Before we get into the specifics of how a gluten free diet impacts dating, let me define gluten for those of you who are unsure of what I’m talking about. According to Wikipedia, “Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and related grains including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.” There you go, now you know!
If you live the gluten free lifestyle you probably have a sense of how it impacts dating, but this post is also for those of you who aren’t familiar with it and are starting to date someone who lives that way. I’m here to tell you that yes it’s hard, but also very manageable. Perhaps you’ve just discovered that you are gluten intolerant, or you’ve been living the lifestyle for a while, but are recently single and are trying to figure out how to navigate the dating world with such limitations. As someone who’s been gluten free for about ten years now, I’ve got some solutions for those of you who are trying to figure out when to tell someone about your diet; and if you’re someone dating someone who eats gluten free, this will tell you how it impacts your future relationship, so you can understand it logistically.
- How will I ever cook for my partner?
- Where will we go out to eat?
- Can I kiss my partner after eating gluten?
Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it might seem, and with a little label reading at the grocery store, yelp review reading on restaurant options, and some basic knowledge, your dating life will be the same or better than ever!
How a Gluten Free Diet Impacts Dating
When to Bring it Up?
This is something I used to struggle with all the time. To be honest, I used to brush it off as if it wasn’t a big deal; and I would mention it in passing, as if I was telling someone my favorite color is blue. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I need to tell people immediately because it’s not only about finding a restaurant that offers gluten free options. It means I can’t just eat anything no matter where we go. For example, I have to bring all of my own food to my friends bar-b-q’s, my own snacks for the airplane, and I’m always the one ordering something out of the ordinary on the menu. What happens when someone screws up at a restaurant? I’m in the bathroom suffering from an upset stomach, which is the opposite of sexy. Therefore, because it is such a significant part of my life, I find it important to bring it up right away. That way, I can eliminate the guys who don’t take health or diet into consideration at all in their lives.
How Serious Is It?
A gluten free diet these days is not a big deal, as long as it’s understood how it affects each person in the relationship. There are options at most restaurants, even at mainstream chains like The Olive Garden. Grocery stores have unlimited options, and even major airlines offer a gluten free meal on flights. The main factor to consider is how sensitive you or your partner are. Some people can’t have french fries that have been fried next to chicken nuggests with gluten on them. Other people just can’t eat a slice of wheat bread. Personally, I’m so sensitive that if I kiss someone who’s been eating gluten, I get an upset stomach. As unfortunate as that is, it’s still do-able to date someone who doesn’t share my diet. If my boyfriend doesn’t eat gluten free, I just make sure he’s brushed his teeth before playing tongue-tag. Generally speaking, I’ve found that most people are fine with eating gluten free except for random splurges.
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Logistics–How Will This Impact a Relationship?
This is where things get serious. If you start dating someone who eats gluten free, the time it will affect you the most is when you live together. Extremely sensitive people like myself can’t have gluten products in their homes. Therefore, that means, no wheat bread or flour in the kitchen. That doesn’t mean you can’t take out pizza once in a while, but generally speaking, as a rule I don’t allow gluten in my house because I don’t want it contaminating my dishes.
Cooking for your Gluten Free Partner
This is probably the biggest question people ask me all the time. What can I cook for my girlfriend who’s gluten free? Here’s what I tell them. First there are endless recipe blogs that have amazing, simple meals. If you need some inspiration, check out a couple of my personal favorite’s Elana’s Pantry, and Against All Grain. The basic idea behind cooking gluten free, is to be successful (and not make your partner sick) think about the meal that you’re the best at making in the kitchen. What ingredients contain gluten? Pasta? Grains on the side? Sauces? Salad Dressings? Look for the Gluten Free label on the back of your products. If it doesn’t have it, don’t risk it!
Now you know what to do if you or someone you’re dating eats gluten free. It might take a little getting used to, but just think, learning how to navigate the lifestyle opens up a whole new list of dating possibilities you might have not considered in the past!