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What I Predicted Is Happening

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 06:19 AM

I knew that if I ever got a celiac diagnosis I would turn into a recluse, well I didnt get the official gold standard diagnosis but all the evidence is there and now im starting to have extreme anxiety about going out & eating out...bottom line its just not safe to eat out anywhere.

Ive been working in sales for 2 yrs and havent been able to get work done lately...there are a bunch of clients i should take out for dinner but im not going to now, i have a trade show next week with all my colleagues who love to eat out, but i think im gonna pretend im sick so i dont have to go. I was supposed to take a girl i like out to dinner, but im not going to now...i'm done! may as well move to alaska and lock myself in a log cabin for the rest of my life

I hear what you are saying. I went through the same thing. Unless people themselves face this situation, they do not recognize the complexities and problems.

First, talking about gluten-free menus is bogus. All they mean is that the odds are more in your favor. They are no guarantee whatsoever that you are safe. Anyone who doubts this can search this site for the restaurants named. There are posts from celiacs who went to the restaurants, ordered from the gluten-free menu and got glutened.

Second, the meal itself is not the only group activity. Often, the trip to and from the restaurant consists of everyone stuffed into a car, SUV or van. How many people have considered the absolute misery of getting glutened and facing the trip back from the restaurant crowded in a vehicle with other professionals. In your case, you would most likely be the driver since you would be taking the others somewhere. You would not be in a position to drive alone.

Third, it is very easy to talk about choosing which restaurant you go to or talking to the chef/cook when you get there. However, business meals often do not provide those possibilities. I have been surprised more than once by a vendor or business partner which followed up the day's meetings with a surprise catered dinner in a board room. At that point, the food is cooked and ready to be served.

Fourth, I have ended up on a few occasions where there is nothing safe to eat. How many people have considered what it is like to be in a business setting and be faced with telling everyone that they need to get up from the table, leave the restaurant and go somewhere else?

Fifth, the best advice for eating out is to do so off-hours. That gives the kitchen a better chance to pay attention to your needs. Business meals tend to take place at the very busiest and very worst times. As a result, gluten accidents are more likely.

The only solution I found was retirement. That not only solved the business meal problem but it freed me of so much stress that the additional problems I had (i.e. ulcer, other food allergies) have cleared up.

I know it is contentious to say this but the bottom line may simply be that celiac disease is a handicap. As a handicapped population, it may be unrealistic to expect that we can do everything non-handicapped people can do...at least, not as easily or as well.

I've faced this reality in other areas. For example, I have traveled to places like Palau. On that trip, I lost 13 lbs just getting there because there simply was not enough safe food to eat along the way. By the time I got back, I had lost nearly 25 lbs. The point is that although travel is possible, it sometimes requires sacrifice. It falls into the category of how bad do you want it. The complication is that, if you are traveling with a group, you have to isolate yourself from the group so that the group does not end up affected by the sacrifices required. I travel with people I've known for over 3 decades. They are closer to me than family. We have the unspoken understanding that this is my problem, not the group's problem.

I think this sort of limited isolation from a group (esp in regard to meals and eating) is inevitable. In a personal situation it can be accomodated. In the business setting, it probably cannot. At least in my experience, it couldn't be in a way it needed to be for me to do the things required in my position.
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Posted 08 August 2009 - 06:36 AM

As I've said, I've had successful business type meals. I've also traveled with no problems. My brother got married in an Agrotourism farm in Italy where we had the option of eating what the kitchen made. I went to the store, got bags of gluten-free pasta, marched into the kitchen and had a talk with the cook. My brother is severely milk intolerant (and very sensitive) so we both got served the same meal (gluten-free and df) and neither one of us got sick.

I'm sorry that ct's experiences were not like my own, but everyone's life is different.

Jason, you need to discover for yourself how your life will work for you. Codetalker has pointed out some issues he discovered while in a position similar to yours. Can you learn from his experience? Can you fix it so you don't drive ? (Buy a smart car :P ) Can you skip an occasional meal (not everyone can)? Can you share the eating out responsibility with someone else so you limit the amount of times you have to do it?

