Gluten Free your Year with Coral – April Challenge
Welcome to month FOUR of the Gluten Free Your Year challenge! I’m so glad you’re here! (You can find an overview of the challenge HERE) This month’s theme is Gluten Free Your Friends and Family, based on one of my most asked questions- It’s easier to eat gluten free when you are at home and in control of what you make, but what about when you’re visiting with friends and family? Or when someone wants to bring you food for your birthday or a special occasion?
This month’s challenge is all about helping your friends and family become more educated about gluten free living, have a few gluten free go-tos that are safe to share, and really understand why it’s important to support you on your gluten free journey. We are going to teach friends and family how gluten impacts our bodies, what cross-contact is and how to avoid it, and how to show love and support that will help us feel included.
You can also listen to my Gluten Free You & Me Podcast on this topic here:
As part of this month’s challenge, click the download button below for your own “Gluten Free Treats Printable” to hand out to family and friends so they have safe, easy options to spoil you! And scroll down to read 3 components of communicating your needs with family and friends.
3 Needs of People with Celiac Disease
(or those who require a 100% Gluten Free Diet)
For those of us with Celiac Disease, 100% gluten free is a physical necessity for our health and the functioning of our body. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by gluten. Literally crumbs and cross contact from touching a gluten containing item or surfaces that have touched gluten can have an affect on the lining of our digestive tract, which diminishes our ability to absorb nutrients from foods and puts our body into defense mode, where the body attacks itself. When we are being vigilant about our food or the surfaces our food comes in contact with, or decline to eat something offered to us, it is because that “one bite” can have an effect on our body that lasts for long time. Examples of symptoms from being “glutened” can include: vomiting, diarrhea, migraines, fatigue, bloating, and SO MUCH MORE. It would be embarrassing to give these details in the middle of a family party in response to “Why won’t you have some of these cookies?” but know that we are thinking it. Diet Restrictions are truly for our survival.
*A Note about Cross Contact*
One of the biggest misconceptions when communicating our needs with friends and families is about the precautions we need to take against cross contact, which means when a item that has contacted gluten touches a gluten free item, which has the potential of transferring gluten, making the item no longer “gluten free” (It is like cross contamination, but contamination refers to bacteria or microbes, where cross contact refers to allergens or gluten). Example of this at a family party would be:
- using the same pan to cook gluten and gluten free foods
- using the same knife to cut gluten and gluten free foods
- accidentally putting our meat on the bun, then taking it off and handing us just the meat to eat
There are so many examples of cross contact, especially in the food prep stages, and even before that in manufacturing facilities, so when we are being particular about what we eat, it’s because cross contact can still affect our bodies.
When you have been living with chronic pain, it is emotionally and physically draining, and once you are clear of these symptoms, you want to protect your health, which takes a lot of brainpower while changing habits. it is hard for us– sometimes because we are worried about getting glutened, sometimes because we are missing out on eating the birthday cake at the celebration or an old family favorite recipe, and sometimes because people we love do not take our gluten free needs seriously. Comments like: “It’s all in your head,” or “Come on, just one bite won’t hurt“ can be painful and overwhelming for someone who knows these medical needs are a reality and excruciating to experience.
I feel like the most supportive thing a family member could do is to ask questions.
- Ask if things are safe.
- Ask if they prefer to eat in a group setting or if they would rather eat before they come.
- Ask if there are any safe restaurants around.
- Ask if there is a safe menu option that everyone could enjoy.
There are so many delicious meal options that are naturally gluten free, and choosing to do a Gluten Free Nacho Bar, Potato Bar or Chicken and Rice for a get together can make the world of difference in helping someone with a diet restriction feel safe and supported by those they love.
Thank you for participating in Gluten Free Your Year with Coral. I hope you are enjoying this challenge. Let me know about your journey over on Instagram! Share in an Instagram story or post, tag me, and use #glutenfreeyearwithcoral