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Hummingbird4

Tournament Dinner - What Should I Do?

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I've been gluten-free for about 3 months now. In a couple of weeks, I will be playing in a tennis tournament at my health club. There is a "Champagne Ball" dinner on the last night of the tournament. I would really like to go (there is music and dancing afterward). I haven't seen any kind of menu posted, and I don't know who will be catering it. If you were me, what would you do? Contact the person in charge of the tournament to find out who's catering - and then contact them? Or just skip eating the meal? I'm not big on drawing attention to myself, but if I have a special meal or no meal at all, it will be obvious to anyone at my table.

And can I just whine for a second that having Celiac Disease sucks? I know, I know, it could be worse. But it's really no fun in social situations.

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I've been gluten-free for about 3 months now. In a couple of weeks, I will be playing in a tennis tournament at my health club. There is a "Champagne Ball" dinner on the last night of the tournament. I would really like to go (there is music and dancing afterward). I haven't seen any kind of menu posted, and I don't know who will be catering it. If you were me, what would you do? Contact the person in charge of the tournament to find out who's catering - and then contact them? Or just skip eating the meal? I'm not big on drawing attention to myself, but if I have a special meal or no meal at all, it will be obvious to anyone at my table.

And can I just whine for a second that having Celiac Disease sucks? I know, I know, it could be worse. But it's really no fun in social situations.

Hello Hummingbird:

I am dealing with the same issues this weekend; 75th jubilee of my one-room country primary school. It is a big deal weekend party, barbecue on Friday night, ceremonies and the good ole Kiwi afternoon tea on Saturday afternoon, dinner dance on Saturday night. At least I have company--my sister is staying with us and my husband is also gluten-free, so there are three of us. I have been trying to get the name of the caterer for some time; they wouldn't let me talk to him but I did find out what they are serving, so we know what we can eat and what we have to take--roast beef with gravy on the side, check for the beef; a leg off ham, pass, although it could be okay; parsley buttered potatoes, check; minted green peas (pass, mint sauce usually made with malt vinegar here); fruit salad, check; pavlova (meringue with cream and strawberries on top, check; all the salads are pre-dressed, including the green (pass). For the barbecue (catered by the local community), we will take our own pre-barbecued meat wrapped in foil and have them reheat it on the grill, and our own salad and dressing. Don't know what else they are serving. For both meals we will take our own bread rolls. I know I am lucky; with three of us it's not so bad as being the only one and potentially feeling like a pimple, but even if it were only me I would have done the same thing. This is my first catered eating experience since going gluten-free. I admit it is a pain in the patuti, but don't let it get you down.

I would definitely try to talk to the caterer. Then you can supplement as necessary. Explain to the caterer just as you would to the waiter or chef or manager of a restaurant. Good luck and just act normally when you are there and fob off any potential questions about what you are eating and why with the most minimal of information, if any. And do have a good time!

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I would contact the caterer too and see what they can do. Have a lara bar or something in your little purse just in case. I am probably not the best to ask because I no longer care what ANYONE thinks. If they dont ask and stare, I just smile. If they ask I tell them. And I go about my business. :)

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Yes by all means contact the caterer/chef to make sure you have something you can enjoy.

Its a chance for you to educate some of the people you sit with when they bring you out a special meal that is usually (hopefully) much better than what others are served. Yeah Celiac sucks but at least you know your eating healthy ..

ken

I've been gluten-free for about 3 months now. In a couple of weeks, I will be playing in a tennis tournament at my health club. There is a "Champagne Ball" dinner on the last night of the tournament. I would really like to go (there is music and dancing afterward). I haven't seen any kind of menu posted, and I don't know who will be catering it. If you were me, what would you do? Contact the person in charge of the tournament to find out who's catering - and then contact them? Or just skip eating the meal? I'm not big on drawing attention to myself, but if I have a special meal or no meal at all, it will be obvious to anyone at my table.

And can I just whine for a second that having Celiac Disease sucks? I know, I know, it could be worse. But it's really no fun in social situations.

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I third, or fourth the suggestion to contact the caterer.

Worst case scenario, they won't be able to do anything at all. Bring your own sack dinner! I know it sounds kind of attention drawing, but sometimes it happens. If you really want to go, find a way to go and make it enjoyable for yourself.

When people I don't know very well ask me why I'm eating different food, or not eating at all, I just explain that I have celiac disease and the tiniest accidental crumb of bread in my food will make me sick. Some people are surprisingly knowledgeable about it and curious, others will ask questions. I make it simple... I just say "I can't eat wheat, barley, rye or oats." When people ask about bread and pasta, I make a general statement about how there's gluten free bread and pasta usually made from rice. I say the rice bit right away, because in my experience if you just say there is gluten-free bread or pasta, people's next question is "what is it MADE out of??"