It's your life - make it work for you.
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Posted 08 August 2009 - 07:00 AM

The only thing i have to offer is a bit of encouragement. I was diagnosed at 16 and met a guy i wanted to date a year later (i married this guy). when we first started dating i determined that i wasn't going to tell him i was gluten free because i thought it would make me look like a freak and i had met other guys who liked me but decided not to date me once they discoevered taking me out to eat wouldnt be easy. i really liked this guy and was afraid that would happen again. so my solution was to just not eat in front of him, and if i did eat it was a very small amount... well obviously i told him eventually... and you know what. he was RELIEVED! he said he had been worried that i was anorexic and that i had real issues. my point here is that you never know how someone will reaxct til you try talking to them about it. and most of them are not going to treat you like a frealk. i almost scared away the man i was supposed to be with because i gave him the completely wrong idea. if you said im diabetic and turnd down a piece of cake no one would so much as blink. the trick is to talk about lke it is that common. because to some people it is. . like others have mentioned some people already know others who have it or have heard of it at the very least
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Posted 08 August 2009 - 07:42 AM

I'm not sure what advice to give about the work situation, but for the girl concerns:
pack a picnic
go boating/fishing/canoeing
Invite her to a BBQ
go for a bike ride
go ice skating
How about a double date meeting at a someone's house for dinner
A ball game
A ballet
A summer in the park concert
a fund raising walk event
meet at a dog park
hike a state park trail
mini golf
water park
cross country skiing

Once you get past the first few dates,
b&b's (gluten-free)
dinners alone at home
couples pedicure or massages

I'm sure you will share the celiac within the first few dates in casual conversation, but the list is there to spark dating ideas that don't revolve around food. I feel for you at work. I suspect you will lose more business by avoiding the clients because of meals than by admitting to recently found "major food allergies" and suggesting golf or a ball game instead.

I do find the same thing happening with myself though. I pack a lunch at restaraunts, so a few people who know about celiac, assume I wouldn't want to go along with them. I also find that I'm still recovering from celiac, so I prefer sleep to socializing most of the time.

Best wishes. I'm glad to see that you are getting healthier from the diet. The rest will fall into place with time and creativity.

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:02 AM

thanks for all the support and yes i am appreciative of what everyone tells me and I do listen. Just had a bad day all around and still trying to adjust to everything

We all have them, but try to post (so that you also can see it) on the positive days too. Remember when something goes well! Yeah, there will be bad days, but that's true regardless of celiac.

Oh, and as a girl, I kinda hate the "going to a restaurant" version of a date most of the time. It can be part of it, if it's a long date, but otherwise, something with a real activity that I can do *with* my husband, not just sitting there watching each other eat and trying to figure out some new conversation. Indoor rock climbing's a good one, but that's just me. ;)
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Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"
Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy
G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004
Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me
Bellevue, WA



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Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:28 AM

There's some great advice in this thread! I hope it's helping.

This is a great idea. Get yourself set up with a couple of restaurants in case you have to take the same people out twice in a row.

This is probably my favorite. My grandmother went out five days a week to each lunch with her parents and whatever kids and grandkids could show up. She mostly rotated among three restaurants. When she got diagnosed (after a depressingly long stay in the hospital where they tried to figure out what was wrong), she went right back to those restaurants. They were more than willing to accommodate her, and I'm sure it's because of the relationship she built with the servers and the businesses as a whole. If you have any control at all as to where you take your clients, then this is a great option.

Even though I'm new to this for myself, too, and I'm not entirely excited about being a pain every time I go to restaurants, I've been a vegetarian for 14 years, so I'm kind of used to being a pain. :P I've made it a habit to ask about ingredients, create my own meals out of what I see is available on the menu, and tip really, really well after people have taken good care of me. Adding gluten sensitivity to the list of what makes me a high-maintenance customer just isn't that big a deal. People still eat out with me, so I don't think it's that big a deal to anyone else, either.

