More and more people are going gluten-free for a variety of reasons. One of the more serious reasons to do so is a high level of gluten intolerance like that found in celiac disease. The spectrum of sensitivity to gluten can vary from person to person, and whatever the reason for a person’s decision to go gluten-free, it’s important to be supportive of your loved one’s dietary needs. Here are a few tips for how to show your gluten intolerant friends and family a little love.
Don’t Make a Big Deal About It
If someone you know has flunked the gluten intolerance test, it’s not likely they are feeling great about it. However, the knowledge that gluten is contributing to their health issues can be empowering, and a gluten-free diet may improve their quality of life immensely. There’s no need to talk about your loved one’s special dietary concerns or to over-dramatize the fact that someone is gluten-free. If they want to talk about it, be there for them, but making a big deal about their diet and talking about it unnecessarily may contribute more to them feeling like an outsider or different in a non-inclusive way. In some cases, the person may be struggling to maintain a gluten-free diet. Feelings of sadness and frustration over favorite foods the person no longer can enjoy may come into play. The more you talk about it, the worse it gets.
Send Some Special Treats
Find some amazing gluten-free treats and send your friend or family member an occasional care package with a few new gluten-free products they may enjoy trying. This is especially a great way to encourage and show support to someone who may be on a restricted diet for health reasons such as celiac disease. But even people on gluten free diets for other reasons will appreciate your kind gesture and feel accepted and loved by you.
Make Gatherings Gluten-Free
If you have gluten free family and friends, especially those with more severe gluten intolerance, a great gesture of support is to make all of the food at your next gathering gluten free. While making a couple side dishes gluten-free is a kind thing to do, making the entire meal gluten-free is the best way to show support. For many people, it’s not easy being gluten-free, and they may even avoid or grow to dread attending gatherings or dinner parties simply because the amount of off-limit or unsafe food is frustrating. They may love you, but it’s hard to feel loved when your family and friends don’t seem to understand you, which is often the resulting feeling when you are offered a table full of delicious-looking foods that you can’t eat.
It’s Okay To Not Understand
You may not understand why your loved one is gluten-free, but you can try your best to understand your gluten-free loved one. Whatever the reason is that they have made this dietary choice, you can be there to support them, whether you understand their choice or not. For some, being gluten-free feels like less of a choice and more of a necessity. While it may seem like an inconvenience when it comes to mealtimes for you to accommodate someone who has gluten sensitivities, try to remember that this is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship by showing that you love them even if you don’t understand them completely.
Do Some Research
A little research can go a long way in helping your gluten free loved one know you care. Make sure you know the basics of what’s involved in a gluten free diet. This will make you more ready to be a good listener if this person needs a sympathetic ear.
Let your gluten free family and friends know that you care about them and understand them, even if you might not completely understand why they are gluten free. Don’t just say it, show your support.