Alla Famiglia! Tips for the Gluten-Free Family Members!

Two years ago the thought of being gluten-free through a holiday at my childhood home seemed an impossible thought.  I couldn’t imagine a pierogi-less Christmas Eve, or a Thanksgiving without my mom’s thick and dreamy gravy.

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360 Pierogies

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But, I’m excited and proud to say that I survived my first “full” year of being gluten-free.  And, thanks to the support of my family, I didn’t feel like I missed anything (except mom’s fresh pierogi’s – I had frozen ones).

My sisters and I love two things…food and eating!  Food IS family in our house and my sisters are always up to new culinary challenges (or at least they act like they do!).  One sister made a separate dish of her fabulous sweet potato casserole.  Another sister made a flourless chocolate torte.  Nieces gathered to decorate gluten-free cookies so I had dessert too.  There are now 4 of the 36 of us (siblings and grandchildren) that are gluten-free (and/or dairy free).  Somehow there is comfort in knowing that I am no longer the only one with special eating requirements.   My sisters (and mom) were proactive in talking with me about what dishes and ingredients were safe and tolerable.  They were genuinely concerned about cross-contamination of dishes, which was an incredible feat with all the food going around.   Without the patience, compassion and support of my family (especially my husband and children), I wouldn’t have been able to get and stay well.

I’ve thought about how my husband and family have changed over the last two years of my journey.  It was the following attributes that helped me though the ups and downs.  If you are a family member of a gluten-intollerant sufferer here are some things to remember…

  • Be Supportive AND BELIEVE it can and will help!
  • Be Empathetic (Being “glutened” is NO fun for anyone in the house)
  • Encouragement is always appreciated (“You CAN do this” instead of “Just give up, it’s not working fast enough”)
  • Be an Advocate
  • TRY and be Patient (Especially when eating out)
  • Remember to be Tolerant
  • Try and make yourself knowledeable on the illness
  • Act Concerned
  • Begin to explore Holistic Health and be Supportive of it

Thank you to my husband, kids, siblings, nieces, nephews and dog for always being there for me!