You may be the adult child heading “home” to visit your family for the holidays, either with or without your own family. You may be the host family, the ones who will soon find your extra rooms filled with out-of-town guests. Either or both of you may be gluten-free.
Many people prefer to stay in hotels when they travel, even when they visit family. But in many cultures this is taboo. And so the beds and couches and floor space get additional use.
Here are a few tips for surviving, even thriving. If you’re the host:
- Explain your dietary restrictions in terms a young child can understand. “I am allergic to gluten and get sick when I eat it.”
- Be prepared for people to not understand, especially ones of a certain generation.
- Explain exactly what can and cannot come into the house for safety reasons.
If you’re the hosted read the first two items above and then:
- Bring some of your own snacks.
- Offer to cook a gluten-free meal or two.
- Come prepared with a list of local restaurants where you will feel comfortable eating.
- Send an advance list of your staple food items if the hostess has asked if you eat anything special.
Above all, remember to give people the benefit of the doubt. Until a person has walked in the shoes of a celiac they cannot understand the effects gluten has on someone who cannot tolerate it.