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cgilsing

Bah Humbug!

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Hi Everybody and Merry belated Christmas!

I have to say though that if I never attend another Holiday feast I won't miss it. I have great friends and family and they want to include me in meals and make everthing gluten-free so I won't have to worry about it. I want to say upfront that I am very greatful for that and that I have people in my life that care enough to consider my dietary needs. However I still feel like going to family meals is like a death sentance! If you don't live with celiac disease on a daily basis and only fix one "gluten-free" meal a year it is impossible to get it right! I find myself hovering over everyone in the kitchen, trying to read the labels on everything they pick up, and annoying the hostess with my broken record question - "What's in that anyway?" And still, inevetably, I eat something I shouldn't. This time around I was halfway through my special gluten-free cheese ball and crackers plate when I asked "You did use Lea and Perrings Worsteshire right?". They hadn't....and I'm glutened. I wish there was a nice (and convincing) way to say "Just make me a plain piece of chicken and some steamed veggies and I'll be happy!" It really doesn't bother me at all to see food I can't eat. I don't long for cookies or clam chowder....I just want to eat and not get sick! How do all of you handle the holiday delima?

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Just tell them that--that is what I do. I join in with the conversation and have a good time without eating their food. You could make some gluten free food to take and share. It's not really a matter of your feeling comfortable around them now, its them feeling comfortable around you. Just let them know. I dont have this problem at our family Christmas because my sister and father also are celiacs--makes it easier. Deb

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We went to have Christmas dinner on Sunday at my husband's brother's house. My sister-in-law was genuinely concerned, but still forgot, and put regular flour into the gravy (oops.......so I couldn't eat it), my brother-in-law put dressing into the salad first, before he showed me the bottle, saying, "Surely, that should be okay?" Which it wasn't, because it contained soy sauce with wheat, so I couldn't have salad or gravy. The appetizer was crackers and a bunch of stuff - I ate a pear instead (which was fine).

I brought my own dessert, apple crisp made with a mixture of buckwheat flour, arrowroot flour, tapioca flour, ground flax seed and ground hazelnut. Everybody loved it. Still, here I am, yesterday I had a terrible stomach ache and general body aches, and today my back is so bad I can hardly move. And I am back on codeine (which I have because of fibromyalgia), which I didn't have to take since going off gluten in October. I only need it when glutened.

Of course, my whole family eat gluten, leaving crumbs everywhere, not giving me possibly getting sick a thought. In their opinion, it's my problem, and it's up to me alone to keep safe. So, they simply don't worry about it at all. Which obviously isn't safe for me, and I feel like moving out. Because I get glutened all the time, and never know why.

It was not too bad at my oldest daughter's place the weekend before Christmas (we had our main get together there this year, to cut down on my anxiety). In her family she, her husband and the kids have multiple food intolerances, so she is used to paying close attention to ingredients. She made sure I was safe, and I didn't get glutened (just overwhelmed by too many people, and sick with asthma because my second oldest daughter and husband brought their dogs to stay in the garage, which still didn't stop my allergies from acting up).

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I coped by taking a main part of the meal. I baked a 24 pound turkey, complete with gluten-free stuffing and made the gravy with rice flour when I got to my sister-in-laws. Granted, it was a little bit of a hassle to transport a steaming hot turkey, but it worked. I ate turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy with NO worries. I got to the salad first before it could be contaminated with anything. My sister in law made green beans with nothing added. I stayed away from the appetizers, didn't need the calories anyway. Oh, and I made some gluten-free spritz cookies too, so I could have dessert. Everyone ate the stuffing and cookies and said they were great, no big issue of them being gluten-free. I don't trust people to cook for me, so I just offer to help a lot.

