GF Diet Guide: Part 3 - Basic Tips # 8

8. Make sure everyone in your household understands what is going on.

I cannot stress enough how important this one is. Many gluten free folks have been victims of the stubborn idea that we are just picky eaters, and/or, what we don't know, won't hurt us. Some gluten free folks are knowingly victims, eating what they know they shouldn't so as not to offend the person who made the meal.

If I have to go out to eat, I tell the wait-staff (or take a dining card with me) that explains that I will have a life-threatening reaction / become violently ill if I consume gluten. We may not have immediate type of life-threatening reaction as someone who eats peanuts and goes into anaphylactic shock, but eating gluten does to incredible damage to our insides. If you're consuming gluten at all, you're not living 100% gluten free, and if you recall from an earlier post, untreated CD can lead to some bad to brutal problems.

Unfortunately, there are just too many people out there who will not take you seriously unless they view your eating request as an extremely serious situation. Otherwise, they will just view you as a picky, annoying customer.

You may have to present your situation to your household in a similar manner. If they care about you and your health, they should be willing to take you seriously.

Yes, there are people out there who you will not be able to convince. They may get their feelings hurt if you show up to a holiday (or such) meal with your own food and refuse to try theirs. They may have even tried making you something gluten free and will be upset if you don't try it. Unfortunately, many well-meaning people just don't know enough to cook safely for you. I've run into plenty of people who don't seem to know that most flours come from wheat, and even your standard cornmeal bags these days are also supplemented by wheat. They won't know the ingredients gluten can hide in, or they'll use the same pots, pans, utensils, etc. to make your foods.

But weigh the consequences carefully. Would you rather deal with hurt feelings or deal with being really sick for the next several hours, days, weeks, or months?

Does it stink having to skip out on free foods, potlucks, gatherings? You bet. I used to love potlucks at a former job. Loved getting to try what my team-mates made. Never knew why I'd get so sick that night.

If the people you live with are aware of how sick you get from eating all the time, they should also be aware when you stop getting sick when you give up gluten. This may be the only thing that helps some people realize you're not just being a picky eater.

It may not be as much fun to bring your own private dish, or to have to cook separate meals from your family/room-mates, but your body will thank you in the long run.

And if your family is willing to all go gluten free with you? Take them up on it! It will make your life so much easier! (I speak from experience!)

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