If so, you might want to start following me other places too! Facebook has mad numerous changes to the way they operate and despite having over 7,000 beautiful, inspiring and amazing followers – very few of you see my posts anymore and that makes me incredibly sad.
Facebook is making it so if brands aren’t paying for sponsored posts or ads, we aren’t showing up in news feeds nearly like we were before. I used to have 50% of you see and engage on my page and now it’s down to maybe 10% on a good day. This is extremely disappointing considering I write this blog to help people and if you can’t access my information, how can it help? Unfortunately, I don’t have the financial resources to pay for ads, likes or sponsored posts on Facebook. I spend my valuable time trying gluten-free things, sharing my celiac experiences with you and promoting advocacy.
So, what can you do?
If you already like Pretty Little Celiac on Facebook, you can make sure you get the notifications in your news feeds by checking out this image.
Or, you can start following me other places!
I love Instagram. I post lots of pictures of gluten-free foods at home, in the grocery store or out to eat! Anything I find and love or don’t love, I share with all of you. I also adore input about things I’ve tried you may or may not like too! Sometimes I post personal photos with my husband, selfies, our doggies or just random things. Oh yeah, I post workouts and my fitness playlists for my own workouts and when I teach indoor cycling. They are killer tunes .
You can also find me on Twitter! I like to engage with everyone on there and find myself scrolling the twitter sphere more than Facebook anyway. I don’t like abandoning anyone on Facebook and I will of course still post things there, but I miss the engagement with my Pretty Little Celiac Community! Your stories, feedback, comments and pep talks are what made PLC great and I’m jones’in for some PLC love.
The biggest thing for me is keeping the connection with all of you. So, hopefully you will come join me on these other social media sites and join in the fun!
We love to travel and one of the biggest challenges is finding gluten-free options in airports and especially on planes. I learned so many things as a fitness competitor, especially traveling for shows with a restrictive diet but the biggest thing is the ability to take food through TSA security! Yes! You can bring your own food with you to the airport and on the plane. I used to bring a 6-pack bag cooler (it’s a brand competitors use frequently) filled with baked fish, chicken and steak along with meatballs, sweet potatoes and veggies to fill my belly. If you think people complain about you eating gluten-free, try cracking open some tuna on a plane without your neighbors giving you the stink eye!
I like to think I’ve mastered the ability to bring things with me but even now and again I forget so if you have gluten-free snack items you love to travel with please feel free to post them below! The more information we can share for each other, the better and as you know that’s why I started Pretty Little Celiac!
Here are my top 10 gluten-free airport and plan travel snacks!
Fruit and/or dried fruit
Gluten-Free bars like Vans, Lara bars, Kind bars etc.
Go Picnic kits
String Cheese or Baybel’s
Sample packets of protein powder – purchased or separated yourself – mix at the airport
Tuna packets, canned chicken, canned salmon
Roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds – any seed! Make your own trail mix!
What am I missing? Tell us what you take through security and on planes or trains when you travel!!
Since we moved to Virginia, we pay an absorbent amount of money for rent and are still carrying our mortgage for the Columbus house until we can find renters. Because of this, I’ve been looking for ways to stretch the good old dollar… especially since I am back 110% living gluten-free after my gluten challenge. That’s why I’m creating a new series on my blog documenting how I’m trying to save money and ideas for ways you can incorporate tips into your own life.
First up… Target!
Okay, now I’ve been hard on Target in the past for their lack of gluten-free options. Right before we moved I noticed they started carrying some items that I love like Van’s chocolate chip bars and Van’s gluten-free waffles. HOWEVER… our new apartment is within walking distance of Target and I’ve been spending a lot of my time there so I set out on a mission to see if I could get a full weeks worth of groceries there for me and Aaron.
Sure enough, my trip was a success and I left Target spending less than $150 and that included toilet paper and paper towels (which cost a fortune for some reason).
