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Haylsinator

Thanksgiving With The Boyfriend's Family, Without Offending?

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Hello,

This Thanksgiving my boyfriend's brother and his fiancee are holding Thanksgiving Dinner at their apartment. It's been (possibly to the day, today) 1 year since I was diagnosed by blood test for Celiac Disease. Last Thanksgiving I recall avoiding the obvious- stuffing, rolls, etc. - but still ate with his family. I was glutened recently and have the very strong feeling that my best bet is simply to not touch any food at dinner this TG. I can handle that, I'm sure with a little disappointment, but I can do it. The issue is- how do I avoid insulting the hosts? I figure I have three general options. 1. Bring my own food. 2. Eat before and starve through. 3. Eat consciously- avoiding the obvious. I'm a skeptic about the severity of CC but as I'm not a huge fan of TG food in general it shouldn't be too painful to not eat the provided dinner, thus eliminating option 3. The problems with options 1 and 2 are how to avoid offending the hosts and bringing attention to myself. I don't like drawing attention to my celiac disease. I figure, my boyfriend could call his brother and let them know ahead of time that I won't be eating the food, but I imagine that will sound like an offhanded way of getting them to be careful making food and guilting them into a gluten-free TG or something of the sort. So I figure, say nothing until the day of and bring my own food (option 2). But I really, really don't want to have to go grab my own meal, excuse myself, and have people eye my plate, or perhaps flat out ask why I'm not eating the provided food. The option to avoid attention (number 4) wasn't even listed because I want to see everyone and be supportive. Does anyone have any ideas on the best way of handling this situation? I'm not particularly close with his brother's fiancee and don't want her to have any negative feelings toward me. I understand that celiac disease is a true problem and not to be taken lightly or be ashamed about but I'd really rather avoid the conversations if possible.

Thank you so much for any input. I look forward to hearing from you all!

Hayley

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Hello,

This Thanksgiving my boyfriend's brother and his fiancee are holding Thanksgiving Dinner at their apartment. It's been (possibly to the day, today) 1 year since I was diagnosed by blood test for Celiac Disease. Last Thanksgiving I recall avoiding the obvious- stuffing, rolls, etc. - but still ate with his family. I was glutened recently and have the very strong feeling that my best bet is simply to not touch any food at dinner this TG. I can handle that, I'm sure with a little disappointment, but I can do it. The issue is- how do I avoid insulting the hosts? I figure I have three general options. 1. Bring my own food. 2. Eat before and starve through. 3. Eat consciously- avoiding the obvious. I'm a skeptic about the severity of CC but as I'm not a huge fan of TG food in general it shouldn't be too painful to not eat the provided dinner, thus eliminating option 3. The problems with options 1 and 2 are how to avoid offending the hosts and bringing attention to myself. I don't like drawing attention to my celiac disease. I figure, my boyfriend could call his brother and let them know ahead of time that I won't be eating the food, but I imagine that will sound like an offhanded way of getting them to be careful making food and guilting them into a gluten-free TG or something of the sort. So I figure, say nothing until the day of and bring my own food (option 2). But I really, really don't want to have to go grab my own meal, excuse myself, and have people eye my plate, or perhaps flat out ask why I'm not eating the provided food. The option to avoid attention (number 4) wasn't even listed because I want to see everyone and be supportive. Does anyone have any ideas on the best way of handling this situation? I'm not particularly close with his brother's fiancee and don't want her to have any negative feelings toward me. I understand that celiac disease is a true problem and not to be taken lightly or be ashamed about but I'd really rather avoid the conversations if possible.

Thank you so much for any input. I look forward to hearing from you all!

Hayley

Hmm, here's what happened to me in a different setting, so maybe this will shed some light. I went to a cookout with some friends, and we all provided items of food to share. I knew most of these people, but not the one girl's sister. As it worked out, the girl was vegetarian. Strictly vegetarian, bordering on Vegan. So guess what we all brought: egg salad, chicken salad, burgers and hot dogs, all sorts of animal product foods. However, very quietly and very nonchalantly, she unwrapped her food (in addition to bringing one dish to share with everyone) and prepared it while maintaining conversations with everyone. I asked her about it (because I'm nosy) and she shared with me her views on vegetarianism. It was very enlightening.

My point: don't be embarrassed, and I wouldn't hide it, either. Bring a dish that means something to you for thanksgiving, that you can eat and everyone else will enjoy, and bring along a prepared meal to eat at the table that works for your diet. I doubt anyone will be offended if you explain why, and while I understand your hesitance to make a big deal about the issue, you might help someone who's got a number of digestive issues but doesn't know how to ask. I've had these issues ever since I was a kid, but I was too embarrassed to ask anyone about them. So I've suffered through, until a friend told me about his experience and we compared symptom notes.

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I dont like drawing attention to my diet issues either. Because I havent been officially diagnosed, some family members think "oh, you're not really celiac, therefore it's all in your head"....I do have some very supportive family memebers aswell though, including my fiance.

Anyway, at past dinners/events, I have chosen to eat before the event and just picked/nibbled at the food I could eat when I got there - salad etc.

In a few weeks time, we have my fiance's christmas work party. Its Italian themed and I know im not going to be able to eat anything there (all pasta and pizza!). Im going to eat before I get there and take some snacks in my handbag.

If anyone questions why im not eating, i'll simply and polietly explain the issue to them, but im not going to make a big song and dance over it. Nor am I going to starve.

