“I feel isolated and lonely when a room full of people are enjoying Christmas fare that I can’t share.” Kate Harris, 71
Kate misses being able to share her favourite Christmas food with family and friends. Coeliac UK has helped her to find gluten free alternatives so that she doesn’t feel left out.
“My first gluten free Christmas in 2009 was difficult. I was worried about finding gluten free versions of my favourite Christmas goodies in my usual stores, and was anxious in case I didn’t like the taste. Where should I buy my Christmas cake, Christmas puddings, mince pies, or sausage meat?
“I also felt sad that I had to have separate food rather than sharing with my family, but I had to be positive, as I was no longer losing weight and felt much healthier.
“Luckily, I did manage to find items I like, thanks to Coeliac UK’s invaluable Christmas List, Helpline, and Food and Drink information. Their Venue Guide is also really useful when planning a meal out at this time of year.
“I used to miss Cadbury’s chocolate tree decorations but gluten free versions are now available. I do miss lots of other Christmas chocolates which aren’t gluten free, and still feel isolated and lonely when a room full of people are eating and enjoying Christmas fare that I cannot share. These days people are so accustomed to the fact I cannot eat the same foods that they don't seem to realise I would love to eat that Christmas cake, or those sausage rolls.
“I’d advise friends and family who are hosting a gluten free guest this Christmas to ask the person what they like to eat, as they might not like all gluten free foods. And I’d advise those on a gluten free diet to offer to bring your own Christmas food, or recommend gluten free items that will make it easier for your host to cater for you.”
You can read Kate's story, The Day that Changed My Life in Get to the Point: An anthology by Rugby Cafe Writers. In it, Kate talks about her experience of being diagnosed with coeliac disease. Available now on Amazon.