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imbleu

Working Around Gluten

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Hi all,

I wanted to get some feedback on an issue I'm having. I currently work as a waitress in a restaurant where we use a lot of pita bread. Consequently, I'm always handling it -- serving it, cutting it, ripping it, folding it up, etc. It's a little gross, but mostly I ignore it and keep working. I always bring my own food if I have to eat on a shift because I know how contaminated our kitchen is.

Anyway, a couple of times now, I've had a gluten reaction that I can't link to any food I've eaten, or medicine I've taken, or anything else I can fathom except my workplace. Is it possible that I'm getting cc'ed at work?! I try to always remember to wash my hands before eating or drinking there and I don't consciously rub my lips or anything like that.

I appreciate any insight! I can't tell whether I'm being paranoid or cautious. I love the work environment at this job and would hate to leave, but if I have to, I have to. My only thought right now is to take a break and see whether I feel better while I'm away. I get pain when glutened, but it seems like I've never quite gotten ahead of it even on a very strict diet. By now I'm wondering whether it's my workplace or some completely unrelated, non-food-dependent disorder!

Thanks all!

P.S. Here's my background, in case you care: I've been off gluten for about 10 months now, save 3 weeks I was on it to get the blood test done. That was two months ago. I tested negative for Celiac (no elevated antibodies) but had a very high genetic risk (I have a cousin who has Celiac, and my mom shares my issues, so no real surprise there). I have not done the biopsy because eating gluten for the blood test was enough to convince me that I have real issues with it. Gluten gives me digestive issues (mostly C) as well as a lot of body pain and at least contributes to my vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain). I also have problems with corn and cane sugar (or perhaps any refined sugar). Going off gluten, I saw a near-immediate (two days?) recession of my body pain and vulvodynia, but the latter has never gone completely away, and even trace amounts of gluten bring both back (and back me up!), from what I can tell (so hard to know if what you've observed is real, especially without medical corroboration! ;) ).

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Hi all,

I wanted to get some feedback on an issue I'm having. I currently work as a waitress in a restaurant where we use a lot of pita bread. Consequently, I'm always handling it -- serving it, cutting it, ripping it, folding it up, etc. It's a little gross, but mostly I ignore it and keep working. I always bring my own food if I have to eat on a shift because I know how contaminated our kitchen is.

Anyway, a couple of times now, I've had a gluten reaction that I can't link to any food I've eaten, or medicine I've taken, or anything else I can fathom except my workplace. Is it possible that I'm getting cc'ed at work?! I try to always remember to wash my hands before eating or drinking there and I don't consciously rub my lips or anything like that.

I appreciate any insight! I can't tell whether I'm being paranoid or cautious. I love the work environment at this job and would hate to leave, but if I have to, I have to. My only thought right now is to take a break and see whether I feel better while I'm away. I get pain when glutened, but it seems like I've never quite gotten ahead of it even on a very strict diet. By now I'm wondering whether it's my workplace or some completely unrelated, non-food-dependent disorder!

Thanks all!

P.S. Here's my background, in case you care: I've been off gluten for about 10 months now, save 3 weeks I was on it to get the blood test done. That was two months ago. I tested negative for Celiac (no elevated antibodies) but had a very high genetic risk (I have a cousin who has Celiac, and my mom shares my issues, so no real surprise there). I have not done the biopsy because eating gluten for the blood test was enough to convince me that I have real issues with it. Gluten gives me digestive issues (mostly C) as well as a lot of body pain and at least contributes to my vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain). I also have problems with corn and cane sugar (or perhaps any refined sugar). Going off gluten, I saw a near-immediate (two days?) recession of my body pain and vulvodynia, but the latter has never gone completely away, and even trace amounts of gluten bring both back (and back me up!), from what I can tell (so hard to know if what you've observed is real, especially without medical corroboration! ;) ).

HI imbleu

That would be an interesting question to have answered. What about people whom work in the food service industries, and the cross contamination issues? It sounds like this has just happened a couple of times, which I think is pretty good considering where you work. Just my own thoughts I mean.