At first, celiac really ruined my social scene. I'm in college, so eating together is social time, whether it's at a dorm, restaurant, pizza place, or whatever else. I know how you feel, it can be so rough to adjust to not just eating whatever it is everyone else eats, but I've found that it's not a big deal once you start to figure it out. With closer friends, it's always easy to suggest a safe restaurant, and no one minds when I give my lengthy schpiel to the waiter. If they're really set on a restaurant I can't eat at, or ordering pizza, I either eat before, or bring along my own safe food. Last year, I'd just make a stop at Jimmy John's for an unwhich (the location by me is surprisingly careful about gluten-free food) and then joined my friends at the pizza parlor where my friends were eating. It was no big deal for anyone and I figured if the employees got upset, I could just make some comment about how I can't eat wheat, no big deal.

The hardest situations to get around are the ones in which you've got no control over the food. Example, a big family/friends gathering at a humungous Chinese food buffet.... especially when you go with your boyfriend's family, and only a few of the people there know what's going on with your food situation. Not only do I stick out like a sore thumb because I'm the only one who doesn't look or speak Chinese, I stick out because I can't eat what everyone else eats. It's borderline rude, and I always worry people will assume I'm stuck up and just don't like the food. The thing is, it's about health, and ultimately I don't care what these random people think of me. If anyone asks, I just explain that I can't have wheat, wheat is in soy sauce, soy sauce is in everything. Usually that takes care of it, or his family will explain (in Chinese, haha) that I've got a disease, bla bla. I'm already the odd one out, so while it can be uncomfortable, I'm really not willing to compromise my health to feel a touch more "normal".

Frankly, even if the caterers can make you something, it's likely to be somewhat different than what everyone else is eating, and people will still ask questions. I know this has happened to me before on various occasions, such as airplane rides, sorority events catered by sandwich or burrito places, etc. I definitely understand the desire to blend in and feel "normal", but my normal just happens to include bringing my own food to these types of things and answering a lot of questions. It's not the end of the world, and it's definitely better than being stuck at home all the time!

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I would contact the caterer too and see what they can do. Have a lara bar or something in your little purse just in case. I am probably not the best to ask because I no longer care what ANYONE thinks. If they dont ask and stare, I just smile. If they ask I tell them. And I go about my business. :)

What an excellent attitude! I agree, I just don't give a hoot what ANYONE thinks either and it's really the way to go. The funniest part of having celiac disease is that it bothers most people WAY more if you sit there and don't eat anything as opposed to it bothering me. I had a birthday dinner this past week-end and I couldn't have any of the appetizers, bread, or the second course they offered. Everyone else was stuffing their faces while I drank wine and talked. The main course was gluten-free so I ate some of that but people were getting a little nervous because I sat there and didn't eat what I couldn't. What I don't understand is later on, all the women were complaining about how full they were and how the meal killed their weight loss plan for the week-end. I got blank stares when I commented on how good I felt and how "un-full" I was! Sometimes being Celiac is not so bad because it's a great excuse for not over eating and a great way to watch your weight! By the way, all the women that felt like they were ready to explode ate enough bread that night to choke a horse. I'm so glad I'm done with that behavior!

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Hi! i found out i couldnt eat gluten less than a year ago so im still getting used to it. i have found it really hard adjusting in social situations, especially dealing with comments from some of my (previously) closest friends who seemed to think i was doing this on purpose and practially demanded a doctors certificate as proof. Anyway, i definately get what you all mean about the wierd looks you get when you only eat the fruit platter at a catered lunch full of yummy looking bagettes and wraps!

i've found the best thing to do when your going to have to take your own food is to make sure it still looks like a nice substantial meal so people don't think your skipping a meal or aren't eating cuz your anorexic or something (a big problem when your a 18 year old girl who lost heaps of weight pre-diagnosis). So when i take my own food a make sure its not just a little salad but make a nice rice or quinoa or buckwheat dish i can either have hot or cold. I find that most places (even if they don't have gluten free food) are happy to re-heat your own food for you - but make sure you have it properly covered or in a sealed container so it can't get contaminated.

but in saying that, first try you hardest to get in contact with the caterer, ive always had heaps of help when ive asked. Just be really sweet and polite and people tend to feel sorry for u ;)

i hope u enjoy ur dinner! xx

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but in saying that, first try you hardest to get in contact with the caterer, ive always had heaps of help when ive asked. Just be really sweet and polite and people tend to feel sorry for u ;

Ellie...it sounds like you have done a marvelous job handling social situations that revolve around food and I commend you for doing what I try to do.....when I do bring my own food, I always make sure to have something better than what the gluten eaters have so they get a different perspective of the gluten-free diet. The only comment you made that made my 49 year old spine cringe was the above remark. Sorry, can't help it but I never want people to feel sorry for me. I get enough of that already and there is no need to feel sorry for me, even when trying to get some food to eat or something re-heated. I actually feel sorry for people who don't know what the heck is in the food they eat! I get your point and it's always good to be polite when asking for assistance but not to the point where they act like your disabled or something.

I'm not trying to be critical but I guess my age is showing! :P

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