In my last post to this blog, I mentioned a new product, apple flour, that I
had serendipitously discovered while searching for something else. I have used the apple flour, and it’s marvelous. I used it to make grain-free, gluten-free pumpkin muffins for my mom, who apparently doesn’t have Celiac (although this auto-immune disease is passed through the mom, I have it, and I managed to pass it on to two of my children – it does apparently skip some generations). What my mom does have, however, is a seriously ill husband in a hospital that has seriously poor quality food in its cafeteria. One thing I can do for my mom and my step-dad during this ordeal is to provide Mom with some delicious, nutritious, minimally-processed food to keep her energized and as cheerful as possible. Since my kitchen is gluten-free, my mom gets gluten-free food by default. My step-father, sadly, is unable to eat normally for now; I will attend his nutritional needs as soon as he’s able to eat as usual.
Now, I realize this blog post sounds like one that will include a recipe for something, such as – um, uh – scrumptious gluten-free pumpkin muffins made with apple flour; however, that post must wait for a few days until I have time to make the muffins again so that I can photograph them. What this blog post does contain is a post written by another gluten-free blogger, which contains some pretty good rules for gluten-free people, their friends, and love ones by which to live this holiday season. The reason I particularly like the rules put forth by Nicole Miller is that the rules teach to gluten-free eaters as well as non-gluten-free eaters.
I particularly dislike calling attention to my specific dietary need. Everyone is different, and I have no quarrel with those people with dietary needs who feel differently than I. I do have a quarrel with people who have specific food requirements (medically required or by choice), who talk incessantly about what they can or cannot eat (see Nicole’s rule #2 for gluten-free people).
I am also frustrated by people who eat gluten but who, having an unfounded assumption that gluten-free food is of poor quality, stubbornly resist eating foods made specifically gluten-free (see Nicole’s rule #2 for non-gluten-free people). I have friends and relatives (on my side of the family) who actually request that I do the baking for special occasions; they say they like my gluten-free pies, cakes, and other goodies better than they like the gluten-containing products. I do, however, have relatives on Phillip’s side of the family who have this preconceived notion that the gluten-free food is somehow substandard, and if they try it at all, they automatically find it lacking in some way.
When I attend a party or a function of some sort where food is served, I scope out the offerings, determine whether the gluten-free offerings I to do happen find (if any) are safe from cross-contamination, and if I’m confident that they are, I eat only those foods. If no gluten-free foods are available, or those that are seem likely to be cross-contaminated, I simply do not eat. I usually eat before I attend events at which food will be served, so that I won’t go hungry. If people notice I’m not eating, I simply say that I ate before I arrived.
The best way to handle the food occasions that arise during the holiday season, I find, is to:
- Expect that I will find nothing I can eat at an event and plan accordingly
- Be pleasantly surprised if I do find something I can eat
- Thank the host / hostess profusely if he / she goes out of the way to provide something gluten-free (if he / she has before-hand knowledge of my Celiac disease)
- Keep my suffering to myself as I pass up all the delectable gluten-containing goodies
- Enjoy being with the people around me, since people are more important than food (did I say that???)
How do you balance your gluten-free needs with the demands of the Thanksgiving / Christmas season?