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Going To Visit Family - Tips Anyone?
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7 posts in this topic

Hi everybody,

I'm going to visit family out of town. Does anyone have any tips on how to handle food? There's a health food store in their town. I've been gluten-free (for the second time) since the day after Thanksgiving and was glutened eating a gluten-free meal in a restaurant on Sunday. It's easy to forget how lousy this is when you feel good and I don't want to "cave" and end up sick while visiting family.

Any advice would be appreciated since my experience is beginner level. Do I have to worry about plates and utensils? Do you eat before going out to eat with everyone to avoid restaurant eating? I've eaten in two restaurants and was glutened once. I want to avoid any possibility of getting glutened.

Can anyone advise?

On a side note, how do you turn down food someone offers you? I'm seeing a lot of hurt expressions these days. People like to share their food with each other! So far the responses, "no thank you" and "does it have gluten in it?" elicit the hurt look... like their food isn't good enough. It's a drag.

Thank you!

Cali

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Bring food. I am taking a lot with me for Xmas. I will freeze meatballs, bring crackers & chips, some home baked goodies, rice, my breakfast and then rely on fruit & what not there.

I don't eat at restaurants much - I might bring some salad dressing & eat a salad there or just bring food to a restaurant & have a drink. Yep, I have done this - if I am with a bunch people I don't see why not. No one has given me trouble for this yet.

Don't worry about hurting someone's feelings accepting food - just don't. Why give yourself flu like symptoms etc. trying not to make someone feel bad ?? Or - accept it but 'save it for later' & give it away (my hubby gets food this way, he doesn't mind !). In fact yesterday I had a customer foisting donuts on me and I finally accepted them and my kids were very happy (I don't often bother with the whole celiac explanation to people I don't really know....takes too much time!).

Your best bet is to be consistent and eventually everyone will get it. I have been doing this for about 11 years and I hate being sick ! I travelled around England with crackers & tuna and what not - eating that in restaurants so I could enjoy my trip. It's easier at Christmas, at family's homes, because I can bring real cooked food that I know is safe !

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All good advice above. I always try to take as much of it into my own hands as possible, sometimes I will eat ahead of time - after all, it's really the company I'm interested in and not the food. I know what you mean about hurting feelings, and not get understanding on the other side (like your favorite auntie who says: "oh a little won't hurt you..." ! ).

Turning down food: I often just say I have a wheat allergy, then liken it to a peanut allergy where you can't even have trace amounts -- sometimes people "get it" more when you say the allergy word. Or, the old, "Thanks, I'll have some a little later." and no one really notices that I never did have any later.

Restaurants are tough. I've been known to have a few pieces of cheese and some gluten-free cashews, etc. in my purse and I nosh on those along with a drink, or cup of coffee, while at a restaurant with others.

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Thank you both for responding. It does take too much time to explain and I'm even boring myself now. I'll shop when I get there and will carry munchables with me. Will give my mother-in-law a call & explain so she doesn't make something special that I can't eat. My husband has joined me in solidarity and speaks for me when I'm weary. I'm ready to swear off gluten-free restaurant food, Oy.

Definitely want to enjoy the social gatherings and have read that social activity is helpful for those who suffer. I've been isolated for many years because of all the mysterious illnesses and just being constantly run down. It's difficult to maintain friendships when you don't show up. Amazing how the outlook on life changes when you feel better.

I'm going to need a bigger purse!

Many blessings,

Cali

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You can call the restraunt ahead of time if possible and ask about gluten-free options. Sometimes it is safe to eat just vegetable side dishes. Sometimes restraunts will let you bring your own food if you are eating with a group. You could get a drink or something so they have some income from the seat. Bringing some fruit is easy, like bananas, or oranges, apples.

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Do your research before you go on what sort of food is available, as in, you've already found the health food store, but also check out the grocery stores and their locations, as some are better than others. Also, do searches on local restaurants "gluten free name of town restaurant" to see if there are any in the area which could make you a meal, or give you a serving of something, in case you get dragged out to eat somewhere. You can always carry some proteins in your purse, in a baggie, such as chopped cheese, nuts, etc, and then use them to put on top of a salad at a restaurant, and then ask for an oil and vinegar dressing set - up as long as the vinegar is NOT malt vinegar, otherwise, ask for a wedge of lemon and use that and the oil on your salad. You can also check out if they have a plain baked potato, this is one of the things that dismays me, that one would THINK that a restaurant kitchen would have plain whole uncooked potatoes they could stick in the microwave for you, but they frequently do not. Restaurants really vary. I've had safe meals in places that you'd think would be a disaster, because the waiter "got it" and sent out the chef to ask me what I needed to avoid, and rarely, not very successful meals in places with a gluten free menu :o . I try not to eat out at really busy times right before a big holiday, because then the "c" team might be working ;) . And I don't assume any ingredient is gluten free or not cross contaminated - you may have to ask about it.

When you reach your destination, stop at the store before going to the home and just bring what you need to eat (including the roll of paper towels you're going to set down on the counter to act as a clean workspace) with you, so you will have food to eat, this saves the relatives from trying to foist off inappropriate food onto you.

Re: relative's cooking - just don't let them cook your stuff in teflon, or use things that are porous, like wooden spoons or dish stuff out of tupperware that has been used for regular food storage. You can always bring a ceramic bowl and mug, and do most of your stuff in the microwave, if you have to.

I always thank people for offering me food, but just say I have allergies and can't. This is true, even regular gluten free commercial food might and does sometimes have ingredients I can't handle anyway, so I just tell people I handle my own needs, so I can just not worry about it.

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Thank you everybody :)

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