Liz

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I'm sorry you had such trouble. I'm lucky that my family doesn't mind me doing the cooking for holiday meals (and I enjoy doing it), regardless of who's house we're at. In situations like that, where you can't keep an eye on the cooking, I HIGHLY recommend you bringing something. If you just say that you'd love to try their food, but simply can't take the down time of getting sick and are too worried about that, because you know how hard it is to cook gluten free, particularly if you haven't been doing it for a while, you can lighten the situation a bit, but either way, you choose what goes into your mouth, so you don't have to eat their food. Heck, if they're really easily offended, I'd eat ahead of time, and possibly even go with the excuse that I wasn't feeling very well and wasn't up to eating at the moment. Yeah, it's a lie, but if you have people who'll kick you out of their house or disown you for not eating their food... well I suppose I wouldn't go there, but if I did, I wouldn't have a problem with that lie. ;-)

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I agree with the OP. I had spoken with my sister a week or so before our holiday meal to make sure she understood the parameters, that I can't eat anything with wheat. I brought a rice dressing, a gluten free dessert. She had purchased a pre-cooked turkey and ham... they both contained wheat! So I basically had dressing and my gluten-free trifle. *sigh* It was obvious she hadn't even looked at the ingredients.

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I went to Christmas Eve dinner at my boyfriend's aunt and uncle's. They have a big Italian Seafood feast. (Something about the 7 fish/7 sacraments...) Anyway, while they all ate mounds of spaghetti and homemade italian bread from Little Italy, I ate the Squngili Salad. (lettuce, onions, olives and the seafood.) (steamed clams, mussels and squid, I am not a big fan of any of them.) The salad had olive oil and red wine vinegar. (Does anyone know if red wine vinegar is gluten free, I had some symptoms the next day and am still trying to figure out if that is the cluprit?)

To top that off, they had homemade peach pie for dessert. (they even picked the peaches from the orchard that morning.)

I had about 4 glasses of wine during the entire feast and tried not to think about it.

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Mandy, I don't believe the red wine should have been the problem. It's more likely that crumbs from all that bread got into the salad, or that somebody preparing spaghetti or touched bread first, then made the salad and got gluten into it. Since you didn't prepare the food, there are a ton of ways the food you ate could have gotten contaminated. You'll never figure it out (just like I won't).

My one daughter just told me it was my own fault, I should just not eat anything in other places. But we left here at 3:00 in the afternoon, and didn't get home until just before midnight! I had to eat something.

Cooking for everybody at somebody elses place is not an option for me. Due to Asperger Syndrome I have executive dysfunction. Which pretty much means, that multi tasking is not possible for me. I am very disorganized even in my own house, and would get completely overwhelmed trying to figure out where everything is, how things function etc. in somebody elses house. I would have a complete nervous breakdown before the meal would be done.

I guess we'll have to have the in-laws (my mother-in-law and her husband were there as well) at our house next year instead, and I have to make sure that I prepare as much as I can ahead of time, and that my kids and husband help a lot. Then I can control what goes into the food.

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I hear ya....we had alot of family over our house for Christmas, and it seemed like everyone was determined to feed my celiac daughter. I think they are just trying to show they care, but it seems like ever since her diagnosis, everyone wants to cook for her all of the sudden. I always tell them I will bring her food, and they can cook whatever they want. But that's never enough, they just HAVE to cook gluten free. So then, I get the inevitable question...."Can't you just write down what she can't have, then I'll know how to feed her?" Or the one I'm sure all of you have heard before "I read the ingredients, and it didn't say it had gluten in it". I know they all love my daughter, and want to help her, but it does get frustrating.

OH, and my dh's aunt tried to give Emmie cheesecake that had the crust "scraped off". Nearly lost it over that one, but thank God I caught her before she ate any.

On a positive note though, all the kids were fighting over Em's gluten free cookies that I had ordered from a bakery. They were gorgeous, and thick with icing. That made me smile.

As wonderful as this Christmas was for the kiddos, I for one am so glad our first gluten-free holiday is over!

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Yeah, I know, it can be terribly frustrating. I too got zapped on Christmas. We do a pot luck dinner so everyone brought something. We did the standing rib roast, mashed potatoes and country ham. So I know that they were safe and that's all I ate. I think that my problem came from twenty people, and perhaps double dipping utensiles into the non-gluten free bean casserole.

Someone also made a big public deal about my declining to eat a cranberry cheese cake with graham cracker crust. You know the deal...."one taste can't hurt you."

