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Cessairskye

Navigating The Holidays

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I am a recently diagnosed celiac and learning the in's and out's of this disease is a bit of an adventure.

For the past few weeks most everyone I have been socializing with are my fellow students (I am a clinical nutrition major) and they are very supportive and understanding of the major diet changes I am making in my life. Unfortunately a bad side effect of the holidays is I am going to parties and socializing with people I don't spend ton's of time with and for some reason the words "celiac disease" is not getting through to many of their brains. I went to a Chanukkah dinner tonight armed with a gluten free noodle kugel and the hostesses assurance that the latkes were wf/gluten-free (she even called the lady that was cooking the latkes beforehand to double check that there was no wheat in them), well apparently the cook didn't think that thickening the latkes with flour is bad because she did. After dinner when I started to get the beginnings of gastric distress I asked if there was flour in anything we ate, the comment was made that yes there was a few tablespoons in the latkes "but it's not like your allergic" :o soooooo to ensure the safety of my body do I tell people I'm SEVERELY allergic to wheat (not a total lie I do actually have a mild IgE immune response to wheat) so that they get the point that I can't have a "few tablespoons" in my meal?? I don't want to have to sit in the corner and hide from all the food at holiday parties and I don't want to not go. Any suggestions? Say I'm allergic? Fill up beforehand on a safe meal so I can say I just ate? HELP :huh:

Skye

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I would bring a dish to share in addition to eating beforehand. Latkes are easy to make gluten free. Just switch out the wheat flour for rice flour in any recipe. You could bring Israeli salad if your going to any more Hanukkah dinners.

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People do not understand celiac disease. Since it's a diet that is the treatment, most think you can 'cheat' a little. Tell people you are highly allergic to gluten might sink in a little more but do not trust someone else's cooking.

Friend of mine made Chicken Soup with rice. She made it because she knew I couldn't have gluten. She said she was really really careful and read all ingredients. I've learned not to trust anyone so I asked her what all she put in it. Of course the chicken bouillon was not gluten free but she'd never thought to check the ingredients listed on a spice type of thing.

I suggest you

1. Always eat before going

2. Bring something to share so you have something to eat

3. Ask for recipes from others so they know you appreciated the work they put into their food

4. Don't make food the main reason for the occasion

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For the holiday parties I have been to this year, I just bring something with me to share with the group. I make sure it is something that is somewhat substantial so that I can eat enough of it to keep myself from being starving if there is nothing else I can eat. A lot of the time there has been fresh fruit and veggies there too that someone else brought, so I eat those as well. Honestly, I have started carrying a gluten free sandwich with me everywhere we go now when it is a group get together that involves eating. That way if there is nothing I can eat, I still have my sandwich!

And remember, as stated by other posters, people do not understand celiac disease. I cannot tell you the number of times someone has told me that I can have WHITE bread because it is not WHEAT bread... They do not understand the real issue or the ingredients in food. If in doubt, err on the safe side, becuase it is YOUR health and the days of being sick is not worth sparing the hosts feelings!

I also like to use the get togethers as a chance to educate people about Celiac. When people ask me why I'm not trying the little finger sandwiches or the pumpkin pie, I explain to them that they contain gluten and that I am allergic to gluten. That is generally followed up by a "What is gluten?" question... so then I get to explain to an uninformed member of the public what Celiac disease is and tell them about all the foods that contain gluten. I just hope that they learn a little bit and next time something about it comes up, they will have a little more information.

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A friend of mine at work last week was excited about making a gluten-free carrot cake for me to share (she has made gluten-free dishes so I can partake before). She was telling me what she put in it (she likes to be sure). When she was listing the ingredients, one of them was barley. I had to tell her I couldn't eat it. She was so glad I did..she had totally forgotten that barley wasn't gluten-free. She said I'm so glad I didn't give you any! Now that's a caring person!

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I totally agree with the above posters. For the last one, remember that the gluten-free goodies need to be made with gluten-free bakeware etc. with gluten-free spoons and mixers etc. as well as made with and handled by clean gluten-free hands and potlholders and not put right by glutenous items.

Honestly its just best to bake/make etc. your own--whether you share or not is your own business. If you do, make sure you get yours before it becomes cross contaminated from other people's forks and grubby glutenous hands.

Eating something before you go is very wise so you won't be tempted by "fate".

Bea

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