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Advice Needed Please
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18 posts in this topic

Hello everyone...I need advice

I went out to lunch today at a chineese buffet with a group of women from work. When they saw the plain white rice and four plain shrimp that I had choosen for lunch...one of them commented "Is that ALL you're going to eat?" Suddenly, everyone was looking at my plate (I was quietly trying to "disguise" my inability to eat much at the restaurant).

Anyway, I said to my co-worker, "yeah, I think this is all I will have...I'm not sure if the other stuff up there is gluten-free." (a side note: I have tried several times to explain to these women that I'm on a new "special" diet and about celiac). I finally began to get self-conscious and went back up to the mega-buffet and I put vegetables covered in Gosh-only-knows-what sauce on my plate with some mushrooms. When I went back to the table, everyone seemed satisfied and as I ate the woman next to me said, "you only live once...so what if it has a little gluten...it can't be much!"

How do you all deal with looks, attitudes, and ignorance? I tried educating people, but many just seem to have the idea "if you can't see wheat, it's not there." :huh::ph34r: So I'm not sure how to answer their questions...deal with the "food pressure" of our society. You know something??? I've become very aware of how food-centered everything from work to religion is in our culture.

Please, please help! thanks a million for any responses! :)

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Perhaps you've already tried this, but maybe printing out or bringing in leaflets describing Celiac disease, and the damage it can do after repeatedly ingesting Gluten would help.

Another suggestion I would try is explaining it to them by comparing it to a food allergy. For example I have a cousin who's husband is severely allergic to peanuts. So much that if he were to walk into a movie theatre and the popcorn had peanut oil on it, he would suffer a severe attack to his lungs. It would impair his breathing if not prevent it completely.

Not that a single ingestion of gluten will cause such a severe immediate reaction (i.e, swelling of the throat or itch etc.), but perhaps exagerating its effects will better explain the situation to them.

My mother runs into the same scenario, because she's very petite and a strict vegeterian, people will critize what little she is eating. Over the years she's simply learned to brush it aside, reaffirm that she does not eat meat and that's that. And some do really ask out of concern, not realizing how many times you've heard it before...

Good luck!

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Thanks for the suggestion...

I'm trying very hard not to draw attention to myself. The whole office already knows that I have epilepsy and lupus...the last thing that I want is "another" label (and to seem like I'm once again the "sick" employee). :unsure:

Since being diagnosed as GI/celiac, I have been bringing my own lunch and not going out with the lady's in the office. But today I wanted to...it sounded like fun.

I guess that I'm just trying to learn how to handle myself...it doesn't help that I'm skinny...they don't seem to understand that my body is a result of eating certain foods. My thinness is not from lack of eating any food! Ugghhh! :huh:

Thanks for letting me vent! -Julie

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In my life I've spent too many years wanting to please other people and hiding my true self when I thought I would not. Finding a way to shrug off petty criticisms with a joke or indifference are good ways of dealing with them. With age and confidence, I've learned, usually, that I don't have to do/be what others want when that is not in my best interest. Just say "no" with a smile! Actually, learning to deal with this situation can help one's assertiveness in general and make for a better life overall. People respect you when you stand up for yourself and it is really not that hard to do in this case. Good practice for the REALLY tough stuff!

Nowadays when I'm confronted with a "wheat feast" and I am concerned about hurting someone's feelings (in the case where they made the food) I just say "oh, I wish I COULD! It looks so delicious. But even a little gluten can make me very sick." Then, sometimes, people say "oh that must be hard". Honestly, I don't find it to be that hard considering all the really tough difficulties in life that people have to deal with.

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Hi there. When trying to explain Celiac to others I tend to take a very extreme route, but it helps. The first thing that helps, is that I don't take myself too seriously (as you can tell from some of my other posts), I also like to use humor to make a point (as a youth pastor that comes in handy). Anyhow, I usually explain that any wheat will damage my body (sounds like you've done that) and that damage can lead to death, the slow painful kind, not the quick easy kind (the scary thing is that this is true, I watched my mother come very close to death before she was dignosed, and she was miserable :( ) I find that once I bring death into the conversation, and the fact that my wife (an RN and also an extremely supportive woman, if what they say about behind every great man is a great woman is true, I could be president) is often there to agree readily with me, that they usually stop asking me about it. Ok, sneaky :ph34r: but it works.

