Handling Social Situations with Gluten and Dairy Allergies
Having restrictions on your diet is not fun, especially when you have to deal with food allergies. Social situations are especially rough when food is involved. While it can be awkward to have to handle these things, at the end of the day, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Advising the host/hostess of a food allergy is advisable, you don’t want to put your health at risk and wind up in the emergency room because you ate the wrong thing. This is for any food allergy, not just for gluten and dairy allergies. Most of the time, the host/hostess will go out of their way to make sure that you are taken care of and make sure that you have things available for you to eat, always a plus. Sometimes, there is that one person who may not understand the situation or chooses not to understand, who knows. The following are social situations that I have been in recently involving food. I am certain there will be more as I progress along handling my allergies.
Social Situation #1: The Graduation Party
The Saturday before the July 4th holiday of this year (2017), my fiancé, John, informs me that his neighbor, Bill, was having a graduation party for his daughter Anna and we were invited. The only thing was, it was going to be catered and I went into a bit of a panic. I sent a message to Bill from my phone explaining my food allergies and he messaged back saying that it wasn’t a problem at all and he’d grill me some chicken. The following week, Bill saw me outside of my fiancé’s house and walked over to run by me his ideas for what marinades and seasonings he wanted to put on the chicken (lime and cilantro on some and Old Bay Seasoning on the rest, both gluten and dairy free). Bill took the time double check with me beforehand, which was awesome of him, and that was no surprise because Bill is awesome and always has been since I’ve met him. He also had salad (no croutons) and Rita’s Water Ice for dessert.
Social Situation #2: The Birthday Party
This past September, my friend Elysa celebrated her 40th birthday with a small gathering for family and a few friends. She messaged me and asked me specifically what I could and couldn’t eat and what kind of gluten free bread I preferred. I messaged her back letting her know that as far as I was aware, I could still have turkey meat, salad with no croutons, and I liked the Schar’s brand gluten free bread. Boy howdy, did that girl deliver! She gave me my very own loaf of Schar’s Deli style bread, I got to take the rest of the loaf home! She went into a bit of a panic when she saw me analyzing the ingredients and looking it over. Gregor, Elysa’s fiancé, even asked if that was the wrong bread. I just never saw the deli loaf before, I had the Italian style multigrain at home. To have my own loaf of Schar’s bread that I didn’t have to share was a thing of beauty and joy to me. Elysa also made sure there was plain salad and gluten free dressing too. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to partake in the birthday cake that Gregor got for her since it wasn’t gluten and dairy free. Fortunately for me, Elysa had the presence of mind to order a fruit tray, which was awesome.
Social Situation #3: The Bat Mitzvah
Around the beginning of July, I received an invitation to my cousin Deanna’s Bat Mitzvah being given by her mother and step-father. As I perused the invitation, I noticed at the very bottom that there would be a meal following the service. That sent me into a bit of a panic, but I knew what I had to do. I messaged Deanna’s mother and informed her that I had allergies to dairy and gluten and I felt that it initially didn’t go well and it was upsetting that I tried to let her know for my own sake and safety and I felt that I got shot down because, as I was informed, the meal was already paid for and there wasn’t much that she could do. I was also upset about it because I wasn’t doing this to be trendy and I really didn’t want to get sick because I ate the wrong thing. The day of the Bat Mitzvah after the service, I went up to one of the caterers and politely asked if there was anything available for me to eat since I had allergies to dairy and gluten. To my relief and delight, they had a meal ready for me consisting of grilled veggies on a bed of greens, which not only looked delicious, it was delicious. I was also getting covetous looks from John (my fiancé) and from my cousin Michelle. At my insistence, and to John’s delight in spite of his “protesting” that I didn’t have to share, I gave him a couple pieces of the grilled yellow squash to try. This was the situation that could have been potentially disastrous and I was glad that it didn’t wind up that way.
Just keep in mind that this could literally be a life or death situation, don’t be afraid to speak up and let people know about your food allergies, whether it gluten, dairy, nuts, or any other allergy you may have. When you are in a social situation involving food, just remember in addition to being careful, also try to focus on the fun as well!