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What Are the Best Tips for a Gluten-Free Christmas?

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  • Written By: Lauren Romano
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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The best tip for having a gluten-free Christmas is to cook as much food at home as possible. Practice recipes ahead of time and have others taste-test them to ensure they come out well. While attending parties or events where there's going to be food, bring home-cooked food along. To prevent any problems, bring up having Celiac disease weeks before Christmas. If there are any questions, don't hesitate to ask what's included in the meal.

Those who need to have a gluten-free Christmas are most likely doing so because they have Celiac disease. It's a digestive disease that creates difficulty with absorbing nutrients from food. Celiac disease affects the digestive tract, specifically the small intestine, and makes the person unable to properly process gluten, which is found in barley, wheat and rye. The most common symptoms someone with the disease may experience include diarrhea, skin rash, mouth sores, depression and bloating; some people have no symptoms at all.

The best way to have a gluten-free Christmas is to cook at home so it's clear what exactly is in the food. There are recipe websites and cookbooks specifically for those with Celiac disease. Standard cookbooks and recipe websites may include gluten-free recipes, but have a list on hand of possible foods to eat to compare it with the list of ingredients.

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Gluten-free foods don't necessarily come out with the same consistency or taste as regular foods. Instead of just cooking and serving, practice the gluten-free Christmas recipes ahead of time. This provides ample time to modify the recipes as necessary without having to rush and do it last minute. Allow others to taste-test the food in order to have more opinions.

There are typically at least a few events and parties to attend around the holidays, which means plenty of foods that people with Celiac disease can't have. To ensure there's at least one thing there to eat, cook a gluten-free dish or two and bring it along. Showing up with food to a party is also respectful and courteous, especially when it involves bringing something that those who follow a specific diet can eat so the host doesn't feel bad for not having it.

Family and close friends are likely already aware of their loved one's dietary restrictions, but others, or those who are just forgetful, may not have it in mind to give or provide gluten-free food at parties or as gifts. At least a month or two before Christmas, casually mention about eating only gluten-free foods — bring it up in conversation, ask for recipes, or suggest getting together to go to a specific restaurant. It will provide a small reminder to party hosts and gift-givers so they don't feel bad for not knowing or remembering.

In order to have a gluten-free Christmas, it may require asking certain questions beforehand. Whether at a restaurant or a party, or while speaking to a host before an event, don't hesitate to ask about what's in the food that's going to be served or if there's anything they need. Most people are happy to answer any questions, especially if it helps them accommodate certain dietary restrictions of their guests.

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