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amande01

Parties, Gatherings, And Informal Events

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So my awesome boyfriend invited me (very last minute) to a get-together with his AA group. I can't drink alcohol anyway so I thought it would be fun since I've never met his group before. Normally I bring food so that I have something to eat, but since this was last minute I didn't have the ability to prepare anything. Once everyone started eating they noticed that I was not eating anything and the questions started to pour in. There were constant "aren't you going to eat anything?" questions and I would reply that I would like to but I was allergic to x, y, and z. That's when they would go "oh" and turn away! Apparently I was being a kill-joy by not eating, and I didn't mean to be! I tend not to go to parties because I get tired of people asking why I'm not trying this dish or that dish (it doesn't help I'm also vegetarian). All I can say is it was terribly depressing. I've been on this diet almost three years so I should be use to it, but I'm not. I know what the foods taste like that I'm missing and I know the horrible consequences of my eating them so I wouldn't try any of them, but it's really depressing. I think that no one except my mother and best friend understand why it can be depressing, but when I tell people I'd rather not go to a party I feel like the party pooper. Does anyone have any suggestions on how they got over being depressed, or how they deal with the questions? I'm always polite and try to think the best of all the questions, but it does get to me. What did all of you do to deal with this? Thanks!

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I usually bring some snacks or eat before. It is very hard especially in the beginning. One thing that does not help me is at work we go out to eat for everyone's birthday at the place of that persons choice. I am always sitting here worrying about where we will end up.

Are you getting lots of snow in NY?

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I completely understand your view, but a huge part of my life involves socializing and parties and I prefer for my intestines to not be the topic of conversation.

What I do is always have an emergency pack on hand for informal parties (or if worst comes to worst, I head to a gas station on the way) with fritos, M&Ms, and diet coke. Then I put them in my purse and go to the party. If everyone is eating and there is no gluten free food, I grab a plate and put some fritos and M&Ms on it. No one notices that it is different-- and if someone does, I explain that I have an autoimmune disease where I can't eat any barely, wheat, oats, or rye and that I bring my own food so that I can be part of the fun without being a pain to the host.

For cocktail parties I normally drink very basic drinks, such as rum and coke or wine. Or, if you don't want to drink, just have a coke or soda water. As far as appetizers, it is hard to mask. I normally eat before hand so I am not drinking on an empty stomach. As long as you are dressed up and have a drink in your hand, no one ever notices.

In more formal occasions, I call ahead to the caterers and ask them if they can either make me food or if I can bring gluten free food and they serve it. Normally they do. When they mess up-- such as when they served me a slice of cake-- I just say "oh, no thanks".

When I have to go to restaurants, I normally try to pick a place that is gluten free friendly and let them know I will be coming and ask me if they can help me be discrete about it. I then mention it to the hostess as I come in and order what the chef and I discussed. Maggianos was excellent about doing this when I need it.

Good luck!

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I don't think you were a kill-joy at all, but rather, no one knew how to respond after your statement. So, realize that you didn't do anything wrong, it was just that there was a social difficulty that wasn't overcome. What I've learned to do is to make it my responsibility to move the conversation on after that part.

So it may be:

"Why aren't you eating?"

"Oh, I have a number of food intolerances, and can't have the stuff here."

"Oh..." <silence>

"Oh, it's no big deal. This party's pretty cool. I'm glad my boyfriend invited me."

(I'll usually try to have some sort of topic to move onto, but that only works if you've been involved with some sort of conversation with the person before.) It helps a bit.

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So my awesome boyfriend invited me (very last minute) to a get-together with his AA group. I can't drink alcohol anyway so I thought it would be fun since I've never met his group before. Normally I bring food so that I have something to eat, but since this was last minute I didn't have the ability to prepare anything. Once everyone started eating they noticed that I was not eating anything and the questions started to pour in. There were constant "aren't you going to eat anything?" questions and I would reply that I would like to but I was allergic to x, y, and z. That's when they would go "oh" and turn away! Apparently I was being a kill-joy by not eating, and I didn't mean to be! I tend not to go to parties because I get tired of people asking why I'm not trying this dish or that dish (it doesn't help I'm also vegetarian). All I can say is it was terribly depressing. I've been on this diet almost three years so I should be use to it, but I'm not. I know what the foods taste like that I'm missing and I know the horrible consequences of my eating them so I wouldn't try any of them, but it's really depressing. I think that no one except my mother and best friend understand why it can be depressing, but when I tell people I'd rather not go to a party I feel like the party pooper. Does anyone have any suggestions on how they got over being depressed, or how they deal with the questions? I'm always polite and try to think the best of all the questions, but it does get to me. What did all of you do to deal with this? Thanks!

