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. . . ARTICLES

Winter 1999 - 2000

Surviving the Holidays with Celiac Disease
by Sandy Cole

Although I don't claim to be an expert on Celiac disease, I have lived with it for many years. Since it doesn't skip generations, my father, sister and daughter are all afflicted.

The holidays, with all the cakes, cookies and other goodies, can be a difficult time for celiacs. Most celiacs find that stress and pressure pay a big role in their well being-- you are nervous, more on edge, have itchy dry skin or sleep poorly. At holiday time when you may be both hosting and attending parties, you must be more aware of how your body is working and take extra care. It is a good idea to make lists of things you have to do, and only do a few things a day. When possible, get extra sleep. Take time to relax. Soft music and a bubble bath works for me!

Handling Social Situations

When it comes to sticking to your diet, keep in mind that what works for one person doesn't work for someone else. Some of us can cheat a little while others don't dare. If you are invited to a dinner party, explain to the host that you have Celiac disease and ask if you can bring a gluten-free dessert to share. 

At cocktail parties, nibble on veggies and potato chips. I sometimes have a small gluten-free sandwich before I go so I won't be too hungry. For me, wine seems to work as a drink of choice, but I make it last or alternate with juice or ice water. If you are going to a party where sandwiches will be served, ask your host if you can make you own using a gluten free bread or bun, or simply bring your own sandwich with you.

Don't be embarrassed about having to tell someone about your condition. No host wants a guest to become ill at his or her party, and it simply isn't worth compromising your health over a treat.

On Your Own

When dining out for supper I try to go to a restaurant that has a buffet. I ask the chef what has a flour base. This way I can pick and choose.

When grocery shopping remember to read ingredient labels carefully, and, when in DOUBT LEAVE IT OUT! Rice, potato or bean flour, can be substituted for regular flour in baking. A word of caution: bean flour can be a little heavy. A good brand name gluten- free flour is Celimix.

Desserts that have a graham cracker crust can be made with ground up Rice Krispies or Cornflakes.  One of my favourite quiche recipes uses rice flour for a top (not bottom) crust. 

Here's wishing you all a happy holiday season!

Webmaster's Note:

Most gluten-free flours cannot be substituted one-to-one for wheat flour. For tips on gluten-free baking please refer to our article "Baking Substitutions" .

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