I broke it down for you so you can see what I bought for each night of dinners and then the snacks at the end. I incorporated some items that I already had in our pantry, so bear with me on that one but you can certainly substitute for your own stuff! If you are someone who is very interested in buying all organic items or staying away from certain big name brands, then this might not be the most relevant post for you. However, there are many people out there who are looking to live gluten-free on a budget and can’t afford Whole Foods!
One last thing, Target doesn’t label their shelves with “gluten-free” tags so you have to be armed and prepared to look for items but it certainly is worth it the first time because then it’s so much easier the next time… and the time after that.
If someone that works at Target is reading this blog post, email me because I can significantly help you out in your grocery department!!!
First Night: Lean ground beef 90%/10%, Red Fork Gluten Free Sauce (you actually need tomatoes with this sauce too), Canyon Bakehouse Bread and Steamed Green Beans
Dinner 2: Taco Night! Jennie-O Ground Turkey, Ortega Corn Shells (says gluten-free on box), Fontera Taco Sauce (says “no gluten ingredients used” on label), Black beans and some Uncle Ben’s Rice. Be careful with Uncle Ben’s rice, not all of their flavors are gluten-free. I added some spinach I already had in the fridge on mine but you can add whatever veggies you want, they sell them at Target as well.
Dinner Night 3: Baked chicken tenders using Van’s bread crumbs (bread crumbs not purchased at target), steamed green beans and roasted red skin potatoes. I have a secret recipe for them I’m going to share next week so stay tuned, but there are minimal ingredients and they are delicious! You can just cube them and bake for 25-30 minutes on 425 degrees with butter, garlic and salt. Amazing!
Dinner Night 4: Steak pinwheels that are baked as is and steamed green beans. We love green beans, what can I say? I add toasted sesame seeds, grass fed butter, sea salt and garlic to make them tasty!
Dinner Night 5: Grilled chicken on the George Foreman Grill, redskin potatoes with the Red Fork Sauce and some stir fry veggies to go with everything.
Now, these are just some of the snacks for the week that they had at Target and I wanted to show you. The frozen berries are perfect for my shakes, the brats are for lunches and bacon for breakfast or lunch. I try not to buy a million different products during our trip because I found that much of it goes to waste, so really focus only on what we are buying for that week. I usually go to the store 1 time on the weekend and stock up for each night. We make a list on the calendar of what’s for dinner, so the person who is home first can start making it without worrying what to fix.
This is just one shopping trip I took to Target and I have very specific tastes. I can tell you there are many more items at Target you can purchase that are gluten-free! Learning to read labels is key to saving money and also being able to do a quick google search from your phone in the store.
I also saved money on this trip by using the Target Cartwheel App, along with store coupons they mailed to me for fresh veggies, fruit and produce AND you can use manufacturer’s coupons. So, for example, my husband likes the Mio sport drink drops. They were 20% off on the cartwheel app, I had a .50 off coupon and then I got another 5% off for using my Target Red Card. We have the debit one, not the credit card. You can also earn 5% off coupons by getting your prescriptions filled at Target and signing up for their pharmacy rewards program. That way you can get some 5% off shopping days if you don’t want to sign up for the card.
Hopefully this post will save you some money too and give you ideas for the next time you are planning your trip.
Have you had any luck at Target? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.
The holiday season is upon us and it’s time for people to start asking us what we want for the holidays. If you are reading my blog, you probably want some sort of miracle for your body issues but since that isn’t going to happen, let’s find some awesome ideas for you to give your loved ones this holiday season.
Here is my list of gluten-free holiday items!
Gift Cards – Now, I know what you are thinking… “that’s not a very exciting gift!” But, I challenge to think outside the box on this one. Gift cards for us are like free money to try products we might have been scared to spend our own $10 on! I see gift cards as exploratory money. It’s for items I’ve wanted to try but have been afraid of spending my own money on them. Gift cards can also help offset the cost of some of the things we buy on a regular basis. I would love an Amazon gift card to buy my vitamins and/or gluten-free products! Then I can buy those shoes I’ve been eyeballing at Neiman Marcus Last Call.
