Dec 04 2013

The GlutenfreeSingles Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Published by at 7:18 pm under Holidays

The holidays are here, which means food, food…and more food! You will likely be on the receiving end of party invitations, family dinner requests, cookies, pies, egg nog and more. For anyone, the holidays can certainly be risky – all those extra calories have to go somewhere! For gluten-free eaters, the holidays are extra precarious. Most standard baked goods contain gluten, and for every party invitation you receive, you risk becoming that person with all food issues your hosts have to work around.

Don’t spiral into holiday blues or take out your anxiety on the person who just stole your parking spot at the mall! Let us help you glide through the holidays with grace and goodwill for all!

Keep Gluten-Free Snacks Handy

I used to work at a pretty typical company. Every December our vendors would send over boxes of cookies, whole cakes, brownies and all sorts of other goodies. These treats would, for the most part, end up in the lunch room where they would beckon ceaselessly all day until I finally caved.

For gluten-free eaters, all of these readily available treats can fry your self-control or even lead you to fall off the gluten-free wagon (resulting in some very un-festive digestive symptoms if you have celiac or a gluten sensitivity). Whether your workplace gets overrun with treats, or cookies and brownies assault you in other places, stay strong by keeping snacks close at hand. Personally, I like to nibble on dark chocolate throughout the day to satisfy my sugar cravings. Find a gluten-free snack that appeals to your taste buds and dive in as soon as those gluten-filled cookies start calling.

Eat Beforehand

If you are invited to a neighbor’s holiday party, invited out to dinner or ordered to a family get together, you may find yourself surrounded by gluten food options. If you feel comfortable with the party or dinner hosts, one option is to let them know about your gluten-free needs. You can make the conversation a lot less awkward by listing all of the things you can eat, including fruits, veggies and meat. Good hosts will probably be willing to have some food available for you.

If you worry about being a party pooper or stressing out the hosts too much, consider eating a small meal before you attend the party or dinner. This way, you can nibble your way through any gluten-free options available, but there’s no risk of starvation (or hunger-induced crankiness) if you can’t eat what’s on the menu.

One last option is to bring a gluten-free snack, appetizer or dessert if you’re attending a potluck event. This way, at least you’ll have a guaranteed safe option if all else fails.

Practice Humility

It’s going to happen. Someone will give you cookies or proudly present you with their special bunt cake as a gift. There’s no need to freak out and hurl the offensive food item off your property or away from your cubicle. Instead, acknowledge the gift for what it is – a present from someone who cares about you. Accept the gift with gratitude. Even if you can’t eat gluten, I’m sure you know plenty of people who can. Take the cookies to work, surprise your neighbors, bring them to church or the synagogue. If you happen to receive bubble bath or lotion or any other self-care item with gluten that you don’t want, give it to a friend or to a charity. Someone will appreciate it, and you’ll get to enjoy the gift of giving.

Remember that the holidays are meant to be a time of peace, harmony and goodwill. Many people don’t understand what gluten is and the foods or other items that typically contain gluten. Even if they know that you are gluten free, they may still make a gluten gift mistake. Don’t forget that it really is the thought that counts even if you receive a gift that could literally cause you to break out in rashes.

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