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goldyjlox

Dreading Telling My Mil

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I have one of those opinionated MIL's and let me tell you, she wears the pants in this family. And she uses flour in EVERYTHING!!! She keeps saying that it will not be Celiac...I knew it would be. I am scared to tell her b/c she will think that I can eat gluten still and that I can still eat all her baking and I know that when she comes her she will roll her eyes and yes, be offended when I tell her that I cant eat that. We have not seen eye to eye since my children were born and I can already hear her saying..."dont you dare put the kids through that"...my kids will have to be tested. She always cooks, no matter whos house she is at (I am so thankfukl that she lives in a different town) but in my house things will be different and that is the way it is. We dont travel to her house to often as its a long ferry ride and its to hard with young kids. But i need to put my foot down this time, and yes...my husband, and the rest of the family for that matter, wont stand up to her.

So I guess I am wondering how you all handle these situations, especially with the children..you would think that she would want her grandchildren healthy.

thanks.

Jess

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I would recommend the book by a leading Celiac expert from Columbia University, Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic by Dr. Peter Green.

Get a copy for yourself, and then loan it to her. Let her know that this is as serious as a food allergy, or diabetes, or some other health condition. Its non-negotiable.

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i agree try educating her first, however, being some one that lives around family members that are not allways the most supportive you may need your hubbies help on this one. if your in your house you have ground rules about what is to be brought in and cooked. she has to respect this as its your house, just like when you go their its tough to tell her how to cook (i bring food w/me to some people's houses now). your going to need your hubbies help on this one for sure. good luck and stand your ground!!

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I see no kind way out of this - or she will run over you like a steam roller. I would put her up in a hotel or tell her that she cannot visit - maybe next year. I would not let her touch a thing in my kitchen. & really no need to care what she thinks, just tell her you do not want to hear it. If you do not take a very strong stance with her to start out, then she will be trouble. Do not expect your hubby to fight this battle for you... If you can afford it mail her a couple of books, if not you can tell her that if she wants to read what the experts have to say then here is where she can find that information. I would aslo get the kids tested at Enterolab.com for the genes, maybe they have one gene from their dad... If your hubby would test & if he had two then that would mean that one came directly from her, that might shut her up...

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gfpaperdoll is probably right, but I would try one thing first. I would send her the Peter Green book, Annalise Roberts' Gluten-Free Baking Classics, and maybe a couple of others, along with a letter worded something like this:

Dear MIL,

I NEED YOUR HELP!

Just as we feared, I have been diagnosed with celiac, and it is quite likely that our children have it, too.

We love your baking so much, it is breaking our hearts to think we can't even have a taste. :( Waah!

I've been doing some research, and people with celiac say that it is possible to bake almost anything with gluten-free flour substitutes and have it turn out practically identical to the gluteny original, but that:

1) it helps if you are an experienced baker to begin with and

2) gluten-free batters and doughs look VERY different from the gluteny ones, but do come out the same, so following the recipe is really important--no messing about with the batter to make it "look right," and

3) it is absolutely VITAL that no "real " flour ever come in contact with the bakeware, as even cross-contamination can cause damage to my intestines.

You are the queen of baking, MIL. I know you have never had to bake with the gluten-free flours,but I was wondering if you would consider trying a couple of recipes before your next visit, and then when you come visit us, if you might help me with my first gluten-free baking. I'll buy all the supplies, even the ones for you to use at your house to try it out.

I just can't stand the thought of not being able to have all the wonderful stuff you bake--but the doctor has given me really strict and REALLY SCARY warnings about cheating, and all the research I have seen agrees with the doctor. Having "just a little" gluten could be the trigger for things like autoimmune thyroid disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and even CANCER. (Can you believe this? Why are the food companies allowed to put gluten in everything from soy sauce to ice cream to tuna salad to...arrrgh!)

I have two things to console me. One is that at least, I don't need medication for this--EVER. The other is that you are the best baker around, and if anyone can help me, it's YOU.

Maybe you could even write a gluten-free cookbook!

Please let me know what you think of this, as the only thing keeping me from falling apart completely is that there is still a way we can have your famous ___________(fill in the blank____ for Christmas!

