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veryami1

Dealing With People Who Don't Understand

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I'm new to eating a gluten free diet, due to possible celiac. I'm doing my best to stick to a very strict no gluten diet to confirm my suspicions (if i keep feeling better, i'm not going back!).

 

I've had a few encounters with some close ones recently, and I'm not sure how to navigate them without getting upset. My initial reaction is to just walk away or cry, but I know that doesn't help. These are the two situations I dealt with this week alone.

 

1. Talked to a friend about going to a national baseball game soon but lamented I wouldn't be able to eat what i normally do at games. She said I could have french fries, but i commented only if they were in a dedicated fryer that was gluten-free.  she said "that's an extreme stance on gluten free" (maybe i read in to it because it was via text, but i thought her response sounded condescending - like she didnt think i had to be that careful). 

 

2. Went to lunch with my aunt who kept saying "oh I'm sure that food is fine" "rice at japanese food is completely safe" "why wouldnt soy sauce be safe"  "just eat it, how bad could it be" (it got to the point where i just wanted to leave the restaurant).

 

I don't feel like I have to justify my lifestyle to anyone, but at the same time, I want to educate people so I don't keep getting questioned on this. What do I say? How do i react without getting emotional?

 

My last thing: how to deal with going to a dinner party. The host is notoriously insensitive (previously, she got mad I asked her to put her cat away and vacuum before I came over for another event -  i have cat induced asthma). I don't expect her to adjust her menu for me, but I do want to know what she's cooking ahead of time so I can eat safeyl or just bring my own food. How do I put it nicely that I may not even eat at her dinner party?

 

Thanks for any help!

 

~Ami

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well, celiac is an extreme disease!  duh.  yes, you DO have to be that careful.  too bad what your friend thinks.  I heard a little sarcasm at first from my friends/family, but I am serious and very strict about what I eat and I never ever cheat.  they have come to respect that.  even my foodie friends, when they have dinner parties, they tell me what's on the menu and I try to make something similar to bring.  or I will eat before we attend.  you can still have a good time at events and ball games, etc, just bring a sandwich or something to eat.  we had skybox tickets to a nascar race weekend and I called ahead, went over all the stuff the caterer offered (nothing special, just stuff that was gluten-free, a veggie platter with salad dressing dip, etc, glutino crackers)  it took HOURS to locate the correct person, more time to discuss this and that.  in the end the only thing they had for me in the box was redbridge.  It would have been easier just to pack my own stuff and sneak it in!  :rolleyes:

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A lot of pro ballparks have gluten-free food now. Some even have a gluten-free stand. Ours has Redbridge beer, chips, candy, hotdogs ( no bun and ordered from the grill not the main concession), popcorn, limeade, sodas, limeade with vodka, wine, mixed fruity blue adult slushes which are probably gluten-free, I haven't checked them, ice cream, froz lemonade, etc.

Our ballpark lets you bring food in, too. Other stadiums that don't, I email ahead and get a paper to print put to allow me to bring a sandwich. I don't bring things they sell safely, like pop.

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Hi Ami,

I'm glad to hear you are feeling so much better after going gluten free!

It can be hard for people understand how sensitive our bodies are to gluten and the damage it can cause us. I don't think it is something that people can fully understand unless they are in your shoes. I usually just toss out a simple fact, stand firm and then change the subject.

Like with your friends text, I myself would just reply something like - Yes, I have to be so careful about cross contamination now or I will get sick. Or when your Aunt asked why the soy sauce wouldn't be safe, you could just say something like, soy sauce is traditionally made with wheat and it will make me very sick if I eat it. Usually if people don't drop it, I get more technical and tell them about the damage it will cause to my small intestine and the nutritional deficiencies and other issues it will cause. People honestly don't seem to want to hear about the details and will say something like - Wow, I didn't realize you need to be so careful, and then they will drop it.

You are still very new to being gluten free and these situations will get so much easier for you to handle in time. Good luck!

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This is last years guide. It really doesn't have everything you could have at the baseball game, but maybe your team is there and you can see what they have this year?

http://www.glutenfreephilly.com/2013/04/gluten-free-baseball-ballparks-2013.html

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Just wanted to add that there have been a few times I've had to get graphic with people to get them to understand.  I tell them point blank - I got cross-contaminated once and it was like getting food poisoning.  Cold sweats, shakes, and several hours tethered to the bathroom.  It's like a non-Celiac person voluntarily eating a flu bug.