Kitchen products – There are all kinds of fun and funky new kitchen items and I’m sure you don’t want to replace everything on your own. A new bright-colored toaster from Target? How about a new foldable colander or funky cutting board?
Beauty products – If you’ve been around my blog, you know I love and adore Red Apple Lipstick! They are having holiday sale so if you’ve been considering it, now’s the time to buy! Not only can you request items from them, but giving their products to friends and family, you can show them that not everything gluten-free is gross! Red Apple Rocks! There are other brands as well such as Afterglow Cosmetics, Lovely Lady Organic Products or Gabriel Cosmetics (I like the ZuZu line).
Nail Polish – Believe it or not, if you bite your nails and wear polish, you could be consuming gluten. My favorite gluten-free nail polish is Deborah Lippmann! She has the most amazing colors with sparkles galore. OPI is another brand that is gluten-free and is the most recognized when you are going to get your nails done.
Celiac and the Beast Book – Check out my friend Erica’s book! If you have celiac or know someone who has celiac, this is the greatest gift for them! Or gluten-free cook books and/or magazines!
Craft Classes? Yes, believe it or not I love this website and think so many of my friends do one or another of the classes they offer so why not suggest something fun from Craftsy? If we are going to make gluten-free cakes that don’t always taste up to par, the lease we can do is take a class on how to make it look pretty! They also have quilting, sewing, photography, knitting and more!
Pretty Little Celiac Products! – Shameless self promotion here Lots of stuff I would love to sell. Since we moved into our apartment, I just don’t have the space to store everything anymore. Once it’s gone, it’s gone – so get it asap!
Do you have any ideas? Please post them in the comments below!
Last month, I attended the International Celiac Disease Symposium and am just now getting around to blogging about my journey for the last few weeks. After leaving ICDS, I flew straight to Baltimore and attended Natural Products Expo East. As soon as I got home, I packed our entire house and prepared my staff and business for my relocation to Northern Virginia!
We moved into our new apartment this weekend, my husband started his new job yesterday and I finally feel like I’m getting settled. The home-sickness is wearing off and I’m exploring the area more and more each day. But, in the meantime I owe you all about 10 blog posts!
Let’s get cranking with debunking gluten myths!
The ICDS 2013 was filled with speakers from all over the world who are medical professionals and experts on celiac disease. They discussed the current research and gave us the down low on all things gluten-free and celiac disease. One of the most exciting segments of the conference was “debunking the myths.” Finally, some answers to age-old questions that I am asked frequently with answers straight from the doctor’s mouth!
Can you drink coffee on a gluten-free diet? Is there a protein in coffee that can cross react with gluten?
Answer: Yes! You can enjoy your coffee. In fact, the coffee flowed everywhere during this conference. Could you have another, separate problem with coffee or caffeine? Yes! But, it is not linked with gluten or celiac as a cross reactive food.
Can you diagnose celiac disease with just a blood test?
Answer: No. Absolutely Not. Diagnosis requires much more than a blood test. See my earlier blog post on the 4 of 5 tests needing completed to confirm a diagnosis. If someone diagnoses you based on a blood test, find a new doctor.
Corn? Can you eat corn while living a gluten-free diet? Is corn protein harmful for individuals with celiac or non celiac gluten sensitivity?
Answer: Enjoy your corn. Dr. Fasano said, “There is absolutely no proof, no evidence that corn is harmful.” Again, could you have separate issues with corn? Yes.
How common is non celiac gluten sensitivity?
Answer: The doctors have no clue. Very new diagnosis and still in the learning phase.
Has there been a gene linked to non celiac gluten sensitivity?
Answer: No. Only for celiac disease.
Are pills like Gluten Ease or other gluten enzyme pills found at health stores and pharmacies okay to take?
