In honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to spotlight ways to support someone you love who can’t eat gluten—not just for one day, but all year round! Some of us are gluten-free by diagnosis, others gluten-free by love (i.e. gluten-free because the one we love is). It is challenging, and people have to find what works for them and their family. Some families decide to give up gluten all together, like Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs. Many discover that their partner is gluten sensitive, too (one client at a class discovered that she and her hubby BOTH had celiac, long after they were married. What odds!) Others have a mixed household. No matter what, communication and education is key, and support is such a gift.
Suggestions for Glutenivores who love someone gluten-free:
Rule (not suggestion!) #1 Safety first!
I know this goes without saying, but anyone who loves you will not want to see you hurting and will not want you to sacrifice your innards.
As my hubby puts it, “Having gluten in the house means being careful to avoid cross-contamination that could risk the health of someone with Celiac. If you’re not going to have a completely gluten-free household, do your best to clean up after yourself when preparing foods with gluten, and make sure that your significant other doesn’t accidentally drink from your glasses, eat off your plates, or use your utensils.”
Suggestion #2: Get everyone educated. When I have sessions with anyone newly diagnosed, I always suggest they bring a SO, friend or roommate along. That was also a big reason for my videos on Celiac and a gluten-free diet. Why? If your partner in crime doesn’t understand what you’re doing, it’s awfully hard for them to make sure they’re supporting you. I love that my husband can explain to my MIL what I can and can’t have and a second set of ears and eyes looking out for me.
As Diane of The WHOLE Gang takes this one step further and reminds us that it’s great to spread that hands-on knowledge to the kitchen: “Take gluten-free cooking classes together so you can learn more about what’s involved.”
#3 Go for a united front: That doesn’t mean everyone needs to be gluten-free, but everyone needs to be supportive. When we’ve gone to restaurants and had them push back against my requests, my husband has been right there with me, and we’ve left when necessary.
Carrie of Ginger Lemon Girl agrees ” Michael also has learned to be a strong advocate for me in restaurants and even when visiting family. He’ll remember small things like reminding the waiter to make SURE to leave croutons off my salad (I often forget to say this!) or when we’re visiting his family he’ll give clear instructions to his mom about how to prepare a food so I can eat it safely. This is a huge support to me and makes me feel very loved.”
#4 No deprival! There was unanimous agreement: deprival is absolutely not necessary for either gluten eater or gluten-avoider!
“Your partner should be treated to the same yummy foods as you are, and visa versa; and the food should be gluten-free or free of whatever food allergens either of you must avoid. It’s always possible, so make it happen! “~Jules, baking goddess of Jules Gluten-Free Flour
Carrie sees eating out a great way for her and her sweetie to both enjoy: “Eating out at safe restaurants (that have both gluten-y foods and gluten free foods) is a great way for Michael to enjoy the gluten-filled foods he loves without feeling like it’s making me go out of my way to make two meals or possibly cross-contaminate my kitchen. I certainly don’t mind him eating whatever he wants when we go out, since he generally eats what I eat when at home. And Michael is very considerate in making sure he brushes his teeth or rinses out his mouth before kissing me after a meal out. Something I never would have given a 2nd thought too when I ate gluten! “ Where we sometimes see need to be careful, Diane sees opportunity: “But if they make the switch (to gf) too, well then it’s kissing all the time anytime! ”
And advice from my favorite hubby: “You’ll probably have to get used to a big change in diet, but you don’t need to give up the glutenous foods that you love. You can find some good restaurants with take-out. [Cheryl’s note: sometimes wifey just doesn’t feel like cooking and appreciates the break!] . “It’ll take some adjustment, and it’ll be frustrating at times, but you can support your loved one’s need to avoid gluten”.
What are your tips so that everyone stays happy and healthy?