluten-free gravy and showed it to her. Told her where I bought it. I am hoping she will get this or at least tell me to bring this for Thanksgiving. I see no reason why everyone can't just eat this.
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