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Megalexatron

Teaching with Celiac

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A little back story: I went gluten-free my senior year of highschool after experimenting with elimination diets at the suggestion of my doctor. 3 years later I decided to be stupid and "normal" and eat gluten again. Fast forward to this past year, I gained 50lbs since February, stopped being able to keep most foods down, couldn't walk my body hurt so bad, etc etc etc. You guys know the symptoms. This summer I was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I've been gluten-free again for around a month and a half. 

I am also an elementary school teacher. Now, this diet is nothing new to me. I did it 3 years just fine. HOWEVER I was not nearly as sensitive then as I am now. Every time I've tried to eat out places I've gotten various levels of sick. Today was our first day back at work and my grade level all went out to eat so I joined them. I asked all the right questions, even researched the place online beforehand. I knew it was risky because restaurants made me sick repeatedly this summer, but I just feel so awkward either not going or bringing my own food, etc. 

There's always food up at the school and people are always shoving stuff in my face and I guess I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed. I know I shouldn't feel awkward about my condition, but I can't help it. I haven't even told any of my coworkers about it yet. I don't want to be "THAT" person.

How do you guys deal with celiac in the workplace? Or work lunches? Those kinds of situations. 

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Well, many celiacs resend to become more sensitive the far they get into their diagnosis.  I was just anemic without GI issues, but now....I get the usual GI symptoms after a gluten exposure.

Eating with a group?  I always bring my own food.  Sometimes, I bring a gluten-free dish for everyone to share, but I stick to foods that came out of my kitchen.  Do not fall for a gluten-free dish that was made without regards to cross contamination.   I let people know That I have celiac disease.  Everyone gets it.  If they don't....then they really are not worth keeping in my life.  Consider this a teaching opportunity.  

I recommend not eating out until you feel better.  Each glutening can set you back.   Remember, gluten triggers an autoimmune "flare-up" that can last for a few days, weeks or months.  Eating out is risky.  Can you afford to miss work?  

Welcome to the forum!  

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I felt pretty awkward the first time I decided to go out with coworkers and not eat anything.  It turned out fine and is much easier the second time!

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I learned a long while back, IF I want to feel safe, if I can not afford to risk getting sick, and IF I want to eat among others. MEAL PREP, fix your own meal prep kits/lunch,  if in public and people ask I just stick to saying I have a bunch of food allergies and play it safe and refuse given food. I got a JAXX pack from amazon on sale to keep meals in take it when heading out. If heading to a restaurant I call ahead and talk to a manager, most of the time they are alright around here with me bringing in my own food, I just order perhaps water, or a side (if I talked, asked and am assured it is safe [Plus I test it with a nima]).

Not every place will cater to you like this so you must call ahead and talk to a MANAGER, I have celiac, and many intolerance issues PLUS a very bad allergy to corn....yeah nothing is safe in most places.  I make sure I tip and consider it a "rental fee" for the table lol.

As for worrying about this in a school your very lucky. Teachers have to deal with kids that have food allergies often and are quite understanding of said issues (my mother is a pre-k teacher). Your much better off then someone that works say in a office, or among the stubborn and uneducated. -_- My dad owns a machine shop and I can not get the workers there to understand my food issues and even had guys in the past go out of their way to poison me for laughs not understanding how sick it made me.

Side thoughts, informing others might be a good thing, if students say have food issues with allergies, you might end up as the "experienced one" in that regard and be asked for suggestions or thought higher of in certain regards. Also ......beware of playdough.

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I don't tell people - I am gluten free.  I tell people I have Celiac Disease.  I think the word disease is important here. I would hope that these teachers understand what Celiac is as your school will have several students with Celiac. If they continue to "shove" food at you knowing this, I would be worried for the students that expect a teacher to keep them safe.   I would say "no Thanks" and if they continue to insist, I would say loudly for all to hear "i have told you that food will make me sick. Why do you insist I eat it?"

 

If you don't feel comfortable eating somewhere they are going, you can go anyway.  Keep a protein bar in your purse at all times.  When they ask why you aren't eating, just tell them you came for the company not the food.  I find we can joke about it after a while.  

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13 hours ago, Megalexatron said:

A little back story: I went gluten-free my senior year of highschool after experimenting with elimination diets at the suggestion of my doctor. 3 years later I decided to be stupid and "normal" and eat gluten again. Fast forward to this past year, I gained 50lbs since February, stopped being able to keep most foods down, couldn't walk my body hurt so bad, etc etc etc. You guys know the symptoms. This summer I was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I've been gluten-free again for around a month and a half. 

I am also an elementary school teacher. Now, this diet is nothing new to me. I did it 3 years just fine. HOWEVER I was not nearly as sensitive then as I am now. Every time I've tried to eat out places I've gotten various levels of sick. Today was our first day back at work and my grade level all went out to eat so I joined them. I asked all the right questions, even researched the place online beforehand. I knew it was risky because restaurants made me sick repeatedly this summer, but I just feel so awkward either not going or bringing my own food, etc. 

