Jump to content
  • Join Our Community!

    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

MWD

Stressed About Thanksgiving

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I've been reading posts for over a year, but this is my first posting.

Some time ago I was invited to a sit down Thanksgiving dinner at a private home. I did not need to make an immediate reply, which was good, because my first thought was "how do I get out of this?" I only recall years ago, before I knew I had celiac, eating take-out once at this person's house. I'll call her H. I've only had informal short visits before and since. Thanksgiving dinner at H's is one of those things that is expected, not that I want to attend. I was recently informed by someone else that H should contact me soon regarding what I can and cannot eat. From reading the posts I see that preparation, utensils, etc also play a role, not just the food. I decided it was time to convey my stress when I jumped the other day when the phone rang and I thought "that could be H, what do I say?" In the last few weeks I had an experience with H at a restaurant and now I'm even more stressed about Thanksgiving. She did something that upset me so much I didn't know how to respond at the time. I wanted to throw my food that she messed with ontop of her head and storm out the door. I kept quiet and didn't make a scene and I haven't seen her since and I don't know what I'll say when I do. Most of the social events I attend that involve food are bring your own dish to pass. I'll bring a dish I can eat, and some extra food just in case. It's kind of weird but when there's 20 or more people spread around several tables, nobody seems to much notice what I'm doing. We just visit and have a good time. Thanksgiving will be around a dining room table with a few couples. I had planned on bringing some food I could eat and just see what happens. Now I don't know if I want to eat any food H prepares.

Also, in the last few months I was at a restaurant I don't usually eat at with 12 or so people and and employee talked at some length with me and two other people who have dietary concerns. I was confident what I ordered would be fine. The next morning I was going to find a way to contact the restaurant and thank them for the time the employee took. Shortly there after I made my first of several visits to the bathroom that day. I had not been that sick for some time before that and haven't since.

Thanks for letting me sound off. Any advice or input would be appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest cassidy

I feel like it is a type of peer pressure to feel like you have to eat food that is being served to the group. I realize some people are well meaning but we get too sick and it is too stressful to let yourself be "forced" into eating food you aren't comfortable with. I realize that everyone is responsible for what those choose to eat or not eat and I wish people wouldn't try to get you to do it their way.

If you have to go to dinner I would tell her either that you would like to make a dish to contribute to the meal and then bring something that you can eat, or that you will just be bringing your own meal. I would give her the option of un-inviting you if she isn't comfortable with this.

There isn't a good answer for this, but I think you have to stand up for yourself and not eat her food if you don't feel like it is a good idea. I don't let anyone cook for me and I learned that the hard way.

I will be bringing my own food to Thanksgiving and I although I hate for strangers to ask me why, I hate that less then spending the days after Thanksgiving kicking myself for giving in and eating something I was unsure about. I have already made turkey and froze it, I got an apple pie from whole foods - I've never had it and I'm saving it for Thanksgiving, so I will have a good meal.

Don't stress - it is only one meal and it will be over in a few hours. If people truely care about you they would want you to be comfortable and be ok with you doing what you need to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you've only eaten take-out at her house once and you saw her in a restaurant and she did something there to annoy you, it certainly doesn't sound like she's a close friend. Just say you already have plans, thank you for thinking of me (even if your plans are staying at home, you STILL already have plans).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest nini

it sounds like you really don't want to go, so don't. politely decline by saying you have other plans, even if you don't... they don't have to know this. You don't owe anyone any explanations and you have to be good to yourself. Only do what you feel comfortable with, nothing more. If this was family it would be a little harder to get out of going, but you can still politely decline or just say you simply don't feel like taking a chance with your food at this stage in your healing. There have been plenty of dinners that I have bowed out of because I didn't feel comfortable with something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or...

you can send her an extremely detailed last of exactly how to wash every single dish, utensil and pan before she uses it to prepare anything you'd eat. Make sure to explain that she needs to scrub the sink before cleaning all the stuff in it.

Explain that she'll need to prepare all your food either before or after everything else because of the risk of contamination.

Send her the longest list of forbodden foods you can find and explain that she'll have to check every single ingredient in everything she buys. Include a few of the more common companies' 1-800 numbers "in case she needs to call and clarify something".

then ask if she would be upset if you declined this time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Or...

you can send her an extremely detailed last of exactly how to wash every single dish, utensil and pan before she uses it to prepare anything you'd eat. Make sure to explain that she needs to scrub the sink before cleaning all the stuff in it.

Explain that she'll need to prepare all your food either before or after everything else because of the risk of contamination.

Send her the longest list of forbodden foods you can find and explain that she'll have to check every single ingredient in everything she buys. Include a few of the more common companies' 1-800 numbers "in case she needs to call and clarify something".

then ask if she would be upset if you declined this time.

:lol::lol::lol: This would ensure no future invitations from her or anyone else attending!!!! :lol::lol::lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In all seriousness, I think life is too short to go places that you don't want to. You sound incredibly stressed about the whole thing.

It's *your* holiday, too! You have a right to enjoy it--it's not your duty to keep everyone else happy. If it's that uncomfortable for you, I'd politely decline. Say whatever is best for your situation. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Kathy Ann

How about turning it all around to something positive? Pick a couple of people who are maybe alone on this holiday and who you really enjoy being around. Invite them to your house and have fun serving and eating everything wonderfully gluten free. Take charge and put yourself in the driver's seat. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How about turning it all around to something positive? Pick a couple of people who are maybe alone on this holiday and who you really enjoy being around. Invite them to your house and have fun serving and eating everything wonderfully gluten free. Take charge and put yourself in the driver's seat. :)

That's a wonderful idea :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies. I felt better after making the post and reading the responses.

