I think widely celebrated holidays are more fun when you create your own traditions, without the stress of anything being perfect. Each holiday should be a personal experience that can be enjoyed between you and the people you care about, no matter how the day plays out. If you’re a gluten-free dad, or have kids who can’t eat wheat, just look for ways to spend quality time together and you’ll be halfway to a great time.
I was a father for two years before I realized I had to go gluten-free. I’m happy to say that I don’t feel like a lot has changed in regards to how I enjoy ‘my day’. Luckily, many of the hearty foods I like to grill are naturally gluten-free. And the few sweet foods I crave can be made easily with gluten-free flour or other safe substitutes.
If you have a gluten-free dad, or if you’re a dad with a spouse or child who is glutenfree, I think you should celebrate your favorite gluten-free foods throughout the day. I can’t wait until Oona (my daughter) is old enough to (rationally) cook with me. Right now, at three and a half years, she expects everything we put in the oven to magically turn into a cookie when the timer goes off. (But when it does, at least it’s made with gluten-free flour.)
But what if you have a gluten-free dad and you eat wheat? First, don’t roll your eyes when he tries telling how healthier you can be without wheat – at least not on Father’s Day. Even if my daughter doesn’t have problems with gluten, I still hope she avoids it when she’s old enough to make her own health decisions. So if your dad is gluten-free, why not try to make some great foods that you both can enjoy together? If anything, he’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness. It can be pretty lonely when you’re the only one in your daily life who has to live without gluten. Trust me, I know. That’s why I cook so much: to prove to the people I love that a gluten-free life tastes better.
Spending time with your children is the most important thing you can do on dad’s day. It’s not your day to go play golf or do whatever you want (that’s what your birthday is for). Father’s Day is about celebrating your role in your family and relationships with your children. As a single dad, my number one priority on June 16th is making sure Oona knows she’s the most special person in my life. We’re gonna make breakfast together, maybe hit the zoo or play in the park, make pizza, make art, make cookies, blow bubbles, go swimming, BBQ with my parents, read her favorite books, and whatever else we feel like doing. If you live a busy life, make it your goal to do the things with your kids that always seem to get put off in your daily life. If you need a good BBQ recipe, check out Gluten Free for Men’s How to Make Gluten Free Baby Back Ribs here
What if you want to buy a ‘gluten-free’ gift?
Although it’s nice to spend quality time with your family, who doesn’t like to open presents? I’d be lying if I said I don’t like to open things – and I really love surprises. So if you’re looking for something for your gluten-free dad, I’d start with cooking, BBQ’ing or beer brewing equipment. I’ve dedicated myself to mastering the art of grilling, smoking, making my own rubs and sauces, and discovering the perfect New York style pizza crust recipe. If your dad needs a new grill or smoker, I recommend a standard Weber for charcoal grilling, and a simple Brinkman electric smoker for easy smoking. I dream of having a backyard with my own fire pit, but an electric smoker works great in the meantime. I would also look for BBQ products online that you can’t find in your local grocery store. Sauces, rubs, bread mixes, beers, or anything else that might bring a smile to your dad’s face would make great gifts.
Seriously, a six-pack of New Planet Pale Ale would be more than enough for me. You could even order various items and pack them together as a gluten-free gift bag.
When I first went gluten-free, I thought it was strange to order food online. But now I get it. I’ve even heard of soldiers overseas using Amazon Prime to order their favorite gluten-free foods. So if you know a gluten-free soldier (dad or not) consider a care package for them as well.
Or maybe you don’t buy your dad anything that has anything to do with being gluten-free? That might even be the best way to go. Sure, make great food together, and listen to his speeches about nutrition. But chances are, he thinks about being gluten-free more than he’d like. So consider things that will make him remember there’s more to life than what we can/can’t eat. If your dad likes hike, go to the movies, bowl, cook, or whatever, try to think of ways to spend the day with him, no matter what the dynamics of your gluten-free relationship. And don’t forget to tell him how much you appreciate him – trust me, it will mean more to him than anything.
About Brendon O’Neill
Brendon O’Neill created Gluten-Free for Men to give guys a place where they can feel comfortable learning about living a gluten-free life. Through this site he highlights great products, hearty recipes, health information, and the gluten-free guys who make an impact in the community. Find Gluten Free for Men here