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Struggling With Being Left Out

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I’m really struggling with being different and left out because of my celiac and am in need of some encouragement from those who are walking the same road and truly understand.

 

It seems that everywhere I turn I’m confronted with food that everyone but me can eat and I’m left feeling like I don’t belong.  Everywhere.  On our vacation to Central America where I had to watch the rest of my family sample the local fare and I never got to touch it.  At every social or community or church function where the menu is pizza, hamburgers with buns and who-know-what fillers, or desserts.  The breaking point for me was a special celebration for a friend’s one-year sobriety where they made trifles and posted pictures of how gorgeous and delicious they were.  I couldn’t take sitting on the sidelines AGAIN watching them eat and hearing them gush about how delicious it was, so I ran out in tears and missed her celebration.

 

I was diagnosed two years ago and thought I was making peace with it, but I just can’t get away from the gluten that mocks me wherever I go, and I’m so weary of fighting the same battle over and over.  Our society bonds over food, and those of us who can’t share in it can feel like we’re not really wanted there or a part of the group. 

 

Does anyone else still struggle with these feelings even years after diagnosis?  Should I be more assertive about asking for accommodations (like a separate trifle with just the whipped cream and berries and things I CAN have)?  I don’t want to come across as self-centered and a pain for people to invite places.

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I heard a rumor about a celiac friendly cruise that jennifer esposito is going to do. I would think that would be an amazing vacation for people like us!

 

I am still new and I really have these feelings too sometimes, but I know im going to pay the piper with my health if i dont stick with it and be 'that girl'. I guess it really forces us to cultivate relationships about other things rather than just eating next to each other every wednesday night and just eating out of habit. You aren't stuffing your face, you are actually just there for the company. Food is great! But it should be mostly about the conversation and friendship. Although it really does suck.

 

I would expect that there would be extras from making the trifle? Maybe next time just ask if they could set aside some for you with a cover on it before they start making the main trifle? Whipped cream and berries is delicious!! As someone who used to host frequently I would make accommodations like that for people who didn't eat this or that. Just make sure to mention to set it aside BEFORE she gets the cake out. that might be pushy? Im curious to see what others say.

 

As i mentioned in another post, im also struggling with suggesting places I can eat with friends. Im suggesting a place i might be able to eat today, Im hoping it goes well.

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There's nothing wrong with asking for something you can eat except for the possibility of CC. (They might spoon your berries with the same spoon that they spread the berries on the cake.)

 

Even better than risking CC, you could find out what they are serving and bring your own so you are eating a safe version of what everybody else has.

 

I have to admit, I DON'T feel left out at functions like that. I usually eat first or bring my own and never give it a second thought. But what DOES get to me is when I go somewhere to hear music or whatever, and people are eating burgers and fries. I used to love burgers and fries, and there is no place around here that has safe ones for a person with bith celiac and a severe corn intolerance. I can't even get frozen french fries at the store because they all have corn oil on them. Sure, I could buy potatoes and cook my own, but I can't see going through all the troubleand expense (I would have to use sesame oil)  for just me.

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Our society  revolves around  food,  which  is  sad. It's  like  people  can not have  an  evening  or  an  outing  to  catch-up  with old  friends  without  food... That  four  letter  word!!!! I  doubt  that  will ever  change... so  I  think  one  must  change  their  focus...I  think  once  we  get  very prepared  &  do  pre-planning  our  lives  then it  becomes  a much  less  issue for us...In  the  beginning  it is  awkward  for  so many  but  again  we  have  to  bite the bullet &  take  charge of  our  own  well being....Your  health  is  more  important than  any thing  else....

We  attend  all functions, parties, weddings,  school  things,  vacations, we  just  prepare  our own  gluten-free  foods  &  match  whenever  possible  what  everyone  else  is  eating...yes, time  consuming  but  we  enjoy  company of  others &  stay  healthy & safe...Most  times  others  have  no idea  that  ours is gluten-free food . Many times  for  people  who know we are  gluten-free  I  make  larger  amounts for us  to  share & now  I'm  asked  to make  a  gluten-free  food  for  events to  share ... many ask if  I will be  bringing  my  gluten-free banana bread  for  a  breakfast meeting...   or  a gluten-free  salad  for  lunch  that  we  all  can  enjoy .. Desserts are  always  being  asked for..... I love to  share  our gluten-free  world  with  others  .. That  way  it  opens up a  dialogue   which  can  get  interesting...