But nothing has gotten me as bad a today's lunch. Everything was closed in town except "Mamasita's" (does that give you a hint?) I order a plain salad and I brought my Annie's dressing. They brought it out with croutons after I told the waitress that I cannot eat bread, or flour. They must of picked them off and added more cheese to cover it up.

Yeah well, it's the pitts, but it isn't chemo. I know that we all need to be grateful and take this into our own hands. Our heath is our responsibilty and no one elses. ;) , but it IS difficult at times.

A wonderful holiday wish for a joyous new year to you all.

Lisa B

Edited by Lisa Baker

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Guest nini

we went over to my mom's for Christmas dinner and while I was pretty panicked... I tried to maintain some control over the situation. I requested that my mom bake a ham (plain ham) then topped it with a homemade glaze of brown sugar and honey... I brought the corn bread (Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse) and several bags of frozen broccoli cuts for steamed broccoli with butter. My mom also made sure she had an extra can of sweet potatoes, brown sugar and kraft marshmallows so that I could make my daughter and I a separate candied yam dish because my sisters candied yam dish was full of wheat. My mom had also made a pre seasoned pork roast for those who didn't want ham and of course it had gluten in it... and my mom had planned on making biscuits, but I talked her out of that one. I said we had enough with the corn bread. And we did, I even got to bring the leftover corn bread home.

I also fixed my daughter's and my plate first before anyone could double dip anything and we made it out ok! I don't think we got glutened at all!

Oh, and I also made the appetizer when I got there and convinced my mom she didn't need to put out crackers and a cheese ball with it. I made a dip with Salsa and Velveeta Cheese and served it with tortilla chips from Whole Foods... there was plenty...

My sister brought a cheesecake (grrrrrr....) so I was glad that I had bought a small apple pie from Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse line for me and my daughter to have.

It just takes some planning and bringing my own food, enough to share, and for the most part they don't give me any crap about not trying their food. I know my sister just doesn't get it, so I've given up trying. (btw she also had to leave early because she got ill after eating... coincidence? I don't think so!)

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I think Nini has it right. Planning goes a long way. Take gluten-free dishes that are tasty enough for everyone and you will be sure to have something to eat.

I went to a family Christmas Eve dinner. There was little there that I could eat but certainly enough that I didn't starve! I went to visit with family - not to eat.

At home my daughter cooked a fabulous dinner for me, her Dad and her brother and his wife. She cooked in her usual manner which just didn't include gluten. Ingredients included lamb, onions, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli and a cranberry sauce to die for. It has a touch of Makers Mark bourbon in it (gluten-free approved) and the flavor is unique. I made a gluten-free pumpkin pie that was served to all - who commented on the very good, flaky crust (Gluten Free Pantry Crust mix). There was also a Cheesecake for those who wanted it. No gluten in sight and a wonderful meal. I could eat all but the cheesecake.

It can be done. Offer to bring dishes. Offer 'safe' recipes. Bring 'safe' dishes yourself so if the menu lookss suspicious you can eat from your own contributions rather than looking at an empty plate. I am sure that makes a hostess feel uncomfortable. We cannot rely on others to take care of us. Even their best efforts are often failures.

Be sure to go to New Year's Eve party well prepared so the lack of edibles won't spoil your fun. Claire

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I had two holiday dinners (both families live in the same town) Eve was at MIL's house because it was also her b'day. The turkey was cooked sans stuffing, the gravy was gluten-free, everything else was veggies w/o flour or additives. Yummie!!! And of course, I couldn't eat the desserts others brought, but I had made a cherry cheesecake for my MIL's b'day cake and made the faux chocalate graham cracker crust out of gluten-free chocalte crunch cereal (Always Save brand) which everyone raved about. And I had made an apple pie with gluten-free crust - no one could tell the difference. Very good experience.

Then my brothers on Christmas day - totally different. The gluten stuffing was cooked IN the turkey, the gravy, though made with cornstarch for my sake, was from the drippings. Two salads - one had the ramen noodles in it, the other had the croutons already added. I didn't eat very much at all. Then towards the end of the day as I was reaching for a piece of fudge, my brother tells me it has gluten in it. Which I know it doesn't, he's just harassing me about my celiac. Like it's my choice to have it. He and his wife are convinced that if I go on Reliv (they are distributers, natch) then gluten won't be an issue for me anymore. SO WRONG! Before the Reliv they were both quite conscientious about what I could and couldn't have. But I did bring pumpkin pies that I made so I could have some. Everyone couldn't believe that it was a gluten-free pie crust.

