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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dating, Love and Being Gluten Free

Hi everyone!
 Kris is back! Yep, I have somehow managed to survive this dreadful midterm season with my mind still somewhat intact, although the extent to which is questionable...

Anyway, I wanted to share with all of you my opinions on something that may not seem at ALL related to eating and living gluten free and that is the topic of DATING.

But, let's kick it up a notch and talk not only about dating, but dating while being gfree. I can't take 100% credit for thinking of this topic as it was already extensively discussed in GlutenDude's blog post, however, I would still like to offer some of my ideas and viewpoints. So, let's go!

Let's face the truth: dating is hard with a food allergy.

Anyone who has a food allergy or knows someone who does has a pretty good idea about what types of challenges arise when eating out. The obstacles almost quadruple when you're eating out with someone that you may potentially have an interest in. What are some of these challenges? For example:

  • The person who has the food allergy has to be in control of selection of restaurants pretty much all the time
  • Eating a dish you may not be 100% sure is gluten free may make you sick or seriously hurt thus leading to embarrassment and worse, hospitalization
  • The other person doesn't express any interest in learning about your diet
  • Dining cards have a certain kind of negative stigma (what I mean by this is the idea of "fussiness" that may cause annoyance to your date, although if that was the case, I certainly would end the date early!)
These and many more may and probably do plague the minds of gluten free eaters everywhere (and this can also be extended towards all people with food allergies!)

Dating already has the inherent pressure of trying to impress your date with the least amount of embarrassment as possible, but when you add having to deal with a food allergy on top of that...you can imagine that it can get messy really quickly.

I have also heard of concerns not really related to eating out such as Why would someone date me if they can date someone who is healthy? or I can't relate to people who don't have the same food allergy or who understands what I deal with on a daily basis. 

All of these concerns are legitimate, BUT I would encourage my fellow gfreers to not set limits to who they should date simply because of their food allergies. Remember, food allergies do not define who you are as a person but it is simply something that you must avoid for your health. Never think that you are not "worthy" to date someone simply because you have an illness or condition. Whoever your interest happens to be, they should be someone who can appreciate, respect, and love you for who you are and that includes your food allergies and diet. If your interest does not show any concern for your allergy and your health, you should probably reconsider this person as the "one", if you know what I mean.

So how do we, as steadfast gfreers, abide by our gfree eating laws while still managing to have a good time with our potential interest? Here are some tips that I hope can help you out!

TIP 1: Surprise them!
 If he/she can't surprise you with a date at a restaurant of their choice, surprise them! If you have the choice of restaurant and they don't seem to have a preference, make the choice for them and I'm sure they will love whatever you surprise them with. You can rest assure that the food is safe for you and I guarantee your efforts will make your date smile.

TIP 2: Be 1/2 full before your date 
Group date and not sure where you're eating? Eat beforehand and bring snacks in your bag!

TIP 3: Order before you go
 If you don't like the stigma or the time it takes to explain the dining card/gfree diet to the chef, make plans to go beforehand to a restaurant that you trust and tell them the specifications for what foods are safe for you to eat. So, when you get there with your date, you can get your food all ready to go without the hassle and explanation! (Make sure to choose a restaurant that you trust can prepare your food with minimal cross contamination).

TIP 4: Minimally explain, maximally listen
If your date expresses interest in learning about your diet or celiac disease, feel free to give them the basic rundown. Don't be a motormouth and go into the specific details of your symptoms because they are not your doctor or counselor, so withholding some information would be to your benefit. Remember, you're trying to impress him/her! ;)

TIP 5: Always offer to pay
If your meal is specially prepared and perhaps costs a bit more than your date's meal, do not expect him/her to pay for your meal! If they offer to pay, you can accept within limits, but make sure to get the bill the next time around! Dates love when you at least offer to pay even though they have already planned to pay beforehand.

TIP 6: Be understanding.
Celiac disease and gluten free diets are still unknown to most of the population with the exception to those in the community. If your date has never heard of it at all, don't immediately judge or dislike them for not knowing. Remember, that perhaps you were once in the group that was in the dark about this condition too!

TIP 7: Never sacrifice your health to impress your date. 
Your health is your number one priority, no matter how cool or good looking your date is, always make sure that whatever you consume is safe. Don't take chances so you won't get sick!  

I hope that these tips and some of my personal life advice on love and dating can help some of you get out there are start your dating lives without fear of having to deal with the issues involving food allergies and your health. When you break it down, it's really not that bad.

What are some of your tips on dating and eating out?

Think positive, eat safely, and take care.

Until next time,