Celiacs or people with gluten sensitivity know what they can and can’t eat and how to prevent cross-contamination. However, others may not. Some people choose to eat gluten free. Thus, when eating out, make sure to tell your host that you’re not gluten free by choice but you get sick when you eat gluten.
It gets harder when eating out in public. Many restaurants are still not prepared to accommodate celiacs and people with gluten sensitivity.
They’ll either not know what gluten is,
- offer you a salad as the only gluten free option,
- or have a more extensive gluten free menu
but will warn you that their kitchen also processes gluten.
Eating out at a restaurant solely dedicated to gluten free would be optimal. Since that’s nearly impossible, don’t hesitate to educate restaurant staff how gluten can make you sick and how to follow cross-contamination precautions. Some people go as far as carrying their own gluten free food, like pasta or bread, when eating out and asking restaurants to prep it for them. They’re usually very accommodating about that.
When meeting new friends or going on a first date, let them know you’re gluten free for health reasons. This way you can pick a place that also caters to your needs. When giving someone a hello kiss on the cheek or having a romantic kiss on your date, be aware that the other person may have just eaten gluten or may have gluten-containing makeup on.
If you do get cross-contaminated, drink a lot fluids as soon as possible to flush out gluten from your system. Continue with at least 8 cups of fluids a day for the next 3 days. Depending on your symptoms, keep OTC medication handy. There isn’t much more you can do at this point.
Raising awareness about celiac and gluten sensitivity, its etiology, the seriousness of symptoms associated with it, and the necessary safety precautions, helps to ensure people on the gluten free diet can enjoy a full social life just like everyone else.