Lots of Love,

__________________

*****************************************************************

You can see that my thought is that your MIL is justly proud of her baking ability, is (so far) totally ignorant about celiac (weren't we all before we got diagnosed with it out of the blue?), and tends to feel that her mission in life is to be as helpful to you and your husband as possible (which probably translates into your feeling like she is totally taking over every time she is within 50 miles of you).

So, yes, gfpaperdoll is probably right, but I still say, give your MIL the benefit of the doubt, and see if you can find a positive way for her to have a role here (and make her think it's her choice, and her idea, etc.). Maybe it's the only thing that makes her feel validated and worthwhile. Or maybe she's a total witch, but at least you've tried your best and given her the chance, right?

PM me if you think this has half a chance of working, and I'll delete this in case she ever comes on this board.... <_<

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So I guess I am wondering how you all handle these situations, especially with the children..you would think that she would want her grandchildren healthy.

Hi Jess....you *would* think that grandparents would want their grandchildren healthy, but some weird issues seem to get in the way of that with this diagnosis/diet. I've had major confrontations with both my f-i-l (about testing) and my m-i-l (about the whole shebang.) I offered to buy "Living Gluten Free for Dummies" for my m-i-l, so that she could learn to make some of her dishes gluten-free for my kids (in the past, she has enjoyed cooking for them.) She turned me down flat! So I decided that it was her problem and that I would let it go....but my m-i-l continued to bring it up and argue with me, mainly about the need for both kids and myself to be gluten-free. I finally lost my temper, big-time, and told her loudly and plainly that it was immaterial what she thought about any of it, because dh and I are the ones who make the decisions for our kids and ourselves. I also told her that if she could not respect and defer to our decisions, then she at least needed to be quiet about it. It was a difficult confrontation - I HATE confrontations. It was very necessary, though. She's been a bit chilly the last few times I've spoken with her, but she's been polite, and she has NOT brought it up again. I'm hoping that eventually she'll come around.

If I had my m-i-l coming to stay in my house, I would feel the need to lay the ground rules *before* she arrives. You could write your m-i-l a letter and send a book about celiac disease with it. It's a lot easier to be objective and unemotional in a letter. I would make it VERY clear to her that there are certain rules that must be followed by ANYONE who cooks in your kitchen. You could even offer to teach her about gluten-free flours and how to cook with them. Or, if she refuses to be accepting, then I'd tell her that she's not allowed to cook in your kitchen. I'd have this conversation before she comes, though, because you don't want to be battling it out in your house, in front of your kids. My f-i-l chose to confront me in front of my kids, and to be honest, I still haven't forgiven him for it (it was inappropriate and made the kids feel uncomfortable.)

Bottom line - YOU have to draw a line, and forbid her to step over it (that applies to celiac disease testing of your kids AND cooking in your kitchen.) I hope that your dh is supportive of you in this....that will make things easier. Good luck to you....and vent here if you have to!

Rho

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Awwww I feel for you! But I have to agree with Fiddlefaddle....pump up the MIL and tell her that she is such a great cook that you look forward to her "help" in cooking gluten-free. She could experiment with some of the new recipes you'll send her and you just know she'll enjoy the new challenge!

Actually, i have purchased a few of the boxed cake/bread mixes by the "Really Great Food Company". They are fabulous. Maybe if you make a banana bread, for instance, she can enjoy something gluten-free with her morning coffee! The chocolate cake is yummy too. And they make a butter cookie mix. She can see living gluten-free while at your house is not bland. Quite delicious actually.

She is probably thinking this is some fad that you're putting the kids through. I agree that giving her Dr. Peter Green's book is a wonderful idea. I just bought four copies of Gluten Free for dummies. It is wonderful and easy read...not overly technical. I bought one for me and three others for my kids. I'm thinking of buying them for my family members next so they can learn - as can your mil.

Good luck! You'll do great. She'll see that things don't look so different (and threatening) to her. You know...fear of the unknown. Just give her a taste! Who knows...maybe she'll even feel better herself!

Renee

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...A GREAT letter, Fiddle-faddle. Superb...Jess, copy it word for word and send it along. :)

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I would recommend the book by a leading Celiac expert from Columbia University, Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic by Dr. Peter Green.

Get a copy for yourself, and then loan it to her. Let her know that this is as serious as a food allergy, or diabetes, or some other health condition. Its non-negotiable.