Answer: Absolutely not. Never. There is never ever ever a reason to take these enzymes. They are totally unjustified by the lack of evidence. Nothing on the market helps digest gluten. There are products in the works.
Is gluten making you fat?
Answer: No. As a matter of fact, people it’s been found that the more wheat you eat, the less fat you are. (for those of us living with the ability to digest gluten)
Is a gluten-free diet making me fat?
Answer: Depends on what you are eating and how much. 40% of people are overweight at the time of their celiac diagnosis. Patients tend to gain weight after celiac diagnosis based on better absorption of food. Essential to work with a healthcare team, which includes a dietician to create a health and wellness plan for after diagnosis. Stick with whole foods.
All of this information was presented by medical doctors. I am just passing along the information that was giving at the International Celiac Disease Symposium! I hope this is helpful to you and your journey with gluten-free living and celiac disease.
What to do when you have a negative gluten free dining experience?
I travel frequently and love to try new places, despite living a gluten-free life. I put my health in the hands of strangers all the time but it never gets easier. The language barriers seem to be one of the hardest situations I encounter when explaining that I can’t consume gluten.
But through all the experiences, some are wonderful, positive and delicious and others leave little to be desired.
So, you had a bad gluten-free restaurant experience? Now what?
Anyone who lives a gluten-free lifestyle has survived a less than enjoyable experience in a dining establishment. Whether you deal with an agitated waiter or an uneducated kitchen staff, the experience still leaves a salty taste in your mouth. No one wants to go out to eat and have a great time, only to leave there a feel a gluten poisoning coming on to ruin the next few days of your week.
Most recently I entered into a dispute with a manager from a place I’ve eaten at before and received wonderful service from the girls working there, over their gluten-free menu. He told me it didn’t exist and when I asked for the orange menu from behind the bar with the gluten filled items scratched out on it, he told me the menu was exactly the same as the regular one. No kidding, I know it’s the same, but this one very clearly has it blacked out the items they can’t make safe for me and giant warnings about their chips not cooked in a dedicated fryer. He literally argued with me for 5 minutes about it before I just sat down and talked to my server about it.
I’ve been poisoned before and had a bad experience. Here are my tips on how to handle an unpleasant gluten-free restaurant experience.
Try not to fly into an immediate rage or hysterics. While certainly you are emotional and for all the right reasons, now isn’t the time to go into antics. Compose yourself and ask to speak to the manager.
Hopefully, the manager will offer to make it right or at least take care of your bill since they made you sick and it will end with them. But, sometimes you need to take it up the chain. One time I suffered from a horrible experience at an Asian themed restaurant where they served me an entire plate of regular sauced food and I was sick immediately. I barely made it out of there without changing my pants. The manager was less than sympathetic and assured me I received the correct meal. Clearly by my dash to the restroom before I even finished eating was a sign he didn’t know what he was talking about. I had no choice but to take it up a level.
I wrote an email to the corporate office of the restaurant. I explained the situation in a calm, descriptive manner. When they didn’t respond within 48 hours, I wrote a blog post about my experience.
The blog post was shared with their Facebook and Twitter pages and sure enough within 12 hours of the post, I received a message from them and spoke with their communications director who offered me a gift card in exchange for my experience.
Then I wrote a review on Yelp and copied it to other sites with the corrected information about how they made the situation better and finally responded to the problem.
I am NEVER quick to write a bad review. I believe the business has the right to remedy the situation prior to it escalating to a negative review or blog post. When I write the review, I will mention the problem and then clearly explain how they decided to make the situation better.
If the manager and/or owner fail to respond to my attempts to get them to remedy the situation, then I will make it known very publicly about the situation and my attempts to offer them the opportunity to make things better.
Have I gone back to a restaurant after having a negative experience? Yes. But, if I have a problem on the second time, I can tell you it will be my last time eating there.
There are also times where I’ve gone to places that I loved because I always felt safe and they failed me. It happens everywhere and we need to always have our guard up.