You've brought up a very good point about socializing that irks me also and it's the real reason I sometimes skip out on these gatherings. I have noticed that it really bothers many people when someone at a party does not stuff their face with food like everyone else. It's almost like they are threatened on some level by someone who has control over their eating habits. I also get annoyed when you try to explain briefly why you aren't eaitng and then your personal medical issues become topic for conversation or peope act like you are someone to be pitied.

Depending upon the situation, I have declined to go and then I get the usual remark about it not being all about the food. If that's the case, then why do poeple make such a big deal about me not eating their food? I really think it bothers them more to see someone have control and decline what the rest of the world overindulges in.

I have a set of friends who understand all the issues and go out of their way to make sure they serve food we all can enjoy and I bring a dessert. Those are the ones I spend my time with because the stupid and intrusive questions from strangers sometimes are just too annoying! I know they are not trying to be weird about it but food issues are something most people can't identify with. No one says boo if a person can't have alcohol.....

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I don't think you were a kill-joy at all, but rather, no one knew how to respond after your statement. So, realize that you didn't do anything wrong, it was just that there was a social difficulty that wasn't overcome. What I've learned to do is to make it my responsibility to move the conversation on after that part.

So it may be:

"Why aren't you eating?"

"Oh, I have a number of food intolerances, and can't have the stuff here."

"Oh..." <silence>

"Oh, it's no big deal. This party's pretty cool. I'm glad my boyfriend invited me."

(I'll usually try to have some sort of topic to move onto, but that only works if you've been involved with some sort of conversation with the person before.) It helps a bit.

Tiffany this is very good advice.

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I don't have any answers. I went to a fancy catered party last night and it was horrid. I won't go into everything, but ...

Nothing I could eat. I figured that and had eaten before hand. You would think there could be something simple like veggie crudites, a fruit salad, chips, nuts ... nope. Everything was meat, cheese, & gluten, sometimes all three. You know what may be worse than people upset with you not eating? People not even noticing, but telling you how wonderful the food is. I would say, "It does LOOK good, but ..." and then they would wander off or bring up some other topic.

I guess I was sensitive because the longest conversation I had was with a woman where I could hardly get a word in. She asked what I was doing with myself now that my youngest, who was homeschooled, is in college. I mentioned a few things, then said I was spending quite a bit of time in the last year learning about some food allergies I found out I had and sharing information and support online. I didn't expect a long conversation about my health; I was simply answering her question. But it was off to the races. She must have talked 15 minutes solid about her naturapath and his wonderful diet ideas (based on looking at your nails, hair and blood type), her supplements & apple cider vinegar, how much weight she has lost & how I have to go to him. I tried to explain I was dealing with something else (and, uh, didn't she see I am already a size 0, for Pete's sake -- and she's going on about making it to size 10) but it made no impression.

Then she started talking about a recent horrible experience with a contractor.

Well, I needed to vent. I guess sharing my experience doesn't help anyone else, unless you've dealt with the same sort of folks yourself :lol:

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I don't have any answers. I went to a fancy catered party last night and it was horrid. I won't go into everything, but ...

Nothing I could eat. I figured that and had eaten before hand. You would think there could be something simple like veggie crudites, a fruit salad, chips, nuts ... nope. Everything was meat, cheese, & gluten, sometimes all three. You know what may be worse than people upset with you not eating? People not even noticing, but telling you how wonderful the food is. I would say, "It does LOOK good, but ..." and then they would wander off or bring up some other topic.

