Do You Trust Other Celiacs?

She's my friend. She can't eat gluten. Would I trust her to cook for me?

It’s hard to trust other people cooking for you when the consequences are so serious if something goes wrong. Fact! If you’re celiac and you accidentally eat gluten it can be a pretty horrible experience so there’s no way you can have just anyone cooking for you. When I was first diagnosed with celiac I felt a little mean saying no to people who wanted to cook me a nice ‘gluten free’ meal. I say ‘gluten free’ because I’m pretty sure some of the meals made for me in earlier days were not completely free from cross contamination. Pretty quickly though I got comfortable saying no and these days I have absolutely no concerns with saying NO! Sorry but you can’t cook for me unless I really trust that you fully understand what you’re doing.

Eating out for most people is a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Enjoying a chilled glass of wine whilst someone else cooks and serves you a delicious meal. Wonderful, right? Sort of….

When you suffer from food allergies, intolerances or in my case celiac disease the whole experience of eating out isn’t quite as relaxing as it used to be. It can be stressful when you find yourself sitting in anticipation, hoping that the stranger in the kitchen understands the real threat to you which exists if he cooks your gluten free noodles in the same pot that was just used to cook whole wheat pasta.

Having even close friends and family cook for you can be a high anxiety experience. When you’re celiac, you live your strict gluten free life 24/7. Gluten Free has become the most common word in your vocabulary! You know where gluten can hide and you constantly read and double check labels to ensure you make safe choices. When you aren’t forced to live with something like celiac you don’t completely understand it, it isn’t always at the top of your radar and so you’re therefore more likely to make mistakes when preparing a gluten free meal.


How about if the person cooking for you does live with celiac disease 24/7 just like you.

What if gluten free is also the most common word in their vocabulary.

What if they too spend hours in the supermarket double checking labels.

What if they too are always online looking for restaurants with gluten free menus and making calls to manufacturers to quiz them on cross contamination issues.

Simply because someone is celiac like you does it mean you would feel comfortable having them cook for you?

Some of you may be thinking. ‘Of course!’ and others ‘Are you kidding me? Of course not!’ and this probably comes down to what type of celiac you are yourself. Presumably it also depends which celiac and what kind of celiac wants to cook for you as we don’t all treat this disease in the same way.

Do they take it as seriously as you do?

Are they as careful as you are about the products they use?

Do they make risks that have you freaking out in your gluten free skin?

You can definitely trust me to cook for you if we ever meet! I promise to keep you safe. Do you trust me? Share your thoughts in the comments below..


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  • Was dealing with this issue yesterday at a friend’s BBQ who has gluten sensitivities. All these people were texting me and calling me about what they could make for me and I was like it’s ok don’t worry about it. I’m so thankful they want to try but it got to the point where I almost didn’t want to go. This is by far the hardest part about dealing with food allergies is the social setting. I agree with you the only time I feel 100% safe is if the person shares and practices safe practices like me. Great post thanks for sharing!

  • Sile Farrell

    May 29th, 2012

    Laura you write like you are in my head. You ask the questions I wish I had the confidence to ask & you make me feel that I’m not the only one who gets bouts of ” freaking out in your gluten free skin?” I never feel relaxed when anyone cooks for me. There is always that little evilgluten thought at the back of my brain hoping all is right. It’s only the next day when I feel well that I count my lucky stars. Love the post, you are amazing. Thanks. x

  • IF I knew a celiac, I suppose it would depend on our friendship and how serious they took it. As of now, there is only one house I trust to eat at…my sister in laws. She is also my wife’s best friend, so she knows everything, inside and out. Besides that…I bring my own, I don’t eat, or we don’t go. Having celiac is fun, isn’t it??

