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Helena

Gluten Eating Houseguests

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My household isn't gluten free, but we have anti cross contamination guidelines in place. . . except when there is company for dinner/dessert/tea/whatever.

I'm wondering how those of you out there who do not have a gluten free home deal with guests-----do you not serve gluten-containing foods or do you ask them to avoid the gluten free counter and wash their hands after eating gluten? Or do you just let things go and clean up carefully? It can be an awkward situation!

Right now, I don't have total control over this because I'm living with my parents. My choice in my own home would be not to serve gluteny foods. If I did have an overnight houseguest, I'd ask them to be careful about cross contamination. But I don't think my parents are really comfortable with either option . . .although if I make a big deal out of it, they would probably accomodate me to some extent.

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We have guests often and never serve anything with gluten. They are told why too, Often with an addendum of all things gluten can affect in the body and has been linked too. I'm convinced that gluten-free is good for everyone and make that clear.

Usually our guests get into the experience. Some have reported back that they really watch what they eat now and think twice about it.

Good luck

My household isn't gluten free, but we have anti cross contamination guidelines in place. . . except when there is company for dinner/dessert/tea/whatever.

I'm wondering how those of you out there who do not have a gluten free home deal with guests-----do you not serve gluten-containing foods or do you ask them to avoid the gluten free counter and wash their hands after eating gluten? Or do you just let things go and clean up carefully? It can be an awkward situation!

Right now, I don't have total control over this because I'm living with my parents. My choice in my own home would be not to serve gluteny foods. If I did have an overnight houseguest, I'd ask them to be careful about cross contamination. But I don't think my parents are really comfortable with either option . . .although if I make a big deal out of it, they would probably accomodate me to some extent.

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Who does most of the cooking? When we have guests, everything that is served is gluten-free. Nobody would ever know the difference. I've even made gluten-free Black Forest Cake for visitors, and they thought it was the best dessert they'd ever tasted.

You can thicken gravy with cornstarch or buckwheat flour. Potatoes or rice, meat and vegetables are gluten-free anyway.

If you have spaghetti or lasagna, using rice noodles is fine. I've served lasagna to guests, and they didn't know it was gluten-free.

My motto is: If I serve it, I want to be able to eat it, too!

It wouldn't be fair to you if your mother served food when guests are there that you couldn't eat, in my opinion.

You could help by baking gluten-free cookies, muffins and cake, so there are afternoon snacks or desserts that your mother wouldn't have to worry about.

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My MIL and SIL were here two weeks ago. I cooked breakfast Sat morning for them- so we had gluten-free waffles and sausage. For dinner, I made a lasagna with rice noodles; they never knew the difference. We told them we used rice noodles, but I actually thought the lasagna tasted better than it has before. We did not have bread; only salad. But I did let them eat cake for dessert. (I had ice cream-which I didn't share!) It was a store bought cake, so there was no flour floating around my house. I didn't even take the cake off the tray it came on, went from tray to plate, plates went straight in the dishwasher, along with the serving utensil. Worked out fine. But I was not about to make two dinners. I didn't care about having cake, so it was fine. Besides which, I am usually at a loss for making dessert.

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I agree with the other posters. Here is my experience.

Our family has mostly gluten-free dinners with the occasional gluten containing bread and pasta, but not much. I have had a guest stay for the weekend and served what I normally serve. The first night we had a special meal(gluten-free) but after that it was the usual. He was already aware that I have a wheat related health issue but doesn't understand the full extent and I didn't explain too much other than when it came up. My husband's co-worker from out of town stayed with us last night because there were no hotel rooms available. He prepared his own sandwiches for lunch as he had planned to before coming so I just told him where to do it and how to clean up with a simple " I have a severe wheat allergy" explanation. Because he was traveling on a budget, he had brought all his own supplies-mayo, mustard etc. I may have someone I have not yet met stay with me for a month and plan to stick to our regular fare and time schedule. I may choose dishes that are simply flavored in this case because that's probably what he is accustomed to but they will be things that we already eat. I may add extra portions or extra dishes if he is a bigger eater than we are. If he prepares some of his own food, I will ask him what he intends to prepare, ask him to stick to things that are not a contamination problem, give him gluten-free ingredients, show him which pans he can use and explain clean up procedures. Overall it has to be kept simple for everyone and safe for the Celiacs. Organization, planning ahead and keeping expectations realistic helps.

