How do you become your own advocate? SPEAK UP - that is the best way to be your own advocate!
- Ask questions, and not just "is that gluten free" because more often than not, your server or friend/family member doesn't know, instead ask to see the ingredients, the label, ask to speak to the chef or the head caterer, make yourself and disease known that it is something serious and cannot be taken lightly, this is your health! Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself!
- Call Ahead - call the restaurant, family member, friend, venue ahead of time and make them aware that you are coming. Ask questions and go over options for yourself of what you can and can not have on the menu or if the chef can accommodate a menu item to your needs.
- Be Specific - when ordering or even speaking to someone else, don't just assume they will know you can't have croutons on your salad or have the chicken fried with bread crumbs. DON'T FEEL SILLY BEING SO SPECIFIC AND DIRECT - you would much rather be safe then sorry
- BYOF - Bring your own food. This is something I do all the time, to restaurants, friends' houses, family gatherings, when you're unsure of the food situation or nervous about cross contamination, just prepare your own "to go meal" to alleviate some stress and anxiety. There is no shame in bringing your own food, so don't feel embarrassed about it, I know I used to hate the stares I got but now I just ignore them, those people judging me don't know me or my issues so what do I care? I need to do what's best for me and my body and keeping it healthy!