Tag Archives: diet

How to date someone who’s gluten free

After reading Gluten Dude’s post about the importance of spousal support when you have Celiac’s, I started thinking about the similarities/differences when you are still in the dating stage with someone who had to eat gluten free. Since you haven’t pledged to be around “in sickness and in health” yet, how accommodating or supportive do you need to be?

So, here are a few “Do’s” and “Don’ts” on how to successfully date someone with Celiac’s – or at least not completely piss them off.

1. DON’T feel like you have to be an expert in gluten free food.
Especially when first dating someone, I wouldn’t expect them to know that I can’t eat say, malt extract.That’s for me to know.

2. DO know the basics.
It is pretty easy to remember that I can’t eat anything with flour in it, or the word “wheat”. Plus if you know the basics I won’t have to give you a blank stare when you pass me the bread basket at dinner.

3. DON’T mock me.
If you think it’s funny to make overly exaggerated “mmm” sounds, or wave a bagel in front of my face. It’s not. Really… it’s not. I get it, I can’t eat yummy food. You can feel free to enjoy it, and even tell me how much you’re enjoying it, but just don’t make fun of me that I can’t have it.

4. DO let me smell your food.
Yeah, I know it’s weird. But smell is seventy to seventy-five percent of what we perceive as taste, so it’s the closest I can get to eating some foods. I might be fooling myself, but sometimes just taking a whiff of something is enough to give me an idea of how it tastes and allow me to enjoy whatever it is I’m eating.

5. DON’T speak for me.
There are some times I really don’t feel like answering questions or talking about Celiac’s. So if we’re at a party, don’t just randomly announce that I have it. “Oh, she can’t have that, she has this DISEASE.” Unless I’m starving to death, and give you some kind of signal that I’m going to pass out, I’m okay. I’ll bring it up if necessary or I feel like it.

6. DO be willing to try new things.
If I want to make you a gluten free pancake breakfast, or go out to a random vegan/gluten free bakery, don’t turn your nose up at it. Try it: if you hate it we’ll go get you an Egg McMuffin or something. I promise gluten free soy sauce tastes the same, and most of what I make will be so delicious you won’t care it isn’t the “normal” way you’re used to having it.

7. DON’T fawn over me.
This kind of goes along with #5. I can take care of myself, and I don’t need special considerations made for me at every turn. Sure, I won’t be overly ecstatic to go to a deep dish pizza place for dinner with your friends, but I’ll deal. I’ll feel worse if every one else has to go somewhere they’re not stoked about, and won’t enjoy myself anyway. Of course, if there’s a logical substitution (ie: there’s a place that’s equally as good that carries gluten free crust) then by all means, suggest it.

8. DO be understanding, and make an effort.
Sometimes having Celiac’s can be really frustrating. I can get grumpy if I can’t find anything to eat somewhere, or have to eat a salad when I really want something hearty. It’s not you, it’s the gluten.

Extra points if you make some kind of effort to be overly understanding – pick up a gluten free cookie you see at the store, take me to a restaurant I haven’t heard of that’s gfree-friendly, or make dinner. It’s not too difficult and I’ll love it way more than flowers.

Have you ever dated someone who did a really good job of supporting you, or a really bad job of it? What tips would you give to someone dating someone with Celiac’s?

Five tips for eating gluten free during the holidays

Around this time of the year, tons of holiday diet tips articles come out. Most of them tell you the same things – don’t stand near the food table, avoid high-calorie drinks like egg nog, have healthy snacks before a party, keep your will power strong.

Well, when you have to eat gluten free, things tend to go a bit differently. So here are the things that I’ve learned about eating during the holidays without getting sick, and still having fun!

1. Focus on the festivity
Sure, a lot of holidays revolve around the food we prepare, serve, and eat during them. However, it’s not everything. Even though you may not be able to eat grandma’s famous Christmas cookies anymore, you can definitely still make grandma a killer Christmas gift, or spend some QT with her while everyone else is in a sugar coma from the cookies. By focusing on the other aspects of holidays, you’ll still get the same amount of enjoyment out of them, maybe even more.

2. Eat what you can, whatever it is
Sure, you could stick to plain veggies and shrimp cocktail. But if you’re not trying to lose weight, then eat whatever is gluten free!

Fattening casserole? Yes!
Cheese platter? I’ll try one of each.
Ice cream? Double scoop please!

I’ve found that I usually can’t eat most of the “bad-for-you” foods at parties like rich desserts, pies, pizza, and appetizers. So, if there are things that I can eat, I’ll go for it even if it’s not something that fits into my usually healthy diet choices. There are enough times I have to say no, so if I can say yes, I will!

3. Bring something and be proud that it’s gluten free
I’ve made the mistake before of bringing something that’s gluten free and letting it sit around incognito. Then I realized that if I didn’t say something about it being gluten free there was a big chance for cross contamination (ie: you bring a dip and corn chips, and someone grabs a hunk of bread and dunks it right in the bowl). It also will help other guest who may have food allergies, and may even spark a discussion that could lead to someone discovering their own gluten intolerance.

Even if it’s not homemade, bringing a box of gluten free crackers, chips and salsa, or a bag of nuts even, will ensure that you have something around to keep you from starving.

4. Scope out the scene before the party
Hopefully you know the host of your party, and can ask them casually what’s on their menu (or ask them if they need help, can bring something, or offer a great recipe you have). If they’re planning on serving turkey pot pie for dinner, cookies for dessert, and beer to drink, then you know that you should probably BYOB and bring something substantial to eat (or eat more ahead of time).