There's always food up at the school and people are always shoving stuff in my face and I guess I'm just feeling a little overwhelmed. I know I shouldn't feel awkward about my condition, but I can't help it. I haven't even told any of my coworkers about it yet. I don't want to be "THAT" person.

How do you guys deal with celiac in the workplace? Or work lunches? Those kinds of situations. 

I don't think you are more sensitive, it's just that when you eat clean and get well, you feel the reaction way more because you have healed. 

I feel your pain on the social aspects of being gluten free.  I am not affected when people eat gluten filled food in front of me (I've been gluten-free for 12 years) but it is annoying when they over focus on my ability to not be able to eat all the food that's around.  It's seems to bother them that I have will power, which it isn't because if they knew how sick I get when glutened, they would realize it isn't will power but the extreme desire to not feel like I am dying.

What you must do is sit down and have a talk with them and let them know you have Celiac Disease. They really need to know that. You need to start practicing telling people that so it won't bother you so much. Don't sweat it.......every person out there has their own issues so don't be so uncomfortable with it. It will be OK, I promise. They have to know there are boundaries concerning food and not to shove it in your face.  I am a thin Celiac so it took me standing firm with people before they understood that I don't cheat and won't be coerced into eating food that makes me very ill. You will learn just how food stupid some people can be but it's all a learning process and at some point, you will gain the confidence to stand your ground so they will respect your decisions.  That might even happen right away but you have to tell them why you cannot eat the food.

Get used to bringing you own food everywhere and maybe having a glass of wine or something else while they eat. I always eat beforehand when I do decide to go to a work lunch but we don't do that as much in the line of work I do.  I enjoy a nice glass of red wine while they eat and everything is good.  There have been a few situations where I decided not to go to events because of food issues but that usually is not the case. You never need make excuses for not going.  As a Celiac, you have that right.  What is good is that the older you get and the longer you are gluten-free, you gain confidence!

 

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Thanks for replying. Today I had lunch with one of my coworkers and made sure to tell her about my Celiac before we went. She was very accommodating and made me feel better about telling the others. 

I will definitely have to get used to meal prep. I've invested in a mini fridge for my classroom so that I can keep my lunches in there. 

Any tips on simple meal prep? I'm no chef and in my early 20s so I'm kind of easing my way out of eating like an unhealthy teen lol

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1 hour ago, Megalexatron said:

Thanks for replying. Today I had lunch with one of my coworkers and made sure to tell her about my Celiac before we went. She was very accommodating and made me feel better about telling the others. 

I will definitely have to get used to meal prep. I've invested in a mini fridge for my classroom so that I can keep my lunches in there. 

Any tips on simple meal prep? I'm no chef and in my early 20s so I'm kind of easing my way out of eating like an unhealthy teen lol

Well I am a chef lol, First choose a cuisine you wish to have, from there choose something that reheats well, and has a nice balance that fits your dietary needs. Rice dishes like Chinese styled fried rice with stir fry veggies in a coconut secret gluten free teriyaki sauce with a side of meat like chicken or beef you can cook in it is easy can be done in a large batch portioned out and eaten for 2-3 days in prepared portion controlled containers. You get veggies, carbs, and meats.    Another popular choice is soups, stews, and risottos among my customers. OH and you can always do a roast in a crock pot with veggies in. you can then cut/shred it portion it out with the veggies and the sauce.    I have a flat bread recipe in the recipe section you can make and even make  garlic or herbed version (2-3 ingredient and 10mins to make) make them in batches, they freeze well, you can take a few slices of it with avocado, or guacamole, refried beans, salsa, and some strips of meat reheat the bread, beans and meat and spread and use it like a tortilla, O just take the bread with hummus and veggie sticks and have a meal. You can also use it with say a nut butter spread and it is pretty good. or your choice of vegan or dairy cheese over it and make cheese bread and have it veggies on top >.> pizza. You options are literally limitless. OH i forgot some classics sauteed or steamed veggies, with just grilled chicken or fish. pair great and different seasonings on the meat can change it up quite a bit.

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You guys are back at school already for teacher workdays? Wow. Mine start on the 17th. What day does your school start?

I do very simple lunches. Leftovers from dinner. Sandwiches but easier said than done as I hate gluten-free bread. Trail mix I make. I have apples and other fruit for snacks. last year I  had string cheese for after school snacks that were always good. Yogurt. A big bottle of water. You want to try to drink some all day. Going to the bathroom can be a pain though if your breaks aren't strategically placed. Many new teachers get uti's as they just don't drink. I know it happened to me. My commute is going to be super long this year so I'm going to bring some food for the car too, just in case I'm starving. Going to have to get up so early I don't think I'll be eating at home so I'll probably bring some food to snack on. Oh I also got some rice cakes to have either pbj or tuna salad on. Hard boiled eggs are great. 

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