You are enjoying a delicious holiday meal with your family when the conversation turns to what you can and cannot eat. What do you do?
“Moments such as these are opportunities to educate family. Most importantly, point out the difference between “ingredients” and “foods.” You cannot eat foods (e.g., cookies, cakes, pies) made from gluten-containing ingredients (e.g., wheat, barley, rye) but you can still eat those wonderful foods, just versions made from gluten-free ingredients. Apple pie or gingerbread cookies or chocolate cake are still in the picture; it’s only the ingredients used to make them that have changed because of what you can and cannot eat due to celiac disease.”
- Beyond Celiac Athlete for Awareness Peter Bronski, No Gluten, No Problem
"Explain to your family that you very much appreciate their interest in learning about your dietary needs, but that you just want to enjoy the meal with your family and not focus on your celiac disease. Ask them to take a rain check so that you can explain all of the dos and don’ts at a different time. If there are people in the room that you don’t see very often, ask if you could delay the conversation until after the meal is done. Maybe that way you can even avoid clean-up…an added bonus!"
- Jennifer North, Beyond Celiac Vice President
"If 'the talk' with your family is overdue, and they really need an education, then make it a teachable moment. If monopolizing the conversation will ruin the party atmosphere and the chat can wait, then answer the question honestly but briefly, and redirect the conversation. If you want to educate them, take look at what dishes are on the table and give some examples of those foods in the 'yes,' 'no,' and 'maybe' categories. Mention what changes or substitutions could easily make a dish gluten-free, and what are some ways to make sure the dish is prepared gluten-free in the kitchen. It might not seem so overwhelming to family members if they have some guidance so when the next holiday rolls around, your family will be better prepared and willing to try some new adaptations of family favorites."
- Beckee Moreland, Beyond Celiac Director of GREAT Kitchens
"If the focus is negative, stress how healthy you feel living gluten-free. Lighten the mood by saying your family is lucky—more food for them!"
- Laura Hanley, G-Free Laura