So  don't  run  away  , embrace this  gluten-free  lifestyle, be  healthy  & share...  Honestly  there  is  not  much  we  can't  make  or  purchase  to match  gluten foods these  days......it  all  just  takes  pre-planning  preparation.

I  truly  dislike  the Olive  Garden but  I have  a friend  who loves  it  & I love  my  friend  so  I go  hating  the  gluten-free  food but  I  take  my gluten-free  breadsticks wrapped  in foil  &  ask  for  my own  salad &  dipping  oil....then  I  get   meat & veggies... on a  stick! It's  a win  win....

If I'm  at  a  party  where  beer  drinkers  are  , I  just  take  a gluten-free  beer  or  a  wine I enjoy but  I'm not much of a  drinker...

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It can be a pain, but I find that if I get in the mindset where I bring food for myself, and sometimes for everyone, it just goes so so much easier. I find it is good etiquette to bring something along when you go to someone's house anyways, so instead of bringing wine, I bring food, then I'm never a self centered pain to invite over.  ;)

 

It's true that we have lost convenience foods when we are out, but you can plan ahead... Planning ahead is the key. 

 

Best wishes.

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I think it's probably pretty normal to feel that way.  I had a business lunch this week, there were 7 of us and me making a scene trying to order and make sure everything was safe for me to eat.  It didn't feel terribly appropriate sitting there with 3 of our companies VP's but I don't really have any choice. 

 

We were at a meeting this morning hosted by our local Celiac support group and one of the women was pretty upset about not being able to eat out without making a scene, she just wanted to go somewhere that they understood without having to be educated.  I suggested we all go out as a group sometime.  I think it would be great to go out with other Celiacs and not feel like such an alien.  When you are always the exception it's easy to feel alone.  I don't know if you have a Celiac support group in your area but if you do, that might be an option. 

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I think we all know what you're talking about. And when you don't have access to the kitchen, your options are definitely limited. Though I do skip attending some events because too much of the focus will be on food and drink in which I can't participate, most of the time, I haul around my own food. 

My last foray was a family gathering so I brought a dish to share that I knew would be safe (and filling) for me. And it helps when everyone compliments you on how much better yours tastes than the half-assed versions they make.

The long-term trick is to become a better cook than anything you can get out in the world. I'm at the point now that most of the things I would order in a restaurant are a disappointment because I can make them so much better myself. That is the way not to feel deprived. You don't want food to come with negative emotions, so find a way to make them positive.

Another psychological trick is to learn more about the problems with our current food industry. Looking at what someone else orders at a restaurant and knowing that it is full of chemicals that you wouldn't want to put in your body definitely helps you not feel jealous. 

Also, you can always make it your long-term plan to move to a city that has gluten-free bakeries or restaurants. The last time I attended a birthday party, I stopped by the gluten-free bakery first and brought treats for myself and my gluten-free friend to eat while others had cake - and found a third gluten-free person with whom to share as well. And there was another person there whose wife and child have celiac. You are not alone. You're just waiting for others to realize that having D or C is not normal and getting their diagnoses. For that party, I also brought other gluten-free snacks to eat myself and to share with everyone, and they ended up being the foods that everyone ate, more so than the other foods available. 

On the other side of the coin, you also don't want to be the person who has food "issues". I don't normally talk about celiac unless someone specifically asks. Celiac doesn't define who I am, just what I eat. I don't tell everyone that the foods I bring to events are gluten free, just make sure I get enough to eat before they disappear.

Another long-term goal would be to develop interests and hobbies that don't subject you to feeling deprived. Becoming a sports fan would not be good because spending three-four hours in a stadium where there is nothing to eat or drink and you can't bring in food would not be ideal. But hiking, canoeing, or camping where everyone has to bring their own food means no one even notices what you are eating.