Just wondering does your gluten-free lifestyle include removing it from all places, such as toiletries and make up? Even something as simple as lipstick can get you gluttened. You sound like you are exteremely careful at your work, not wiping face area so on. Are your nails long? Food particles can stuck there, and if your not scrubbing your nails, well you know :(

Gluten is everywhere. I'm also wondering if there are times at your workplace when they work with flour. Do they make their own pita shells? Flour dust in the air, gets breathed in, and you could be reacting to that. There a number of variables that could be affecting you, from something as simple as handlotion, hairspray (which can have hidden glutens) to flour dust. Just some thoughts for you to consider (if you haven't already :) )

Anyhow, this will be an interesting question to see what others say. I've been thinking of returning back to work part time, perhaps as a grocery store clerk, and often wondered about that, can you work in the food industry. It sounds like you really enjoy your job, I hope there is a way you can protect yourself and stay there. Good work environments are hard to come by. I wish you luck in this quest. :)


44 yr old mom, SAHM (stay at home; aka a Retro Mama :D , 2 special needs kids dd 15yrs ds 4 yrs

Follows Compassion Rules "Treat others; they way you wish to be treated"

blood test negative: celiac However, doctor felt other factors in blood works warranted trying the gluten-free diet

April 7/08 Doctor confirms gluten intolerance/ remain gluten-free for 2 more months; and repeat tests

Gluten free since March 4/2008 (other than accidently, or unknown gluten used--- its a learning process, Gluten is everywhere!)

"People are like stained-glassed windows. Best viewed in the light!" unknown author

"I am only as strong as the coffee I drink, and the hairspray I use" :)

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I have a big problem with it. Teaching at the culinary school here I found I cant go into the kitchen for a day after the bread class. Just too much in the air and if I breath it I have trouble and pain. Sometimes just walking though kitchens or stores where there is breading going on causes problems too. Did find that breathing in small amounts of flour or breading in the air causes a gut reaction and pain where as if I accidently eat something with gluten CC then I usually get a dh reaction.

good luck

Hi all,

I wanted to get some feedback on an issue I'm having. I currently work as a waitress in a restaurant where we use a lot of pita bread. Consequently, I'm always handling it -- serving it, cutting it, ripping it, folding it up, etc. It's a little gross, but mostly I ignore it and keep working. I always bring my own food if I have to eat on a shift because I know how contaminated our kitchen is.

Anyway, a couple of times now, I've had a gluten reaction that I can't link to any food I've eaten, or medicine I've taken, or anything else I can fathom except my workplace. Is it possible that I'm getting cc'ed at work?! I try to always remember to wash my hands before eating or drinking there and I don't consciously rub my lips or anything like that.

I appreciate any insight! I can't tell whether I'm being paranoid or cautious. I love the work environment at this job and would hate to leave, but if I have to, I have to. My only thought right now is to take a break and see whether I feel better while I'm away. I get pain when glutened, but it seems like I've never quite gotten ahead of it even on a very strict diet. By now I'm wondering whether it's my workplace or some completely unrelated, non-food-dependent disorder!

Thanks all!

P.S. Here's my background, in case you care: I've been off gluten for about 10 months now, save 3 weeks I was on it to get the blood test done. That was two months ago. I tested negative for Celiac (no elevated antibodies) but had a very high genetic risk (I have a cousin who has Celiac, and my mom shares my issues, so no real surprise there). I have not done the biopsy because eating gluten for the blood test was enough to convince me that I have real issues with it. Gluten gives me digestive issues (mostly C) as well as a lot of body pain and at least contributes to my vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain). I also have problems with corn and cane sugar (or perhaps any refined sugar). Going off gluten, I saw a near-immediate (two days?) recession of my body pain and vulvodynia, but the latter has never gone completely away, and even trace amounts of gluten bring both back (and back me up!), from what I can tell (so hard to know if what you've observed is real, especially without medical corroboration! ;) ).


"Ryo tatereba mi ga tatanu"

If we try to serve both sides, we cannot stand our own ground.

Japanese proverb

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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deleted double post


"Ryo tatereba mi ga tatanu"

If we try to serve both sides, we cannot stand our own ground.

Japanese proverb

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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I also work in a restaurant.

A pizza place (ugh the torture).

