A Gluten Free Explanation and Thank You Letter
I have been blessed to be a part of an amazing church with the most genuine, warm-hearted people. A couple of weeks ago, the church came together to provide a Thanksgiving meal to those in need. As someone with an extreme gluten intolerance and suspected Celiac disease, I knew that I would not be able to eat much, if anything, that was provided. While this may still be difficult to face after four years of being gluten free, I prepare myself for it and have absolutely no hard feelings to those providing the food. In fact, the most difficult part is explaining why I’m not eating. I do not want to offend anyone and definitely do not want anyone feeling bad for not fixing something gluten free. Never would I expect anyone to go out of their way to make something gluten free just for me. It’s sometimes hard to convey this, but the best thing I can say is that it really is okay. I have been to weddings, birthdays, baby showers, and many other events where there were few gluten free options. Unless I’m starving, you can usually count on me to never make a fuss. And if I do make a fuss, it’s only because hunger has made me cranky. ;) This is why those with gluten intolerance are taught to always carry a gluten free nutritional bar or other snack.
Unfortunately, even if there is something that is supposedly gluten free, I am usually hesitant to eat it unless it is a store bought fruit or veggie tray. This isn’t because I don’t trust the cook. It’s simply because there are a lot of sources of hidden gluten out there, and I cannot take a chance with my level of reaction. Sauces, marinades, soups, bases, and stocks are just some of the sources. On top of that, I cannot have any ingredients that may have been manufactured in a facility with other gluten containing ingredients. Cross-contamination is also a factor. Using the same pots, pans, or utensils on gluten containing and gluten free items, if not cleaned thoroughly, is enough to elicit a response. My condition affects me on the microscopic level. I often won’t even get gluten free buns or toast when I’m out at a restaurant just because I don’t know if they are toasting them on the same grill or in the same toaster as regular bread. The risk just isn't worth compromising my health.
This being said, I genuinely appreciate all of the love and concerns offered to me by those who simply want to give me something I can eat. However, please know that I would never expect anyone to go out of their way to provide me something safe. Also, the last thing I want to do is offend someone by not eating what was prepared for me or by asking many questions about its preparation. It is nothing personal and the appreciation is monumental. I just need to look out for my health. I am amazed by the kindness that has been extended to me, especially to those trying to understand my condition. I am surrounded by love and feel I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.