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Starbucks?!
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Hey everyone,

 

I recently got a job as a barista at a Barnes and Noble Cafe. We serve Starbucks products (I call us a pretend Starbucks... same thing, really). This has fed my addiction to coffee, but unfortunately, I've been glutened. I have a few theories as to what it is, please let me know what your thoughts are!

 

1. I may have missed hidden glutens in the different syrups - caramel color has never put me off before, but I've never had it on an almost daily basis before.

2. Perhaps I'm developing an intolerance to soy?

3. Maybe, when I do the dishes, some gluten from pastries and dairy products splash back to my face and/or vaporize and end up in my body? We have a high-powered sprayer jet...thing... and no matter what I do it ALWAYS ends up splashing my face. 

4. I read somewhere that gluten intolerant folks will actually react to coffee itself. Thoughts? (http://drclark.typepad.com/dr_david_clark/2011/09/coffee-and-gluten-sensitivity-surprising-news.html)

5. I handle all of the pastries and bake all of the products - even though I use gloves, could this be problematic?

 

I'm not NORMALLY highly sensitive to gluten - meaning, if I scrub a pan that has held normal pasta really REALLY WELL, I'll walk away feeling only slightly off, almost to a point where I don't notice it. Or, I can risk eating products with caramel color because I can't tell the difference... This might have changed, I don't know. 

 

I'm eliminating all soy products and all flavored syrups with caramel color for the next two weeks to find out if that's the cause. Has anyone else had this experience?

 

Thanks! 

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Ads by Google:

Caramel color is one of those celiac urban myths that just won't go away.

Here is Shelley Case's take on it, from Gluten-Free Diet A Comprehensive Resource Guide:

Although gluten-containing ingredients (barley malt syrup and starch hydrolysates) can be used in the production of caramel color, North American companies use corn as it has a longer shelf life and makes a superior product. European companies use glucose derived from wheat starch, however caramel color is highly processed and contains no gluten.

[Emphasis in original]

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5. I handle all of the pastries and bake all of the products - even though I use gloves, could this be problematic?

Yes. If you're playing with flour, you're probably inhaling.

Yes, glutening water spraying on your face is potentially problematic. Eventually, it will probably work itself into your mouth.

You are playing with gluten. Eventually, it will get you.

I wouldn't worry about any other intolerances until you can eliminate gluten - and in your current job, it appears you can't.

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Thanks psawyer, for clearing up that myth!! I'm happy to know I won't have to give up vanilla lattes, HA. 

 

And thank you, pricklypear1971... I'll talk to my manager and see if they can make some accommodations for me until this clears up. The dough, luckily, requires minimal handling (no kneading or anything- just place a cookie on a baking sheet and done) so it shouldn't be too eager to fly into the air, right? Perhaps if I ask others to handle it...

 

Oy. 

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oy is right. when I first went gluten free, my granddaughter came over and we baked cookies. we handled the flour and kneaded it, and I it didn't ever enter into my mind that I could have gotten glutened since I never ate any. well, totally wrong, and I was indeed glutened. after that I converted my  kitchen to a gluten free kitchen and never looked back.

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Thanks psawyer, for clearing up that myth!! I'm happy to know I won't have to give up vanilla lattes, HA.

And thank you, pricklypear1971... I'll talk to my manager and see if they can make some accommodations for me until this clears up. The dough, luckily, requires minimal handling (no kneading or anything- just place a cookie on a baking sheet and done) so it shouldn't be too eager to fly into the air, right? Perhaps if I ask others to handle it...

Oy.

I'm afraid you're being a bit naive...there's gluten all over your workplace. This is different than just walking around in a gluten world. You are fighting tremendous odds here. You're going to keep getting glutened. You can take every precaution - but the bottom line is you are working in a very high risk environment.

I sincerely hope you can make this work.

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I'm afraid you're being a bit naive...there's gluten all over your workplace. This is different than just walking around in a gluten world. You are fighting tremendous odds here. You're going to keep getting glutened. You can take every precaution - but the bottom line is you are working in a very high risk environment.

I sincerely hope you can make this work.