The flour gets EVERYWHERE. I used to eat salads and cheese/veggie melts from there, before I worked

there and saw the workers rolling dough on the table with flour scattered all over, then WITHOUT even washing the table, cutting tomatos on it. They also grind up the cheese in the same big machine that they make the dough in. I bring my lunch now. :(

As for being around it, yes I think its bad. I feel like Im breathing it in. It sucks, I just avoid it as much as I can and try to bribe the other workers into making the pizza dough in exchange for doing something they dont want to do, like chopping the eye burning onions. I also wear gloves if I have to clean anything or be in direct contact with the flour too long.

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Hi,

This is tricky. I don't work in the food industry, but I have been glutened by not being too careful around gluten products. Last time it happened I was playing with my nieces and their playdoh (made from wheat flour). I must have rubbed my mouth or something because I was pretty sick. Having said that, I make my fiance's sandwiches to take to work with regular bread all the time and I have not had any problems with that.

I would probably just be really careful keep a pair of gloves in your pocket for when you have to handle the breads and scrub extra hard to remove any traces.

There has to be a happy medium between being careful and sacrificing your life to the celiac monster.


Australian

Gluten Free Since mid March 2008

As well as gluten I can't eat: cantaloupe, honeydew, dairy and most nuts and seeds. I also seem to have a problem with a lot of fruits and vegetables but only when they are raw.

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I also make sandwiches for my husband and never have a problem ( I always wash my hands afterwards). But I have been glutened in the grocery store standing near the flour which, by the way, I could smell in the air. It caused immediate pain in my back.

Lisa


~~Lisa~~

"The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it."--Moliere

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."--Douglas Adams

Friends may come and go but Sillies are Forever!!!!!!!--Amanda

_________________

gluten-free since 1/08

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Thanks everyone! This forum is so great :)

Ivanna44: we don't make the pita at the place where I work, so at least I'm never around flour. But when I'm cutting or ripping it, I can smell the dust wafting up to me and I come away with powdery hands. Ew! As for other products, I am not certain about every single product I use. However, the only thing I ever put on my lips is chapstick, which I think is okay, and I think my other facial stuff is confirmed gluten-free (though my soap has corn starch in it! Of course. But I can distinguish my corn reaction from my gluten reaction, so I don't think it's that). Thanks for thinking of that. I should do some checking on the other things I use. Good luck returning to the workplace!

kenlove: wow, that sounds awful! I talked to a nutritionist who said she didn't think it would be a problem unless I was working in a bakery, with it floating in the air and getting sprayed on me, since theoretically it has to make it all the way down my esophagus and into my intestine for me to react. But I don't know, it seems like it's possible to beat the odds!

mysecretcurse: ugh, I am SO glad I don't work at a pizza place. That would be so hard! And I'm glad we don't actually have to make any bread products. Even so, we have CC issues similar to yours -- we cut bread on the same surface where we store fruit and cheese, and the crumbs get all over. It makes me never want to eat out anywhere! I should wear gloves at least while doing the sidework so I can keep it from getting under my nails. Also, thanks for sharing -- it's so good to know I'm not the only one working around poison :)

Michelle RB: I agree about the happy medium. I think I will try being extra careful at work and if it continues to be a problem I'll do some investigation. I'm just frustrated with the setbacks and want to make sure I'm not overlooking anything that could be perpetuating my pain.

Again, thanks everyone!

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I quit my job because I was effected by the food. I worked as a manager in a health club/restaurant where we served wraps, sandwiches, pasta, good for you brownies and muffins. Constantly being in that environment caused me to have reactions. It was hard to quit but I feel so much better since I did! :)

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Even so, we have CC issues similar to yours -- we cut bread on the same surface where we store fruit and cheese, and the crumbs get all over. It makes me never want to eat out anywhere! I should wear gloves at least while doing the sidework so I can keep it from getting under my nails. Also, thanks for sharing -- it's so good to know I'm not the only one working around poison :)

You are going to start wearing gloves when you handle food! Where is your head chef or kitchen manager? You should have gloves on whenever you handle anything that is ready to eat, period. Foods that are hot should be handled with tongs or with another utensil. Food service employees should NEVER be touching food with their bare hands unless it is going right on to the stove or in the oven. Not only is it a gluten risk for you it is a very real health issue for any of your customers. Here in NY the state requires the head chef or kitchen manager to attend at least one Health Dept seminar a year and then they are expected to educate the rest of the kitchen and other employees. Perhaps where you live they don't have as strict regs as they do here.