As far as catered events go, I've already made it a habit to always have snacks and money with me just in case there's nothing I can eat. Vegetarians are much more catered to now than they used to be, but I've been to three meetings in the past year or so where I couldn't eat anything -- there wasn't even fruit or salad, my two mainstays (and what will probably remain my mainstays). So I snacked on my nuts and fruit leathers to hold me off and then had a good meal when I got home. No problem. I'm going to two catered full-day meetings next week (breakfast and lunch are provided), and I'm just going to eat before I go and pack a lunch as though it's a normal workday. Again, no big deal. The point is the meeting, not what I eat while I'm there.

I understand your trepidation, but I really hope you don't let this stop you. Try working on shifting your attitude... things WILL be all right. :)
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Posted 08 August 2009 - 11:03 AM

Our first date was laser tag and a movie. The second one I cooked. We went to a concert once. I always hated the 'sit at dinner, stare at partner, think of something interesting to say' date. If you're DOING something interesting, you'll have something interesting to say.

SGW, THANK YOU for that list! It'll give me something fun to spring on my boyfriend, who I'm still with almost three years later, by the way!

Oh, and this time of year's good for going to pick your own fruit, very fun activity. For me, anyway.
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If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill



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Posted 08 August 2009 - 01:14 PM

It's your life - make it work for you.

I agree. I just want to stress what another poster mentioned- you get what you think about in life. You might want to read the book "The Secret".. it's a little new-agey but has a REALLY good and true message that helped me a lot in my life.. "Thoughts are THINGS".. and it really does work. If you think a lot of thoughts about how weird or different you are or how hard everything is going to be, you sort of attract people and situations into your life that make you feel weird and different and make things feel hard. Yet, if you just accept your condition as a way of life (even a positive one!), you would be amazed how the people and situations you attract change.

I understand the pain, denial, and even GRIEF stages that you go through at the start of your relationship with your celiac, trust me. I've been there. I've been angry, I've cried, I've wailed at the heavens about how unfair it is, etc. But after a couple years, I've really come to think of it as a BLESSING in disguise. Sure, it's hard sometimes, but I think of it as my body telling me how to properly care for it. I don't have the OPTION of eating out at fast food places, processed foods, or other toxic crap like that. This condition has led me to learn about health and the way my body works, and not only that, but before my diagnosis, during the battle to try all these different thigns to figure out what was wrong with me and help my health, I ended up with a huge education on diet and natural/alternative medicine. And no matter what happens or how hard it is, the pain of having celiac will NEVER compare to the ungodly pain of having UNDIAGNOSED celiac, suffering with sores and rashes all over my body and a huge bloated gut, depression and anxiety issues, etc. There just is no comparison. I've been given the truth about my condition and the means to heal from it and I thank God for this.

Since I've changed my thinking about my body and my life, I've attracted so many good things. My experiences haven't really been like codetalkers in regards to travel, I went backpacking for 2 months and remained mostly gluten free the entire time aside from a couple accidents with some fried rice that had a little soy sauce added in.. The airlines were WONDERFUL to me and provided me with plenty of tasty gluten free food (China Airlines, I highly recommend them).. Also I've met a wonderful man and one of the first things he said when we were talking about my condition was "That's good, I really hate eating out anyway, there is nothing better than food cooked at home". :)

You really do attract the right things into your life for you if you think that you do! If you think you won't, you're right... There is just so much we can do, it's limitless really, you just have to make life work for you, not be a victim to it.

Good luck! <3
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Posted 09 August 2009 - 05:20 AM

It's really not that difficult. Just order a salad with absolutely no added toppings -- croutons, imitation bacon bits, crumbled cheese of unknown origin. candied or caramelized nuts, dried fruit, etc. Ask for vegetables only and oil and vinegar and maybe some fresh lemon for your dressing. Then just tell your guests that you're having a light dinner because you ate a late lunch. Always have some protein available (that you prepare yourself) so you can eat that before you go into the restaurant. I always keep a mini cooler filled with something like grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, string cheese, cold shrimp, unsalted nuts, etc. That way, I can scarf down the protein in the car before I get to the restaurant and then the salad really is enough to fill me up.

Just be creative!
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