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Being Pressured To Provide Food For Holiday Party


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#1 Googles

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:00 PM

So when I was a kid it was my understanding (and still is) that potlucks work/are fair because people all bring food and then are able to eat what others provide. There are some situations where people may be vegetarian so they wont eat a specific dish. However, overall, everyone brings and everyone partakes. However, with celiac, I don't feel comfrotable eating food that is provided by other people, espcially at something that can be chaotic as an office event. However, today I was pressured by co-workers to provide food/supplies for a party I can't participate in. I don't make a lot of money so budget accordingly. I feel uncomfortable saying no to my coworkers and causing them to think I'm stingy or mean spirited, but I don't think given that I can't eat anything that is provided, I should be expected to provide food for my co-workers to eat. I don't think I should be expected to subsidize their eating when I can't participate. I was wondering what other people's thougths are on this situation. As this was brought up in a staff meeting, there wasn't any way for me to gracefully decline after saying that I wasn't going to be participating in bringing food because of my diet and then being told I should bring paper products. Help?
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#2 Marilyn R

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

Hi Googles,

Sorry that your co-workers are giving you a big dish of guilt pie for the holidays.

You could take the easy way out and make Texas Caviar if you can tolerate legumes and night shades. (PM me if you don't find a good recipe in your budget.)

You could opt out, I had a co-worker who didn't believe in holidays, and she didn't bring anything or attend the holiday party. She stuck up for her beliefs despite peer pressure, so it might be worthwhile to think about why you don't want to participate and say "No thanks, due to health reasons I'm unable to attend." (Or you could say religious reasons, because you are in fact religiously avoiding gluten.)

The middle of the road would be to tell the person you've identified as the biggest gossip at work that you'd love to attend the party but don't want to have to confront everybody about what's in their dish and how they prepared it, because that would ruin the holiday spirit, Sadly, you'll be unable to attend, and hope nobody confronts you about it. Tell them you told them that because you know how sensitive they are to people's problems.

Good luck, stand up for your rights however you feel comfortable doing it, knowing you're doing it for your health.

((( )))
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Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.

#3 Gemini

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

So when I was a kid it was my understanding (and still is) that potlucks work/are fair because people all bring food and then are able to eat what others provide. There are some situations where people may be vegetarian so they wont eat a specific dish. However, overall, everyone brings and everyone partakes. However, with celiac, I don't feel comfrotable eating food that is provided by other people, espcially at something that can be chaotic as an office event. However, today I was pressured by co-workers to provide food/supplies for a party I can't participate in. I don't make a lot of money so budget accordingly. I feel uncomfortable saying no to my coworkers and causing them to think I'm stingy or mean spirited, but I don't think given that I can't eat anything that is provided, I should be expected to provide food for my co-workers to eat. I don't think I should be expected to subsidize their eating when I can't participate. I was wondering what other people's thougths are on this situation. As this was brought up in a staff meeting, there wasn't any way for me to gracefully decline after saying that I wasn't going to be participating in bringing food because of my diet and then being told I should bring paper products. Help?


I understand your dilemma and the only thing I can suggest is to not feel uncomfortable when saying no to people. You need to learn how to do that. Maybe if you explain to them what you have said here, they will understand and if they don't....not good people to begin with so don't worry about what they think.

We have a Christmas lunch at my workplace. Downgraded from a Christmas party and the PC police have now started calling it a "Holiday Party' which aggravates me to begin with even before the food issues come into play. I made it very clear that I was not participating by bringing anything because they refuse to accommodate my diet. They could.....they allot a certain amount per person and then order platters of hot food that I cannot eat. Desserts and appetizers are brought in by employees. I asked them why they couldn't give me the cash for my allotment and then I could order some gluten-free food from some of the restaurants around here that do a fantastic job of gluten-free take-out. They looked at me like I had 3 heads and said they could not do that. After that, my cheery Christmas mood went into the wastebasket. They accommodate kosher but not Celiacs and there are more than one of us in my group. I usually never let food issues bother me or keep me from going to anything but when they out and out refused to do this, that was it. And then to make it worse....the dummies who don't understand food at all tried to let me know that I could probably eat "some" of the food they were ordering. I looked at the menu and laughed. Everything has gravy or pasta. It doesn't help that one of the women, who supposedly has Celiac also, cheats and eats the food so it makes me look like the anal moron.

Sometimes it gets very frustrating when this happens and I just felt I had to make a stand this year. No more gluten-free desserts or anything (which they all ate and liked)....I can't be bothered. If they cannot at least try and accommodate my diet by giving me the same amount of cash they spend on everyone else, then screw it. I give up. I should add that they used to do birthdays around here and they would buy a cake for the birthday people. Very nice thought but when it came time for mine, they orderd a regular cake and I couldn't eat it. What kind of an idiot does that? Nothing like serving a wheat cake to a Celiac! I found it insulting. Don't even bother if you can't get it right. Would they serve peanuts to a person with peanut allergies? :o

This is the tough part of beng a Celiac but you need to be nice but firm! Otherwise, people will never learn.
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#4 Gemini

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:19 PM

You could opt out, I had a co-worker who didn't believe in holidays, and she didn't bring anything or attend the holiday party. She stuck up for her beliefs despite peer pressure, so it might be worthwhile to think about why you don't want to participate and say "No thanks, due to health reasons I'm unable to attend." (Or you could say religious reasons, because you are in fact religiously avoiding gluten.)