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if I'm serving, everything is Gluten-free Casein-free. no one complains - I generally get rave reviews. if people are bringing food over (not to share, but say we're going to play rock band, and I'm not serving dinner, and people stop by subway to bring a sandwich because they didn't eat first), I make sure they eat on plates, and clean up after them, and things stay fairly contained. that bit usually isn't too bad.

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Guests are usually on your schedule when it comes to food. So I'd make what you usually make. No one would have had a problem if you happened to serve something like salad, veggie, chicken and ice cream pre-gluten-free, so I don't think making a gluten-free meal now that you're officially gluten-free should make a difference. I certainly would not serve gluten. If your guests are inclined to snack when you're not around, then you might need to discuss the gluten ground rules.

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I tell house guests not to bring gluten containing foods into the house. My nephew did anyway, but at least he kept them in his room.

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We vacation with another family and we have also have had gluten-eating guests. I usually just lay out the rules up front, talk about how cross contamination works . . . if you're eating a (gluten) sandwich, you can't reach into the bag of chips . . . stuff like that. Then I tell them (and I think this is important) that I will be repeating myself frequently as it is so easy to forget if you are not use to thinking/acting in a way to avoid cc. If they know up front that I will be repeating myself, then I'm hoping that I won't come across as a nag. . . but it doesn't really matter if I do, that's just what I have to do.

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Thanks for all your responses. I certainly have a lot to consider here! It will be much easier to deal with this issue when I'm back out on my own again.

To answer Ursa Major's question---I do nearly all of my own cooking, and my parents mostly eat a separate meal, although if they happen to be having something I can have, they share. And I often offer them a taste of my food too. It is tricky in our house because of multiple food allergies. My diet is seriously very very limited. I can't do much baking--right now the only grain I am eating is rice (and legumes and potato and corn flour are out too.) And I can't use ingredients like xanthan gum. I do make a kind of flatbread for myself sometimes (from rice ground in a coffee grinder and rice flour), but the texture takes some getting used to--it isn't something to serve my parents' company.

It sounds to me like those of you who do have a limited amount of gluten in the house when guests visit are okay with it as long as the guests wash their hands before touching food or food related surfaces. I had a little discussion with my parents this evening---I think the general feeling is that as their guests are going to be eating in the living room that they won't contaminate anything in the kitchen so it should be fine. I still think that it would be better to offer, say, fruit and ice cream (especially since my parents aren't comfortable with explaining the celiac situation), but maybe this will work out.

Then I tell them (and I think this is important) that I will be repeating myself frequently as it is so easy to forget if you are not use to thinking/acting in a way to avoid cc. If they know up front that I will be repeating myself, then I'm hoping that I won't come across as a nag. . . but it doesn't really matter if I do, that's just what I have to do.
:lol: I like this line! Will use it when my grandmother comes to visit in about a month. (She lives a fair distance away, and the last time she was here (quite some time ago) I was eating wheat.)

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Frankly its ridiculous your parents are not willing to discuss the celiac situation.

If you were a child with diabetes would they be 'too embarassed' to tell them not to give you candy?

though if I make a big deal out of it, they would probably accomodate me to some extent.

So guessing your parents do love you (though Parents sometimes have a funny way of showing it) I am guessing they don't really understand the seriousness of the condition and its consequences.

Sometimes its VERY hard to convince them. For some reasons(s) close family and old friends are often the ones hardest to get to accept celiac disease.

Usually as you mention its those who have seen us eating wheat before ... and it is to an extent our fault (not entirely) but we tend because of the symptoms bot to actually say about them.

Parents can also (for some reason) be funny about genetic diseases ... like they knew or had a choice?? but sometimes they have some guilt thing about who passed on the genes and perhaps a worry about siblings or themselves. Whatever the reason it certainly doesn't help.

The complications of celiac disease can be quite scary ... and sharing a kitchen with people less than 100% committed is asking for problems and a gluten-free kitchen is really the safest... but it sounds worrying they are unable to tell house guests there daughter has a 'allergy to wheat' because this makes it sound like they are not really committed?

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Frankly its ridiculous your parents are not willing to discuss the celiac situation.

If you were a child with diabetes would they be 'too embarassed' to tell them not to give you candy?

So guessing your parents do love you (though Parents sometimes have a funny way of showing it) I am guessing they don't really understand the seriousness of the condition and its consequences.

