You receive an invitation in the mail to a good friend’s wedding. This is something you have been looking forward to for awhile, but now that you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, you notice that accompanying your excitement is some unwelcomed anxiety about being able to eat at the wedding.
You already know the cake is a no-go, as are the dinner rolls that will undoubtedly be served. But what about the main course? Will it be pasta, or will it be some kind of meat and vegetables that are more likely to be safe?
“Oh please….please…don’t let it be pasta ,” you think to yourself.
As you contemplate how to address the situation, unwelcome thoughts may arise. “I don’t want to be a burden by making them worry about feeding ME when this day is about THEM. I don’t want to bring my own food and be embarrased when I have to take out my lunch pail and eat something different than everyone else.”
These thoughts may be accompanied by a variety of other anxious, negative thoughts that ultimately lead to the worst possible scenario of …"maybe I just won’t go.” But, truly you know this last thought isn’t an option because you know it’s important to your friend that you attend.
So, what do you do? First, relax, and remember where there’s a will, there’s a way. Ultimately, you’re not going to starve!
Okay, so this is what you do:
Step 1) Pick up the phone. Call your friend and ask what will be served. Knowing is half the battle. If it is obviously not safe, then you need to start considering how to plan ahead so that you can eat there, or eat beforehand. If it sounds like it might be safe, take it just a tad farther and politely ask your friend if she can find out from the caterer what would be safe for you to eat. This really shouldn’t be too much trouble.
Step 2) Relax. Remember, that even though food is part of the wedding, it’s not everything. There is dancing, music, drinks, family, friends, and lots of other fun to be had. Put your attention on the conversations, the dancing and other parts of the wedding.
Step 3) Prepare. If you know what will be served and can pack yourself something comparable that you can have ready, you will feel less anxious in that moment. Being prepared ahead of time can help significantly decrease anxiety.
Step 4) Have fun no matter what. Most importantly….remember that feeling good is going to help you have the best time. Even though it may take preparation and doing things a bit differently, you’re going to enjoy yourself a whole lot more than if you sacrifice and eat something that is going to cause a bad reaction. Your worth it and you deserve to feel good, no matter where you are!
------------------------ Author Information: Jennifer Leeson, Denver, CO Denver Gluten-free Examiner at Examiner.com Jennifer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an expert on changing negative emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease last October, she learned there was more to transforming her life around food beyond knowing what to eat and what not to eat. There were unexpected social, emotional, and behavioral challenges that arose. Since learning how to cope with these obstacles herself, she has begun teaching others how to cope effectively with the barriers that interfere with successfully changing one’s entire lifestyle around food. You can reach Jennifer at her e-mail address