How to Eat Gluten-Free and Not Destroy Your Social Life – Part 2
The previous post, “How To Eat Gluten-Free and Not Destroy Your Social Life – Part 1” was created to help you contact and let your family, friends and important acquaintances know that they are important to you and to get them to help you live gluten-free successfully.
Also, it is designed to help you keep your friends and family “in the loop” so that you have the highest probability of retaining your relationship with them from an interpersonal as well as a social standpoint.
I suggest that if you haven’t already read Part 1 of this post that you do so right now by [Clicking Here].
7 Changes To Successfully Become Gluten Free
In order to support what you did because of the 1st part of this article you will need to integrate the following 7 rules and procedures into your life.
- Do everything I suggested that you do in the previous article. Telling your friends and associates about the diet changes in your life is extremely important for a number of reasons.
- Maintain a consistent contact regimen with each of your friends/family members that you spoke with. It needs to be at the same frequency and intensity as before you spoke with them.
- Don’t push it or get “all weird” on them. And, unless they bring up the subject, don’t speak of it again other than in passing and as necessary to stay gluten-free.
- Make sure you have a plan and food that you can pack up and take with you when you eat at the homes of friends or family.
- When you eat out with them you will need to be very careful. If you eat at places with ethnic servers or cooks, I suggest dining cards from Triumph Dining (they may seem expensive but what will a bad gluten reaction cost you?) which will explain your dietary requirements in other languages to the restaurant employees.
One thing you need to be aware of…
… Other cultures use the words “yes,” “ok” and similar words differently than we do in the United States and other WESTERN industrialized societies.
In some cultures, for instance, the word “yes” not only gives agreement it is also used to mean “yes, I heard you.”
Also, there are some cultures where it is considered to be extremely impolite to not agree with you or to not give you what you want.
Because of that they may tell you something they makeup (invent with or without various degrees of embellishment), even though they have no idea what the correct response to your question should be.
You will see what they say as a lie and they will see it as a social necessity as well as treating you with honor and respect. So, tread lightly here.
Also, some ethnic restaurants use “illegal aliens” and other very poor English speakers as servers or cooks. They are taught the menu in English and will pretend to understand you and even will parrot general answers that sound like they understood what you said when they hear certain words in your question.
Unfortunately, two hours later, as you are having a serious gluten reaction, you will realize your mistake… so be careful.
When in doubt, don’t eat or drink.
Sometimes speaking with the manager will help. If you ask for the manager or owner be sure to complement the server and express how please and satisfied you are with the individual server as well as the eatery.
Often, when I eat out at a place that I don’t trust I will drink water, eat a salad without croutons, dressing or other garnishments and enjoy my friend(s).
- Avoid intimate contact with anyone who has just handled, eaten or drunk something containing gluten. And, I don’t just mean kissing.
- Finally, never put anything in your mouth which may have been contaminated with gluten… especially, your hands!
A Final Word About Friends and Close Family Members
A word about friends. If someone tells you they are your friend after you have done the above, but they don’t do what they say they will… don’t ever “push it,” confront them or accuse them of lying to you.
Sometimes, it takes a long time to deal with a close friend becoming gluten-free. So, be overly generous with space and time. You may have just “rocked their world” and don’t realize it.
Simply invite friends to spend time with you when you normally would. If they continually have an excuse so they don’t need to spend time with you or if they stop inviting you when they normally would have included you, take the hint.
A basic rule of human relations is that people do what they want to do. If they never agree to spend time with you after a certain point, it’s most likely because they don’t want to.
If the person that is avoiding spending time with you is someone that you thought you were close to, grieve privately and move on.
Never confront them!
If they are just having trouble adjusting to your new condition they will, in my opinion, eventually contact you.
If you confront a friend that is having trouble adjusting to your new situation, I don’t believe it will go well and you may permanently damage or destroy your relationship with them.
That’s about all I have time for in this short article. It should help a lot with your friends and family if you do what I suggest.
One more very important point:
It’s Your Responsibility
Every individual and relationship is different and unique. Just because I say that I think something is a good idea, it may not be in your situation(s).
It is YOUR responsibility to accept or reject what I suggest you should do with respect to each of your relationships.
In my next article, I’ll be sharing how to begin shopping for gluten-free food in a post entitled “How to Find Gluten Free Diet Foods.”