‘Tis the season to indulge in all those yummy and delicious foods! Christmas brings many childhood memories and along with them the foods that delight the senses.
This Christmas is a bit different for me. Over a year ago my little boy was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the small intestine when gluten is digested. Last Christmas I worked hard to try to provide treats for him to enjoy. Little did I know, the same disease was lying dormant in my body.
Last winter I endured illness after illness. After a tough bout of pneumonia I had a blood test, as it’s recommended all family members are tested for Celiac. Sure enough, my gluten levels were off the charts. After genetic testing I discovered I also have the disease.
Making the switch to gluten free is a challenging one, but once you get used to cooking that way, it’s not that hard to eat at home. The challenges lie outside the home. One would think the hard part comes with temptation, but I have found the difficulty is in always having to ask about every little thing I eat. It is also difficult to respond to people who don’t understand. Many believe gluten sensitivity issues do not exist, and many have never even heard of gluten.
Today I want to share some ways to love your friends with food sensitivities, Celiac and beyond.
Ask how you can make your meal to fit their needs. If you are having a guest over with dietary needs, ask how you can modify something. Many people are overwhelmed with the term “gluten free” but with a few small modifications it can be simple! In most cases you can buy a gluten free flour and replace it cup for a cup! Gluten free pastas are available as well.
Take their intolerances seriously. In our health conscious society “gluten-free” has become somewhat of a fad. This is good for us because there are so many food options available! However it can also be a challenge. Some people don’t take us seriously, thinking we are just following that fad. This is painful. There is no way I would have ever chosen this for my life. Some days I would do anything for the ability just to take a bite out of a Chick-Fil-A Chicken sandwich! It would be so nice to be able to order something from a restaurant without having to ask the waiter to make sure there is no flour in the item I ordered. If you are interested, it’s okay to ask your friend about their intolerance or disease. We have a wealth of information we love to share. This helps spread awareness dissolving the misconceptions about it.
Lastly, don’t profusely apologize if something you made your friend can’t eat. We are used to saying “no” and we are okay with it! I remember a time when I just couldn’t resist that third, fourth, even fifth piece of cake at Bible study or parties. Now that I have accepted what gluten does to my body, It’s not hard to pass.
By taking simple steps you can show God’s love to so many people who are affected by food, especially during this season.
In my search for gluten free treats last Christmas, our family adopted this delicious recipe into our Christmas family traditions. We decided we will only cook this at Christmas time because its so addicting! Enjoy!
Honey Crackle Christmas Crunch (from the Irby Kitchen, courtesy of Land ‘O Lakes!)
3 quarts (12 cups) plain popped popcorn
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup salted mixed nuts
Heat oven to 250°F. Place popcorn in roasting pan.
Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan; stir in brown sugar and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (8 to 10 minutes). Continue cooking 5 minutes.
Pour honey mixture over popcorn, stirring until all popcorn is coated. Add mixed nuts; stir to coat.
Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 to 40 minutes. Immediately spread popcorn onto waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container.
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