As to the issue of whether you should keep working in a gluten filled environment that is up to you and your sensitivity. It is normally a real issue for us when flour is floating around. Research has shown that the flour can take up to 24 hours to waft down to the floor and out of the air. If you are working in a place where everything is pretty much premade the gloves you should have been wearing all along should provide protection.


Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying

"I will try again tommorrow" (Mary Anne Radmacher)

Diagnosed by Allergist with elimination diet and diagnosis confirmed by GI in 2002

Misdiagnoses for 15 years were IBS-D, ataxia, migraines, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, parathesias, arthritis, livedo reticularis, hairloss, premature menopause, osteoporosis, kidney damage, diverticulosis, prediabetes and ulcers, dermatitis herpeformis

All bold resoved or went into remission in time with proper diagnosis of Celiac November 2002

 Gene Test Aug 2007

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0303

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0303

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 3,3 (Subtype 9,9)

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ravenwoodglass -- honestly? No need to sermonize. Apparently the way we handle pita -- wash our hands before the morning sidework, use baggies when serving -- is acceptable to our management. And I've got news for you: I've worked in five food-service joints plus a dining hall, and *everyone* is touching your food *all the time*. Sorry.

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I have worked in many restaurants and trust me none of them make people wear gloves.

In fact, a lot of restaurants Ive worked at the managers had no problem with people ringing people up on the register as in handling money, then going right back to handling food without washing their hands.

Ive been in this industry and trust me, there are a lot of reasons not to eat out that go way beyond gluten.

In a way I feel lucky I'm so limited, I feel it makes us a lot healthier.

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At our culinary school in Kona gloves are mandatory when working with hands, making sandwiches and plating meals served at the public lunches.

They are not mandatory at the stove or oven when working with utensils. The resort hotels are mixed but I've seen gloves used on buffet lines as well as in the back kitchens.

In Japan the hotels require color coded gloves for meats, fish or produce as well as knives and cutting boards.

The restaurants are another story... cant imagine making sushi with gloves on!

Ken

I have worked in many restaurants and trust me none of them make people wear gloves.

In fact, a lot of restaurants Ive worked at the managers had no problem with people ringing people up on the register as in handling money, then going right back to handling food without washing their hands.

Ive been in this industry and trust me, there are a lot of reasons not to eat out that go way beyond gluten.

In a way I feel lucky I'm so limited, I feel it makes us a lot healthier.


"Ryo tatereba mi ga tatanu"

If we try to serve both sides, we cannot stand our own ground.

Japanese proverb

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

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ravenwoodglass -- honestly? No need to sermonize. Apparently the way we handle pita -- wash our hands before the morning sidework, use baggies when serving -- is acceptable to our management. And I've got news for you: I've worked in five food-service joints plus a dining hall, and *everyone* is touching your food *all the time*. Sorry.

Sorry if it came across as 'sermonizing', but yes here in NY a restaurant can be cited if a health inspector comes in and finds folks handling ready to eat food with bare hands. They can also be cited for things like having cooked food on sheves under uncooked in the walk in, grease on the floor under the stove etc. I had one that came into my restaurant to eat at least 3 or 4 times a week. He had lots of allergies and we catered to folks like us, I just wish I knew I was one of them at the time. Perhaps the owner of that restaurant was more strict because of the fact that he ate there so often and would often pop into the kitchen to talk to me, the head chef, about what he wanted to eat. I was hired because I was someone who followed the rules, although the others in the kitchen didn't always like it. Health dept regs do vary from state to state and other states may not be as strict.


Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying

"I will try again tommorrow" (Mary Anne Radmacher)

Diagnosed by Allergist with elimination diet and diagnosis confirmed by GI in 2002

Misdiagnoses for 15 years were IBS-D, ataxia, migraines, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, parathesias, arthritis, livedo reticularis, hairloss, premature menopause, osteoporosis, kidney damage, diverticulosis, prediabetes and ulcers, dermatitis herpeformis

All bold resoved or went into remission in time with proper diagnosis of Celiac November 2002

 Gene Test Aug 2007

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0303

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0303

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 3,3 (Subtype 9,9)

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