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jasonD2

Need To Come Out Of The Closet...so To Speak

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I havent traveled with any of my colleagues since I decided to be super strict with my diet. Next Week I have a tradeshow in DC and there will be 3 group dinners...im dreading them! Im not sure where they will want to eat and if it will be safe or not. I printed out my allergy cards (in bright yellow) and will be handing them to the wait staff but am concerned about the raised eyebrows and the scrutiny.

I also have to go on the candida diet so everyone is gonna think i'm f'n nuts...no sugar, no alcohol, no dairy & no gluten...ugh...im gonna look like a freak I just know it

What can I say to them? I wanna keep my cool and not let anything bother me. If they ask what my issues are I really dont wanna get into a whole thing in front of the group

I can also opt out of dinner and go to the Whole Foods which is 2 miles from my hotel, but then I will be the outcast

any suggestions much appreciated

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I havent traveled with any of my colleagues since I decided to be super strict with my diet. Next Week I have a tradeshow in DC and there will be 3 group dinners...im dreading them! Im not sure where they will want to eat and if it will be safe or not. I printed out my allergy cards (in bright yellow) and will be handing them to the wait staff but am concerned about the raised eyebrows and the scrutiny.

I also have to go on the candida diet so everyone is gonna think i'm f'n nuts...no sugar, no alcohol, no dairy & no gluten...ugh...im gonna look like a freak I just know it

What can I say to them? I wanna keep my cool and not let anything bother me. If they ask what my issues are I really dont wanna get into a whole thing in front of the group

I can also opt out of dinner and go to the Whole Foods which is 2 miles from my hotel, but then I will be the outcast

any suggestions much appreciated

I understand your concerns. I worked in outside sales several years ago and back then..noone had even heard of Celiac Disease ot gluten intolerance! There are so many people who visit the DC area from all over the world. I feel confident that many nicer restaurants are frequently accomodating gluten sensitive and celiacs daily. Here are a few ideas but ultimately your comfort level is what is most important.

1. Choose several nice restaurants that have a good menu selection now and contact the restaurant manager(s) (Now) and discuss your condition and cross contamination concerns. I always stress that I will become extremely ill if I ingest a drop of gluten. Give the manager the dates you will be visiting and ask them if they could plan a meal for you (right now) so you don't have the pressure of sitting at the table, not knowing what is safe. Get the manager's name and ask them if you can contact them (via phone and in person) the day of your planned meal-to ensure that they check on your order (to make sure it is prepared safely) back in the kitchen. Stay away clear from sauces, spice blends and stick to basic foods (i.e. sauteed fish, meat,baked potato, rice, fresh fruits & veggies, coconut oil or olive oil to cook with). Ask them to use only garden grown spices (i.e. garlic) or only salt lightly for flavor.

Inform your colleagues you have pre-selected several restaurants with an outstanding reputation that can accomodate your food "allergies", intolerances (or however you want to tell them) as well as offer a great menu selection for them. If they don't comprehend this, I would be amazed.

Best of luck,

Sylviaann :

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Whatever you decide to say, be casual, yet firm, and don't sound apologetic. It's the way you are, you have nothing to be shy about.

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Whatever you decide to say, be casual, yet firm, and don't sound apologetic. It's the way you are, you have nothing to be shy about.

This. If you come across as though you feel like a freak, well, they'll see you as a freak. If you present yourself as "a bit quirky, and complicated, but confident in my choices", they'll see you that way. You're not going to get "just the same as us", but who needs that?! :)

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i have learned that when i talk about my intolerances like they are no big deal, then other people will try to act like it is too.

one time someone asked me to try some of this diet ice cream (sugar free fat free) anyways i basically said "oh no thanks, you know, im gluten intolerant and allergic to artificial sweetner" and they tried to nod wit me like oh yeah that makes sense. they will probably ask you questions but talk about it like you're an old pro not like this is something weird and awkward. its like reverse peer pressure lol make them feel like they should have already been aware of these types of things... also with those restaurants. if its one you're not aware of, give them your dining card and ask to speak with the manager or chef. perhaps they will suggest something or prepare some plain meat and veggie meal for you

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I really think over the last 5 years or so people have become a lot more used to other people being on this diet or that. If you were ordering plain chicken breast sliced on salad and someone asked you why and you said "Atkins Diet!" no one would bat an eyelash.

