This post was sponsored by Boulder Organic. All opinions are mine alone. In honor of celiac awareness month, today I’m sharing with you how celiac disease has affected my relationship.
I have been knowingly living with celiac disease for nearly four years, and three of those years have been spent living with my boyfriend, who does not have celiac disease. Living with a significant other already has its challenges but they seem to be amplified with different diets.
While living together my boyfriend has incorporated a gluten-free lifestyle. When we first started dating, he didn’t think twice about gluten — sandwiches for lunch and crackers as a go-to snack. When making toast one morning, he put his bread in my toaster and then dipped his “gluten-full” knife in my peanut butter. We now own two toasters and aren’t afraid to use multiple knives at once. Who knew toast could be so complicated?
Lucky for him I am an active food blogger, so he gets to experience new meals every week, and actually has learned to enjoy my gluten-free fare! I like to joke that he is now 90% gluten-free and 10% beer at home. We don’t make special meals for him, and when he does cook, he’s extremely careful. Not only does he enjoy eating what I am making, he’s really gotten into our Sunday cooking and meal prep for the week–TBD if this is because of the food or our 90s boy band kitchen dance parties.
Then there is date night! We have our go-to restaurants that we know are gluten-free friendly, however, when we want to try something new, it’s a whole different story. It involves phone calls emails to the chef or cook, and then many more questions to servers, managers and chefs when we sit down to eat. Luckily, I have someone who knows celiac disease is no joke and will make sure I can eat safely. While tacos tend to be our date night choice (corn tortillas for the win!), we love trying new places. On our first date, he took us to a tapas restaurant because he knew they had a gluten-free menu and followed certain gluten-free protocols (so romantic!). The fact that I could eat anxiety-free and focus on the handsome man across from me at the table, was amazing. On one of our next dates, after I ordered my meal, my boyfriend ordered his pasta gluten-free. I looked at him perplexed like “Why would this weirdo order gluten-free when he could eat all the gluten in the world?” I guess he could read my mind and said, “In case you want to eat off my plate.” From that moment, I knew I had a keeper!
With any disease it is nice having a partner that has your back. A few years ago, I was very sick from cross contamination at a restaurant. Getting “glutened”–as I like to call it, happens. Those times when gluten makes its way into my food are not fun, but I know he is there to help.
Being celiac you’ll find that gluten lurks in the most unlikely of places – even shampoo! By chance I looked at the back of my shampoo bottle and in the middle of the ingredient list I saw wheat protein. Feeling completely overwhelmed and helpless, I realized it’s days like that I am so grateful to have a good support system at home. (Spoiler alert: I got a new shampoo without wheat protein in it and my year of foggy brain went away in just a few days. Always check your hygiene products, and all labels in general. You just never know!)
As someone who works full time, runs a food blog, and owns small gluten-free cookie business, I don’t always have time to make elaborate meals. Which is why having a well-stocked pantry is essential to living with celiac disease. You must be prepared or you end up HANGRY. Here are a few things we always have on hand:
- Rice, quinoa, and beans help to make quick meals.
- Corn tortilla chips, nuts and chocolate are great for snacking or dessert when I’m in a pinch.
- Gluten-free prepared meals like Boulder Organics‘ soups are lifesavers on days when I’m running around and don’t have time to make a lunch or dinner (and they’re also organic and non-GMO!).
Having special plates, utensils and cutting boards that are specifically for gluten containing foods (or vice versa) also help eliminate cross contamination.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to living a gluten-free lifestyle when you live with others who do not have celiac disease. Simply find what works best for you in your house! When a relationship is new, there are always kinks to work out, even more so with eating restrictions, so I feel lucky to have someone who has joined in on this journey with me.