If you don’t know the host well, then don’t bank on them having a full array of gluten free items for you to eat. Have a yummy mid-sized meal beforehand and then you can focus on having a few drinks, socializing, and having a few nibbles. Not every party also needs to be a feast (I have to remind myself of this one sometimes).

5. Be a good sport, but also take control

If someone gives you a cookie tin as a gift, for godsakes just take it! Give it to your mailman or something. There’s no worse feeling than having a gift rejected, so just be thankful. There is so much going on during the holidays that your gluten allergy is probably not high on people’s priority list. So, be a good sport and keep your holiday cheer up.

On that same note though – take control of the holiday season! Have your own gluten free party! Gluten free graham cracker gingerbread house making party? Gluten free cookie swap? Hot chocolate, popcorn, and Christmas movies? Throw a get-together yourself and you can run the show.

Hope you find these tips helpful! Also would love suggestions on anything that you do during the holidays to stay gluten free and also have a merry time!

Good Things Monday

Starting the week off right, by celebrating some of my favorite things at the moment!

1. Pop up farmers markets

Since Eastern Market is always a madhouse, I love the smaller farmer’s markets that pop up around the city. Like the one in McPherson Square every Thursday where I sampled about ten local cheeses.

Before deciding on this yummy local havarti from Keswick Creamery. They also had a really yummy chocolate pudding, and spreadable cheeses (like Boursin).

At the pop up market on U Street I got a kind of apple I’ve never tried before: zestar. I’m so excited that apple season is here.

And lastly, there was a random bake sale across from Flow Yoga on P Street on Saturday where I got a gluten free German chocolate cupcake, and this rice crispy-type treat.

2. Nutritional yeast

I’ve heard about nutritional yeast for awhile, but haven’t tried it yet because it just doesn’t sound all that appealing. But then I heard that it was in Cafe Green’s delicious mac and cheese, so I figured it couldn’t be all that bad. I got a small bag from the Whole Foods bulk bins to give it a try.

I used it to top some roasted eggplant and it tastes remarkably like parmesan cheese, only meltier and milder. Apparently it’s full of B vitamins and other goodforyou stuff, so I will definitely use it as a parm substitute again.

3. National Celiac Disease Awareness Day is tomorrow!

Check out this list of 13 ways you can celebrate the day from Celiac Central. I’ll be doing:

#1: Share the Celiac Symptoms Checklist. I’ll be sending the list out to my friends and posting on social network. Chances are someone I know is a closet Celiac.

#3: Go for a run. Pre-diagnosis I felt so awful there was no way I could run. I will celebrate my health and run a bit longer and faster.

#8: Have a party. I won’t have a full-blown party (maybe next year 🙂 ) but I will be making some gluten free baked goods to bring into my office.

Are you doing anything to celebrate Celiac Awareness Day? And how psyched are you that it actually exists now?!

Eat this, not that.

I’ve always been kind of obsessed with “Eat this, not that” type comparisons. They have them on the Today Show all the time, comparing high calorie/high fat meals to ones that are healthier. So when I spotted the book “Eat This, Not That! The No Diet Weight Loss Solution” at the library, I decided to pick it up and see if there were any gluten free items in it.

There wasn’t a dedicated gf section, but there were some items that surprised me.

And this is what I learned…

Eat this: Soy Crisps and True North almond crisps

Not that: Nacho rice chips (but they’re so good!)

None of the cereals on the “Eat this” list were gf. But Chocolate Chex were on the “Not that” list! (In my head I think of it as the naughty list, like Santa. I still love chocolate Chex and will eat it regardless).

But, on the “Eat this” list I found Tamari soy sauce.

And finally, a fun fact: Starbuck’s Frappucino drinks have the same amount of sugar/calories as two servings of ice cream! Gimme the ice cream any day.

Are there any other gluten free foods that you think would be on the “Not That” list?   And do you eat them anyway?

Gluten Free Infographics

I’ve been doing some research into interesting infographics for work lately, where I found out about the perils of sitting all day and how soda at fast food restaurants is marked up 1200%!  This got me curious as to if there are any cool infographics about being gluten free.  Well, turns out there are!  Which is great because I think they are neato.  Here are three that I found:

What the Bleep Does Gluten Free Mean?  Brought to you by Pure.

Pretty cool simple explanation about what gluten is, how it affects peoples health, and what the dietetic solution is.

The Old School Diet.  Brought to you by The Paleolithic Diet.

I’ve been hearing more about this Paleolithic Diet lately, and the theory is that modern foods disrupt our bacteria and digestion in the gut, causing Celiac Disease.  The only part I disagree with is that it’s lumped in with obesity and diabetes, as if it was something that a person could control or prevent.

Gluten Free.  Brought to you by Hartman Salt.

This is copyrighted.  But it is more about the consumer trends in gluten free foods.

Breaking News: Most people on a gluten free diet kind of think it sucks

I was reading this article on jacksonville.com by Mark Basch (The Gluten Free Glutton) about how “43 percent of people on a gluten-free diet rated their satisfaction as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor,’ with 35 percent rating it as ‘average.'” So that’s 78% of people on a gf diet that kind of think it sucks.

How sad is that?

Then I got to thinking about how I would rate my satisfaction with my diet.  And I think I’d say “above average”.  Or maybe “average”?  It’s such a weird question.

On the one hand, I still get to eat things like this massive Thanksgiving sandwich from Terri Vegetarian in NYC.  And I’m very satisfied.

But on the other, sometimes I have to buy the one gluten free veggie burger in the grocery store, which ends up tasting dry and looking like a dirt patty, and I have to slather it with hummus to make it edible.  Then? Not so satisfied.

How would you rate your satisfaction with your gluten free diet?