If it was me out with a bunch of girls from work and they wanted, say, cake or pasta, I'd giggle and say, honestly, "Oh honey, I can't eat that, it would go straight to my butt!" and they'd all giggle and life would go on merrily. (And I wouldn't have lied either!)

I don't think guys could get away with saying it like that :lol:

You could, however, say, "My doctor's said I really have to watch what I eat" (or "my wife has said")... or "I've decided that I really need to eat healthier" ... and just leave it like that. Anything more is quite frankly none of their business.

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I also can't have sugar or dairy and really can't take a risk with sugar. I usually get broiled fish or a simply prepared chicken breast, both simply seasoned as others have mentioned, steamed veggies and sometimes a salad. The dressing are almost always off limits so I ask for oil and vinegar and then sprinkle a little salt and pepper on. In place of the oil and vinegar, I sometimes ask for lemon wedges and squeeze one on and salt and pepper. If it is a more casual place that has mayo, I'll put a little on too-with the lemon juice version.

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Im thinking about just backing out of dinner or not ordering in the restaurant. Its just too risky to eat out and i dont want to get a panic attack in front of my colleagues

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IMO, One needs to be be Open about having C D. We all need to take advantage of every chance we have to Educate others about C D... Awareness is what it's all about..

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Nobody cares as long as you can hold a good conversation or be a good listener. Really.

DC is a carnivore's town anyway because of all the egos and testosterone running around. Steak, potato, "MANLY" food, should be readily available, you're making too much out of this.

Wait until you have to hang around with people over 50, oh my gosh, they're ALL on some sort of whacko diet and scared they're going to get heart disease or diabetes or get chubby some other wierdo deterioration. And the women eat like birds. I'm like, please, I shovel my barn out all the time, don't give me 2 ozs of spinach leaves on a plate with an ounce of chicken strip that I can't even eat the dressing on, and charge me $32, give me meat. :blink:

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Who are these people you spend time with? Why would your friends or coworkers call you a freak for having a medical condition? Sorry man, but based on this and your other posts you make it sound like you are surrounded by absolutely awful people. My friends never even go out to eat if I'm around because they want to spend time with me and wouldn't want to leave me out. I realize if it's a work thing and co-workers that's a little different than best friends, but still, jeez.

Have these people done something to make you feel that they are unsupportive or is this just something you fear? If it's the latter, give them a chance.. if it's the former, cease to spend time with them at all. I won't surround myself with anyone who is not supportive of me. It just disturbs me that you feel you would somehow be an "outcast" for having celiac disease. It's an extremely common and serious health condition, and anyone who would mistreat you for having it is not someone who's opinion you should be concerned with.

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IMO, One needs to be be Open about having C D. We all need to take advantage of every chance we have to Educate others about C D... Awareness is what it's all about..

Agreed. It really rubs me the wrong way for people to be trying to hide it or making excuses like oh Im on a diet or don't want it to go to my butt, etc. I mean sure, you aren't going to be forced to talk about it if you don't want to and it ISN'T anyones business, but we shouldn't have to HIDE a medical condition from the world out of fear of judgment either.

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Im thinking about just backing out of dinner or not ordering in the restaurant. Its just too risky to eat out and i dont want to get a panic attack in front of my colleagues

Jason as someone who also suffers from panic attacks I can realy identify with how you feel about this. You have to fight this otherwise you are going to end up basically living in a box watching others do things you really wish you could. It can be a very lonely box and the longer you live in it the smaller the 'air holes' will be. It may not be something you can fight without guidance, after all your fears are real, you know the ill effects gluten will have on you and it is natural to want to avoid something that is going to cause you pain. These fears and your reaction to them may be even more of an issue at this point than the actual disease and it's effects. You need to learn how to cope with them. It is not easy, boy do I know that. I've lived in that box for quite some time now and once the lid closes it is not easy to open it again. You can read all the great advice in the world but if your fear doesn't allow you to take that advice you have to seek out help. It is not a sign of weakness to reach out to a counselor or psychologist for help it is a sign of strength. It is easier to give in to our fears than to fight them but you have to fight. You have fought for your life literally in figuring out what was making you sick now it is time to fight for your quality of life just as hard.