This is brilliant, Marilyn! Religious reasons...... :D
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#5 tarnalberry

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:59 PM

If it's really a "mandatory" potluck (and not an optional potluck), then yes, you should bring something. Bring a beverage (apple juice isn't expensive) and cups - you are contributing and can have what you bring with very little chance of contamination. Bring chips and serve yourself from the bag first. Bring anything you want that you can have an serve yourself a heaping portion first. Or bring something and choose not to eat, which is an option as well. Consider it the price of admission.

If the idea of going to the party with all this food just turns you off, don't go to the party.

You don't have to go to the party. If it's something that "would look bad" if you didn't, if you "need" to go because of your job, then bring something, and consider it the price of making appearances.
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Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"
Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy
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#6 Marilyn R

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:10 PM

Sorry Tarnalb

If it's really a "mandatory" potluck (and not an optional potluck), then yes, you should bring something. Bring a beverage (apple juice isn't expensive) and cups - you are contributing and can have what you bring with very little chance of contamination. Bring chips and serve yourself from the bag first. Bring anything you want that you can have an serve yourself a heaping portion first. Or bring something and choose not to eat, which is an option as well. Consider it the price of admiss

If the idea of going to the party with all this food just turns you off, don't go to the party.

You don't have to go to the party. If it's something that "would look bad" if you didn't, if you "need" to go because of your job, then bring something, and consider it the price of making appearances.


Sorry, that doesn't sound like very much fun! And the same people that would complain if you didn't attend the party would gossip that you just brought apple juice and ate your own chips, Better to not go at all, in MHO, with or without prior explanation.
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Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.

#7 Googles

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:32 PM

They know I have celiac and can't eat anything at the party that I don't bring. And it is a required party. It is scheduled durng our staff meeting. I guess I just get pissed about having to provide food for other people who can eat whatever they want when I have to think about every piece of food that goes into my mouth. I'm fne with going and brining my own food, but I didn't want to have to be exepcted to suplement every else's food intake when they all make more than I do. I hate having to provide other people with food when I can't partake. And that isn't the only time I will have to pay for people to eat. My aparents are coming for Christmas. They will be here for 5 days. Since I don't allow gluten containing food iin my house (I live alone) I will have to provide them with gluten free food to eat too.
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#8 tarnalberry

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:37 PM

I've never had anyone complain that I didn't eat food at a party. Gluten issues, other food allergies, and whatever aside, it's no one's business what I choose to put (or not put) in my mouth.

I think parties are as much fun as you want them to be - whether you are eating food or not. Whether or not business parties are fun... well, that's an entirely different question, and one that, in my experience, depends on how much alcohol your coworkers have had to drink. ;)
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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

#9 Kamma

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:48 PM

They know I have celiac and can't eat anything at the party that I don't bring. And it is a required party. It is scheduled durng our staff meeting. I guess I just get pissed about having to provide food for other people who can eat whatever they want when I have to think about every piece of food that goes into my mouth. I'm fne with going and brining my own food, but I didn't want to have to be exepcted to suplement every else's food intake when they all make more than I do. I hate having to provide other people with food when I can't partake. And that isn't the only time I will have to pay for people to eat. My aparents are coming for Christmas. They will be here for 5 days. Since I don't allow gluten containing food iin my house (I live alone) I will have to provide them with gluten free food to eat too.


Tell them you're on a budget, have to provide holiday fare for your parents which will stretch you even more and though you would like to provide supplies for the party, alas! your budget restraints just can't allow this. Tell them you have a brilliant idea that over the next year, everyone in the office can provide a buck/month to go towards Christmas supplies so it' doesn't come down to crunch time at the end of the year and on just one person.
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#10 Chaff

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:53 PM

Well, on the one hand it's annoying. I'm an atheist, but everything's all Christmas everywhere, but you know, the spirit of the thing is wonderful, even if we disagree on the technicalities. So I don't bring up my beliefs unless someone asks, I take part in secret santa and sing the carols I like, and we all get along just fine.

So you have to go to a party where the food is inedible. That sucks, but the people are the life of the party for us, not the food. So you bring your dish of whatever you can handle, you have a nice meal before you go, and you hang on to a good drink. It helps if there's alcohol there and you're a drinker.

One way to make this more fun for you is to make something gluten-free that is DELICIOUS and which out-shines what everyone else brought. Then they start to ask you for recipes..!

I just posted a thread on this in the cooking section -- some good recipes from an article where someone made a bunch of sneaky gluten-free stuff that blew her guests away: http://www.celiac.co...es/#entry841231
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