Thanks to UntrainedHousewife’s part in the Udi’s Gluten Free Community, I have been able to read and glean so much about Gluten Free Living that I would have otherwise missed. Even though I am not personally gluten free, my nursling daughter appears to react pretty strongly to wheat, so I am currently GF by default. I am so thankful that we live in the age of the internet where you are just a couple of searches away from someone who has been where you are and can help you through it.
Being Gluten Free Isn’t Always Optional
Still, once baby girl is done nursing, my diet choices are just that – a choice. Having a physical reaction to foods takes the choosing out of it, and my daughter could live with this for her whole life. And when it’s something like gluten- which makes its way into every party, gathering, convenience food and tradition- the process of becoming gluten free can be a challenge, to say the least.
Too many in the community are without “real life” support. Those who have a good support system know how valuable it is. I really couldn’t do it without my husband encouraging me to pick up that $4 GF cake mix or chocolate muffins, or passing on his favorite pizza parlor because he knows how hard it would be for me to get just a salad.
Recently, Angela helped to host a live chat brainstorming ways to support your gluten-free loved ones. Some really great things came out of that chat, but what really struck me is how much the effort means to those being supported. Too often, Celiac disease or other wheat intolerances are not taken seriously. If the reaction is not anaphylactic, it is passed off as imagined or unimportant. The reaction is real, though, and can be very painful in many cases. So when someone stops to listen or take note of the circumstance, it means a lot.
Ways You Can Support Your Gluten Free Friends
We talked for an hour about building and becoming a support system, but here are some of my favorite tips that came out of it:
-Don’t indulge around them. Sometimes it’s inevitable, but if you can avoid it, try not to indulge in gluten-filled
goodies when they are around – especially the more fragrant ones. Pizzas, cakes and cookies were among the mentioned. I can attest to the frustration of a hot pizza coming in the door that you can’t even touch.
–Make it a potluck. Most of the gluten-free chatters were more than fine bringing their own foods to gatherings and parties, so why not make that the norm? Potlucks allow everyone to bring what works for them without singling anyone out.
–Be mindful of kids. Adults usually know what to expect when they go to a gathering or event, but kids might struggle with it a bit more. If you are throwing a party, consider having toys or crafts as the party feature and favors rather than snacks and foods that could be unsafe. If you are doing foods, cross-contamination could sneak in if you try to get too creative with the gluten-free alternatives, so keep it simple and keep it safe. Fresh, whole foods – like a veggie or fruit tray – or packaged foods labeled “gluten free” are good bets.
-Surprises are sweet. One chatter shared that they were surprised on their birthday by a friend who brought a gluten-free cake. You don’t have to go all out to offer up a sweet surprise for a friend. There are many amazing gluten-free treats out there, including cookies and “muffins” (which totally pass for cupcakes, by the way) from Udi’s. Offer up an unexpected treat, and you might make someone’s day.
There was so much more shared that night that I would recommend reading through it when you get the chance.
If you have a food intolerance, what helps you to feel supported?