What do you do when you will be attending a catered event?
Gluten free means zero tolerance. None. Nadda. Zip. Not a speck. Not a crumb.
We read labels. We ask questions. We make phone calls.
But there are those occasions: weddings, banquets, parties.
Do you just not eat?
Do you call ahead?
Do you guess? "Oh, that looks gluten free."
Any of us who have been gluten free for any period of time knows our own body's reaction to gluten. The problem isn't always about the short term reaction, though. As studies show us, the problem comes from repeated exposure. My osteoporosis, for example, came from years of consuming gluten and not absorbing nutrients.
I am strict. I can honestly say that I have never, not once, purposely eaten something with gluten. I take this diet very seriously! Gluten has affected my life in far too many negative ways for me to take big risks or to cheat. And for me, the affect isn't just personal; others are impacted to my gluten consumption. Its not fair to those I love to cheat.
I am "guilty" though, of eating something at a party or off a buffet line that I am fairly certain is gluten free - without asking questions: cheese (if there are no crackers on the plate), plain veggies or fruit. Shrimp.
Any catered type event, though, I always call. And I would hope you do too.
The biggest reason is for your own safety and comfort. Sometimes we get the joy of discovering that the meal is being prepared by someone who has celiac, or knows someone with celiac. This was the case at a conference I attended this fall. The registration form included the question: "any food allergies?" The chef's daughter has celiac. Everything but the rolls was naturally gluten free; not just mine, but everyone's. Not the best meal, lol - but it was safe, and I didn't have to hunt it down.
Allow yourself that comfort of being able to dine with everyone else. Most caterers and kitchens are able to at least provide you a separate meal of a plain chicken breast and potato. But call; let them know you have a special diet requirement.
The more of us that call ahead says, "Hey, there's a need." Caterers who hear this more will learn it better, right? and provide for what the customer needs. One wedding I went to included 3 or 4 gluten free guests - who called and inquired, that is. My wedding was completely gluten free. No one asked me about the food before hand, but if they did, how nice would that be to hear? "The bride has celiac - all food is safe! - down to the desserts!
Many still find it difficult to ask. But its your body - you deserve good health. Your needs ARE important because YOU are important!
And remember - when you speak up for yourself, you are speaking up for others.
Wow have things grown in the last decade. We can put on our sunglasses folks, because this diet isn't as bleak as it once was.