 

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Knowing how to cook sure does help! I made some potato salad and quinoa salad for a party last week end. The "Greek" quinoa salad was flavor genius! I felt bad for a second though, because my potato salad got cleaned out while my sister in laws mom's barely got touched. Lots of compliments on both dishes! No one asked why I brought gluten free food, they just wanted my recipes. The two were the only things I ate and I didn't feel deprived at all because they were great foods that filled me up. 

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Learn and practice cooking and baking. When I'm going to a function where there is no hope that I can eat anything (I'm super sensitive so that's everywhere) and food is a focal point of the occasion I just bring my own food and if I'm up to it I make something I really like. If its too much to make something for everyone just make something delicious for your self and think about what they are missing out on (when I'm feeling crusty, I regret to say I get satisfaction when someone looks over to what I'm eating, knowing they aren't getting any of it and says something like that looks amazing or that's my favorite). Remember that these functions are not really about food, although it may seem like it. It was a one year sobriety celebration, you're there for support and celebration. 

 

When I go on vacation, if my none gluten-free family members want to go eat something (that isn't just a quick bite or snack) I just tell them to go and enjoy. I used to love this amazing steak house in Florida, that I would visit every time I went there. I know my boyfriend still loves their food so I send him on his merry way to enjoy it, I'm not going to sit there and watch him eat some of my favorite food. I have lots of time on the vacation to spend with him doing other things so that hour or two I can find something I enjoy and not have to watch him stuffing his face with deep fried oreos dunked in vanilla ice cream. During vacations, especially ones with new cuisines, do research and cook your own! Pack up a hot plate (if you don't get a place with a kitchenette), pan, pot, knife and a cutting board and find a place to source meat and veggies. 

 

Lastly, perhaps its simply my antisocial nature but any event where the focal point/most interesting thing is "who knows what filled" burgers and hot dogs is not something I would go to. If its something I am obligated to go to I bring my own food, enjoy it and focus on why I'm there rather than on what other people are eating. 

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I've been spending my Saturdays at the farmers market, not to hang out, but as a vendor. The markets here are a mix of farmers, art and crafts and food. We are also an area that has become hugely successful for food trucks, many of which come. So Saturdays, for 5-6 hours every day I have to smell so much good food. And my spot is right next to Jose. Jose makes what I hear are the most amazing burritos around, they're the size of my forearm! I watch his wife handmake the tortillas every morning and smell the amazing food all day. I simply accepted that I can't have it.

 

Then last Saturday as we were both packing up I ended up spending 15 minutes talking to Jose and he asked why I've never tried his food if I think it smells so good. I just said I have celiac, so I can't have anything with wheat or gluten and he was very understanding. And, instead of me spending the whole season without treats he mentioned they're thinking about starting to do tamales again. Now, tamales I could eat! He said the first one is on him... I think he wants to get me hooked. :lol:

 

I've also indulged in a macaron last week. Divine. And last year there was a vendor doing arepas, though sadly I haven't seen him this year. And I haven't had the chance to go around and talk to any food trucks but my guess is that if I did I would find that more than one could and would happily accommodate me. (Although sadly, never WaffleLove.) I'm not going to spend all day every Saturday wallowing about how everyone is eating all these amazing things I can't have. I find solutions.

 

When it comes to large gatherings, I always offer to bring something to share and bring the rest of my meal for myself. Instead of asking for parts of the trifle to be put aside for you, offer to make it! No one will ever notice it's made with gluten-free brownies. Make a waldorf salad, potato salad, whatever summery treats you love and bring to share. Just get what you need out before sharing. I have moments where I'll have those pangs of self-pity. I indulge briefly then put it aside and remember how awesome my life is and move on. Dwelling on the negative is only going to make me miserable and I don't have time for that.

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I eat before I go and if it is a grad party I always ask if I can bring something. I usually eat my own stuff and there is usually fresh fruit bowls. I just made some potato salad two times , this week and yup today is Tue. Lol I also made my own mayo! Hubbs was so impressed I had to make more! I'm telling ya it's the best ever! Who'd of thunk that home made mayo would taste so wonderful?

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