It’s been an incredible life long journey for me (and many of you) until I finally got the answers I needed for all my medical problems. It seems as if it were yesterday that I was sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting to be seen, only to leave disappointed and without any hope or answers for what was wrong.
Another doctor, another prescription and still no relief…
But the last few weeks, I’ve had some time to reflect and really think about what having celiac disease means to me and some of the major things I’ve learned over the last 18 months through my own personal experiences and the last 10 months as a blogger. If you have things you learned about gluten-free living or celiac disease, please feel free to post them in the comments so other readers know they aren’t alone!
My celiac disease is not your celiac disease. I can’t emphasize this one enough! We all have different triggers and ailments so it’s incredibly important to pay attention to your own body versus what you hear from me or others on forums and websites.
Celiac comes with other problems. Endometriosis, thyroid problems, arthritis and vitamin deficiencies for me!
Vitamin & Nutrient levels should be tested on a regular basis to ensure you are supplementing properly to nourish your body with what’s missing.
Gluten will make you feel crazy, act crazy, think you’re crazy and make you paranoid. It consumes you life and there are times when I just have to stop and think… at least it’s managed with food.
It seems to be the only disease people don’t know enough about to tell me how to live my life. Now, gluten-free is another story but celiac disease usually doesn’t get too many unsolicited comments or advice from others.
You have to be incredibly educated about celiac disease, living gluten-free and your body to be safe as much as possible.
It’s essential to learn how to plan accordingly when traveling, dining out or anything out of the norm to prevent you from being stuck.
A gluten-free emergency supply kit is a necessity not an idea.
Poop can tell you so much about your eating habits and health of your body!
I still learn about gluten in things and are surprised by it – tea bags are my most recent discovery!
The gluten-free and celiac community is amazing and I am honored to be a part of it!
I’ve come to realize that packaged gluten-free food is my worst enemy. For my health & my waist line – real foods is where it’s at!
Celiac gave me the opportunity to see who my real friends are and learn the ones who care enough about me to always make me feel safe.
Celiac and fitness is an interesting concept. I’m excited to come out with my program late summer!
I’ve learned to accept the days when my body won’t cooperate and stopped beating myself up about feeling tired, having a headache or achy joints.
Being curvy and healthy is more important than being lean and unhappy.
Living gluten-free doesn’t have to be more expensive – you just have to plan better and eat clean to keep the budget tight.
I’ve learned to look at life as a new adventure, instead of letting it stress me out every day.
My family shouldn’t be burdened by my celiac disease, so I try to bring my own foods to events just to make sure I’m safe and not starving.
Airports are the worst for living gluten-free and with celiac.
Writing and blogging helps keep me sane and warms my heart when I’m able to help you too.
There are no true gluten-free substitutions. Gluten free bread is not soft sourdough bread and it never will be. Gluten-free Oreos are not the ones I’ve learned to love over my lifetime an none can duplicate it either. I’m done trying to find substitutes and instead I’m learning to love new things instead.
I’m proud to take charge of my health and not take no for an answer. I refused to accept that I didn’t have anything wrong with me and I was correct.
I love my husband more now than ever. He has been the most amazing and supportive person through this and I certainly hit the husband lotto.
I love my body more now than ever. All of it. All the problems. All the wonderful things people take for granted, I’ve learned to love and enjoy.
I am from North East Ohio and am proud to say this is Congressman Ryan’s district! Unfortunately, he was called to vote and I only had a brief 10 minutes to talk to him about the Act. But, you can listen to our conversation right here…
The Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act has been endorsed by: American Celiac Disease Alliance, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Sprue Association, Gluten Intolerance Group, North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and the American College of Gastroenterology.
So, what can you do to help?
You can call or write to your local representative and tell them you support this Act! Most of our congressmen have email addresses that you can contact them. This bill was reintroduced this year, after failing last year despite thousands of letters of support to congress. Our letters got this Act reintroduced and it’s up to you to keep the momentum by reaching out and contacting your congressmen!
