I’m Going to a Gluten-Filled Party….and I Can’t Wait

gluten free party

A few quick hits before I kick off today’s blog post.

– Thanks tons for all of your feedback regarding my trip to Cheerios-Land next week. I now have so many amazing questions to ask, they may actually regret inviting me (just kidding…I think).

– I had a dream last night that I flew to the moon and back. This is not celiac related at all. It was just a really cool dream.

– I got the following email this morning: Hi Gluten Dude. I’ve been diagnosed Celiac only three months now. In that time I’ve moved through panic and fear to I can do this and with a positive attitude no less. And then unexpectedly into depressed, lonely and damn sick of cooking/preparing nearly everything I eat. Today I feel grateful my life lead me to a new city and a doctor who thought to check for Celiac. I am grateful I have a new tool to be well, Gluten Free. And grateful it is starting to work. I don’t rule out more loneliness, sadness or fear, but I want to thank you for doing what you do. When it feels like I’m all alone in this, a new blog update in my inbox makes me realize that’s far from the truth. So, thank you.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it more than once, celiac is all about attitude. If you let celiac dictate your life, you’re screwed. If you let food become more important than people, you’re toast. If you carry the celiac burden with you at all times, you are simply missing out on life.

Case in point…my awesome sister-in-law is having a milestone birthday next week. So my just-as-awesome brother is throwing her a big bash this Saturday at their house (you’re all invited by the way). All my brothers coming in, her family making the trip, my Aunt coming down from CT.

And there will be food. Lots and lots of food. He is having the party catered. None of the food will be safe for me to eat…and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Happy…because my sister-in-law, who always goes out of her way to keep me safe, can remove that from her plate for one night.

Happy…because it’s less worrying for me (will it REALLY be ok for me to eat??)

Happy…because it’s less work for the caterers (how do I keep things separate? Did I use the right utensil??)

Happy…because Mrs. Dude can relax and not worry about me getting sick.

Happy…because I didn’t have to put my brother out in any way.

I know what you’re saying. Sure Dude, you’re happy but won’t you…um…you know…be HUNGRY??

Nope. Because along with “attitude”, the second key word in celiac success is “preparation”.

Mrs. Dude and I put together an awesome meal plan. Ok…let me rephrase that. Mrs. Dude put together an awesome meal plan.

When everyone else is having appetizers, I’m having this:

gluten free pizza

That is gluten-free pizza from Jules Pizza. One of the owner’s daughters has celiac and oh my, they do it right! I’m going for the meat lovers pie, which comes with pepperoni, mushroom and sausage. And I replace the mozzarella with vegan cheese.

When everyone else is having soup and salad, I’m having this:

gluten free sushi

Not to state the obvious, but that is a salmon and avocado roll. I could have this for every meal. Sometimes I feel like I do.

When everyone else is having their main dish, I’m having this:

gluten free dish

We haven’t quite decided what the main course will be but above is one of Mrs. Dude’s creations, so I know I’ll love whatever she puts together.

When everyone else is having dessert, I’m having this:


That is a caramel brownie from the Grain Exchange.

Oh…and to top it all off, my sis-in-law bought a bottle of this for the party:

is tequila gluten free?

That is pure heaven in a bottle my friends…1942 Don Julio Tequila.

My point is…I’m not exactly going without, am I? I’m prepared as prepared can be and have a can’t wait attitude. If I can do it, so can you.

Happy Birthday Beth-Anne. Let the party begin!

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20 thoughts on “I’m Going to a Gluten-Filled Party….and I Can’t Wait”

  1. We’re going to a party tomorrow night too and the only thing I know will be safe is the dish I’m making! So, do I sit and eat Hawaiian Cole Slaw and only cole slaw or night or do I bring my own food? I’m bringing my own! Very dear friends of ours are moving to FL (from the brutal Upstate NY) and I wouldn’t miss their bon voyage party! All I need is that bottle of Don Julio!

  2. Jessica Atchison

    This is so true. I’ve been gluten free since November, and I was really concerned about doing the holidays without gluten. Turns out that between my awesome sister in law (a former nurse) making sure that all of the food was either gluten free or clearly marked as not gluten free, and the sharp reduction in my anxiety thanks to being gluten free, I actually had the best holiday season I can ever remember. I am fortunate in that I was already an avid cook before I was diagnosed as celiac, so having to prepare my own food isn’t a burden, it just required an adjustment. The biggest change has been in baking, but I’m having fun tweaking old favorite recipes to work with gluten free flours, and trying new recipes I find through pintrest. It really is all about whether you think “I HAVE to cook my own food now” or “Cool, I GET to try new recipes!”

