Maybe you’ve just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Or maybe you’ve been diagnosed for a while but still struggle. It is hard sometimes having Celiac Disease (or Gluten Intolerance/Sensitivity) and still wanting to be social and go out to eat with friends. You worry about where your friends will want to eat, will want to tell them where you can eat but don’t want to be a “burden”, and worry about cross contamination. It’s a lot.
Here are my tips to still being social while having Celiac Disease or living a gluten free diet:
- Let your friends/family know that you are still able to hang out with them. There were times, especially shortly after being gluten free, that I felt like others would not include me in things because I couldn’t eat there. Let them know right from the start that you still want to be included.
- If who you’re dining with has a specific restaurant in mind, research the place. Call ahead of time before going and ask them if they are knowledgeable about Celiac Disease or gluten free. Also ask about their cross contamination procedures. If the place is knowledgeable, awesome! If not…
- Either tell your friends you really don’t feel safe eating there and maybe recommend your favorite (safe) restaurant (see my restaurant guide here)…or tell them you will bring a snack or eat before going.
- If I don’t feel safe eating out I either eat before I go, take a snack or bring my own meal depending on the location/setting of the restaurant. For example, if you’re going on a picnic you can easily bring your own food or food that is safe for you to share with others. Even if your friends are going to a fast food restaurant you can either take a snack or maybe even a sandwich. If it’s a sit-down restaurant, definitely call the place beforehand or order meals you know would be safe like salad, meat with little or no seasoning, no breads, pasta, etc (but still ask the waiter/waitress). Also, ask to speak with the cook. After all, they will be the one making your meal. Let them know how sick you will be if the food is unsafe.
In the end, it is up to you and how considerate those you’re dining with are. Surround yourself with those who care about you and your health and educate those who don’t know much about Celiac (by sharing this post/the blog 😉 )
And remember, you can’t go anywhere without a little faith.