Being home for winter break has given me ample opportunity to discover how to eat both at home with a fully equipped kitchen along with how to eat/deal with social eating situations. To put things in a straight forward fashion- you can tell if a person is a good friend to you or not, all depending on their cooperation and eagerness to help when it comes to your g-free diet. For example… a bad friend would be someone who wants to go to McDonalds for dinner not caring one bit about the fact that you can hardly even be safe ordering the french fries there, simply because they are craving McDonalds. An example of a good friend would be someone who is willing and adventurous when it comes to trying gluten free restaurants and encourages you to choose the destination for a girl’s night out. Luckily, I have only experienced the latter of these two examples which makes me thankful for having such great friends.
Lately, in getting together with my Seattle friends, I have run into occasions where I have to consider that while my diet is much more restrictive than my friends’ and I have to be understanding about their cravings. If they want cheesecake at the Cheesecake factory, I’m not about to call them bad friends because I can’t have any cheesecake myself. Times like these are moments where we have to tell ourselves that they are not getting cheesecake because they are being mean and trying to wave it in my face. They are simply human, craving some cheesecake. If you can’t tell, this is an experience I had recently. The fact that they both asked me if I was comfortable with them stopping by to get some cheesecake before they did helped my no-cheesecake-for-Julie sadness go away. I’m not saying it was easy to stand in front of that case of tempting cheesecakes including my past personal favorite Red Velvet Cheesecake. I’m just saying it makes things better when you look at it in a positive way. Think: 1. I’m being more healthy. 2. It’s totally not worth the pain that will come later. 3. Who am I to deprive my friends of cheesecake?
Prior to the Cheesecake Factory, we had gone to Red Robin since my friends hadn’t eaten dinner yet while I, being a good celiac, had eaten at home before. A lot of restaurants really don’t appreciate it when people sit with a group and don’t order anything. In fact, I’ve heard that some places don’t even let you stay in their restaurant with friends unless you order. What do you do in these situations when you are either a) not hungry from eating ahead or b)seeing no gluten free options on the menu? Well, in the case of Red Robin, I ordered a Dr. Pepper and a basket of unseasoned steak fries. I was eating gluten free while having a great time with friends and most importantly, not getting kicked out of the restaurant for not ordering anything. TIP: Eat before or bring a snack with you when going out for the night with non celiac friends seeing as spontaneous outings like this could very likely happen.
Tonight, I will be going to a thai restaurant with a couple of friends. While you can be safe with many Thai places, I have recently been “glutenized” and I don’t want to take any chances. I’m planning on just ordering some tea or a drink of some sort. It may not be my first choice, but the bottom line is this: we are social eaters. Eating and being with friends and family goes hand in hand. For celiacs, this may be a little skewed as we will all most likely have those times where we go to a restaurant and end up nursing a glass of soda all night. (All Coca Cola brands are gluten free!) While we may not be eating the same things that our friends are eating, the important thing is that you are with them, having great conversation, and putting the food issue behind you. It’s only food anyways.