 

The dinner party can be a bit trickier - depending on the attitude of the host.  If they have an issue with tucking their cat away, knowing that you have asthma, then I would not trust them to cook any of your food safely.  Cooking gluten free in a non-gluten free kitchen - especially while cooking other food that has gluten in it - is very difficult even for an experienced person who "gets it".  I have gone to parties before and simply insisted on bringing my own food.  I take a microwavable container of food and you can put it out on one of their plates if you want - a washed plate and eating utensils won't contaminate you.  I went to a friend's for dinner once who keeps strict Kosher and bringing my own food wasn't an option - so I bought two Amy's Kosher Gluten Free frozen dinners and took them to their house a couple days before the party so that she could cook them in her oven (my oven is not Kosher so I couldn't cook them myself).  Once she realized that it was this or I wasn't coming, she realized it wasn't such a big deal and it worked out fine.  She even unexpectedly got me some gluten free rolls to eat.  People will get used to it and it will become the new norm for both you and them.  If they simply cannot deal with it then it's probably time to find some new friends who care enough to support you.

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I never thought about ball parks and such. Good Luck! When is the game? I know having to justify your life style is tiring. But it is something you will have to live with. People who don't know about Celiac and Gluten intolerance say some really stupid things. Because they just don't understand. Just stick with your diet and try to explain it as best you can. Some people here have had some experiences and have come up with some good responses .

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You've gotten some good advice here. But I would like to address the dinner party.

 

Anyone who would get mad about keeping their cat away from someone with asthma does not deserve to have guests. Asthma can kill. And if you still intend to go, bring your own food or eat before going. When this person asks why you're not eating, just smile and say something along the lines of, "Well, I know how much it bothers you to keep your cat away from me so I can breathe, so I didn't want to inconvenience you with the food restrictions I need in order to not spend the whole party in your bathroom."

 

Unless it's your boss or something though, I would drop the acquaintance entirely.

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For dinner parties, unless it's a good friend who I can speak with beforehand (and this doesn't sound like it), I just put some salad on my plate and swish it around with my fork.  IF I feel I have to have anything at all.  Mostly I just eat beforehand and drink wine.  If someone calls me on it, I deflect, or just say that I have some medical issues which keep me from eating tonight.

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Unfortunately you'll keep coming up against that attitude. The people who know you will probably become quieter about it over time if you stick to your guns but some will be rolling their eyes over it behind you back. It's just ignorance. They don't understand. They may if you explain it, but many never will truly "get it".

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Just wanted to add that there have been a few times I've had to get graphic with people to get them to understand.  I tell them point blank - I got cross-contaminated once and it was like getting food poisoning.  Cold sweats, shakes, and several hours tethered to the bathroom.  It's like a non-Celiac person voluntarily eating a flu bug...

...and heaven help them if the bathroom is occupied when you need it: there is no waiting!

 

(and the neighbors thought it was bad when the DOG was out in the yard doing it's business)

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...and heaven help them if the bathroom is occupied when you need it: there is no waiting!

 

(and the neighbors thought it was bad when the DOG was out in the yard doing it's business)

 

 

Welcome Sock!

 

lmao...had to throw on the readers to catch that one ;)

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I ran into this problem a lot with family and friends when I first went gluten free nearly 3 years ago. What makes it most difficult is that, like me, you don't have an official diagnosis of Celiac. I had a lousy doctor, so I diagnosed myself based on research and listening to my own body. It sound like you're doing the same. :)

 

Friends and family have learned to lay off, because they now realize how severely I respond to a single crumb. For dinner parties, I either eat ahead, or bring my own food. We have potlucks with our church group and though some other members are gluten intolerant, they are not as sensitive as me. I've had to change out my cookware because I was still getting sick, so I can't trust that the others have made the same changes if they aren't as sensitive. But they are okay with it. They are good friends. :) If your hostess has a problem with accommodating your needs (or letting you accommodate yourself), she's not a very good hostess. I simply wouldn't go. It's not worth it.

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I've been reading this thread, and others like it for some time.....I find dealing with people the hardest thing about gluten-free. Mostly, I've now got it cracked, but dealing with my MIL seems impossible.

 

I'm self diagnosed, after a lifetime of progressing symptoms, which got so severe I had to leave my job and set up as self employed from home. It was by chance that I stumbled across C.com whilst I was trying to help my husband with his "suicide rash".......Amazingly so many things rang true......for both of us.

Both of us were at our wits end with doctors and decided to "just go gluten free" - Long story-short - It's been a hard slog, but 18 months later I am having more good days than bad and my husband no longer keeps me awake all night with his mad scratching and snoring.......amazing!

 

Back to MIL - she hates me (I think it's because I'm wife no. 2)......so, now when she talks to my husband, she constantly insinuates that I am MAKING him eat gluten free (Anyone who has DH will know that my hubby would rather starve than induce his "suicide rash" knowingly). When we are at family gatherings, she makes a big deal about asking me what I have been eating and telling me about EVERY FLAMING MEAL she's eaten since we last met.....then she will disappear with someone else and they will come back, staring at me, rolling their eyes and shaking their heads.......

