Sound Gluten-Free Holiday Advice: For Gluten-Free / Non-Gluten-Free Alike

In my last post to this blog, I mentioned a new product, apple flour, that I

elf gluten-free meme

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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.

jimmy fallon gluten-free meme

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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.

santa gluten-free

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.

maria gluten-free meme

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The best way to handle the food occasions that arise during the holiday season, I find, is to:

  1. Expect that I will find nothing I can eat at an event and plan accordingly
  2. Be pleasantly surprised if I do find something I can eat
  3. 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)
  4. Keep my suffering to myself as I pass up all the delectable gluten-containing goodies
  5. 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?

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Sound Gluten-Free Holiday Advice: For Gluten-Free / Non-Gluten-Free Alike

  1. Very good advice!! I usually bring a small dinner for myself (something easily heated) so that the host doesn’t feel guilty or the need to accommodate me (also, I dread cross contamination! I have had people go out of their way for me to only be glutened because they used Pam baking spray)–also, it’s pretty easy to be discreet with it then and just microwave when everyone is getting ready to eat. I usually bring glutino pretzels and crackers in my purse too for snacks and eat something beforehand so I am not drooling at the gluten options.

    I completely agree with you about people making comments that gluten free is sub par. Drives me insane. I made gluten free cookies once (flourless peanut butter, naturally gluten free!) and a friend commented “ew. Why would I want to eat cookies without flour? Doesn’t that ruin it?” Very hurtful!

    Hope your holiday season was successful and full of gluten free food 🙂 thanks for sharing this helpful post!

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    • Thank you for sharing your holiday strategy, Paige! I like your idea of taking something that is easily heated while other guests are distracted by settling in to eat their own meal. Cross-contamination is a HUGE threat when we eat in houses with kitchens that are not deglutenized. You’re right about the danger of being glutenized by well-meaning hosts who have taken the trouble to prepare a gluten-free meal. I was glutenized at a dinner party a couple of years ago, at which the host purposely served grilled meat, baked potatoes, and salad, but no bread, just so I could safely eat. The problem is that the host put an opened, used stick of butter on the table, and without even thinking about it I glutenized myself with the cross-contaminated butter : ( I was at fault in this instance, for letting down my guard. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and a very joyful (and deliciously gluten-free) New Year celebration!

      Liked by 1 person

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