I finally told my partner I was not comfortable receiving the invitation. I tend to avoid tough situations until forced to do something. I have trouble standing up for myself and making myself clear.

I sent H one of my lists of ingredients to look for on food labels to avoid and one of my lists of some name brand foods that are safe. I also made a note that there are concerns about cross-contamination with utensils, pots & pans, the kitchen counter, etc.

H is a blood relative of my partner (we've been together 10 years) H, my partner and I had a discussion about Thanksgiving. H seems to be trying hard to accommodate for me. I suggested I could stop and visit after dinner was served. I tried to explain I have to do what's right for myself and my health and sometime in the future I hope to be more comfortable with a similar invitation. I'm sure I said I've taken food I could eat to potlucks in case there isn't food I'm comfortable about eating. My partner plans on going with or without me, I pretty much knew that without being told, and I'm fine with that decision.

I'm not trying to be difficult, it's a difficult situation and I feel there is no course of action that everyone involved will be happy with. A lot of my food decisions change from hour to hour, if I would dwell on them I'd probably never go anywhere. Since my diagnosis this is the first organized sit-down dinner invitation I've had to make a decision about. What I do wouldn't have any affect on the hostess or food preparer(s).

I just want Thanksgiving to be over with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest cassidy

My mom and I volunteered one Christmas at a food bank when we didn't have any other family with us. If you aren't going to the dinner at dinner time, that might be a good thing to do. It is a great way not to feel sorry for yourself and it makes you feel good to be able to feed all these people that really don't have anything.

Then you would also have plans and a legitimate reason not to make the meal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could easily bring something with you, and only eat the plate of food you brought. Remember that you do not have to defend your diet to anyone - there is nothing to defend. You choose to keep yourself healthy, and that's fabulous! But if you're not up to it, a polite "no, thank you" is all that's needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible to take your own food and then place it on the dinnerware being used at the table? It seems to me that this would be the easiest of solutions if you will be attending. I know that sometimes dealing with blood relatives of the yours, mine or ours variety can be difficult at best and an invite can often not be something easily opted out of. Does your partner support you and your food restrictions and are they willing to go to bat for you regarding your apparent stress over this? It seems as if H is trying to be accomidating, however I'm also gettng the impression that there is much more to the story...if you don't trust her to cook for you safely don't let her. Finally, it seems that you are almost embarrased of your health condition. I understand from reading different posts that many people are very private about their dietary needs but my personal take with any function is that if people ask me questions about Celiac, why I'm eating different food or such, that is my opportunity to spread information. I'm not the least bit hesitant to discuss it with anyone. It's who I am, what I have and I certainly know I'm not alone as the only Celiac out there. I have found people who ask to be very interested...I give them a very brief explanation and then try answer any questions they might ask. Then poof, the pink elephant is out of the room. In any event I hope you come up with a good solution for YOU. I am hoping that you will be able to enjoy your Thanksgiving, if not for the food then for the fellowship. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes the holidays are so tough for us......especially Thanksgiving with all the bad foods.

I always try to use paper plates or plastic utensils and new Glad storage in a pinch. But really feel for you because every year the family pressure is there. I am blessed with a few family members who are really supportive about gluten sensitivity.

Good luck and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't want to bring your own food and feel like you're "different", you could still enjoy the social aspect of the goup - perhaps skip the mealtime and drop in after it's over to visit with everyone. Just approach the situation matter-of-factly. If you don't make a big deal over it, the others probably won't either. But above all, you owe it to yourself to eat safely and not be worried about getting sick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the newest replies. I need to vent, again. I'm up in the middle of the night, again. I woke up and could almost smell & taste all the Thanksgiving smells, including the ones I can't eat. Last night I made chicken and asked my partner to save a piece for Thursday. He said something about H did offer to put a turkey breast in the crockpot, she plans on stuffing a big turkey. He said we had a turkey breast in the crockpot once and it was delicious. I said I couldn't remember if that was before gluten-free and I would want to look the ingredients on a turkey breast to be sure it was safe now. Also, he asked "wouldn't it be weird not eating turkey like everyone else?" Duh! He gets the more obvious stuff, but he admits he doesn't know alot about ingredients. Last year at Christmas I didn't make the make the candy that I have usually made for the potluck. Several days before when I was making something else he said something about won't people be expecting the other candy or maybe someone had mentioned looking forward to it. I emotionally said I can't eat whatever ingredient and it's my favorite candy and I can't make myself make it.

He just didn't know that ingredient was in there. This year I've been working on finding a gluten-free substitute or making the ingredient myself before making the candy.

Thanks for letting me vent. Maybe I'll get a good night's sleep in a few days. I've got some other issues to deal with in the next few weeks, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In all seriousness, I think life is too short to go places that you don't want to. You sound incredibly stressed about the whole thing.

It's *your* holiday, too! You have a right to enjoy it--it's not your duty to keep everyone else happy. If it's that uncomfortable for you, I'd politely decline. Say whatever is best for your situation. :)

I'm with Jersey Angel - life is too short for us to do things we don't want to do. And life is sometimes hard for us having Celiac. So enjoy life, do what you want, and worry about yourself, you're your number 1 priority and not hurting someone's feelings who obviously has been rude to you.

Be well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

don't forget to lower your expectations of other people on this one - there's no reason to expect them to know about all these ingredients ahead of time. it's unfortunate for us, of course, but if you expect them to know you can't have this, or won't make that because it has something you can't eat, you're expecting too much. this is something they *never have to think about*. you could say 'lucky them', or you could say 'poor them for having no idea what's in their food'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...