How to Handle the Holidays by Everyday Gluten Free Gourmet

Love it or hate it, this is the time of year that people with food allergies, intolerances and celiac disease can dread. The lack of awareness is often surprising.


  • Cinde Little writes the Everyday Gluten Free Gourmet food blog and teaches cooking classes in Calgary, Alberta. She became interested in gluten free cooking in 2009 after a friend was diagnosed with celiac disease. Food restrictions are real and learning to accommodate them is an important skill. As a passionate home cook, Cinde encourages everyone to just get in the kitchen and cook!

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If the strategies you used at your last gathering left you less than joyful, you might want to try something different this time.

Goals For Talking About The Gluten Free Diet

Let’s be clear, it is NOT your job to change anyone’s mind. You actually can’t do it. And you don’t want anyone trying to change your mind either. But you can share your knowledge and opinions about a topic that affects you and your family … the topic of celiac disease and the gluten free diet.

Not everyone gets it. Not everyone wants to get it.

Why not sprinkle some facts into the conversation at the dinner tables and buffet lines you find yourself in. Eventually this gluten free diet thing will be more widely understood … and some day the best choice for safe food everywhere will be more than a few raw carrots.

Conversation Starters For A Gluten Free Diet

These statements are written the way I would casually say them at the dinner table. Please reword, revise and create some that will be helpful for you. These are the conversations that lead to a better understanding of celiac disease and the gluten free diet and possibly a new perspective on the topic. Add your own humour and sarcasm as appropriate.

  • Celiac disease is not an allergy, it is an autoimmune disorder. That means my body attacks and damages its own tissues. Basically if I eat gluten I’m killing myself.
  • Yes, some people ‘cheat’ by eating gluten. Not everyone with celiac disease has the stomach issues you think of as the main problem. Unfortunately it’s one of those situations where “what you don’t know will hurt you”.
  • 1 in 100 people have celiac disease. In people with first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) who are celiac that increases a lot (fill in current number). That’s why all family members should get tested.
  • Autoimmune what? An autoimmune disease is a problem where the immune system is not acting the way it is supposed to.
  • Things like rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis and many others are autoimmune diseases.
  • Any type of diet can be healthy or unhealthy. A steady diet of gluten free junk food and gluten free processed food can’t be healthy. But I think it is generally agreed upon that the North American diet includes too much processed carbs…that category includes a lot of gluten.
  • Believe me, some days it seems like there is gluten in everything but really, many foods are gluten free. It is processed foods where you find gluten and it’s surprising how many foods we eat that are processed in some way. From simple raw meat with added spices to likely every jar in your fridge, there is an ingredient list that includes additives and preservatives that could include gluten.
  • Why get tested? Undiagnosed and untreated celiac disease can lead to other autoimmune disorders, serious health problems and lost years of life.
  • Do it for the health of it.

Good luck to everyone this weekend. If you have a positive experience, please share it in the comments below. Happy Thanksgiving!


Cinde’s ‘How to Use Gluten-Free Flour’  Series

Everyday Gluten Free Gourmet Flour Mix

Everyday Gluten Free Gourmet’s Favourite Flour Mix – photo credit, Jim Little