I guess I was sensitive because the longest conversation I had was with a woman where I could hardly get a word in. She asked what I was doing with myself now that my youngest, who was homeschooled, is in college. I mentioned a few things, then said I was spending quite a bit of time in the last year learning about some food allergies I found out I had and sharing information and support online. I didn't expect a long conversation about my health; I was simply answering her question. But it was off to the races. She must have talked 15 minutes solid about her naturapath and his wonderful diet ideas (based on looking at your nails, hair and blood type), her supplements & apple cider vinegar, how much weight she has lost & how I have to go to him. I tried to explain I was dealing with something else (and, uh, didn't she see I am already a size 0, for Pete's sake -- and she's going on about making it to size 10) but it made no impression.

Then she started talking about a recent horrible experience with a contractor.

Well, I needed to vent. I guess sharing my experience doesn't help anyone else, unless you've dealt with the same sort of folks yourself :lol:

Oh I've been there! Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Hathor, I've been in the same boat a million times, but normally they are saying "I can't believe you weigh so much" because I'm a vegetarian and have celiac... but I can't drop weight to save my life. I'm 5'10" and 195... but I work out 5 days a week!!! My boyfriend has a blast telling people I'm a veg and he does it because he thinks its neat... but some people can't believe a veg isn't a size 2. Sorry... needed to vent there as well. I'm going to try the plate idea and just tell people I have a food allergy that is autoimmune related and avoid all details. We'll see how it goes since I have a party in 2 weeks. I've also decided to not tell anyone that the food I'm bringing is gluten free since the last time I said that everyone went around it. After they eat something I'll mention it to 1 or 2 people. Thanks again, and I think everyone needs to vent sometimes!

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Yup, I think it's good advice to keep your answer quite short, and then deflect right away....bring up something else. I do this all the time.......then, if people want to know more, they can ask more questions, and then you can give them a bit more information.

I do think it's all in the attitude. I go to restaurants with some regularity, and always speak privately and quietly with teh kitchen manager and/or chef......nary a problem, and if I'm with a group, I do it away from the table so as not to have it become the focus.

Good luck at your next party! :)

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Ugh I understand what you mean, I remember my husband's brother wedding, we get to the banket and all they had was spaghetti, pasta sauce and chicken with gravy! there was also lettuce salad and a few fruit pieces, since i'm also diabetic i had to have carbs to keep me from going too low so my dinner consisted of salad and fruit of course i couldn't drink because there was beer, all i had was a glass of champagne that they used to toast but there were only a few bottles for the whole party.

When it comes to restaurants I always make sure I let them know I can't eat wheat, etc. TGI Friday's was great, the waitress we had made sure she went and asked if the Jack Daniels sauce had wheat [which it did] and had them make my order without the sauce and gave me a salad with no croutons and vinagrette dressing, by the way the food was great!

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I usually just eat what I can and tell people that I have a gluten problem that is an autoimmune issue. I usually say also add that I hate having to be picky, but that is they way it is and have a glass of wine. I know with an AA crowd that might not go over well.

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It is so popular to be on the Atkins diet these days, I say something like I am on a diet and refuse to break it. That is for people I don't really know, for people I know I just say I can't eat that because of food allergies.

I really like the m&m and Frito's idea. Salty and sweet yum

It is intersecting what you said about some people get upset when you don't eat. It is as though they are insulted. Some people feel they are not being hospitable enough if you don't have food though, weird as it sounds.

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    Oh yes, it could, although to be honest I never got myself so wet with sweat that it would have been a serious situation.  However, I can remember one time when I got caught in a cloudburst while going to my car in a large parking lot, though, and got soaked to the skin, and of course had to wear those soaking-wet clothes while I drove the 45 minutes it took me to get home --- I will NEVER forgot the misery and agony of that drive!  I could just barely keep the car under control, in fact.
    Thanks for your response, Squirmingitch, but I have to almost laugh, as at this point I am not really stressing over these questions at all --- just curious.  I have always been an insatiable question-asker, so please don't take my frequent questions as a sign of my obsessing over celiac disease or DH.  Yeah, admittedly I was rather stressed out for a couple of days two weeks  ago or so, but I am significantly settled down now, even while negotiating the nutritional maze of trying to manage two
Water?! That's… unreasonably inconvenient. Did it happen with sweat?
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