Sometimes its VERY hard to convince them. For some reasons(s) close family and old friends are often the ones hardest to get to accept celiac disease.

Usually as you mention its those who have seen us eating wheat before ... and it is to an extent our fault (not entirely) but we tend because of the symptoms bot to actually say about them.

Parents can also (for some reason) be funny about genetic diseases ... like they knew or had a choice?? but sometimes they have some guilt thing about who passed on the genes and perhaps a worry about siblings or themselves. Whatever the reason it certainly doesn't help.

The complications of celiac disease can be quite scary ... and sharing a kitchen with people less than 100% committed is asking for problems and a gluten-free kitchen is really the safest... but it sounds worrying they are unable to tell house guests there daughter has a 'allergy to wheat' because this makes it sound like they are not really committed?

My parents believe that I have celiac . . .and they aren't at all embarrassed to tell people the know that I can't eat gluten because of celiac . . . they have an issue with inviting people over, serving gluteny things, and then asking them to contain the gluten. While it seems necessary to me to do so when the guests in question are close family and friends and/or are staying overnight, I can see how it would be awkward to explain to a bunch of people who are only staying for one meal/dessert. Some people might not get it and others who do get it might feel uncomfortable about eating something that is toxic to someone who lives there.

My mom seems mostly to get it to a certain extent (although we sometimes disagree on the finer points of what constitutes cross contamination). . . with my dad it has taken some more time. He is on board with the celiac diagnosis, but we had one major disagreement about kitchen arrangements. I wanted him to wash his hands after eating gluten, and he didn't see how gluten contamination could possibly be a problem if I wash my own hands before preparing my own food and use my own pots and pans and have my gluten free counter. He also said something about one of his colleagues who has celiac scraping the filling off of wheat-based bread and being fine. :blink: But at the end of the day, he apologized and said he would wash his hands and if he forgets to remind him.

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It can seem odd to ask people to by hyper vigilant. You're kind of saying "here, I'm going to give you this stuff we treat as poison around here. please treat it as poison too." asking them to take that responsibility as well, with someone that you're giving a negative connotation, has a weird vibe, I'll grant you. but minimizing the situation (not serving things that contaminate easily - say, serving pasta, but not bread, as the former is contained and the later spews crumbs) can greatly help with that.

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We don't serve/cook anything with gluten in it here and we don't allow outside food. Once we explain to friends/family the dangers of cross contamination they have been really good about being aware. One of my husband's friends brought over coffee and muffins and he and my hubby sat out on the porch eating their muffins and washed their hands off with a hose lol! I didn't even know that they'd had muffins until my husband told me later how sweet his friend had been. If anyone ever wasn't understanding I'd tell them to go fly a kite. My health is far more important than someones need to eat gluteny things this instant. Every time I step out into the world I have to go into gluten defensive mode so my home being a gluten free sanctuary is very important to me. Everyone else has the rest of the world to cross contaminate so they can leave my home alone.

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Yep, I agree that it can be awkward to ask others to be hypervigilant unless they are close family or friends. If there is going to be gluten, serving something requiring utensils makes sense.

And I can relate to the whole idea of a home as a 'safe haven'. It is nice not to be able to relax and not to have to be super aware of things.

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My first "foray" into houseguests came just last fall, and to do it up right I have 5 gluten eaters staying in my 98% gluten-free home, basically because the "extra's" were staying with us for multiple days I took each aside and explained very carefully the "why" and how.... they all were actually amazed at the meals I served, some actually said NO! dont eat that it has gluten! but were astounded when I said no this is a gluten-free brand, and my brownies were a big hit!

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Bit of a delayed response here, but that is great to hear loco_ladi. Back in the days when I had my own apartment, I did cook gluten free for friends. One of my friends who has been a great support through all of this really enjoyed our meals together when she was staying for the weekend---given my limited diet, I thought it was pretty funny that she said that she is getting tired of eating the same food all the time (her own cooking) and really enjoyed trying something different. I introduced her to millet, which she loved (and I unfortunately can't eat anymore).

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@Alaskaguy With regard to the timing, I think that everyone is a bit different! I used to have a shorter time to onset when I was first diagnosed (within 24h). As time has gone on, and I've glutened myself less and less, I have noticed that the time gets a bit longer.  Recent history seems to matter a bit too - if I've been glutened recently and then get glutened again, the rash will show up faster on the second round. For example, in the last 3 weeks I got slightly glutened by inadvertent
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