Talking to Friends & Family About Your Need to be Gluten-Free

By Madison Service, 2019 Bastyr University Dietetic Intern

 

As you may have experienced, some friends, family members, and co-workers are overwhelmingly supportive of you and your dietary restrictions, but others… not so much. Here is a helpful guide on how to navigate some of these more difficult situations.

  1. Try to approach these conversations with a serious, but informal tone. A gluten-free diet is not embarrassing or shameful and it should be talked about with those around you.
  2. Try to find a quiet space in a non-rushed environment when talking about your condition and the gluten-free diet.
  3. Focus on the positives of living gluten-free. You are taking control of your health by putting the right kind of foods in your body.
  4. Regardless of how many times you explain your situation to someone, they may still not fully understand or get it, for any number of reasons. Prepare yourself for this scenario and understand that it is okay. Realize that just because you’ve explained things to someone, this doesn’t mean you won’t need to explain again, and realize you will still have to be careful when eating at their homes, or foods they have prepared.

 

Here are some common questions you may experience, along with suggested approaches to answering.

 

You may have these conversations with the same people more than once, but remember these talks are good for your health and will get easier over time. Connecting with a local GIG support group is also a great way to learn about how others who are gluten-free deal with these types of situations.  gluten.org/community/support-groups/