How to Avoid Being “Glutened”: 7 Tips From the Experts

Posted by ivylau on December 15, 2014 - Leave a comment

How to Avoid Being “Glutened”: 7 Tips From the Experts

Being gluten intolerant or Celiac during the holidays brings new challenges. You want to enjoy the same delicious meals as everyone else, but of course you know you can be sidelined if you make just one mistake and accidentally ingest gluten. That stuffing, gravy, even certain teas-all potential hazards.

The good news is you can still enjoy the weddings, and dinner gatherings, by just taking a few common sense precautions.

We reached out and talked to several folks in the gluten free field, and gathered some information to help you navigate the holiday land mines. Here’s seven tips to help you avoid getting glutened during the holidays (or anytime).

1. Communicate clearly and loudly (gfJules, cookbook author and gluten-free baking expert) If you’re dining at someone’s house, call them ahead of time to discuss your dietary needs. Ask you host what you can bring. If they say “nothing,” Jules says you can suggest something like, “I never like to come empty- handed, and I know sometimes making dishes gluten-free for me is more difficult, so I’d like to bring something to share that will take some of the work off your plate.”

“That “something to share” should be whatever you need to comprise your entire meal. Don’t assume you will be able to eat anything else at the table (you’ll have to ask plenty of questions when you get there to determine if those other dishes are safe for you).” The same advice applies when you’re eating at restaurants-call ahead and talk to the restaurant, explain to the manager about your dietary needs. Explain it again with your server when ordering. Ask details about the preparation of the meals.

2. Be a little picky (gfJules ): “If you need to have bread with your meal, or you just won’t be full, bring it. If you don’t like mashed potatoes without gravy, bring your own if you know the host is serving potatoes. If your meal isn’t complete without dessert, bring what you like.”

“My biggest tip for holiday parties is to bring something gluten free to all the parties and dinners you attend. Make sure it is substantial enough just in case it’s the only thing you have to eat at the function and bring enough to share.” Carol Kicinski, cookbook author, Editor in Chief of Simply Gluten Free Magazine who publishes the Simply Gluten Free website.

3. Be bold (Tricia Cardone, natural foods cook/instructor who publishes the A Passion for Healthy Living blog) Ask if you can serve yourself first to reduce the chances of cross contamination (example: butter knives). Separate gluten free items. “If the host/hostess is serving buffet style, perhaps they can place your portion in a separate container for the “gluten free” table. This will prevent cross contamination of utensils such as when someone uses the serving fork/spoon in several containers. With the chaos of hosting guests for the holidays, it pays to communicate ahead of time and have a mutual plan…” “… If a separate table is not an option, be sure to speak with the host/hostess (as mentioned above) about putting your food aside in a separate, covered container. If possible, label your dish and place in a safe spot where nobody will touch it…”

4. Be specific  (Tricia C.) “When ordering meat/fish entrees, order them plain, minus the breading. When ordering fish, have it broiled or cooked with olive oil and fresh lemon. When ordering veggies, order them steamed or sautéed with plain olive oil and garlic. If ordering salads, ask for the salad to be made up fresh so that you can avoid any cross-contamination with gluten-containing croutons. Use olive oil on your salads or bring a little container of your dressing from home if need be….”

5. Avoid the big no -no’s: That includes sauces, breads, dressings and desserts (unless it’s guaranteed gluten free like fresh fruit…otherwise bring your own-a homemade cupcake or muffin, or ice cream) . Remember that that gluten can hide in the strangest places. Tricia even brings her own tea.

6. “Never assume…”  (Kirsten Berman, who publishes the GlutenFree Gal website) “Never assume anything is gluten free.” She suggests: Always ask the host if you can see the ingredient list…watch cross contamination with utensils and hands… label GF specific items to avoid mistakes…Always do your own research and have knowledge of the possible food dangers, items that might contain wheat.”

7. Take control, make the tough calls…and never look back:  Many people don’t understand just how serious gluten-dietary issues are, so it’s up to you to protect yourself. So take whatever measures you need to take, and just enjoy yourself. It’s the holidays, remember?

Gluten free sweet and sour chicken

You can also buy our (Ivy’s Garden) Gluten Free Sweet & Sour Chicken, Gluten Free Lemon Chicken and Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets food products online or stores near you. or read about our product reviews from other bloggers.


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