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Food Poisoning - Or Gluten?
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2 posts in this topic

Hi all... looking for some advice...

I've been traveling for work since last Friday, first in New York, and now in Paris, France. I always bring a lot of my own food with me, so I'm prepared for emergencies and I don't have to eat whatever is offered, but I do have to have some business lunches/dinners in the course of my trips, and I don't have full control over where these are held. I bring cards with me and talk to the wait staff, but otherwise, there's not much I can do. I have declined to eat at these dinners a few times, but that always brings up a lot of awkward explanations, which I'd rather avoid in a work setting with clients.

The past couple days I've had pretty bad D. Part of me thinks it's because of the gluten free meal on my flight to Paris, (as it started right after I arrived in France) but the meal was boxed separately, labeled gluten-free and actually listed all the ingredients, so it appeared safe. Has anyone else been glutened by apparently safe airline food? Do you think cross contamination is a possibility? I've only eaten one meal out in France (which isn't known for being knowledgeable about celiac disease and gluten issues) but I had restaurant cards in French and a French speaker to talk to the waiter for me - besides, my stomach was already upset by that time. It could have happened in New York, but I was pretty careful there and usually my reactions are faster than that.

Anyway, the real problem is that I have to travel for work 2-3 times per year, usually to Europe. I'm pretty sensitive to contamination - and I'm starting to get worried that I'll have to think about changing my job because of this. My co-workers are aware of the problem and they accommodate me as much as possible, but I can't really explain it to every client I have to see - and sometimes I have to travel places like France, where the issue just isn't well known. Any thoughts on how to deal with this? Has anyone else had to change their job because of gluten?

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Hi all... looking for some advice...

I've been traveling for work since last Friday, first in New York, and now in Paris, France. I always bring a lot of my own food with me, so I'm prepared for emergencies and I don't have to eat whatever is offered, but I do have to have some business lunches/dinners in the course of my trips, and I don't have full control over where these are held. I bring cards with me and talk to the wait staff, but otherwise, there's not much I can do. I have declined to eat at these dinners a few times, but that always brings up a lot of awkward explanations, which I'd rather avoid in a work setting with clients.

The past couple days I've had pretty bad D. Part of me thinks it's because of the gluten free meal on my flight to Paris, (as it started right after I arrived in France) but the meal was boxed separately, labeled gluten-free and actually listed all the ingredients, so it appeared safe. Has anyone else been glutened by apparently safe airline food? Do you think cross contamination is a possibility? I've only eaten one meal out in France (which isn't known for being knowledgeable about celiac disease and gluten issues) but I had restaurant cards in French and a French speaker to talk to the waiter for me - besides, my stomach was already upset by that time. It could have happened in New York, but I was pretty careful there and usually my reactions are faster than that.

Anyway, the real problem is that I have to travel for work 2-3 times per year, usually to Europe. I'm pretty sensitive to contamination - and I'm starting to get worried that I'll have to think about changing my job because of this. My co-workers are aware of the problem and they accommodate me as much as possible, but I can't really explain it to every client I have to see - and sometimes I have to travel places like France, where the issue just isn't well known. Any thoughts on how to deal with this? Has anyone else had to change their job because of gluten?

Hi Kate....sorry you are feeling poorly! I know full well the trauma of the Big D in a foreign country! :( I doubt you have food poisoning because food poisoning usually is more violent a reaction as in diarrhea and vomiting that does not stop until the bacteria has run it's course. With a gluten hit, you can have the Big D a lot but can go hours without it too. I have only vomited a few times with a gluten hit...that is unusual for me.

I have gotten sick after flying to Europe twice. I had a bout of the Big D and then recovered by early evening/next day. I, too, am very careful and on one of the flights, I highly doubt I was glutened or cc'd. It could have happened, you never know for sure but I recovered too quickly on one instance for me to believe it was gluten. These were overnight flights from the US and the return flight was during the day. I have never gotten sick on the return flight, ever, and it was all the same airline.

I am starting to think that losing a night's sleep and eating airline food may be combining to mess me up for the first 12 hours or so. Airline food isn't great and sometimes it's stuff I don't really like But I eat it anyway so I won't be hungry when I land. I can only eat so many snack bars for replacement. Airlines have repeatedly told me that they go to great lengths to ensure the meal is safe because they really don't like people getting that sick over the Atlantic for 6 hours. They may be right but you cannot be totally sure.

Funny enough, the other flight was to Ireland and I got bagged really bad by drinking tea that was malted. Yes, they have malted tea in Ireland because the hotel we stayed in had a breakfast tray that had malted tea on it. I couldn't believe it but it's a good thing I read the label. I had to ask room service for plain tea. Who would have thought of that? I never heard of malted tea before. That was a true glutening and I lost most of the first day. I assume it was the tea because I had 2 cups on the flight and the meal served looked safe enough. It is a huge problem, at times, and I always wonder about people that have to travel for their profession. France must be difficult in some places. I have heard Paris is much worse than the countryside.

Parisians are Parisians!

Finding another job will have to be your decision. I could not travel at this point in my life for my work. I am almost 53 and overnight, long haul flights aren't as easy to do anymore. They interrupt my sleep and screw up my eating patterns for a few days. You are probably much younger than I am but it's still hard to do on a regular basis PLUS be vigilant about eating.

I put a lot of planning into my overseas trips and have done fine...except for those 2 flights. If you can get to the point where you are comfortable explaining to clients that you have Celiac Disease and reserve the right to not eat except if you know it is safe, then you could do alright. This must be hard, though. Have you done this since diagnosis a lot and, if so, is this the first time you have had problems? Are there any gluten-free friendly restaurants in Paris that you could steer a client into eating at? Wouldn't it be great if you had all Celiac clients? :D

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