Sometimes I bring a salad that has some sort of beans in it, veggies of all sorts, maybe fruit too, and some sort of protein, like chunks of ham or egg. I add my own dressing. Then I don’t really need to eat anything else, and I like it well enough. I make sure I eat it early on before someone steals the spoon to use in a different dish and then puts it back, or serves themselves by touching the spoon onto their bread or noodles, or waves some crumby bread over my salad, sprinkling wheat germs with abandon. I try to remember it is all about the socialization…and hopefully I haven’t dosed my insulin if someone contaminates my food. Yep. It is nice to know others understand. I like your idea of taking out your portion right at the start!
I think this is a really good point – eating early. While it might seem silly, sometimes I would feed EH before we went over to visit with friends for dinner. We have delightful vegan friends we visit, and they’re fabulous cooks, but they’re accustomed to eating very small portions. When I knew we were going to be going over to their house for a meal that they had prepared for us, I would make sure to feed EH a burrito on the way across town. That way he wasn’t starving when he got there, and he didn’t eat all of their food. Maybe eating before getting to the event would let you react like @Jen (who, by the way, totally inspired me with her post to this thread - thanks Jen!) and enjoy the company and not participate in the food part?
I think that going low-carb for us made it a whole lot easier to also be GF. (I am certainly not implying that being celiac is easy by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I trying to push our way of eating, just relating a personal story.) But if you can convince yourself/someone else that meat and vegetables are what you would like to eat, it’s a lot easier than if you try to get them to make a gluten-free pasta salad with a gluten-free soy vinaigrette. But the cross contamination issue is definitely a problem, that many people can’t understand. I do still come across people who don’t believe that gluten intolerance is a real thing.
Also, and I know it’s a big step, I think if you can get to the point where you don’t feel guilty about your food differences, whatever they may be, life will be easier. You are not the weird one – whoever is insisting that you eat something, they are the weird ones! I’ve struggled with that a lot - feeling the pressure to eat something that somebody made. I’m better about saying “no thanks” now and not worrying about what they think.
My mother-in-law recently asked me why EH and I travel so much, and one of my top reasons was “the food.” She pointed out that we don’t even eat half of what’s on offer because of the GF thing. I realized she was right, but it still doesn’t matter to me – I can appreciate the smell, the look, of a beautiful croissant in a pâtisserie window, or ogle another diner’s bowl of pasta. I still enjoy those aspects of other cultures. Even though I don’t eat them anymore.
This whole issue is so fraught – we really do have these foodways, methods of eating, cooking, and sharing food that define and inform our roles and relationships. It’s such a rich part of our culture, and it’s so individual from culture to culture, that bucking the system is very hard! It’s been really nice to read about the stories that people have shared here on this thread and others on FUD.