Ah, drat. This has been the best job - yeah the pay is low and the hours aren't ideal, but I've been in heaven. I really hope I don't have to give up this job. Thank you :)

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Actually on second thought - I was house sitting for a month in a very gluteny house. Maybe it's a combination of things. Ugh, just... grr. 

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Actually on second thought - I was house sitting for a month in a very gluteny house. Maybe it's a combination of things. Ugh, just... grr.

It could be both, just one, neither...

I think what the root of the problem is you're struggling to accept how careful you may have to be? Cc is a tough lesson - it's easy to avoid gluteny food - cc is a different animal, though. You're constantly double-checking and reevaluating your surroundings and choices.

It's part of the acclimation process.

Sorry.

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Also, depending on your symptoms, it could simply be the increased caffeine. Look up the side effects of caffeine and see if anything sounds familiar,

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Thanks psawyer, for clearing up that myth!! I'm happy to know I won't have to give up vanilla lattes, HA. 

 

And thank you, pricklypear1971... I'll talk to my manager and see if they can make some accommodations for me until this clears up. The dough, luckily, requires minimal handling (no kneading or anything- just place a cookie on a baking sheet and done) so it shouldn't be too eager to fly into the air, right? Perhaps if I ask others to handle it...

 

Oy.

The vanilla syrup is NOT gluten free. One of the saddest things I had to give up

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The vanilla syrup is NOT gluten free. One of the saddest things I had to give up

Why not? I think is has been in the past. Starbucks encourages us to read the labels as they could change syrups at any time. I think they do it to keep things interesting.

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I'm almost afraid to go to Starbucks anymore because they don't want to give a straight answer on what drinks contain gluten and which ones don't -- they always give this canned response about not being able to state their drinks are gluten-free because of the pastry case. I get that there is a pastry case, but I'm not asking if CC can be 100% avoided, I am asking about the ingredients in the drink itself. Frustrating. I've been making my own at home...paid $6 for a bottle of gluten free flavor syrup at World Market and got some Starbucks K-cups at Costco.

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Why not? I think is has been in the past. Starbucks encourages us to read the labels as they could change syrups at any time. I think they do it to keep things interesting.

I only know that when I was first diagnosed 3 months ago, I asked at my local Sbux and was told it was not gluten free.  I don't think I actually read the label, but I can't recall honestly (I was investigating a lot of things that first week).  Does it say on the website?

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If I were you, I wouldn't work around gluten, period.  My daughter does not have celiac but was gluten intolerant and she couldn't go into the bakery section of the grocery store.  Something about being where the stuff was being baked and the baked surrounding her made her feel unwell. 

 

Chances are, you are inhaling that stuff if you are around it.  My daughter is addicted to Starbucks so I see a lot of what goes on in those places.  Gluten everywhere! 

 

Are there any other coffee places where you might work?  Perhaps one with pre-packaged things so that you're not actually touching the stuff? 

 

We're in the Seattle area here so there are coffee places everywhere!  Most of the little drive up type places have far fewer food options and some seem to sell only pre-packed things like cookies and chips.  That might be an option.

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I want to thank everyone for your advice. I've taken extra steps to avoid as much gluten as possible, cut down on caffeine, and upped my water intake, which has helped. 

 

Unfortunately, this is my only job at the moment, after 6 months of unemployment. I'm going to have to stick to it for a while, as I look for a second/new job. 

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I'm impressed by Celiacs who try to eat at restaurants or Starbucks. I won't go to any restaurants...perhaps there are 2-3 exceptions, but I go very rarely. They are always restaurants that are off the beaten path. I'm horribly suspicious of chains catering to Celiacs.  I'm betting on the coffee itself. I know when I'm around gluten I never feel it. I can touch it and it has no effect on me. Of course I don't try to. I avoid it.

  I know what we put into our bodies is much more potent than even what is outside. I always bet on something I ingested. And it's just not that easy is it? It seems there is hidden gluten in everything--everything. It's enough to drive you mad.

