Sunday, 27 May 2018

Coeliac Awareness Month - Going to Social Events

I am attending an old school friends wedding reception, so it got me thinking about us Coeliacs having to attend social events. The hurdles we have to jump and the complications we have to overcome.

Living gluten-free is a hard lifestyle at the best of times, but add social gathering and events to the mix and it just makes life that much more difficult. These are just some of the aspects I have personally come across when dealing with events and people, I probably haven't covered them all, but then I'd be here all day!

Eating Before you Go!

This one is at the front of my mind, mainly because I am trying to keep a mental note for this wedding reception. Generally, at these kinds of events, there is a selection of foods in buffet form, yep, that's correct a Coeliac's worst nightmare! I know that there won't be anything for me to eat at this one, and even if there is, there's the whole cross-contamination issue.

That's why we take the easiest option of eating before we go, it might seem a little insensitive, but trust us it's better than sitting there starving or ill.

Getting Personal with the Waiting Staff

I know I have always felt uncomfortable eating out with anyone, let alone a new group. This is mainly due to the fact, that I have to explain to the waiter that I am a Coeliac, need a gluten-free meal, free from cross-contamination. Sometimes having to explain it in depth and several times, even when the meal comes out I double/ triple check, at the end of the day I do not want to be ill.

My process may seem a little anal to some, however, it is essential for my well being, those that know my circumstances well or understand the severity of Coeliacs get it and say no more. Those that don't give me the all-knowing stare or snide comments about eating gluten-free, 'Why are you doing that?' 'It's just another 'Fad' diet!' The best lines are. 'Do you really need to keep asking if it's safe?'

The Office Cake Day

I hate these days, honestly, most of the time no-one even thinks about me and just get's 'normal' cakes and treats for the office. On the odd days that someone does bring in a 'gluten-free' option, I am then left concerned about cross-contamination.

Office/ Shared kitchen surfaces are a feeding ground for gluten collection and trying to make a cup of tea in that environment is a meal. Let alone tiptoeing around the topic of trying to ensure the cake, that someone else brought in, is kept away from any gluten!

Turning Down Offered Food

The main thing that bugs me about this is when people that have known you for a very ling time and know you can't eat anything that isn't completely free from gluten, offers you something you clearly can't eat! I can forgive people that are ignorant and just haven't got a clue.

That being said, you may still come across those that offer you something, claiming it's gluten-free, but then get offended when you want to just double check. There's also the situation of someone new to the idea of what you have, cooking for you. Great, they are trying to be considerate, but how do you go about questioning them on the particulars of cross-contamination, the utensils they used etc.

You just come off sounding picky and rude, but I know I would much rather have them understand and me not be ill. I just have to remember to be a little more tactful than I usually am.

Or just Turning Down the Invitation Altogether

Sometimes it may just be much easier to not go at all, to avoid the whole situation. I have been invited to many people homes for a bite to eat or a full dinner, but the issue is I didn't always feel entirely comfortable that they understood the consequences if I was glutened.

The biggest problem with eating around someone else's home is the cross-contamination. Yes I know I have said it far too many times in this post, but it's something that gets overlooked or just ignored when it comes to our diet.

What hurdles have you had to jump over when it comes to social events? Have you ever had to justify yourself to someone you didn't ever think you would have too?

Always be kind, you never know what personal battle people are fighting.


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