When you have celiac disease or another gluten-related disorder, dating can be fairly tricky. With so much focus on restaurant outings, movie theater snacks and the post-date kiss, people with a gluten-related disorder have a lot more to think about than just finding the perfect outfit.
Pick the restaurant yourself. Suggest a few restaurants that you trust will serve safe gluten-free food. Do some research to find a few different options so your date can have a choice, too. If you’re not comfortable picking the place or bringing up your gluten-free diet on the first date, why not cook at home? You can always pack a picnic basket for lunch or dinner at a local park so you don’t have to bring up your diet right off the bat.
Be prepared to quickly and simply explain your gluten-free diet. You shouldn’t be embarrassed by your gluten-free diet (yes, this even applies to the men out there). If your date involves food, you can quickly explain that you can’t eat gluten for medical reasons and if you do, you’ll become very sick. Don’t feel pressured to give all the details on the first date, and focus on what you can eat. For example: “I can’t split the cake with you, but this place makes fantastic homemade ice cream. How about we each order a scoop?”
Skip the food. Who says a first date has to be all about food? You can go on a hike, head to a museum or show off your ice skating skills at the nearest rink. This way, you don’t have to worry about finding safe options on the first date and can just have fun and enjoy the company.
Be mindful of that kiss. Use your discretion when it comes time to lean in. Did your date just finish a bowl of pasta? It’s a good idea to hold off, at least until your date can find his or her way to a toothbrush. If you both shared a day of gluten-free meals, then you should be all clear for that smooch.
Relax! Your mind can do incredible things – including make yourself sick from worry. So relax, have a good time and plan ahead so you can enjoy the moment!
For more Dating Dos and Don’ts, see NFCA’s article in GREAT U.
About the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Through empowerment, education and advocacy, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) drives diagnoses of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders and improves the quality of life for those on a lifelong gluten-free diet. For more information about GREAT Schools and gluten-free needs on campus, visit www.CeliacCentral.org/