  But I still bet it's the coffee! Here's another article:

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/gluten-issues-or-celiac-dont-drink-coffee/

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I'm impressed by Celiacs who try to eat at restaurants or Starbucks. I won't go to any restaurants...perhaps there are 2-3 exceptions, but I go very rarely. I'm betting on the coffee itself. I know when I'm around gluten I never feel it. I can touch it and it has no effect on me. Of course I don't try to. I avoid it.

I know what we put into our bodies is much more potent than even what is outside. I always bet on something I ingested. And it's just not that easy is it? It seems there is hidden gluten in everything--everything. It's enough to dive you mad.

But I still bet it's the coffee! Here's another article:

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/gluten-issues-or-celiac-dont-drink-coffee/

Once again....this is not a medical or scientific article. This is an Internet rumor. A " home economist" is not an expert in any medical science. There is no credible scientific evident for this " coffee cross- reacts" nonsense. If you have actual scientific or medical evidence from reliable medical sources, please provide it.

Please read the forum rule #5

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I'm impressed by Celiacs who try to eat at restaurants or Starbucks. I won't go to any restaurants...perhaps there are 2-3 exceptions, but I go very rarely. They are always restaurants that are off the beaten path. I'm horribly suspicious of chains catering to Celiacs.  I'm betting on the coffee itself. I know when I'm around gluten I never feel it. I can touch it and it has no effect on me. Of course I don't try to. I avoid it.

  I know what we put into our bodies is much more potent than even what is outside. I always bet on something I ingested. And it's just not that easy is it? It seems there is hidden gluten in everything--everything. It's enough to drive you mad.

  But I still bet it's the coffee! Here's another article:

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/gluten-issues-or-celiac-dont-drink-coffee/

I am so happy I impress someone!   ;)

 

It is not hard to go out to eat, once you learn the diet.  I do have to admit I live in a great part of the country where Celiac awareness is very high.  I have a number of places that do an outstanding job with serving a truly gluten-free meal, free of cc.  How do I know?  Because I become deathly ill for about 48 hours after ingesting crumbs so my gluten meter is very sensitive.  But it can be done, depending on where you live and how high awareness is.  The only thing that I can't do is take the risk all the time.  I eat out infrequently so it is a real treat when I do.

 

As far as touching gluten, that isn't a problem unless it finds it's way into your GI tract, so no surprise that you don't "feel" it when you just touch it. There is also very little "hidden" gluten in food....you just need to learn to interpret the label and the ingredients. Gluten is definitely not in everything.  These are all misconceptions about the disease and just serves to make things harder for some.

 

Lastly....it's NOT the coffee, Ciel.  

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Unless the coffee itself is no good for the original poster. Coffee is certainly acidic and is also a diuretic, the fact 

that cutting back on the coffee and drinking more water made you feel better argues that you may have been 

creating some chronic dehydration issues for yourself, Jyot. That does not mean coffee equals gluten.

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Coffee is good. Like it black. No Starbucks here. :(

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Unless the coffee itself is no good for the original poster. Coffee is certainly acidic and is also a diuretic, the fact 

that cutting back on the coffee and drinking more water made you feel better argues that you may have been 

creating some chronic dehydration issues for yourself, Jyot. That does not mean coffee equals gluten.

 

Oh it was definitely chronic dehydration. I've never had a problem with ingesting coffee in reasonable doses.

 

I still have reaction symptoms (just not as intense as before), so, I'm just having straight coffee or home-made coffee for now while I get back to 100%. It certainly helped the 3 day migraine I got after thinking I was "safe" and tried a vanilla frapp. Oops. 

 

I tried to contact the Starbucks company and, surprise surprise, they said "Sorry, we can't guarantee the safety of anything." They wouldn't/couldn't give me specifics. So, despite multiple online debates on multiple websites around the safety of the Starbucks syrups, mixed beverages, soy milk, and teas, I'm just going to assume everything is bad MINUS the drip coffee and the Americanos. Unfortunately, even with separate steamer pitchers and blenders, cross contamination is ever present. 

 

I've already purchased my own dairy alternative creamer to keep in the break room fridge. I've also decided to be overly cautious and get designated gloves specifically for my use when washing dishes to avoid personal cross contamination (if I forget to wash my hands after work and then eat). 

 

If nothing works, well, time to go to the doctor again. 

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