Take care. And remember...rice is our friend. ;)

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Don't go back for seconds of something that can make you sick. Be confident that you're doing what you need to do to keep yourself healthy - and convey that confidence. Just saying "This is all I feel safe eating" should be sufficient. When they try to tell you otherwise, realize that they're opinion about your diet is irrelevant. They don't have to live in your body. "That's not my choice" is more than enough of an answer.

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but many just seem to have the idea "if you can't see wheat, it's not there."

HAHAHA That's funny!

In my opinion, try not to care what others think. Just keep reminding yourself that what you are doing is right for you and your health. Keep your head high and be confident. Laugh a lot and look happy (This usually works for me!) If people have a problem with your diet then it's their problem not yours.

I eat before I go out to restaraunts/buffets in case there is nothing there I can have (which is like 95% of the time). I will only eat lobster, or plain raw fruits and veggies on a tray. That's it! I don't trust anything else. I've had the blank stares and weird looks but I just don't care. Most people don't understand. You can try and explain but people will either not listen, not care, think it's too strict, or they WILL care (I like these people!)

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Oh, you guys (and gals) are the best! ;)

I have really taken to heart what everyone has been writing. Like I said, I have been trying to avoid "lunch dates" with the office ladies. I've been mainly taking gluten-free dinner left-overs. I guess today was a surprise and I didn't really know what to do with myself...you know what I mean? Everyone was either waiting on me to eat Chinese, or spout "words of wisdom" about Celiac's disease...neither of which I wanted to do! :rolleyes:

It was still enjoyable, but I LOVE the fact that you all are giving me advice and encouragement on how to handle myself next time!

Much hugs!

-Julie ;)

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Julie,

You sound like such a kindhearted person! I hope that you find it easier and easier to deal with what other people say as time goes by. I have Celiac, and work in a bakery. I just stopped my second job, which was in an ice cream parlor, and I'm intolerant of any milk or dairy products. People always laugh when I tell them I never eat anything where I'm working, I just enjoy seeing the smiles on their faces as they buy their doughnuts, pastries, and previously, their ice cream sundaes. It took awhile, but I am now able to look at all those foods as poisons for me, and I would never eat them, so I am pretty safe wherever I go, because I am so darned careful about what I do eat.

I used to take a lot of my own food with me whenever I went to restaurants, but lately I'm finding that if I focus on salad and meat, I can usually find something pretty easily wherever I go. Yesterday I had salad and barbecued ribs at a restaurant, and just didn't add the sauce because I didn't trust it, and today I had a Carl's Jr. low carb 6 dollar chili burger without the cheese. Life is getting easier and easier the longer I live with Celiac. I hope it will for you too! Welda

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Goodness Welda!

Working in a bakery and with dairy!?! I'm supposed to be gluten-free and CF too. I admire your strength B)

I had a "breakdown" about three days ago and had to have chocolate. The funny thing was...I didn't have any (b/c it has casein). So I went digging through all of my old purses in my closet looking for long-forgotten candy! I found six Hershey kisses :D My hubby came in the bedroom and found me in the middle of our bed surrounded by old purses and covered in tidbits of aluminum foil! :P My mouth was full of chocolate kisses! :rolleyes:

God has blessed me with a diagnosis...I'm still waiting on the willpower that goes with it ;)

I am learning so much from this forum. Hey, Welda or anyone who is also CF/dairy free...do you know of any gluten-free/CF chocolate? I found Bob's Red Mill brownies, but they are so expensive! I've already spent $36 on Brownies in the last month...so I'm currently "chocolate fund poor."

Much hugs-

Julie B)

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I'm also a "casein-challenged" celiac. The tiniest bit of either gets me in trouble. Wild Oats or Vitamin Cottage usually has Gluten-free Casein-free chocolate chips, which satisfy a chocolate craving in a pinch.

Last week I found a brand at Wild Oats called Tropical Source and they are soo tasty!

