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    Well done gluten dude. I do think this issue comes up alot. Another variation is when people bring things especially for me to a potluck or party. I usually go with some variation of ‘wow, it was so nice of you to think of me, and I really appreciate it, but there are a bunch of rules my doctor gave me not just for what ingredients to use, but also how things need to be prepared. I really appreciate the thought but it’s just simpler for me to stick to food I made myself. If you want to bring me something though, wine is always appreciated’. That way I’m doing a little casual educating that it’s more than just gluten free ingredients and avoiding the repeat food dodge that can be frustrating to persistent food-is-love friends.

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    Option 4 is my go to. I think it’s totally fine to sincerely thank someone for thinking of you, and then to pass on the goodies discreetly to someone who can enjoy them.

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    Wendy T

    It took me a long time to get to the point where I really believe that my health is more important than someone else’s feelings about a gift.
    That said, it’s also not a license for me to be a jerk to someone who is being nice. I’m offered food ALL THE TIME at work. People bring in homemade GF stuff for pot lucks, etc. They make a point to tell me “This is GF!” and are excited to share. I’m glad they’re doing the research and thank them. I sometimes will ask for the recipe. Usually, I bow out of eating the stuff by saying that I’ve already eaten but wanted to spend time with them, or “I’ve been having some tummy issues so I’m playing it safe this week.” or something like that. I make sure to thank them for their effort in including me in the festivities. My husband does not have any dietary restrictions, so gifts usually wind up being gifts for him. I’m happy to hand treats over to him.
    One time I was given a gift card to a subscription for one of those meal delivery companies. The person spent $50 on it. I checked, and there was no option to request GF meals from them, so I regifted it to someone I knew would love and use it. When asked if I’d used it, I was honest and told them that the company couldn’t accommodate me but that I made sure that it went to someone who would enjoy it and they loved it and “Thank you.” That one was a teaching moment and prompted me to ask my friends and family to not buy/make me food items as gifts. Social interaction is so centered around food that it can be hard to navigate, especially in an office environment where it’s how people connect with each other.
    Things I find myself saying every year “Thank you for including me.” and “I’ve eaten already but wanted to spend time with everybody”(at the pot luck.)
    Sometimes you can’t avoid hurt feelings though. Remember, your health is more important than someone’s feelings. Be considerate but not to the level of causing your own injury.

    Re: The muffin question – Keep them contained and take them to the office. Share with non-CD friends. A box or bag of muffins is not going to contaminate your entire kitchen. If you’re worried, seal them in a zip top bag for storage until you can regift them.

  4. 4

    The Atomic Mom

    We do #4 in our family because of our nut allergies. Everyone knows about our allergies, but we still get home made treats from time to time. I always say, “Oh this will be a great treat for later!” And no one has ever batted an eye about that. I would also say to non-celiacs/food allergy friends, never put someone under pressure to do something they are uncomfortable with. We’ve been dealing with our kids trying to get each other to eat stuff they don’t like or want to eat (eg: mayo on a sandwich was the most recent incident for our super sensitive to texture kid). It led to a really good discussion about negative peer pressure and how to tell someone no in situations. The lesson was that we should never pressure someone to do something they are uncomfortable doing. Never make someone feel obligated to eat something they are not sure about. It’s a constant struggle, but we keep doing it because our health and safety is more important that someone’s feelings. But, we always try and be very gracious when people think enough of us to give us a treat.

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    I generally use a variation on #4, and will ask where they found such-and-such brand/flavor/variety, especially if it’s one I haven’t seen, and thank them for the information and thoughtfulness of tracking down something specifically for me. It’s a good way to acknowledge their efforts.

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    My hubby is the one with celiac and he is always the nice guy so I’m his advocate. If any of you don’t want to “be the bad guy” and have this option – make your other half your advocate. I’ll jump in when people try to get him to eat something and say no – he will try things but we don’t want to have to deal with him being sick for days so I will pass on his behalf. I look like the rude one and he doesn’t. I don’t care, my husbands health is more important to me than someone else’s feelings. I’ve seen him struggle with this for 5 years now and it’s just not worth the risk. We don’t go to anyone’s home we invite everyone to our home because we know we can cook safely. I explain that to people, even when he says ok, I say no, we are happy to have you over here. So if someone gives us homemade food. I say no but thank you. If they are truly a friend they would not be offended. If you continue to take gluten free items from people they will continue to make them for people and waste their time and money. I say option 3 with a simple explanation .

  7. 7


    I just now arrived home from a walk to find a bag labeled “Gluten Ingredients” on our porch. Turns out that while I was out my sister in law came by with gifts for my family from my mother in law, including a big bag of Christmas cookies, muffins, and Christmas pudding. She (MIL) had preemptively double-bagged it and labeled it herself. Still not sure how that makes it okay to send it to our house, but this is one of the mysteries of life. My husband was really mad (his mum has already been asked not to send us baked goods; we’ve been through this before), but rather than send his sister away with extra treats for her family he put them on our porch! This is darkly funny to me. My husband was standing up for me but his solution was to put the gifts out in the rain.
    Anyhow, they did not go to waste: I was already in rain gear, so I rang a couple of doorbells until I found a happy recipient for the treats. When my mother in law follows up to ask how we liked the treats, we will be telling her up front that we gave them away to neighbours and reminding her why we didn’t keep them. We’ll be polite, but direct. Maybe there will be hurt feelings, but we have to be blunt with her on this issue until she gets the message. She knows our home is gluten free; it’s not like Christmas is an exception.

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    Option 3.5 – where I tell them how much it means to me that they were thoughtful, and give them an example of the MANY challenges I find when baking/cooking as a celiac, which generally make them recall that they have not taken the necessary precautions. A GOOD friend or co-worker then tells me that they don’t de-cross contaminate their kitchen, or buy ingredients from a safe source, and tells me not to eat the cookies. A “meh” or “ugh” coworker doesn’t….and that tells you all you need to know about them, because you were never going to eat those cookies anyway, and now you have additional insight on your work relationships.


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