How far do you go gluten free?

I can now say that I have been Celiac for over a year and while at times it still feels new to me,  I also feel much more comfortable with what it truly is like to live gluten free. I remember when I was first diagnosed I was told that I could not eat any of the items on this seemingly large (aka massive) list of foods. It was explained to me that there are possible contaminants everywhere you look. I was told that something I do weekly (aka eating dinner at my parents house) would require me to bring my own food.

Umm, are you kidding me? Do you know how improtant family dinners are to me? Obviously not!

I remember feeling like I was expected to now live in this bubble of safe eating and that I could not even consider the idea of eating at someones house, eating in a restaurant or eating unless I personally prepared the food myself. If you know me, and I feel you must by now, you are well aware that I do eat at other peoples homes, I do eat at restaurants, I do eat food prepared by people other than myself.  And you know what? I plan to continue to do so. Of course I also plan to continue to ask questions about food prep and teach others about my gluten free needs and ensure that I maintain a contamination free food zone to the best of my ability.

How far will you go?
I am not saying that we should all run out and eat some big fat sandwich on whole wheat bread ladden with guarenteed gluten and massive amounts of contaminated items. No way! I am however saying that it is (to me) important to be able to live. I am very thankful for the resources and knowledge available out there in restaurants and from food companies. I am also very thankful that the internet is around and becuase of this we are easily able to find out answers, access information and gain a sense of comfort when we consider eating different products.

I know that for whatever reason, some food items are more difficult for some people to understand. Meaning they struggle for some reason to know if the items are gluten free or  not. For example, my mother-inlaw seems to have trouble remembering that yes I can eat white vinegar, red wine vinegar and other vinegars but not malt vinegar. We don't even use malt vinegar in our homes or cooking, but somehow this is the item that she gets stuck on. Another example, my friend from work always thinks that I can eat teriaky sauce and wonders why I refuse to eat the ginger beef in the cafeteria at work. I have to remind her all the time that not only does the teriaky sauce they use contain Kikkoman brand soy sauce (which in particular is not gluten free), but the beef is breaded (which is also not gluten free).

The point I am trying to make here is that both of these people love me dearly and would never want me to be harmed, sick or feel pain, but they still stuggle to remember what is and is not gluten free. At times the can be challenging for me, but I have to remember that I live this every day and they do not. As well, I am fully aware that it gets easier when you get used to reading lables and contacting companies to ensure the foods you eat are gluten free. However, I am also aware that life happens whether we're in a bubble or out in the world.

My question to you far do you go gluten free?

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

*Image by jscreationzs


  1. Your experiences and choices very much mirror my own. I have been gluten free for 22 years now in addition to having multiple other food allergies. My family and friends have trouble remembering what I can and can't have but they keep trying to accomodate me for which I am grateful, even when they get it wrong and I can't eat their food. Yes, we must always be vigilant but you are right, we have to LIVE and food is so central to social connection and interaction. To rely solely on one's homemade brown bag of food, or worse, not to go out to eat with family and friends or not to travel because of one's dietary restrictions is soul deadening. I rely on a list of local celiac-friendly restaurants and thank goodness for them. Thank goodness for the internet so one can travel more easily. I think you strike the correct balance between being safe and having a life.

  2. @JanetP: Thank you for your feedback. It's always important to hear that we're not alone in our views and experiences.


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