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Work Conferences With Meal Provided....
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My immediate boss and co workers know of my many health troubles but corporate doesn't and I plan on keeping it that way. I have to go to a conference where they serve lunch with a guest speaker and then have break out sessions. I am doomed. I know I can try to call and find out who is catering, I can hide and eat in the bathroom or just look at my plate of food......

I am just dreading when this day comes.

Renaye

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Special dietary needs are common, and just about every caterer can accommodate them--provided they know in advance. Celiac disease is nothing to be ashamed of. I don't understand why you want to keep it secret.

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One of the top exec's at the company I formerly worked with used to call the hotel/caterer ahead of time and ask for peaches and cottage cheese for her lunch.  Everyone just figured she was sick of rubber chicken and overcooked veggies.

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I also have sjogren's and I get extremely tired and don't want anyone at work to believe that I am not capable of doing my job. It is really not the eating part. I just worry that I may not make it to retirement.

Renaye

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I agree with those who suggest contacting the caterer in advance -- chances are they're already doing special meals for other people (diabetics, vegetarians). At least you'll be able to know what's on the menu in advance, and make plans accordingly. I attend a lot of conferences, and find my meal strategies depend on the type of event and what's being served. Since it won't be possible for you to slip out and grab a meal somewhere else, knowing what's on the menu seems like the best place to start. You can supplement with foods you've brought yourself after that.

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Special dietary needs are common, and just about every caterer can accommodate them--provided they know in advance. Celiac disease is nothing to be ashamed of. I don't understand why you want to keep it secret.

 

EXACTLY what HE said.

 

I just tell people "I have celiac disease and I need to be gluten free. "Watcha got I can eat?" with an  ingratiating smile. :)

I have been to weddings, funerals, and meetings and no one has ever made me sick. Most people want to help!

CALL the caterer.

 

Hon, if you have Celiac, this is for the rest of your life. Get used to being a bit assertive, a bit humorous and NOT AT ALL ashamed.

 

I also own a Koolatron cooler and bring food with me in my car everywhere I go.

 

This is not a big deal, honest. Do not let one single meal get you down or make you crazy. if nothing else, bring fruit, yogurt, some JIF PB cups and gluten-free crackers and  just dip away. Honestly, it's not a big deal.

 

if you simply cannot do any of these things for whatever reason, well, I have skipped lunch and nothing bad has ever happened.

Just drink water so you do not dehydrate..

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I did this and called the caterer ahead of time.  They had a plate ready for me.  If you want to be discreet, tell them you'll make yourself known to them when you arrive (get there a little early) and that way they can get you your plate quietly.  Worked very well for me.  

 

Other times, I've just put a Kind bar or two in my bag, taken a plate of food and smushed it around so it looks like I tried it.  Then ate my Kind bar when we got back to our seats.

 

There's almost always a plate of fruit, too, in my experience - just try to get to it early so you can avoid contamination.

 

Good luck.  

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I also have sjogren's and I get extremely tired and don't want anyone at work to believe that I am not capable of doing my job. It is really not the eating part. I just worry that I may not make it to retirement.

Renaye

Renaye....I have Celiac, Sjogren's, Reynaud's and Hashi's thyroid disease so I understand your concern about fatigue and the fear of having people think you are a "sickie" and may not be able to last in your job.  I have a very demanding job, particularily this past month.  I have been doing lots of overtime to meet a deadline before I head off on vacation at the end of the month.  It's insane here right now but I have been gluten-free for 8 years and, although I do not like working 12 hour days right now, I can do it without too much wear and tear. Not to say I am not tired by Friday but I am managing well enough.

 

I do not know how long you have been gluten-free but it will get better with time and you should be able to make it to retirement even with these AI problems.  Think positive and stick to the diet religiously and it will pay off.  I would not eat the food prepared by the caterer unless they can really assure you the food will be safe and they take it seriously.  Otherwise, bring a yummy lunch with you and do not worry one bit about eating something different in front of anyone.  This is not high school and you should never be afraid to do this.  Just tell them you have food intolerances and prefer to bring your own food...end of discussion.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Hang in there....you will be fine!  :)

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I second calling ahead to the caterer.  I have done this twice recently.  The first was for an awards presentation for a friend of mine.  The event was held at a hotel ballroom that is used to handling a lot of conventions and meetings.  It was no problem at all.  I didn't realize that my friend had also called to get me a gluten free meal (yes, she is an awesome friend!) and so we both ended up eating gluten-free.  Her husband had the regular meal and they both decided the gluten-free meal (which was salmon) tasted much better than the regular chicken.  There was a sign by my plate marking it as a special meal and we got served first.

 

The second event was a company meeting.  I called and they said they were doing a buffet and couldn't accomodate my diet.  This was in a local community center that had just opened, so they had much less experience catering than the hotel did.  I just stopped by Wendy's on the way to the meeting and grabbed a salad and baked potato.

