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"can You Eat This? What About That?"


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#1 New Community Member

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 01:16 AM

It's the holiday season, the time of the year where families get together and eat food! Not just this time of the year but anytime and anywhere, with family and friends alike. I'm getting tired of people asking about my gluten free diet and what foods I can and cannot eat. I'm tired of me and my "special" food being the topic of conversation. Don't get me wrong, I'm finding many delicious gluten free recipes. I have to ask questions about ingredients and cross-contamination issues out of necessity....I know people might be just curious, have nothing else interesting to talk about, just nosy, or might actually care....but I get tired of the questions and the comments concerning me being "gluten free".

How should I address it nicely even though sometimes I want to scream for them to mind their own business? I don't like me and my gluten free diet being the topic of conversation and frankly it is not a fun topic to talk about but rather boring. I hate feeling ostracized and I feel like I am when the conversation is centered on me and my food. I'm afraid one day I'm going to get fed up with all the questions/comments/jokes and just go off on someone if it doesn't stop. Anyone been there?

(Sorry - this wasn't meant to be a vent.)
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#2 srall

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 04:23 AM

Oh I know I know. That drove me crazy. Now what drives me crazy is people saying "Are you still doing that gluten free diet?". Um, yes. That would be a forever thing.

I don't know if this will help, but what I tell people is that it's easier to think about what you can eat instead of what you can't. I usually just say, the diet is pretty easy (hee hee); I just eat a lot of meat, veggies, fruit and nuts. It seems like most people can wrap their heads around that.
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#3 NorthernElf

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:32 AM

Haha, I like that - the diet is pretty easy! Maybe the right word is basic ? I do the same - just say a lot of real food is gluten free, it's how it's made or processed that puts it off limits. I also add that cross contamination is huge!

Fortunately, in time people get it, esp. when they see you be really strict about it & consistent. A typical dieter cheats, a celiac won't !

I also tell folks who ask that eating gluten for me is like getting the flu...and who wants that ? He he, they also aren't going to likely ask about the gory details after you put that out there !

Anyway, answer a direct question and then change the subject. I had a work meeting yesterday & for the first time ever they ordered gluten-free pizza from Boston Pizza for me, so I thanked my boss & the questions came, so that's what I did - answerered & redirected.
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#4 LReynolds

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:10 PM

I just got diagnosed less than a week ago, so I am being asked this like crazy. Thanks for the tips!
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#5 ElseB

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:38 PM

I had someone at work last week ask me if there was some kind of gluten-free kibbles I could eat. Kibbles? uhhhh, I'm a dog????
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#6 red island

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:24 PM

I was diagnosed just before travelling home for Thanksgiving so I spent two weeks answering a gazillion questions. I am so sick of talking about myself! I am working over Christmas so I wont be going home but now I have to fend off all the neighbors who want to have me over for dinner (God love them - they are the best but I really need to just relax and enjoy the season.) So I am telling them all I'm working but would love to come over after supper for coffee and a good chat (hopefully about anything but celiac) but its hard trying to make them understand just how difficult its going to be to accommodate my new diet. For those who still ask me tons of questions, I mostly just say yes its very restrictive diet and my life has changed dramatically but in my opinion its a fair tradeoff cause I am finally healthy and very very happy and I cant afford to screw that up by eating something that might harm me. In the beginning it was hard getting my friends and family to accept that they didnt need to feed me but it gets easier and eventually most of them will be ok with it (except my mother, she will never be ok with not feedig me!)
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#7 Monklady123

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 03:19 AM

I had someone at work last week ask me if there was some kind of gluten-free kibbles I could eat. Kibbles? uhhhh, I'm a dog????

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: The funny thing is that there *are* gluten free kibbles! My dog's food says "gluten free". heehee..

But, I agree that I wouldn't want to be asked that! :rolleyes:
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#8 NorthernElf

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 05:58 AM

Do not be afraid to throw out food!!!!

Be gracious if someone gives you something, take it home, & dump it. Better yet, have a non celiac try it - tell the person someone liked it but that you didn't eat it because you were afraid of cross contamination - but appreciated the gesture.

I have done this - the giver gets apprecaition but you get your point across! I have been glutened by gluten-free cookies someone made for me awhile back, because their pans were gluten-free of course (I guess). Not worth it ! We've all heard of the person who uses white flour instead of wheat - so the product has no gluten (????!!!!?????!!!!). People just don't know.
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#9 domesticactivist

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:09 AM

In time, if you are polite and consistant, most people will get it. It can be helpful if you can identify something safe they cam share. (dont do it if you are too sensitive, though!)
My mom is delighted that I've started letting my kids have whole fruit they can wash and peel at her house.
I have a few posts on how to handle this kind of thing on the blog linked from my profile. One is called The Holidays and then there are Crazy Diet People parts 1,2and3.
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Our family is transitioning off the GAPS Intro Diet and into the Full GAPS Diet.
Gluten-Free since November 2010
GAPS Diet since January/February 2011
me - not tested for celiac - currently doing a gluten challenge since 11/26/2011
partner - not tested for celiac
ds - age 11, hospitalized 9/2010, celiac dx by gluten reaction & genetics. No biopsy or blood as we were already gluten-free by the time it was an option.
dd - age 12.5, not celiac, has Tourette's syndome
both kids have now-resolved attention issues.