Definitely a good idea! Another good book is the dummie's guide to celiac disease, or whatever it's called. Maybe even give her a cookbook for christmas (or an early holiday help).

i agree try educating her first, however, being some one that lives around family members that are not allways the most supportive you may need your hubbies help on this one. if your in your house you have ground rules about what is to be brought in and cooked. she has to respect this as its your house, just like when you go their its tough to tell her how to cook (i bring food w/me to some people's houses now). your going to need your hubbies help on this one for sure. good luck and stand your ground!!

yes, hubby NEEDS to be supportive here. Does he understand how real this is? If he views it as "your thing", he won't likely stand up with you, and then MIL will see that, and probably turn you guys against each other. And if she doesn't want to work w/ you on this, I think you need to make a statement. Either stop attending events at her house, only host things at yours, or just bring your own food.

I also agree w/ Fiddle-Faddle. I think if you can help MIL to take this on as a challenge, to recreate her great cooking w/ the gluten-free adjustments, she won't be as offended.

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I think the letter is a good idea - it might work depending on the temperment of your mil.

wow, keep us posted I am interested in the outcome.!!!! that one little piece of info about the rest of the family not standing up to her, seems ominous though....

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I think the letter is wonderful and a very positive approach to dealing with your MIL - just one thing to think about before you send her something like that: Are you really willing to eat what she bakes? Do you think she will be strict in her no-gluten, no cross-contamination efforts?

I know that my own mother has proven her unwillingness to meet my dietary needs. I have had food issues for many years (long before identifying the primary culprit), and she always felt free to "slip" in the offending foods, no matter what I told her about my reactions to them. I haven't seen her since being diagnosed with celiac, but I know from our phone conversations that she doesn't take it seriously. No matter how much information I gave her on gluten-free baking, I would never feel safe eating what she baked. Sad, but true.

So, be sure you are really willing to have her bake (or cook) for you before you give her that lovely invitation to do so.

Good luck!

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good point about eating her baked goods. I will not eat anything that people bake - unless I know they have a gluten-free house. I got sick too many times from eating stuff at my support group & talking to the new people that did not get new pans etc.

Soooo, maybe you could stress that the items would have to be made only in your own kitchen, that she could not bring gluten-free baked things to you.....

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Hi everybody... B)

I have to agree with the others on not eating what your mil bakes outside your own house. I sometimes wonder (and I am not suggesting YOUR mil would do this, but this is my own experience) if non-celiacs who think "just a little if ok" add a little gluten ingredient, etc and watch to see if there will be a reaction? I know it sounds devious, I am certainly not suggesting that is your case. I feel that often I am not really taken seriously with this, and hence - the "test".

Is this a weird thought? I have only been gluten free since July, so my extended family is just not that used to this. Immediate family (except hubby) are all gluten-free (even son's fiance!)

~Renee

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I sometimes wonder (and I am not suggesting YOUR mil would do this, but this is my own experience) if non-celiacs who think "just a little if ok" add a little gluten ingredient, etc and watch to see if there will be a reaction? I know it sounds devious, I am certainly not suggesting that is your case. I feel that often I am not really taken seriously with this, and hence - the "test".

Hi. I'm new here. We are still trying to figure out our wheat/gluten issues. We know we have them but just not sure what yet.

I did have to comment on Renee's issue of "wonder".

I have a MIL that would do just that (we have other food issues). Luckily I have strong taste buds and have caught every test on myself. We had to stop eating there when I overheard her telling my oldest son that when mommy wasn't around she was going to give him all the good foods that his mean mommy won't let him have. The kid was anaphylactic to milk and she was going to give him ice cream and cheese?!?!?!?! So I must say that "yes" there are those out there that "test" on purpose.

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It's amazing how determined people can be to prove you wrong. I think it must be tied up with some strong emotional attachments to food or something.

In addition to my mother's antics (slipping in the offending foods), we also experienced this during one of the few times we ever left our girls with someone else. I was off having a colonoscopy (intestinal problems 13 years before my Celiac diagnosis!), and we had told this lovely woman that our 3 year old was allergic to soy, and shouldn't have ANY at all. So, her response was to have my daughter drink 2 cups of soymilk while we were away!! Needless to say, my daughter was up all night vomiting.

Many people find it very difficult to accept that what we eat can affect our health so profoundly. Hard to say just why that is...

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