dating with special diets

Finding love isn’t easy. First dates can be nerve racking enough without worrying about how to broach the subject of your food identity. We spoke with Julie Spira, the Cyber Dating Expert who was named 2017 Dating Coach of The Year by iDate, to answer our dating questions. She shares some tips to handle dating with special diets – how, when and what to share with potential love interests as you stick your feet in the dating pool.

When would be the best time to share any information about food intolerances? How much do you share?

I think talking about food, favorite restaurants and what you like to or can eat is an easy discussion to have early on. Just remember to make it a positive comment, instead of a negative.

When creating your profile, list your favorite food and hot spots that you’d like to go on a date to that have a gluten-free or free-from menu. There are so many restaurants with gluten-free menu items, so be sure to list them in your profile if you have a gluten intolerance. Know that many others do as well.

What’s the best way to handle questions your date may have about food intolerance?

Since having a meal is a big part of dating, turning your sensitivities into a big issue isn’t necessary at first. If you don’t make it a big issue, neither will your date.

Explain you need to eat a gluten-free meal and suggest a place to go that will cater to your dietary and health needs.

What do you do if your date makes fun of your food intolerance or thinks you’re being high maintenance?

If your date thinks you’re high maintenance or can’t handle your food intolerance issues, it’s a red flag that your date could potentially not be at your side for something even more serious or life-threatening down the line.

Everyone has issues and deal breakers when it comes to dating. Some won’t date a smoker. Others prefer to date vegans or those who don’t have a diet that includes red meat. Fortunately, these days there are many alternatives. You should feel comfortable going on a date and ordering something that will not be a detriment to your health.

Any tips for feeling confident or relaxed on a first date?

Confidence is the number one trait that both men and women find appealing on a first date and in a partner. Before you go on a date, have your favorite first date outfit ready to go. It’s the one that makes you feel great about yourself. Have a cheat sheet of topics you’d like to talk about on a date, and always keep it light and positive. Never talk about your ex, work or financial problems. Talking about your family values, memorable vacations or a place you’d like to go to on a trip and your favorite activities will keep the conversation flowing. Remember to listen and to be interested in your date rather than only spending time talking about yourself. Smile and if you feel a connection, make it a goal to put a second date on the calendar, where both of you can be more relaxed. Remember, it’s a date, not a deposition.

Get out there, have some fun and be yourself. Introduce your Nima to your date. If you happen to find love, you can all live happily ever after. If not, your Nima will never leave you!

Julie Spira has offered her expertise to Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Psychology Today and The New York Times. For more information and more advice from Julie, please see