It's over until next family holiday. Maybe I'll be out of town.

Annette

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Guest nini

ugh on the Reliv distributors! I used to have a client that sold it and when I was first dx, she kept trying to get me on it... kept swearing that it would CURE me... I did some checking into it at the time and the formula she wanted me to get HAD GLUTEN IN IT... and she was convinced it would cure me. RIGHT. Eventually she moved, so I didn't have to deal with it anymore, but while she was still coming to me, she bugged me about it constantly.

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I checked out the Reliv website. And yes, their main formula has wheat in it, and another one is mainly soy. Obviously, the first one is out for all Celiacs, and the second for everybody who has an intolerance to soy. Meaning, that I could never have it, either.

A couple of years ago (before I knew anything about Celiac disease, never mind realizing I have it), I was still searching for a cause and a cure for the fibromyalgia. And these people were completely convinced that this AMAZING product would cure ANYTHING at all, including cancer, and yes, of course, fibromyalgia.

I don't even remember the name of the product, but it was made from milk protein. Needless to say, the three months I used it (giving it a fair chance), I got much WORSE, rather than better. And that stuff was expensive! But I never gave up on finding a cure for the fibro, and I am glad I didn't. Because I found the cause at long last. If only people would be more supportive!

So, I now agree with the saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!"

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Thanks, guys. My SIL claims that the drs ignore Reliv because they are not nutritionists. That was her arguement when I said I'd try Reliv when I've seen the studies written up in the JAMA or New England Journal of Medical Science. I looked over the ingredient list on another of their products and it contained brewer's yeast. And of course, it doesn't mention being on dedicated lines so I don't know if cross-contamination is another issue. So I bite my tongue a lot for the sake of their kids (10, 11, 13).

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Guest nini

I just get so annoyed with "those" people! LOL! The lady that I knew that kept trying to sell it to me was SOOOOOOO pushy... OMG I couldn't stand it. She even suckered my boss into buying from her every month... (he never used the product, just ended up throwing it out or giving it away) but I guess he felt OBLIGATED to buy her product! Me, I couldn't afford it anyway, so it was a moot point, but when I had looked into it and found out that she was trying to sell me something with gluten in it to CURE my celiac, I realized she was probably nuts!

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I too got zapped somewhere over the holidays. I made seafood and was so careful not to bread anything and all sauces were made by me. I can't figure it out, but boy... are my intestines mad at me!

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I too got zapped somewhere over the holidays. I made seafood and was so careful not to bread anything and all sauces were made by me. I can't figure it out, but boy... are my intestines mad at me!

I know that that is SO frustrating. Somebody must have managed to c-c you somehow when your back was turned. Anyhow, hope you are feeling much better real soon!

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We had Christmas day at my mom's house and since she and my stepdad are vegetarian it is always a challenge for us to think of menus to share. Bless her heart, she does her best. I brought dessert, she made a nice tofu-nut-rice loaf (tasted much better than it sounded) and she used soy milk and "fake butter" (as she calls it - Smartblend to the rest of the world) in the mashed potatoes and we had many wonderful vegetables. She also used cornstarch to thicken the mushroom gravy...but after I'd eaten a lot of that (I lurve it) I asked her how to make it and she said - use one bouillon cube....sure enough, the veg. ones she buys use wheat protein.

Gah. Symptoms all the next day, although not too bad.

Better than last year, though, when we were all new to this gluten-intolerance thing and she bought a "wheat free" crust at Wholefoods - not understanding that wheat free wasn't gluten free - although she told me that it was...very, very sick the day after Xmas last year.

BUT dh surprised me with a box of gluten-free treats and baking mixes. I never buy that stuff for myself as I'm always trying to lose weight but for special occasions it will be nice to have all those things around.

Agee

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