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Jason as someone who also suffers from panic attacks I can realy identify with how you feel about this. You have to fight this otherwise you are going to end up basically living in a box watching others do things you really wish you could. It can be a very lonely box and the longer you live in it the smaller the 'air holes' will be. It may not be something you can fight without guidance, after all your fears are real, you know the ill effects gluten will have on you and it is natural to want to avoid something that is going to cause you pain. These fears and your reaction to them may be even more of an issue at this point than the actual disease and it's effects. You need to learn how to cope with them. It is not easy, boy do I know that. I've lived in that box for quite some time now and once the lid closes it is not easy to open it again. You can read all the great advice in the world but if your fear doesn't allow you to take that advice you have to seek out help. It is not a sign of weakness to reach out to a counselor or psychologist for help it is a sign of strength. It is easier to give in to our fears than to fight them but you have to fight. You have fought for your life literally in figuring out what was making you sick now it is time to fight for your quality of life just as hard.

ravenwoodglass, Great Post!... Many words of wisdom...

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Hi Jason,

I'm on the SCD, which is a very restricted diet. So I genereally meet people only for coffees/teas/drinks (which means water for me). But if I absolutely must go out for a dinner - which I did recently for an important event of more than 200 people - I eat beforehand, and ingest only what I absolutely am 100% certain about at the actual table. I even bring along nuts or a banana (once I even brought homemade cauli flower), something I can munch on if I should get hungry. And then I just say to people that I have severe multiple food allergies, and show a very happy face and say 'but I'm here for the good company and conversation so who cares about the food!'. That cuts through it all, and you can stick to your diet without coming across as a freak. Yes, it's good to be open about celiac disease, but it can be long and windy to explain in particular if also other issues are involved. So I leave that to people I care about, whereas other people get - and always immediately understand and respect - the word 'allergy'.

Go do what you have to do - but don't put your health at risk. With a bit of planning you can hopefully also get around the anxiety.

Good luck!

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People do seem to understand the word allergy better than celiac. Sometimes.

I think my worst experience ever in this way was while traveling in a foreign country, I visited a small family household in a lil shanty sorta villiage, and the guys kept trying to offer me beer. They couldn't understand why i was turning it down, and refused to stop offering it. I even got out a translation dictionary and showed them the word "allergy" but they still didn't seem to understand and started getting offended. One of them kept shoving it in my face and trying to put it to my mouth. It got really scary actually, I think they were trying to get me drunk so they could take advantage of me (I have reasons to believe this I wasn't just assuming something so awful but it's a long story). I got the hell out of there fast.. that's honestly the only REALLY bad situation I've had because of it though.. the rest of the time it's like:

"Why aren't you eating?"

"I have celiac disease and this food isn't safe for me so I'll just eat something later."

"What's that, that food allergy thing? God.. that must really suck.."

*smiles* "Nah, it's okay, I'm used to it, besides I'm a health freak anyway, I like watching my diet."

"Oh. Well then.. cool."

:)

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Whatever you decide to say, be casual, yet firm, and don't sound apologetic. It's the way you are, you have nothing to be shy about.

Yes. Bravo. We don't owe explanations or apologies to anyone. Be firm and confident. No one will question you.

IMO, One needs to be be Open about having C D. We all need to take advantage of every chance we have to Educate others about C D... Awareness is what it's all about..

Well...I agree somewhat and disagree with this statement. People actually really don't care and don't want to hear about celiac disease. the less said, the better, is my opinion....people just think we are freaks if we try to explain things. THE LESS SAID, THE BETTER.

Nobody cares as long as you can hold a good conversation or be a good listener. Really.

DC is a carnivore's town anyway because of all the egos and testosterone running around. Steak, potato, "MANLY" food, should be readily available, you're making too much out of this.