I think you should eat before you go.

Perhaps you can bring a gluten-free dessert with you that you can share with everyone else? Bake a cake or slice or something.

Good luck! I hope it goes well!

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I'm going to go with the choice you're unlikely to take - tell them, and then bring your own food. Unless you never talk to them, tell them yourself. Otherwise have your boyfriend. Be upfront, but brief about it. Something along the lines of "I would love to enjoy your company for Thanksgiving. As I've not been feeling well, and don't want to take any risks with cross-contamination, I'll bring my own food. Please, do not worry about making food I can have - it's more complicated than I'm prepared to help with right now. I'm sure we'll have a good time, just because we can get together."

Basically, tell them what you're going to do, and ask them not to try to accommodate you, but let them know you're happy to be there, of course.

Hiding it is just going to garner more questions. If they ask any while you're there, learn the power of the short response, and moving a conversation along. You don't have to talk about it, but it's there, and avoiding the elephant in the room usually doesn't work. ;)

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Edited out as double post--still haven't quite got the hang of how quickly this posts :P

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avoiding the elephant in the room usually doesn't work. ;)

So true, that. I never avoid the subject, just mention the problem and make the least of it that I can, and make it as easy on the hostess as I can (like bringing my own food) :)

On the subject of cross-contamination, at a restaurant I had a lovely salad of shrimp, asparagus, green beans and avocado with a balsamic vinaigrette after I had talked to the chef, but I still got some cc somewhere, probably from the handling of the avocado or cutting it on a contaminated board. It was the first time that has happened to me at a restaurant so it really is easy, even when you think the chef is aware, so imagine how hard it would be for the hostess to even think of preparing for you (p.s. I know you are not).

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Hello,

This Thanksgiving my boyfriend's brother and his fiancee are holding Thanksgiving Dinner at their apartment. It's been (possibly to the day, today) 1 year since I was diagnosed by blood test for Celiac Disease. Last Thanksgiving I recall avoiding the obvious- stuffing, rolls, etc. - but still ate with his family. I was glutened recently and have the very strong feeling that my best bet is simply to not touch any food at dinner this TG. I can handle that, I'm sure with a little disappointment, but I can do it. The issue is- how do I avoid insulting the hosts? I figure I have three general options. 1. Bring my own food. 2. Eat before and starve through. 3. Eat consciously- avoiding the obvious. I'm a skeptic about the severity of CC but as I'm not a huge fan of TG food in general it shouldn't be too painful to not eat the provided dinner, thus eliminating option 3. The problems with options 1 and 2 are how to avoid offending the hosts and bringing attention to myself. I don't like drawing attention to my celiac disease. I figure, my boyfriend could call his brother and let them know ahead of time that I won't be eating the food, but I imagine that will sound like an offhanded way of getting them to be careful making food and guilting them into a gluten-free TG or something of the sort. So I figure, say nothing until the day of and bring my own food (option 2). But I really, really don't want to have to go grab my own meal, excuse myself, and have people eye my plate, or perhaps flat out ask why I'm not eating the provided food. The option to avoid attention (number 4) wasn't even listed because I want to see everyone and be supportive. Does anyone have any ideas on the best way of handling this situation? I'm not particularly close with his brother's fiancee and don't want her to have any negative feelings toward me. I understand that celiac disease is a true problem and not to be taken lightly or be ashamed about but I'd really rather avoid the conversations if possible.

Thank you so much for any input. I look forward to hearing from you all!

Hayley

I am going with my boyfriend to his aunts house....the whole family will be there, his mom, cousins, aunts and uncles. Well, I have spent FOUR thanksgivings with them, and have always eaten everything. This year, I find out I have celiacs right before the holidays. So, I told his aunt (who will be preparing most of the food) and just simply told her, I found a GREAT recipe for gluten free stuffing, and that I would be bringing it with me. Told her potatoes will be fine as long as she only adds butter :) As far as turkey, the only concern would be flour if its cooked in a bag. I am having my boyfriend call her and ask to use my rice flour instead if thats the case. Maybe I am too bold? And they do know me pretty well, but as long as I can enjoy it, and not make anyone, including myself feel awkward, will be great! Good luck!!

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I think that's a good idea to ask. The most they can say is,no, then you won't be any worse off than you were before. But, a word of caution, still take safe food for you to eat. When you arrive, you may find for some reason the food is unacceptable or CC. If you need to, you will have your safe food. If you don't need it, then just leave it in your car or tote or whatever. I have been to a meal where there was very little I was able to have so I sat there hungry while others ate. Very unpleasant.

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Personally, I would tell them. Just casually say, "As you are or not aware I have Celiac disease and I don't want to bother you (them) trying to accommodate me, although the thought is greatly appreciated, I would rather bring my own food."

This way too they can worry about everyone else's dinner prep and they are clear to not worry about yours. Because I have been through the same thing, unfortunately people tend to be overly worried about making your (celiac) food right that they have a tendency not to make it right especially when others are talking to them or interrupting them. Also too if others are helping them and they are not aware of our issues, there is another chance for cc.

Kinda reminds me of Russian roulette....I'd rather make my own food and enjoy the company than worrying about if or if not I might get sick, what can I or can't I eat etc...

I am also not a fan of TG food, so it's gets me out of eating it and making something I actual enjoy and not get sick. :D

Best of luck!

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