Ahh! The Holiday Season is nearly upon us.  Thanksgiving, the “hustle bustle,” crazy shopping malls, going to Grandma’s house … and … the Food. This last mention is what stresses us the most – the Food.  Corporate Holiday parties, going to Family homes, Potlucks at work and social groups – how do we survive it all?

We survive it all by researching and educating ourselves.  In regard to Corporate Holiday parties – find out who the caterer or food provider is. Find out what the menu is and what your options are. If options will be limited, eat a snack or a light meal beforehand so you will not be tempted to cheat because you’re starving (don’t say you haven’t done that!).  In regard to travelling to Family homes – yes, they may know you are gluten-free, but they may not know cross-contamination issues.  They may assume you can “separate food from the crust.”  They mean well, but few more than you know how serious celiac disease is.  Again, obtain the menu and lay out a map for yourself in regard to how you will eat.  Offer to bring a substantial dish, if possible.  Plan, plan, plan – I cannot say that enough.  In regard to Potlucks – most of the time there is a “sign-up sheet” with names corresponding to what they are bringing.  A couple of days before the event, the sign-up sheet should be about finalized.  Get with other members of the potluck and ask questions about their food items.  Ask for brand names of bottled sauces they’ll be using and then research on your own to verify if gluten-free.  If possible, suggest gluten-free items they may use so you can eat their food item.  That said, you are walking a tight-rope here.  Don’t expect others to cater to you and bring food items “just for you.”  You are one of many – this goes for all Public food events you attend.

While it won’t be easy, you can survive the Holiday Season and be gluten-free.  The two biggest words you will need to remember are “research” and “plan.”  I wish you Luck and know you can do it.