Click Here to find out who your congressman or woman is to contact regarding the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act!
Click Here if you need help with how to write a letter to congress!
Click Here if you want to contact Congressman Tim Ryan!
If you would like a good guide about the medications, http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/ is a great resource and website for information on gluten in medications.
Do you have a story about gluten in medications?
Do you have tips for other people that struggle with gluten in medicine at the pharmacy or getting answers?
I wanna her about it – post in the comment section below
I will admit. I hate taking my vitamins. I’m not very good and remembering them and of course this weekend, I’m out-of-town and they are sitting on my kitchen cupboard at home. I’m deficient in several different things and need them to feel at my prime, so why can’t I get used to taking them?
While celiac disease can’t be cured with a pill or a prescription, the secondary symptoms caused by vitamin deficiencies can be helped by using supplements. I go regularly to have my blood checked and am actually due to go this week prior to my check up appointment next week with Dr. Auckerman. He is actually retiring and this will be my last appointment with him, which I’m pretty sad about.
Here’s what I will tell you and suggest. If you are diagnosed with any kind of auto-immune disease, I believe you should get your blood work done 1-2 times a year to make sure everything is running like a well oiled machine. It’s important to get accurate measures of your levels to know what dose of the supplements you should take that’s individualized for your body. There are some significant deficiencies that are caused by bowel disorders and by adding these supplements into your daily regimen, you can help your body heal.
Let me tell you what vitamin’s I take 2x per day. I preface this comment by saying I am not recommending these for you, I am simply explaining what I’m taking and why. It’s important to visit your doctor to have your own levels tested and get the appropriate amounts for your body. I’m not a doctor, I’m just a celiac patient and blogger sharing my experiences with you.
Magnesium – Some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency include dizziness, muscle cramps, muscle weakness and fatigue. I’d say these symptoms are some of the #1 questions I get asked about with Pretty Little Celiac. I take Cal Mag-D and Magnesium Citrate 2x a day. One in the morning and one at night. Be careful with how much and what brand you are taking because they can cause you to have runny poo and very strange smelling bathroom experiences. If you think this could be a problem, ask your doctor to have your levels checked next time you are there! Are you looking for some natural ways to get magnesium into your body? Add lots of leafy green veggies into your diet. Almonds, cashews and soybeans are also natural carries of magnesium but I realize many of you can’t have these items.
Want some more reasons to take magnesium? How about that it helps to alleviate gastrointestinal distress? Or it can help you maintain your blood sugar levels? Or that it helps maintain and healthy heart and bones.
Vitamin D – You can get vitamin D from fish, fish liver oils, egg yolk and in fortified diary and grain products. But what about when you can’t eat those things or are very limited? Most people in our country have a Vitamin D deficiency. I take 6,000 mg each day. Again the symptoms of Vitamin D relate to muscle weakness and bone pain. They can be subtle for most people but for those of us already struggling with bone and muscle problems, it can exaggerate the symptoms.
Vitamin B 12– This is one of the most important and over looked deficiencies, especially for those of us with auto-immune and bowel diseases. B12 deficiencies run rampant in people with diseases of the small intestine. This is because we aren’t able to properly absorb it from our food. Some symptoms of B12 deficiency are being tired, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding gums, stomach pains, diarrhea or constipation, mood changes, depression and tingling or numbness in fingers and toes. I always know when I’m not taking my vitamin’s consistently because I do suffer from the tingling in my fingers and toes. It feels like small pins and needles are poking away at my skin.
Cinnamon – This sneaky little guy could help you regulate your blood sugar, reduce LDL cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. My doctor said it also can help with hunger control as a side effect of assisting with blood sugar regulation. I take 2 pills int he morning and 2 at night. He recommends take them before meals. Many of you post about Candida and cinnamon assists with inhibiting the growth of this bacteria in your body.