Also, when I find myself craving inordinate amounts of chocolate, I'm usually low on calcium or potassium. Most times, a banana or a Ca/Mag/Zn supplement puts me back on top of my game fast.

Also, you can make choc chip cookies (substituting gluten-free flour and xanthum for the flour) (substitute half applesauce and half veg oil for the butter) and add baking chocolate to the dry ingredients. lol Yes, they're still cookies after you get done substituting the crap out of them. My non-Celiac hubby and parents love these.

Good luck!

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Have you chocolate fiends tried Ah-laska coccoa mix? They make a gluten-free and cf mix. I love the the gluten-free one.

Laura

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Thank you both for replying! Yep, I'm an official choc-o-holic! :rolleyes:

I'll try that applesauce in the batter thing you mentioned Ohnoes! :)

Hey Laura, where do you find Ah-laska cocoa mix?

Much hugs to all,

-Julie ;)

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:D Dear Julie, I have to tell you that at one time I used to feel like a man from outerspace. My disease was so wierd that people just couldn't believe that I would not eat any gluten or milk products. Then one day as a waitress told me to "just pick off the croutons" I exploded. I had had enough. I informed her that I needed a new salad and if I did not get one, she was to bring the manager. Then I told her that I would die, if there was cross contamination and that I believed it was her goal to poison me. I have to laugh now because I never made a scene before in my life and I could actually feel myself getting red in the face. ( I don't usually blush) I also felt empowered. I suggest that you probably need to realize that people who push you around are not your friends. I realize that going out to lunch is fun but hours with pain, in the bathroom running both directions are not that fun. Always suggest an alternative site. This means you must do your homework but there is everything from Wendy's chili to Outback's. Just get on the web. Enjoy life, go out and know what you are eating so you have no guilt and can enjoy the company. If they press you they reallly can't be that good as company. It is about the food as well as the companions.
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Thanks for the input! So far, I've only "exploded" to my husband about it. Except for chinese the other day, I haven't really ventured to a restaurant yet.

I have been known to send my food back to be recooked, corrected, or canceled before. But it was usually b/c it was cold, old, or took to long to come to the table. I guess now if I have to ask a waitress/manager to please remove my plate and/or bring me a new/correct dish...it will be to make sure it is gluten-free! :)

I've heard several people say that Outback has some gluten-free choices. And you said that Wendy's has gluten-free chili. I could maybe suggest this to my co-workers for next time! Thanks!

-Julie

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Sharffen Berger chocolate is gluten-free and CF. Expensive, though.

For those of you who have just gone gluten-free and are having problems with dairy -- some people find they can tolerate it after their villi have healed. Not everybody, of course, but some.

richard

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People are so wierd about what others eat! My tactic has been to make WHATEVER I am eating seem like its incredibly good, to the point that others seems to believe that THEY are missing out. For instance, I've taken chinese takout rice and combined it with cheese at a party, and made it seem good. At the Asian restuarants I usauly just go back to the kitchen and ask the cooks to steam me up some vegetables plain and give it to me with the rice. That's not bad, but plain, so when other people ask me incredulously how it is...I'll say that its actually really delicous. This gets rid of that sort of obnoxioius pittying thing people do. Does this seem dysfunctional? Mostly what I am pleased to hear from others is that they are glad I joined them (not what they think of my dinner). good luck

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Hi Julie,

I haven't eaten chocolate for quite awhile, and I really don't ever crave it, because I just kind of eliminated it from my diet and my life. I focus solely on the foods I CAN eat, and see the others as poison, and chocolate is definitely a poison for me. I am so fortunate, because, you see, Asthma is one of my best friends. I have had it since I was 8, and each time I ingest something I'm not supposed to, I wheeze and choke, almost immediately. Oh yes, I used to feel so sorry for myself at first, before I realized that so many people had the same disease I have, and now I look at the symptoms as my early-warning signs, saying that if I want to live, I'd better straighten up and fly right, or I won't be flying at all.

I think the cravings just go away when you start eating only the foods you're allowed--at least that's what I've found to be true. I hope you enjoy better health each day, and find that your life is so rich and full, even without those darn old foods which are calling to you today. Turn a deaf ear to them if you can--they'll never do you any good. Welda

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