Friday, May 8, 2015

Gluten Free Etiquette

Social events have been interesting adventures since I discovered my gluten intolerance.  I completely sympathize with mothers of children who have allergies.  It seems rude or almost tacky to make special dietary requests, but in many cases it is a necessity.   Peanut allergies can be life threatening and something as simple as a play date could send a child to the ER.  Many precautions have to be taken, even if it means stepping on some toes.  Etiquette has never been my strong suite, (for crying out loud why do you need so many forks?)  but being rude is not my style ether. So what are the appropriate social rules that should be followed when dealing with a food allergy?
First of all, if it is life threatening, heck with the rules, but if possible follow these tips:

1. Inform your host when you RSVP.  Let her know when you RSVP that you have special dietary needs.  She should understand, after all it's not your fault.  But don't require a special dish just for you, it's not her fault either.  An allergy is not an entitlement card.
2. Offer to bring a dish.  Many times accommodating a food allergy can be an uncharted territory or added expense for your host,. By offering to bring a dish can help her out and assure there is a safe choice for your consumption.  Gluten for example is hidden in dips and dressings that someone one who doesn't avoid gluten, wouldn't know to look for it.
 3.  Understand that unless it's your party, you may have to take snacks or eat before you go.  I have a friend with a child that can't have egg, nuts, dairy, or wheat.  Those ingredients are in everything and hard to avoid.  I felt so bad when her daughter attended a birthday party that I hosted, and I had nothing her child could eat.  She simply assured me that avoiding these foods have become part of their lifestyle and she didn't require special accommodations for her daughter.  She had brought snacks her daughter could eat while we had cake.  The following year we were sure to have a birthday treat that everyone could eat, including my friend's daughter. 
I received an invitation a couple weeks ago to Muffins with Moms at my daughter's kindergarten class.  A class room mom who has a daughter with a peanut allergy offered to bake all the muffins.  I knew
the muffins would be nut free, but what about gluten free?  I spoke with the teacher and offered to bring nut free and gluten free muffins for the event. I didn't want to sit and watch everyone eat delicious muffins while I had a GF granola bar.  It took a little more time and preparation on my end but in the end was worth it!  The morning was full of songs, sweet hugs and muffins to accommodate all the food allergies in the room.  Thank you Mrs. S. for a great event.  Below is the recipe for my blueberry orange muffins.  I substituted olive oil for the coconut oil just to make sure that there was no accidental exposure.

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