  • It’s definitely a challenge to trust others when you’re celiac isn’t it?
    I do find it interesting how we trust strangers in restaurants from time to time though whilst we don’t trust most of our friends and family to cook for us. We can only hope that restaurants have been thoroughly training of safe celiac friendly practices!
    If there ever comes the day that I get the chance to cook any of you a gluten free meal I promise to keep you safe! πŸ˜€

  • This is a really interesting post. Last summer, the NYC Celiac Meetup group had a potluck. There were definitely some nervous people in attendance, but at the end of the day it all came down to trusting one another. We were strangers, acquaintances, and friends that all needed to eat gluten-free, but put our nervousness aside and trusted those at the potluck. No one got sick and we all had a wonderful day.

  • How wonderful, Erin and the perfect example of celiacs trusting celiacs! I often wonder how a gluten free potluck would go because I love the idea of having one. Of course some people by nature are just more careful and cautious than others and it’s hard to trust a stranger, even if they are a celiac stranger. I hope I can be part of a gluten free event like this one day though. πŸ˜€

  • This is always a tough one for me–especially as I’m deciding on behalf of my daughter. Most celiacs I’d be fine with, it’s the really helpful non-celiacs that scare me. Like the friend who assured me that everything was safe as he’d even taken the precaution of washing all the utensils he used in the extra hot cycle of the dishwasher. If only gluten really could be sterilized away… Always the balance of begin tactful while also getting all the questions about ingredients and cross-contamination answered.

  • I’m asymptomatic so I’m coming at this question from the other direction. I eat a handful of ‘no gluten ingredient’ processed foods myself since I know I won’t react, but when I cook anything another GF person is going to eat I am sure to avoid any of those products. I try to go for recipes that include only whole ingredients and cook from scratch.

    I’ve met plenty of people in support groups that think just because they don’t react, then the item/restaurant is safe for everyone. I can understand the nervousness at Erin’s potlucks for just this reason.

  • For me, a lot depends on how long they’ve been gluten free. It took me a while to sort out what was safe and what wasn’t and to learn about cross-contamination, so it’s going to take other people time, also. I have several friends with various gluten sensitivities (from Celiac to allergy), and the ones who have been gluten free longer are definitely more trustworthy when it comes to food. The newbies? One of them accidentally glutened me (and herself!) last year. She’s learned a lot since then and I’d trust her more now, but I still ask a ton of questions and read labels when visiting.

  • I am intolerant of a few different things, and it used to make me really anxious whenever a group meal was involved. Now it really depends on who is doing the cooking. If it’s someone I often cook with, like my mum or boyfriend, I can pretty much relax because they’re so used to it. If it’s in a rarer situation like eating with my dad and his partner, I always worry a lot more (his partner is also a bit of a scatterbrain so that makes things worse, and I’ve had a few near misses and one really bad experience when she gave me lacto-free ice cream that actually contained soya!)
    I always used to get bad anxiety when I had to eat out in a restaurant, but now I’ve learned to only order things I know for definite are 100% safe, like salad, or steak and (if I’m feeling brave) chips. That way, since I’m not too sensitive in regards to cross-contamination, I don’t need to worry about anything other than making sure they know not to put any dressing or sauce on whatever I’m getting.
    As I and the people around me have gotten more used to my weird requirements it has definitely become easier, so I think it’s just a case of sticking it out and asking lots of questions early on, and getting into people’s heads that they need to take a different approach to cooking a meal than they normally would. That makes it easier for me to put my trust in someone else, and in a way it’s nice to take a break from over-thinking what I’m eating all the time.

  • Funny thing this post. I just this evening trusted a friend who’d made a so called gluten free cake… Now I’m in bed throwing my guts up and feeling incredibly rotten, my stomachs in knots! I always find I feel rude telling people no, so I tend to at least try. My mother was terrible for cross contamination and really struggled at first but now she understands completely. A lot of it I think is more education than trust. The more people know about it and understand the more comfortable were all going to get about eating at other peoples homes and out and about. I just hope some day I can walk out of my door without a eat natural bar, salad or gluten free sandwich stuffed into my bag. I’m getting tired of sneaking nibbles of bits from my bag.

  • I hope you feel better soon, Panda!! I hear you. Wouldn’t it be great if we could leave home without any safe snacks because we knew there were so many great places for us to eat, safely! πŸ™‚