 

I think so many people are on different diets now for varying reasons - vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, corn free, paleo, etc., that it's not a big deal.  If anyone asks why you're eating something different, just say "I'm on a restricted diet."  Beyond that it's none of their business. 

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Thanks for the support. I have several weeks before the confernece so I will ask about the catering.

Gemini - I have been gluten-free since May 2011. Not sure how much it has really helped as I started plaquenil for fatigue at the same time. I am still constipated but won't ever go back to a regular diet for fear of getting something worse than sjogren's.

Thanks again,

Renaye

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Renaye......have you had your vitamin/mineral levels checked, especially iron and ferretin, plus your thyroid?  Please exhaust all other possibilities for your fatigue before resorting to meds.  I understand the fatigue but I obviously am not as bad as you are suffering right now because I can do a normal day and go to the gym and not be dragging.  Ok...I am dragging a bit today but its over work related. It's been a longgggggggggg week for me.  I have also been gluten-free for much longer than you have so please be patient with this.  I am sure things will improve over time but am sorry you feel so tired.  I have been there, done that and it is not easy to deal with if you are a working girl.  My Sjogren's was horrible at diagnosis of Celiac but it has gotten much, much easier to deal with and also symptom wise.  There is no doubt about it though...Sjogren's is a b_itch!  :angry:

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Gemini

Yes I have had my iron, ferretin and thyroid checked. My bloodwork is all normal except a +ana, low vitamin D and I also have osteopenia. So I take vitamin D and calcium. Even my celiac bloodwork is messed up and really not sure since I had a negative biopsy. My gastro resigned suddenly so I am looking for a new one. Hopefully he will have some answers for me. So I assume that you are not on plaquenil? I have sicca and they are really not sure what it will develop into but my grandfather died suddenly with lung complications and swollen sausage like hands so odds are I have something going on....

Renaye

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So we are much the same.  :)   I have a positive ANA and RF and they are not a little high but up there. They have come down slowly but recent blood work shows a spike in RF BUT I have no symptoms of anything arthritis. I guess it could be classified as sicca also because I have no arthritis symptoms but my doctor calls it Sjogren's.  My blood work for Sjogren's was positive.

 

I have osteopenia in my hip and osteoporosis in my spine that I have stabilized through weight training, in a gym with a personal trainer who is not shy about making the exercises hard.  It's brutal but I love it.  I am now playing with my thyroid dose to try and lower it to aid in bone regeneration.  It challenging for us older ladies.

 

One added word of unasked for advice......start taking Vitamin K2 with your calcium.  Usually around 80mcg per day should start you off well.  K2 directs calcium into the bone because it doesn't always end up in the bone. There have been recent studies from Europe showing this benefit and many people are deficient today for the K's.  Doctors, many female, are starting to recommend this vitamin to aid in bone development.  I take it myself so we'll see what happens.

 

No, I am not on Plaquenil.  My symptoms, or lack of, keep me away form anything more than Restasis for my eyes. My niece takes Plaquenil for lupus (she is in denial she has Celiac) and there are side effects.  I am stubborn and will not take anything unless I am dying. So far, I feel pretty good and can do a demanding day without collapsing.  My blood work is a bit scary but until I start to disintigrate, I am not worrying about it.  Keep moving, exercise and try and stay positive. It really helps. It just took me awhile to get there.

 

You say your Celiac blood work is messed up?  In what way?  Keep with the diet because I have read that those with Sjogren's should also be gluten free, even if they do not have celiac and it's all about genetics and how they play out.  I will look for the article that explained this. All I know is that my extreme dry eye and mouth improved after being gluten-free for awhile.  It's comfortable to deal with now and I was miserable pre-diagnosis of Celiac.

 

Gotta run but I will look for that article....... :D

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Gemini

Thanks for your kindness. I will look into the vitam k2. I am just walking and jumping rope for my osteo. I see the rhuemmy doc next month and will ask him to see if my effort is paying off. Trainer, huh....I am impressed!! I have very mild joint pain in my hands, wrists and my feet but very tolerable since plaquenil. I am very thankful that I found someone to treat me as I am a teacher and have two boys still at home. I believe the plaquenil has helped especially with the fatigue.

Celiac panel from prometheus

DGP IgG +

DGP IgA +

All other levels were negative

HLA typing pattern was not able to be read due to substances in the sample that interfere with the reading. LOL and my insurance didn't pay for it. So much for the genetics part??

Renaye

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I had to use a trainer......I had never done weight training and I did not want to hurt myself.   ;)   It really helps to have someone teach you the correct way to do things because, at this point, I want no injuries.  They push you a bit to challenge you and mix up the exercises for added benefit.  I have no choice but to do this as I do not want to take meds for it.  I highly recommend it!

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