  3. Whenever we take my daughter to a party I try to make and take a gluten free dish that turns heads. She loves having people rave about her food and then she can drop the “It’s gluten free” bomb.

    1. I love doing that! I’ve gotten pretty adept at gluten free baking, so I like to bring a dessert and wait until people eat it to tell them that it’s gluten free (and sometimes vegan, too!)

    2. Julie, that’s awesome. I’m not much of a hand in the kitchen but I’ve gotten better since having to go GF almost two years ago. I was invited to a Christmas open house a few months ago where the hosts provided snacks while it was guest’s option to bring anything else of their own.

      I had no illusions of anything being safe so I took your approach and made (from scratch) some finger food-sized buckwheat crepes stuffed with ham & cheddar. I brought far more than I myself would eat and figured the rest would hardly be touched, but what the heck. After heating them to melt the cheese and scarfing down a few, I proceeded through the crowd toward the dining room table to plunk down this nearly-full serving tray. But not before I reached a conversation group who stopped talking as I approached, hungry looks on their faces. “Care to try one?” Hands dove in from all angles and everyone seemed to enjoy. Only two were left for the table, where two more people promptly claimed them.

      The whole tray lasted just a few minutes, far exceeding my expectations, and I almost didn’t have the heart to tell anyone they were GF. It’s a good thing I grabbed some at the outset or I might have missed out on my own dish LOL.

  4. My friends have been very helpful in preparing GF foods at functions. I am concerned that the “GF Fad” will wane, and it will be difficult for us to have as many choices!

  5. At work last week, we had a celebration for Pi Day. They catered in some pot pies from a local restaurant, and co-workers brought in pies for dessert for a tasting contest. I was the only one who could not eat the food, but I came prepared with my own homemade gluten-free pot pie (of sorts), some fruit, and a dessert I could eat (a couple of Dove dark chocolate pieces). Yeah, I hated that I couldn’t indulge in the food that my co-workers got to enjoy. However, I would have felt worse staying at my desk while everyone else was socializing and having fun. I sat with them and ate my meal, listening to the Pi Day jokes and other chatter as well as doing some conversing myself. I even helped clean up when it was over. I had a good time. I didn’t want to let the food keep me from having a good time with my co-workers. One of my co-workers brought in some strawberries filled with homemade goat cheese and graham-cracker crumbs (his ideas of a “pie”). He gave me a couple of plain strawberries to eat on a paper plate with a plastic fork. I knew they came directly from the package (I’d seen him fixing up his dessert), so I felt safe eating them. That was really sweet of him! Have fun celebrating with your family, Gluten Dude! 🙂

    1. Great story, Sarah. I’m just picturing some less mathematically-inclined folks reading this and wondering, “*Pi* day??!?! Huh?!!?”

      As someone with not much use for most varieties of pi(e), I’m more of a tau guy myself, as per this 14-minute video. I propose we celebrate June 28th, Tau Day, by inviting others to join us in eating gluten-free desserts exclusively, no pi(e)s allowed. It will be tau-tally awesome. 🙂


      Caution: video contains EXTREME scientific geekiness. Viewer discretion advised.

      1. John I LOVED that video!! I always fought with my algebra teacher that pi made no sense and seemed a ridiculous number because it wasn’t “true” … meaning “exact”. I got a C in high school algebra because I just refused to accept the theory. I am all in for Tau Day 🙂

        1. Thanks, Deb!

          In all seriousness, speaking as someone with a math background, I think the speaker in that video makes some great points about the number Pi.

          To put his arguments in terms a more general audience might appreciate: imagine if hundreds of years ago, humanity had decided that a dozen meant not twelve, but rather six, and that we’d never bothered to coin a similar word for twelve (let’s ignore for sake of argument that the words twelve and dozen are etymologically linked). Then every egg carton today would be “two dozen” instead of “one dozen”. Same with so many other things sold in 12’s (which seems more common than 6’s). This would be a nuisance — but it’s exactly where the math community is today with Pi. So many math and physics formulae use Pi, but so often with the number 2 in front. It really was/is an avoidable nuisance if only we’d followed the dozen example. That one, I think we got right… Pi, not so much.