Wait until you have to hang around with people over 50, oh my gosh, they're ALL on some sort of whacko diet and scared they're going to get heart disease or diabetes or get chubby some other wierdo deterioration. And the women eat like birds. I'm like, please, I shovel my barn out all the time, don't give me 2 ozs of spinach leaves on a plate with an ounce of chicken strip that I can't even eat the dressing on, and charge me $32, give me meat. :blink:

this is brilliant. :)

we don't owe anyone explanations or apologies. Just get on with it, and don't explain. Explaining is an amateur's move....I have learned. the hard way. No ones cares. Be discreet, and move on.

:)

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Well...I agree somewhat and disagree with this statement. People actually really don't care and don't want to hear about celiac disease. the less said, the better, is my opinion....people just think we are freaks if we try to explain things. THE LESS SAID, THE BETTER.

:)

I found out that my friends do care.. Some have educated me about celiac disease and others call to tell me about Gluten Free products that stores near me carry... I also found out that one of my friend's son has celiac disease. I do feel that we need to educate people about celiac disease.. The more people know about celiac disease, the more likely others will be diagnosed.

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I agree, a lot of people care! Almost everyone I come across is very curious about it and asks me questions about it.

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The thing is that sometimes it's also the other way around: that I can't be bothered having to once again explain for twenty minutes or more about my health, celiac disease, SCD and all the other health related questions that comes up - since for one I already know about these things myself, and secondly since there are a million other issues that I'm interested in and might rather want to discuss and/or learn about.

Am I the only one getting sick of talking about being sick? ;) (I mean it's great here in this forum, where I come specifically for that and can share/get advice/learn from people in similar situations - but otherwise I don't want my entire life to evolve around my health issues. It takes more than enough time just dealing with it every day ...)

And in work settings, it can be as simple as wanting/having to discuss some work matters that I won't get done, if I mention celiac disease/SCD that invariably sets off a plethora of polite, curious or even seriously interested questions.

So yes, I'm all for broadening the awareness of celiac disease by mentioning it as often as possible. But there is a time and place for everything ... :)

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Hi Jason,

I'm particularly drawn to your posts because I used to feel the same way. Severe Asthma attacks put me in the hospital so many times, I finally exhausted all my savings on doctors and specialists and had to learn what was going on myself. Those attacks started at age 8, but now, at age 64 I have a new lease on life. Since I have an Aunt Nettie who is 99, I think that lease may go on awhile.

I usually eat only fruits and vegetables now and feel pretty strong, energetic, positive and outgoing, a distinct change from how I felt when I first discovered that all grains, all milk & dairy, egg whites, yeast, casein, whey and msg. would affect my health adversely. I, too, withdrew to lick my wounds and to find a better way of living.

I read this morning that we must exercise our physical, mental, and spiritual sides in order to be fully healthy. I've learned to take my own food with me wherever I go, then I am at no one else's mercy. I've learned to disregard what my friends say, as much as possible, though this morning I also recalled the last time I ate at a restaurant and my friend offered no support when the waiter brought my food covered with cheese or something, I can't even remember now, though the friend's comment is vividly there. This helps me realize that I need to let the friend's comment go, and eat in a restaurant again when the opportunity arises.

About taking your own food along: I've found that I now seldom care what others are saying about what I eat. I will try anything new, if there is the chance that it may be a food I can add to my repertoire. Now I focus on finding new bags and containers that work well when carrying those foods with me to restaurants or special occasions. I've also realized that most restaurants' offerings can't compare with the delicious specialties that I've lovingly prepared, so I am better off to take my own food along. Overcoming the negative opinions of others is a real challenge, but when you overcome the fear of what others are saying, I think you start moving along the path of progression much more quickly.

I do wish you well, and hope that you are being kind to yourself during these stressful times. I hope that you will put your welfare ahead of what other people are thinking or saying, and, believe me, as you start to feel so much better, your mental clarity will catch pace with your physical and spiritual health, and you will be prepared to move ahead like you never knew you could. Always, Welda

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