30 Ways To Make Your Celiac Friend Feel “Normal”

Coffee and celiac

Has your friend just been diagnosed with celiac disease?  A diagnosis of celiac can be overwhelming at first and can make so many food related activities off limits or require a lot of pre planning, making the experience more stressful than enjoyable.

Often times, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity will deny food related invitations due to the fact that they “don’t even want to deal with it.”

Food related events outside of the home, especially at the onset of diagnosis, can be anxiety provoking.  In fact, did you know, that a diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety is commonly associated with celiac disease?

Not only is the individual still learning what gluten free entails, they now have to think about navigating this diet with someone else preparing the food, which is next to impossible.  And, let alone, stressful!

Think about it like comparing celiac (a condition that medically requires a gluten free diet) to a peanut allergy.  Would you want a friend to cook for you who has a mediocre knowledge on managing a peanut allergy (potentially risking anaphylaxis)? Likely not.  Same answer for gluten free.

Our friends may have the best intentions to make a meal gluten free, but unless they have been thoroughly educated on cross contamination and reading labels, it is very unlikely that they will be able to prepare a safe meal for a celiac (read – please do not attempt!).

Eating out in a restaurant is another hurdle that a celiac has to climb.  Imagine going from ordering whatever you want, whenever you want to having to basically interrogate the server on safe kitchen practices for allergens and asking for ingredient lists on food items.  Sound overwhelming?  It is.  And, it is even more so for someone who is newly diagnosed because they still need to learn to identify risky foods in restaurants and learn the correct questions to ask to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

There are even individuals who have years of a celiac diagnosis on their belt and still experience a mountain of stress when considering food invitations outside of the home.  Because we all have to eat three meals a day, food and, more importantly, safe gluten free food is always on the mind of celiacs, 24/7, 365 days out of the year.  It can be exhausting.

So, sometimes, it’s nice to forget about it.  And the activities below take food out of the equation so your celiac friend can forget about their diagnosis, if only for a few hours.

When I think of participating in the activities listed below, it’s like a breath of fresh air because:

  • I don’t even have to think about cross contamination, questions to call ahead and ask the restaurant, or if I need to pack extra snacks in case I can’t eat etc.
  • It’s not something additional to put on the ‘to-do’ list.  Rather, it’s something to, truly, look forward to.
  • It’s just easy.  It’s a plain and simple answer – yes or no.

30 Ways To Make Your Celiac Friend Feel “Normal”

  1. Farmers Market
  2. Wine Night (or GF beer night)
  3. Games Night
  4. Exercise classes like Yoga, Pilates, or HIIT
  5. Tea at a friends house
  6. Going for coffee (my personal favorite)
  7. Manicures or pedicures
  8. Walk in the park or hiking
  9. Window shopping (or purchasing!)
  10. Winery Tours
  11. Concerts
  12. Playdate with little ones
  13. Knitting class
  14. Art/painting class
  15. Floral or plant workshops
  16. Book club
  17. Jewelry making class
  18. Snowshoeing
  19. Skiing
  20. Boating on the lake
  21. Beach or pool afternoon
  22. Movie night or TV night (Bachelor night ladies?)
  23. Water park or waterslides
  24. Garden club
  25. Bike riding
  26. Volunteering your time to help others in need
  27. Kombucha workshop
  28. Bike riding
  29. Driving to a nearby town and exploring thrift stores and antique shops
  30. Cross country skiing

Do you have more to add? Let me hear them in comments section!

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