#10 Katrala

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 02:15 PM

I don't typically bother asking questions about ingredients since I don't typically eat food that other people cook.

When people offer to try to make something, etc. I just tell them I appreciate the effort, but cooking for celiac is nearly impossible. That way they get off the social niceties hook and I don't have to worry about offending them later.
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Positive Celiac (Blood & Biopsy) - April 2011
Peanut Allergy

#11 gfpirate

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:13 AM

I know exactly how you feel... people can be so curious! And sometimes, I think people ask just because they think it's polite.
I usually just say that I can't have most baked goods and pastas... I know that there is so much more to it than that, but I also don't want to give them a health class lesson explaining it all... I get bored of it after a while :P
Along with explaining my condition in the shortest of terms, I get a lot of sympathy- which I don't always like because I want to feel like I'm normal, not sick! I've also had some pretty funny reactions, like "Oh so you can have cookies, but not the dough?" Uhhh, what? They then said that they thought all the gluten "baked out." *facepalm* Gotta try to understand though, most people don't even know what gluten is, I know I didn't before my diagnosis.
If you find yourself being pressed with all kinds of inquiries that you've heard 1000+ times, or find yourself being the center of attention when you don't want to be, I would just try to change the subject. I've had plenty of times when I've wanted to say, "Just STOP asking me about it, would ya??? It's not a big deal, okay?!??" It would probably feel good at the time, but I'd totally regret it and feel guilty later! :P
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#12 New Community Member

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 03:24 PM

I like the suggestion of just changing the subject when asked. That seem like it would be the easiest way to "ignore it." I hate having pity parties, but mostly I hate it when people feel sorry for me. I'd like to just act like it's no big deal, when in actuality food does seem like a big deal because most social events involve food. I'm the first and only person I've ever known with celiac...Every time I come to this site I'm reminded that I'm not struggling with this alone so I appreciate the support. Ya'll have a Merry Christmas. Stay safe.
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#13 IrishHeart

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 04:13 PM

Depending on the circumstance-whether it is one person asking or if I am in a more "party" setting--I have a few ways of dealing with those questions.

I say: Gluten is like kryptonite to me and Super Girl can't fly when it's around. :)

or I say: I eat tons of different, delicious foods and don't find it restrictive at all. You should taste the killer cheesecake I just made.

or I say: Thanks for asking, I'm still adjusting, but being gluten free saved my life and I am lucky there are so many options available.

or I say: If anyone really wants to know about celiac or the gluten-free life, I can email you some info! (I never use the word diet, for some reason--maybe because I do not feel starved anymore)

or I say: I eat better than I have in my whole life.

I guess once you get a few more months under your belt, you may view these questions and answers differently.

People mean well and they probably are just curious because they do not know what's involved. Sometimes, it's your chance to educate them. ;)

This is still new to you and understandably, you're having some difficulty around the holidays. It gets easier, hon, I promise!

Have a good holiday season!
Cheers, IH
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#14 mamabear272

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 06:12 AM

I felt like that at first too. It seemed like I was all-consumed by it. I read everything I could get my hands on. I was actually in the hospital when I got diagnosed and had my iPad in the hospital with me. I found this forum and read every post possible (I was laid up in the hospital, what else did I have to do? :lol:) I had to explain it to my family and friends and of course they had questions. "Oh you can't have potatoes?" (I don't have a problem with nightshades) "Nope, I can have them." I do still get questions 6 months later. We go to my mom's for breakfast every Sunday and if I want toast, I bring my toaster and bread. If I want pancakes, I bring my gluten-free pancake mix and my mom has a pan just for my pancakes. When I came in with the toaster the first time I had to go through the whole explanation that I can't use the other toaster. Now it's kind of a joke when I walk in with the toaster, "Molly's having toast today." LOL

I had to change my way of thinking about it. I started a blog shortly after dx and one of my posts was about feeling like celiac was all I talked about. It's typical that newly diagnosed celiacs seem to be talking about it and the people around us talking about it. You have to change your thinking on it. I talked about it because it was new and scary and very relevant in my life at the time. Others talked about it because they didn't know about it and they're curious. It obviously still comes up but here's a way to look at it...at least they're asking. It shows that they're concerned and they're trying to make the right choices for your benefit. Last week my friends and I got together for Christmas and I spent a lot of time on the phone with the hostess because she was asking questions and making sure that she was getting things that were safe for me.

Just take the attitude that people do care and they're trying to figure things out, just like we did after diagnosis.

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Molly
dx: celiac sprue 6/7/2011 via blood test and biopsy
gluten-free: 6/7/2011

#15 Mango04

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:25 AM

"I have a medical condition that restricts my diet. I'm not comfortable talking about it right now. It's not an eating disorder."

That usually shuts people up really quickly!
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"Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food." - Hippocrates


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