If you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease, even a tiny amount of wheat can ruin your day, week month. If you are celiac and are subject to long-term exposure to gluten, then minor contamination could ruin your health for good.

Breadcrumbs are a good example of tiny amounts of wheat that could reach your mouth. They represent a small but significant hazard to those avoiding gluten, and must be avoided with the same disipline as entire loaves of bread.

Does sharing a meal with people who do not understand your gluten-free/wheat-free diet make you nervous?

Since a bread crumb or two could ruin my week, I can’t relax when I am at a table that includes bread made from wheat.

I generally deal with this by taking my share of food first and putting it on my plate, and keeping my gluten-free bread well away from regular bread, or anything else made of wheat.

This Christmas though, I took it one step further.

Everyone had the same gluten-free bread as I did.

Gluten-free bread has advanced a great deal since I first discovered my allergy to wheat. Twenty years ago, you could not buy wheat-free bread. I had a recipe for wheat-free bread. It produced solid bricks that crumbled badly, went stale quickly, were tasteless, dry and unappetizing. I gave up on bread completely for the longest time.

Eventually, gluten-free bread did come on to the market, but it was only marginally better than what I could make myself, and rarely fresh by the time I was able to buy it in the health food store.

All that has changed and today, it is possible to get very tasty fresh bread with a nice consistency that everyone can enjoy, even those who normally eat wheat.

So that’s what we did. We all ate gluten-free bread, and I was able to relax and completely enjoy the meal. Yes, the average cost of bread per person was more than it normally would be, but it was well worth it for the sake of a shared holiday meal that everyone could enjoy – allergy-free and allergy-afflicted alike.

If you live in a household that is not 100% gluten-free, then you must watch out for contamination from things like butter, jam, condiments, and other shared food items that might be double-dipped. You also have to make sure that wheat crumbs on counters and tables are cleared away before you get anywhere near them.

Have a gluten allergy? Find out more: NoniHerbal.com

Copyright 2010 Douglas Samuel. May be republished providing above author information is included, and live links are used without the rel=”nofollow” attribute.