DHEA Supplement – This was one of the tests I didn’t know anything about until the doctor did my tests. I was deficient in testosterone which can cause problems for me as a woman. Instead of trying to explain this complicated test and process, I suggest you read this article on Adrenal Health by Dr. Marcelle Pick. She explains it very well in this article. I know many of you suffer from mood swings, low sex drive, emotional distress and depression. This could be part of the problem. I would encourage all women who continue to struggle to get tested for this. I take 20mg/day. Read more about DHEA supplements at Serenity-Station.com.
Fish Oil & Omega 3’s – Did you know there are things called Omega-6’s? They are in all those packaged, processed gluten-free foods we consume to feel “normal.” They are also causing major inflammation in your body. Eliminating Omega 6’s from your diet, is a key component to healing our chronic disease. Omega 3’s are the superstars for our body. We need to focus on getting as many of this into our body as possible. They help with everything from asthma to cardiovascular diseases. You need DHA found in fish oil for your brain. It is one of the highest concentrated fatty acids in the brain and we need it to function. Don’t your want your brain to be a well oiled machine? I take 6-8 of these bad boys a day. I need all the brain juice I can get.
Just another reason to ditch those over processed, over priced gluten-free foods!
So, my advice for you is to get tested regularly for vitamin deficiencies to maximize your body’s ability to heal and fight off other problems that may occur. I can’t tell you what to take or how much to take, but I will tell you to go get tested! Any doctor can test for these and will know how to help you supplement for them. You don’t need to find a specialist unless your levels are way off and they refer you to a endocrinologist.
I’d love to hear your feedback! Tell me what vitamin’s do you take? Have they helped?
The weather is starting to warm up and my inbox is filling with invites to cook outs, graduation parties and weddings!
What a wonderful time of the year!
Well, unless you have celiac disease.
These events can be emotional for many reasons but your nutrition shouldn’t be one of them.
How do you have fun at these events without feeling like an outcast?
Let’s start with cook out style events like BBQ’s and graduation parties. These are actually the easiest to be safe. Events like this are more casual and laid back so people are less likely to mind if you bring your own food or alcohol. As with any situation like this, you need to pay attention to cross contamination and make sure people are dipping serving spoons into your food! But, just make sure you eat first out of the container and then get enough so you don’t have to go back for seconds.
If you are extremely sensitive, I would not allow your meat to cook on a grill with other stuff. You never know what else may have been cooked there that could contaminate your gluten-free meat. It would be easy though to cook it before you go and just enjoy it heated up in aluminum foil on the grill. That way you know it is safe from touching other items.
A great and easy meal would be a burger or hotdog with corn and Bush’s baked beans. (All Bush’s Baked beans are gluten-free!) Can’t tolerate corn? Bring a great veggie salad to the party or another side dish! Fruit and Vegetables are always abundant at parties so fill up on their wholesome goodness before digging into the other stuff. If you must have a desert, why not make gluten-free cookies and share with everyone? Try to bring another great snack like a fruit and whipped cream bowl which is gluten-free and pretty great on the waist line.
Again, a little bit of preparation can mean worlds of difference at an event like a cookout!
Weddings are a little more challenging. I’ve found that eating beforehand is always the best idea. You just can’t guarantee something will be there for you gluten-free and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I would not suggest asking the bride and/or groom to make special accommodations for you at their wedding unless you are very close with them. For instance, my sister-in-law is making sure I have a gluten-free meal and her maid of honor has a vegetarian meal at her wedding this fall. But, when we attend weddings for friends, I would not expect the same.
I also would not suggest bringing your own food or alcohol to a wedding unless they are snacks out of your purse!
I can’t emphasize enough that being educated about your own lifestyle, disease and safety is priority one. You must be educated enough to ask the right questions to keep yourself safe. If you don’t trust people where you are going, eat beforehand and just bring some alcohol. There is no shame in safety!!!
What tips do you have for going to events like these?