Events, Holidays

Gluten Free Guests

0 Comments 21 April 2009

Gluten Free Guests

Complete avoidance of gluten is the one and only treatment for gluten sensitivity. And as much as we all like that night off from cooking, or that vacation to a relative’s that means a few days out of the kitchen, this is a luxury that those who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease can typically not afford.

Unfortunately, avoiding gluten goes far beyond wheat, barley and rye containing breads, cereals and pastas. If you’re planning to host a gluten-free friend or relative for one night or one week, you’d best have some of the basics down.

In this article, I’ve comprised a few pointers to showing your gluten-free guest a great, gluten-free time:

  • Know the Basics to Avoid an Uncomfortable Situation: You may already know that gluten is the protein found in wheat barley and rye, and contaminated oats. But for someone who is gluten-sensitive, the risk of contamination does not end with breads and cereals.Gluten has become the crutch of the food industry, used as a binding agent (or “glue”) to hold together seasonings, sauces and even soups. Unless it is labeled “gluten free” do not assume that any marinade, margarine, soup, salad dressing or soy sauce is safe for your guest. And no, “just a little bit” of gluten is not okay.Reactions to gluten can range anywhere from neurological problems such as brain fog or even migraines to chromic inflammation including arthritis to damage to the intestines leading to long term malabsorption. So the real danger for those who are gluten intolerant or who have celiac disease is not usually what happens in the next few hours, but rather over the next few days. Gluten your guest, and your friend or family member may “appear” okay, but be silently suffering from constipation, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, arthritis, brain fog, or a whole host of other issues that he or she may not want to broadcast.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Ask Away: Many who are gluten sensitive also suffer from additional food sensitivities, such as soy or casein (milk protein). So be sure to ask your guest if there are any other foods that he or she must avoid. Don’t be shocked if the list seems very limiting.The last time your saw your family member or friend gluten may have been on the menu, but be sensitive to the fact that he or she has gone through a lot to properly, medically diagnosed. And that the reason for seeking out a diagnosis in the first place was months or even years of suffering, silently or not.

    So if these newly found food sensitivities have you stumped in the kitchen, ask your guest before arrival what he or she usually eats. You can also try using the Gluten Free Fox Search Engine to find any type of recipe you’re in the mood for. Simply type in “chicken” and choose the category “recipes” for links to hundreds of amazing gluten-free blogs and cooking resources full of wonderful recipes that will have you forgetting all about gluten.

  • Arm Yourself with Some Back-up Options: When I went home for my first gluten-free Christmas, Taylor‚Äôs mom had stocked up on gluten-free chips, cookies, bake mixes and cereals, plus she had baked me a loaf of gluten-free bread. It was some of the best gluten-free bread I’ve tried, but to this day I still wonder how long she must have spent perfecting the recipe. You see, it is the joke of the gluten-free community that all (store bought) gluten-free breads and even mixes taste like cardboard. I still don’t know how she turned out such a great bread loaf, but for the rest of us, there’s Kinnikinnick.To anyone who ever complains over the taste and texture of gluten-free bread, I offer one suggestion “try Kinnikinnick.” One bite of a lightly toasted slice of their Candida bread or Hamburger buns will convert you for life–gluten-free or not. I’ve also heard wonderful things about Glutino and French Meadow Bakery, but have yet to try theirs.Buy a bag of salted kettle chips (since all we gluten-frees seem addicted to them!), get a loaf of gluten-free Kinnikinnick, and look for other snacks that are naturally gluten-free and you’re gluten-free guest will think that you really are “the hostess with the mostess.”

Ultimately, if you’ve followed my advice above, you’re on your way to making this a successful visit. If it’s unavoidable, your gluten-free guest will understand if your other guests still partake in a gluten-containing bread at dinner, but showing your friend or family member your support by trying to make his or her visit a gluten-free success is truly the very best way to say, “I care.”

- who has written 103 posts on Gluten Free Fox.

Kristen Campbell and her "wonder dog" Waylon are both severely intolerant to gluten. Celiac? Perhaps. But they've never had the endoscopy to tell (human or dog--does that exist?). Fortunately, they found each other! When Kristen isn't busy at work, she loves mixing up natural, gluten-free beauty products under her self titled line, spending time with her favorite "wonder dog" and catching up with friends.

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