Today my ward Graduated from High School. We couldn't be prouder of him. He had such a long journey to get to this point. He will be leaving for the US Army come October. However, there are a few issues for those with Celiac at these types of occasions. As we were leaving the Graduation, The School officials tried to press a Cookie and lemonade into my hands. I had to decline; in fact I wouldn't even touch the snacks. I didn't want the gluten on my hand from the cookies and I had no idea of how, where or with what the lemonade was made. This means that I couldn't safely consume anything. While our Ward understood why I politely said no thank you and wouldn't let the snacks touch me, the person pushing them did not. They only understood when I told them that I was allergic.
The first rule: You can and should say no. While it is common to want to celebrate with your loved ones, it is going to do no one any good if you are sick afterwards. Saying no thanks you is the best option for everyone.
This works at weddings as well, if you cannot safely eat anything, then don't. This doesn’t mean that you are not happy for the couple. It just means that you cannot make yourself sick. I have smiled and taken the cake, only to foist it off on someone else and then wash my hands at occasions like that. However, what I have learned is better is to simply say no at the beginning. My health always comes first. I am sure that the food and the cake are amazing; I however, am not going to eat them.
The Second rule: If the food is in question then say no. Even if something should be gluten free, doesn't mean that it is. There is the food preparation that needs to be taken into account. While it is rude to question the staff publicly, if you can get one aside and ask your questions without bringing attention to yourself then do so. For example when I went to a Christmas ball, I was able to learn that the fruit and cheese table was prepared id a different kitchen than the rest of the food and was therefore safe. So while everyone else had dinner, I was allowed to get myself more fruit and cheese. This meant that I was eating with everyone else and still keeping myself safe.
The Third rule: Eat before you go. If you cannot be assured of the safety of the food then you should eat before you leave. This means that you are not hungry and therefore will not feel left out when others are eating. Also this keeps your stomach from rumbling at inopportune times. (Yes I have had this happen.) Also keep a snack for yourself in the car for after the event.
Last Rule: Think before you act, is it worth your health to try something you are unsure of. This can include punch bowls and salad bars. While they should be safe, this is not always the case. Some powdered drinks contain some form of gluten.
What Situations have you found yourself in where you have had to decline the food?