          So… I think we should make it a thing that June 28th is annual Gluten-Free Dessert Day. Let the rest of the world have their gluten-filled pies on March 14th; we can just claim our own day.

  6. The best defense is a good offense…for pretty much anything that comes along…

    No different for living with Celiac…either learn to cook really well or find a dude or dudette that likes to do that …. I love to cook now (most of the time) because I like to eat well… the best is when the people eating gluten look at your plate and would rather have what you are eating!! And if you are not a Tequila fan, Chopin vodka is the best potato vodka 🙂

  7. Love this! Couple questions/advice request:

    1. Can you share a quick “script” for what you say when you are invited over to someone’s house that doesn’t understand celiac? What do you easily say that conveys respect and sets a boundary. I will say things and then I will get “I will make it for you”. The conversation gets long and exhausting trying to care for desire to care for me while saying “no, really I can’t”. Also, asking about what is being served…how do you handle?

    2. How do you get your food when you bring it if a more formal setting? Do you work with the hostess to have it served to you? Your mentioning many courses so assuming it isn’t a casual meal where everyone is up and around so not as obvious.

    3. In all seriousness, how do you find time to prepare for all this? I find it so overwhelming to prepare food similar to what is being shared, cook in advance, etc. One of the biggest grieving points for me in this diagnosis is the reality of not eating out or at other homes. It was such a gift to me to not cook and clean.

    One thing I continue to remember…thankful I can still have a drink when I go out. 🙂

    1. Hey Michelle! I was diagnosed Celiac over 11 years ago. I’ve learned a lot along the way. Here are my tips for you:

      1.) I make it clear that they will be unable to feed me… and that I’m totally cool with it. I’ve had hostesses ask me over and over “Can’t I try?” No because your failed attempt is my misery. I remain super polite but always decline. So here’s my sample convo:
      Hostess: Having people over tomorrow night (or whenever), can you make it?
      Susan: Yes, that sounds like a blast!
      Hostess: I’m serving wheat with a side of gluten. I’ll make a special dish for you, can you have rice cakes?
      Susan: Aw, that’s really sweet of you but I’d really feel more comfortable if I brought my own food.
      Hostess: No really, it’s no problem. I don’t mind making you something [in my gluten filled kitchen]. What can I make for you?
      Susan: Again, super nice of you but I don’t let anyone else cook for me. I promise it’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s just really hard to remove gluten from everything and I’d rather not risk it. I’d be much happier bringing my own meal but if you aren’t cool with that, I can come by after for drinks and I’ll bring a gluten free dessert?
      Hostess: Susan, you are super awesome and it wouldn’t be a party without you, you better show up for dinner. I guess you can bring your own food.

      Verbatim. 😉 But then usually closer to the event, they try again. It gets annoying but it’s not worth you getting sick because you don’t want to politely argue with the hostess!

      2.) At weddings and super formal events, I try to be discrete. I’ll keep it with me and serve myself when it’s time. Discrete except that one time I took a picture of my sad peanut butter sandwich and texted it to my friends saying “Ugh, can you believe they wouldn’t feed me and everyone else is eating steak and I’m eating this sad sandwich?????” No matter what, it becomes a topic of conversation at the table so be prepared to answer gluten related questions and practice your humble laugh for the person who says “I’d kill myself if I could eat ____________[insert delicious gluten fill thing].”

      If I’m at my friend’s house, I’ll grab a plate (that has been through the dishwasher) and wash it (with a new sponge) and utensils to eat with.

      3.) Peanut butter sandwiches take little prep time BUT they aren’t super elegant and they aren’t super filling either. My other go to is a salad with grilled chicken on it. You can always prepare the chicken way ahead of time and freeze it but it doesn’t really take too long either way. Again, not the most filling but if I bring Lara bars and sneak them in the bathroom, I can usually fill myself up.

  8. Regarding the note shared at the top of the post. Thank you for a new paradigm. I can remind myself that intermittent feelings of fear, sadness, loneliness and frustration are a small price to pay for a predictably peaceful gut and energy level. ThanK you so much.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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