It has been almost a year since I finally made the connection between my symptoms and gluten. My life and health has improved so much over this past year.  I have to say though that the hardest part remains socializing with others over meals.

People try so hard to be helpful and make menu suggestions that would appear to be safe for me but really they are not because the kitchen has to be a gluten free environment from the start. Soups have to be made with gluten free broth and not have any canned soup added to bump up the flavor. I have to avoid all dressings and sauces because of potential thickening agents. Even bouillon cubes have to be gluten free.  The last time I had soup at a restaurant, my skin flared up and these flare ups last for a week or longer.  I had the soup so that I could sit with a friend for lunch and feel “normal.” It felt wonderful at the time but I suffered so much afterwards that now I just chose to eat in my car and go in and have water or tea when I am visiting with friends at a restaurant that is not safe for gluten allergies.

People are convinced that they can cure me. People are convinced that their food is safe and sometimes I feel so badly to be causing such a problem, that I will simply eat things that I know are not good for me, to put an end to conversation.  When you go to a party or sit with friends, you want to forget your troubles and most of all you do not want to have to educate others about the graveness of the situation.  When I showed some of my family some photos that I took of my skin in a flare up, they finally understood how serious this is for me but really it should not have to get to that point.

So I bring my own food wherever I go or I cook for my friends and family. The important part is to get together and laugh and have fun. If you are around someone who is struggling with a dietary restriction, the best thing that you can do is to ask them how they would like to have a visit. Maybe it will be over tea and not lunch or dinner.  Maybe they will suggest a restaurant that is safe for everyone or perhaps they will want to bring their own food.  Do not be offended if they explain that they cannot eat your food. This is not a matter of being picky. Celiac and Dermatitis Herpetiformis are awful conditions and we are just doing our best to function in a society that is all about food!!!

See you soon,
Beth