Gluten free during the holidays! Surviving the holiday party

The gluten free trend has been in the media for the past couple of years, as the answer for everything from weight gain, to bloating to acne. It has gotten so popular it has even sparked this video! You know you’ve made it when Jimmy Kimmel start commenting!

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For people with gluten allergies and Celiac disease (CD), eating a gluten free diet is the only way to decrease the risk of the dangerous symptoms and associated complications of the eating gluten. But let’s be clear, the words “Gluten free” on a package- while they communicate that the product is appropriate for those with Celiac disease, IN NO WAY MEAN THE PRODUCT IS INHERENTLY HEALTHY as we’ve discussed in this blog post

Once people become accustomed to the diet, it is often easy for them to eat gluten free in their own homes. As someone allergic to gluten, I understand that the bigger challenge often becomes eating away from home in restaurants or parties. It can be an extremely stressful challenge for many people, with the pressure to eat something at parties, the embarrassment of having to tell hosts that you can’t eat their food, and worst of all being hungry when everyone is eating! Celiac disease sufferers of the world- I HEAR YOU!

I’ve been there. You’re at a party and everyone else is munching on delicious looking, gluten containing food, and you are starving.  But in the end, as good as that last piece of pie, or those party sandwiches look, and as much as you can try to rationalize, “maybe even though those gluten free crackers are on the same platter as the gluten, maybe the soup is okay even though i’m pretty sure there is soup mix in it” at the end of the day, it’s just not worth it.

So to save you the weeks post party of feeling like an elephant is standing on your midsection (at least that’s how I feel when I get “glutened” by mistake- I present to you my top tips for leaving your house and staying gluten free!

1. Never go to a party hungry. This rule applies for everyone trying to maintain a healthy diet but even more so for those with a gluten allergy. When you are hungry, everything looks good and the likelihood that you are going to make healthy choices or gluten free choices reduces significantly. suddenly the rationalizing I’ve mentioned above starts kicking in. So choose a balanced snack before leaving the house- like some of the ones mentioned here to tide you over in the event that there is nothing for you to eat. Or bring a lightly larger evening bag to stash a small bag of raisins and almonds or a high fiber, high protein granola bar.

2. Instead of wine or other hostess gifts- offer to bring something. Though you are contributing to the party, there is really a selfish aspect to this one. If you bring something- you know that you have something to eat! Offer to bring things like a vegetable platter with hummus and tzadziki, or a salad that you can ensure is gluten free. Anything that you enjoy eating,want to contribute, and will keep you away from gluten!

3. Be open and honest with your hosts. Tell them in advance of the party that you have dietary restrictions. Though it is often an awkward conversation the first couple of times you have to have it, it will make it easier in the long run. Maybe they will be accommodating, maybe they won’t, but at least your host will know why you turned down every one of her hors dourves and won’t feel insulted!

4.Ask questions!!!!!!! Once you have let your host know, don’t be afraid to ask for ingredients and preparation methods. Some food items might look like they are fine, but never assume. Politely tell your host how delicious and beautiful everything looks and ask how they made their salad dressings, soups, dips, and all of the other places gluten can sometimes sneak in.

Even as someone with CD you can enjoy the delicious foods at the holidays if you prepare ahead!

For more information regarding gluten free diets and digestive health email ahuva at


**image from googleimages

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