I'm gluten-free (need to be) and vegan (choose to be) so I face similar situations. I *always* bring my own food. We're going out of town this weekend and staying with family and I'm packing everything I will eat while we're there.
When my food "requirements" (for lack of a better word) come up I simply say I'll be bringing my own food because it can be complicated and I while I appreciate their desire to be hospitable it's just so much easier for everyone if I take care of it. Even if someone did manage to avoid the obvious things I can't/won't eat there are so many minor ingredients that are so easily overlooked by those not in the know. It took so much work for ME to wrap my head around all the little things that contain gluten. There's no way I would expect someone unfamiliar with gluten-free cooking to learn all that or have to be concerned with cross-contamination.
It was weird at first for some people but it really is easier for all concerned. They're used to me now and anyone who used to get offended or whatever has gotten over it.
I do sit and eat with everyone. It's awkward for me because everyone always has an opinion about my food (while I'm polite and never pick apart what they're eating...though I could!). I do think it's important that I show that my different eating habits are not something that causes separation. I can still sit at the same table and enjoy a meal and conversation with everyone. The fact that my food is different isn't a big deal to me and it shouldn't be for anyone else. If we were in a restaurant we wouldn't all be eating the same food. It's really no different.
I find that being direct, in a polite way, really helps. I don't ask if it's ok if I bring my own food. I don't get all wishy-washy and apologetic. I simply state what my plan is and let them know that they're off the hook...no need to worry about me.
This is your husband's responsibility. He needs to be the one to explain to his family that you have an allergy and it has nothing to do with them. Nice people would look for something gluten-free for you, but if they don't want to be nice, they can at least be vaguely decent and not whine about you taking your own food because they're not gracious enough hosts to make the attempt. You can't say those things to them, but they're his family, so he can.
I have a dairy intolerance and my brother's wife and family don't get it either. When I go over there for dinner everything either has cheese, mayo or sour cream in it. They too get offended when I brought my own food so I didn't and would just eat what they made all the while praying the lactaid would work. Well the last time I ate their food I was sick for 3 days. After that I started bringing my own food. When my brother told me he was offended I answered with "I ate your food last time and was sick for 3 days. No food is worth being sick for 3 days afterwards.i appreciate that you are offended by me bringing my own food but I too am a little offended that you can't show enough respect for me to at least have one dish that won't make me sick. Until you realize I cannot eat dairy and accept it I will either continue to bring my own food or I will not come here to eat anymore" I know it's a little harsh but that's really the only way something gets through to my brother. You'll know how to speak with your family but I highly recommend you bring your own food. No one and no food is worth you being sick for.
Let us know how it goes! Angela
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Bring your own food, but when you get there, start ranting and raving about how amazing their food smells, and how much you wish you could have it, but your stinking sensitivity is keepign you from enjoying the things you love. Maybe see if you can steal a bite here and there.
Take the focus off of the fact you're bringing your own, and put it on the fact that you're missing out on their awesome food.
I have an apparent gluten sensitivity and have to go to a cookout at my in-law's place. I have no idea what they are having and can't bring food since they get offended because they have so much food there already. We've tried explaining there are certain things I can't eat, but they aren't going to check the labels and I don't know if I'll be given access to them to check myself. I will most likely bring my own food anyway, but could use advice on handling social situations involving food.
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