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The Dinner Party Drama—Two Guidelines to Assure a Pleasant Gluten-Free Experience

With the holidays looming on the horizon, invitations to highly-anticipated dinner gatherings are arranged. I usually dreaded any environment involving food because, much to my dismay, the buffet tables arrayed with decadent dishes and gluttonous enticements are all gluten laden, and I realize I cannot even consume a morsel, and I’m ravenous! So, how do I avoid the drama of starvation or anti-socially concealing myself in a corner sipping water? I follow two guidelines to assure a pleasant social experience.

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First:
Call the host in advance. Explain in simple terms your dietary restrictions. And when I mean simple, don’t verbally vomit medical terms and intimate, symptomatic details, but specifically list foods that you can and cannot eat. Even if the host appears to comprehend your situation, don’t expect them to accommodate or fully understand you. So then...

Second:
BYOD (Bring Your Own Dish): After my explanation, I always offer to bring my own food to relieve the cook from added labor (and to guarantee that my food isn’t cross-contaminated in spite of the cook’s good intentions). Yes, as I consume my "special dish" while others inhale turkey with stuffing, I may receive inquisitive stares and be bombarded with personal questions, but, as my husband says, it is what it is. At least I’m not dealing with a low-blood sugar episode!

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).


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4 Responses:

 
Martha

said this on
07 Nov 2010 4:26:17 PM PDT
Thank you for this. Thanksgiving this year is a rehearsal dinner (for may son and his fiance) that the bride's mom is giving, and she is also giving the post-wedding dinner (don't worry--we've paid for a great deal of the wedding!). I can't afford to take the chance and want to bring a little of my own food. My husband agrees, but I can guarantee no one else will like it. I am SO tired of non-celiac people's opinions! Think about all the info on the internet about celiac disease. Few of the people I know WELL have not bothered to look even one thing up about it. I don't whine to them about it, and they behave as if I am making this all up. I was diagnosed over 2 years ago. I am trying to make this easier, yes, for me, but also on the hostess. Frankly, I am under enough stress.

 
Barb

said this on
15 Nov 2010 3:09:19 PM PDT
This will be my first gluten free Thanksgiving. After many years of being told I had IBS, we finally got the diagnosis this year. But I'm not counting on my family to even consider gluten-free options. After all, I should be considerate of everyone else, right? (read a bit of sarcasm there) My favorite is stuffing, so I'm going to try making a rice stuffing this year and take it with me.

 
Susan

said this on
16 Nov 2010 10:57:20 AM PDT
I have only just discovered a gluten-free diet after suffering over 25 years with IBS. Frankly, I'm terrified of Thanksgiving, but realize that as the matriarch, I'm pretty much going to have to go. I like the idea of taking my own food, but am still on rice cakes and bananas, since I haven't been able to identify all the gluten (and dairy) in my diet yet. The hard part will be saying, "No," to all the good stuff I have enjoyed in the past. My strategy for now is to tell myself that it's poison! I really appreciate this website and am learning little by little what to eat and that I'm not alone.

 
Dani

said this on
16 Nov 2010 12:58:01 PM PDT
It is my 1st gluten free Thanksgiving house-hopping and boy am I nervous! Not so much about the food but the looks and questions from others-even if the host is accommodating the guests are usually a bit confused. I normally don't tell the other guests my dish is gluten free unless asked and at least they can eat it too without feeling weird. There is just something strange about watching a person eat 1 small plate on Thanksgiving. Yay to awkward situations! I take 1 main dish and 1 dessert that's usually a gluten free pie and a side dish so I'm not alone in any section of the meal.




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Celiac.com Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Forum - All Activity

MelissaNZ, Has your daughter been checked for vitamin deficiencies??? Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include urinary incontinence, oral candidiasis (thrush), skin rashes, bumps on the backs of arms, joint pain, distended stomach and short stature. Bones can't grow much without vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency causes delayed gastric emptying (food doesn't move through the gastrointestinal tract at a normal speed and the intestines bloat) which explains your daughter's delayed reaction to the cake. Vitamin A deficiency is also a cause of bumps on the back of the arms. Vitamin A deficiency causes vision problems. Vitamin A and D are both fat soluble vitamins. Absorption of fats is a problem for Celiacs. So is absorption of B vitamins and important minerals. B Complex vitamins are water soluble and must be replenished every day. Skin rashes are associated with several B vitamins like niacin (B3), B12, and thiamine (B1). I went through a period of severe malnutrition prior to diagnosis. It was not a pleasant experience. I had symptoms similar to your daughter's, including the incontinence, which resolved on vitamin D supplementation. Please, please have your daughter tested for vitamin D deficiency. And have her B vitamins checked as well. Celiac Disease causes malabsorption. Malabsorption causes deficiency diseases. Newly diagnosed Celiacs need to be checked for deficiencies. I hope this helps.

I will try to make my long story short, I have been searching my whole life for a diagnosis, I have seen pretty much every doctor possible I even went through a spinal tap recently because they thought I had multiple sclerosis, when I was younger I was always throwing up and having stomach problems, a couple hospital visits they thought I had appendicitis, I started having a neurological symptoms as well as anxiety and depression, The fatigue was just over bearing, I was having numbness and tingling and muscle spasms all the time eventually started having seizures, which kind of cycled through and stop happening after a couple months, and then it dawned upon me my brother has celiac pretty severely, my grandmother also has celiac, my dad does as well, I don't know why I never thought that it could be my issue, for the last week I have Been gluten-free and steering clear of cross-contamination, my dizziness is improved my fatigue is improved as well as rashes I was getting on my arms and sides, I have no more muscle jerks or spasms, The problem is I have horrible insurance and I cannot afford testing, so I am at least trying to do it an home blood test, I know it's not very accurate on telling me if I have celiac or not, But the thought I may never know for sure if I have it is very daunting. My family keeps telling me you don't need to spend thousands of dollars to have a doctor tell you you can't eat something you already know you can't. Just was wondering if anybody else has been in my position and seeing if anybody has a vi just was wondering if anybody else has been in my position and seeing if anybody has advice, I don't want to be known as one of those people who believe they have something and people with the disease frown upon them it's a very scary thing to think about.

...ON a side note this is quite easy, you can make your own out of any gluten-free Bread mix, I recently started using a coconut flour blend for this.......Most often people associate caraway with Rye Bread so you just add caraway seeds to the dough and a bit more vinegar to sour it a tad and BAM gluten-free Rye Bread knock off. I think Authentic Foods even has a additive to put in bread mixes to make it taste like Rye Bread....Or you can buy it preamade, I have issues with all the other ingredients but as for one of the best gluten-free Breads out the Canyon House makes a Rye like bread https://canyonglutenfree.com/buy-gluten-free-bread-products/Gluten-Free-Rye-Deli-Sandwich-Bread.html

Took me less than a minute, although why did they need our addy and phone?

As mentioned before you said she had rashes, have they checked if that is DH? That is a positive sign of celiac and those with the DH manifestation can have problems getting a postive with the gut biopsy. Here are some links. https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/dermatitis-herpetiformis/ https://www.gluten.org/resources/getting-started/dermatitus-herpetiformis/ Please read up on this. She can get the rash tested for the disease if it is DH.