 

She completely does not get it.....she tells me about all these things that are wrong with her....then tells me that if she just "cuts down a bit on wheat" then she's fine. Well, that's fine, I have no interest in what she eats....really, I couldn't care less!!! But that certainly does not mean that all I have to do is the same, which is what she implies.......I have learned the hard way that even CC is a major problem for me and I follow the diet as seriously as if I have been diagnosed by a doctor and for now, I only eat food cooked by ME..

 

So, I have decided that next time I see her, I will say "I am utterly sick and tired of discussing my diet, do you think we can talk about something else?".

That will probably end in a row......but I'm really sick of being polite.........

Thanks for the opportunity to vent......lol!

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My situation just gets worse! So I talked to the host of the passover dinner I'm invited to to try to find out what she's cooking. She very dismissively said Brisket and Chicken. When I asked for more info, she said rosemary chicken, and brisket in the lipton onion dip seasoning.  She said both sounded gluten free to her.  I looked, and the lipton seasoning is questionable.  At this point, I really don't trust her to make anything safe for me, as I imagine her kitchen will be crazy on Passover and she wont be making an effort to ensure there's no cross contamination.  I offered to make a dish that was gluten-free, but she said she preferred to make all the food herself.   My last comment to her was "Well, I hope you dont mind me bringing my own food just for me" to which i haven't had a reply yet.

 

To be honest, I sort of want her to say no, so I can be done with it and not go to the party.  

 

What alternative to me bringing my own food does she prefer -- starving, or eating food that hurts me? Some people are ridiculous. I've found that 99% of people are so sensitive and accomodating, but that 1% sure gets under your skin, no? This person was my maid of honor.  Boy did I choose a friend poorly.

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I wouldn't expect her to cook gluten-free.  You offered to bring food for everyone and she said no.  Just bring your own food or eat first or don't go if you don't really want to go.  I usually tell people I will bring my own food because its a pain to figure out how to cook safely for me.

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Yeah, I don't expect her to cook for me special. I wouldn't ask and I wouldn't assume either. If she offered, great, but I think its unfair to ask.

 

I do think she will be offended that I bring my own food. If so, it'll be a good opportunity to educate her as well as distance myself from the friendship.  I'm starting to think anyone dismissive of real health problems doesn't deserve my time anyways.

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Yeah, I don't expect her to cook for me special. I wouldn't ask and I wouldn't assume either. If she offered, great, but I think its unfair to ask.

 

I do think she will be offended that I bring my own food. If so, it'll be a good opportunity to educate her as well as distance myself from the friendship.  I'm starting to think anyone dismissive of real health problems doesn't deserve my time anyways.

When I said " expect" I picked the wrong word. Should have said I wouldn't let anyone cook for me, even if they offer. I tell them " I don't expect anyone to go to all the extra trouble that cooking for me will be.". I think that sounds nicer than " there is no way someone like you can figure out how to make safe food for me". :)

I have found it makes a good excuse to get out of things I don't want to go to.

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I would not let anyone who says "it sounds gluten free to me" cook anything for me.  I would take my own food and not be concerned in the least if she got offended.  How offended would she be if you spent the evening monopolizing her bathroom because you got glutened?  Or throwing up in the kitchen sink because that was as far as you got away from the table when you started feeling sick?

I've been in your shoes and you have to stick to your guns.  I tell people that it is really, really difficult to cook gluten free in a non-gluten free kitchen, especially when trying to cook both at the same time.

And if Kosher is an issue, Amy's makes really good Kosher, gluten-free frozen dinners.  But take two - their kinda small.

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Just tell her you've recently had a bad reaction to something and don't want to "upset the balance" and then rave rave rave about how great everything looks but that you just can't
upset the balance." That's what I do. Then quietly slip out your own piece of chicken and whatever veggies you have. I think the first time is the hardest time. 

 

I take my own crackers and whatever when we go anywhere. I find the most awkward time is pulling it out of my purse. After that, we're all eating and chatting and it's no big deal. 

 

And I agree, it's a great way to get out of some stuff sometimes. I'm glad i'm not the only one...

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Just tell her you've recently had a bad reaction to something and don't want to "upset the balance" and then rave rave rave about how great everything looks but that you just can't

upset the balance." That's what I do. Then quietly slip out your own piece of chicken and whatever veggies you have. I think the first time is the hardest time. 

 

I take my own crackers and whatever when we go anywhere. I find the most awkward time is pulling it out of my purse. After that, we're all eating and chatting and it's no big deal. 

 

And I agree, it's a great way to get out of some stuff sometimes. I'm glad i'm not the only one...

I love this! " upset the balance"!

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