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Barbara.

Going To Parties.

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How do you manage going out to parties? We have many friends/relatives who invite us out to party occasions: birthdays, anniversary parties, showers etc. All know I have celiac disease (most do not fully understand it). I don't expect anyone to prepare special dishes for me. I generally keep it all low key and try to just eat things that I know are safe. I have run into attitudes because I am not eating what they have provided. Again, I politely explain I have celiac, but they seem hurt or slighted. Do you bring your own foods? eat before you go? I am starting to avoid social events because of the stress involved.

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I eat before I go, bring food if asked and explain to them I here to enjoy the friendship and company more than the food. I do explain I'm unable to eat gluten and become very sick if I eat it. I have asked for recipes of items that the hostess or guests have brought that look good so I can make it at home with gluten free items.

If pressed further I have asked if I can stick a knife in their gut, because it what it feels like if I eat gluten. I only say this if someone is really giving me a hard time. Or I ask them if they will be the one driving me to ER and will they be willing to pay for the ER visit that will result from me eating gluten.

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All of the above. I've only been gluten-free for about 9 months now, and now that we have a gluten-free house all of my sons (ages 8-18) have displayed varying degrees of sensitivity as well. Currently 3 of the 5 of them have chosen to avoid gluten and the other 2 limit how often they eat it.

So far when we've been invited to someone's home, people have been sweet and understanding about it. We usually try to eat first, depending on the situation either a substantial snack or a meal so we're not tempted to eat something questionable because we're hungry. If it's something that requires a specific kind of food like a pizza party or birthday cake we'll take our own so we can eat with everyone there. Even if we've eaten ahead of time being face to face with something yummy that we don't do often is tough temptation for a kid! My dh's chocolate torte is good enough to make everyone else jealous of OUR food! ;) All the boys declared it better than any other birthday cake they've had. lol

If it's a snack-y event and everyone will just be noshing on chips and finger foods, I've brought along snack bars or a bottle of kefir smoothie so I can be 'eating' with them and then eat a real meal once I get back home.

I'm sorry you're running into attitudes. I try to judge my hearer and vary what exactly I tell them based on how interested they really are. I don't go into the whole celiac thing with some people because it's just too involved to explain and they really don't want to hear all about my medical history and bowel habits :P In those cases I will just say we have some food allergies (or food issues if I want to be more precise) and most people seem to be ok with that. No one faults a diabetic because they don't eat cake and ice cream at the birthday party. ;)

With family or closer friends, I do go into more explanation of the fact that I have celiac disease and how much better I am now and how sick eating gluten makes me, but I also assure them that it took me several months to figure out where all it could be hidden so I don't expect them to try to figure it out in time for dinner on Friday. lol I often offer to bring along something we can eat (mac & cheese, for example) to share, so that we're assured something safe to eat and they can see that our food doesn't have to taste weird or unsatisfying. If they're willing, I will look over the ingredients they used in preparation and try to sort out what parts of the meal would be safe for us to eat. A quick look around the kitchen can give you a good idea of how safe that is, for example if the kitchen is really clean and they use stainless pots, I'm going to feel safer than if it's dusty or cluttered and they use worn out old Teflon coated pans.

Don't let food get in the way of friendship. I'd even tell them that I don't want to allow the food to be an issue, and if you're worried about getting sick or already starting to feel bad while everyone is still visiting after the meal your focus is on your tummy and not your friends or family.

Be safe, be polite, and have fun!

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I can't fathom the attitude. Just because someone cooked something doesn't mean that I have to eat it. What I eat is my choice, no one else's. Doesn't matter if I'm allergic to the food, intolerant of the food, just don't like the food, or happen to be full. It's just not their business what I eat or don't. Maybe my "I'm not hungry, thanks" or "I'm not interested, thanks" is sufficiently conversation-ending for most, but I haven't had much problem.

For parties, I eat before hand and bring my own food. If it's a sit-down type of affair, I will eat before hand, NOT eat my own food at the table (unless it's a friend who understands the deal and I know they're good with it, this would be for people I don't know well), but may eat it afterward if I need to. But that's just me, there's no right or wrong way - just what works for you.

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One benefit to living in L.A. is that there are lots of skinny people who are watching what they eat at parties, so many people just graze on the veggies or walk around with a wine glass all night. I haven't been to too many things yet, but the ones I've been to nobody noticed what I was eating. A sit down dinner would be harder.

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Pretty much everyone we would eat with knows about our situation, so they understand if my fiance doesn't eat anything. They usually try to have something that she can eat. She also usually takes along something she can snack on, and we've sometimes left in the middle of the party to get her something she can eat, returning after we have found something. So far, she hasn't had anyone give her any grief, most people seem fairly curious and interested.

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