Musings by Mia is meant to be a collection of topics that I wish had been more discussed when I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease as a teen. I will explore topics from the perspective of a young adult with Celiac Disease and share my personal experiences in these articles. As these are my own experiences, they are by no means meant to be a ‘how-to’ guide, but instead an informative glimpse into the situations a typical young adult with Celiac Disease might face.
I am always looking for new topic ideas, so if there’s anything you would like me to discuss in future articles please reach out and let me know! Happy reading!
Dating as a Celiac
I would like to begin by thanking my wonderful partner for allowing me to use our relationship as an example in this article! My current partner and I met in class during our second year of University, and almost four years later we are still happily together! I will delve into how and when I brought up being Celiac with my partner, how I, as a Celiac, kiss my partner who isn’t Celiac, and lastly, how we go on ‘food dates’.
My partner and I began dating not long after we first met, initially going on walks and visiting coffee shops. I mentioned early on to him that I had Celiac Disease, as we would soon want to start going on ‘dinner dates’, which I knew inevitably meant food. Since we were both young, I didn’t want to make the Celiac conversation too serious, or scare my partner away, but I also knew the importance of it for the benefit of my health. I gave my short version of what Celiac Disease was, what happened when I ate gluten (avoiding going too in-depth…), and the issue of cross-contamination. Then, to conclude my spiel on a positive note, I assured my partner how many local restaurants were able to cater to Celiacs and emphasized the diversity of gluten free products available in the grocery store. My partner took the news very well, and we quickly began eating our way through Victoria’s wonderful Celiac-friendly restaurants (all listed helpfully on The Celiac Scene, a resource we have used countless times)!
Since my partner is not Celiac, probably the next thing I remember addressing was kissing! Kissing is one of the least talked about issues, but it remains very important for young adults with Celiac Disease (or anyone with Celiac Disease for that matter). We abide by the rule that if he’s eaten gluten, he needs to brush his teeth very well before I can kiss him (I have to say – my partner’s minty fresh breath was definitely a perk of me being Celiac). Further, if we go out somewhere where he’s unable to brush his teeth, and we end up getting food, then he has learned to also order food that is safe for Celiacs to avoid accidentally ‘gluten-ing’ me. Similarly, if we go to a nice restaurant where we want to share meals, we both order food that is safe for Celiacs so I can safely sample his food. It may seem silly, but I consider this lifestyle change of my partner’s probably one of the sweetest things he does for me, especially because he does it unasked and unfailingly to ensure my good health.
For a while, this was the main ‘Mia’s a Celiac’ conversation we had, however, as our relationship grew, my partner, who is an avid cook and baker was eager make food for me! Therefore, we had a very in-depth conversation about how exactly to ensure everything is Celiac-friendly. We covered everything that could ‘gluten’ me, from kitchen machinery (for example the toaster), to contaminated condiments (such as butter), to ingredients that one may not expect to have gluten in them (like soy sauce). I was definitely a ‘supervisor’ the first few times my partner cooked for me, but four years later (and probably 20 lbs heavier) I am very thankful for his proficiency in the kitchen and his dedication to my gluten free needs.
As both my partner and I are definitely food lovers, most of our dates involve eating! I have not found being Celiac limiting as a foodie, however I’ve found it does involve a bit of extra planning, preparation, and research. Of course, I have a list of favourite trusted restaurants that we frequent (something I’m sure every Celiac has); but I also avidly hunt out new gluten free things to try and Celiac-safe places to eat, especially while travelling. My tip here is to always have a backup plan – due to my love of trying new food many times I have found myself seated in a restaurant only to become very uncomfortable with their lack of knowledge of Celiac Disease and felt the need to leave (politely, of course). Given these situations, I’ve learned to always have a few backup places nearby that are Celiac-safe or bring snacks with us. This is largely for the benefit of my partner, as I am known to get ‘hangry’ (angry when hungry).
Since both my partner and I love to cook and bake, we also enjoy turning these hobbies into food dates. We love to visit farmers markets to buy fresh produce and go to specialty shops to find new interesting ingredients, then cook and bake with our haul! We try new recipes all the time, and our guilty pleasure is to binge cooking shows.
I am thankful for the adjustments my partner has made to adapt to my gluten free life, and I’m sure every Celiac who is dating or is in a relationship has a story similar to my own! I hope this story has been informative or helpful in some way and reassuring to young adults and parents alike.
If you have any further questions or comments, I would be happy to hear from you, please let me know what topics you would like to hear next! Please scroll down to ask your questions in the comment field below or email [email protected] with topics that you might like Mia to discuss.
- Mia Kennedy was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was just 13 years old and since then, has become an avid gluten-free baker and cook. She is a recent graduate of the University of Victoria where she majored in Microbiology. During her time there, she worked in a research lab that focused on gut health. Mia’s diagnosis and her passion for science have inspired her to pursue a career in medicine with hopes to some day become a gastroenterologist. Mia is keen to share her experiences as a gluten-free teenager and university student and support others as they face the challenges (and joys) of living a happy and healthy gluten-free life. From recipes to dating to travel tips, Mia is eager to answer any questions you have or take on issues that are of interest to you.