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First Time With Catered Food

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I am starting a graduate program. The introduction to the department starts with a lunch meal. I am almost positive that it is going to be catered by the university dining services. I know that I should contact the department to make sure who is catering it and then contact them about my food (or bring my own). This is my first time having to do something like this as I was recently diagnosed. I know that I am going to have to have a discussion at some point with the department as I am going to be there for two years and it will need to happen sooner or later. However, I'm nervous about being seen as demanding and needing special treatment. I was hoping people could give me encouragement and/or advice about having to do this. I just really like to blend in. I will thank you before you give any advice as I am moving tomorrow and don't know exactly when I'll be back on line. :)

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I am starting a graduate program. The introduction to the department starts with a lunch meal. I am almost positive that it is going to be catered by the university dining services. I know that I should contact the department to make sure who is catering it and then contact them about my food (or bring my own). This is my first time having to do something like this as I was recently diagnosed. I know that I am going to have to have a discussion at some point with the department as I am going to be there for two years and it will need to happen sooner or later. However, I'm nervous about being seen as demanding and needing special treatment. I was hoping people could give me encouragement and/or advice about having to do this. I just really like to blend in. I will thank you before you give any advice as I am moving tomorrow and don't know exactly when I'll be back on line. :)

Just be nice and polite. You aren't being demanding or needing special treatment; your body is. Also, you're not likely to be the first celiac at this university, so hopefully they're already prepared for the contingency. Many university dining services are contracted out to Aramark. I couldn't find anything about Aramark gluten free dining halls, but they are the ones behind the gluten free stand at Coors Field (Denver major league baseball park) which is at least promising.

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Just tell them that due to a health condition you have a strict diet and your meals should consist of a plain piece of meat baked, and steamed veggies. Tell them that is very important that there are no added ingredients or as you may have an immediate reaction :-) I usually say i'll go into anaphylactic shock, which is a total lie but it gets the job done.

I have found it is best to tell them what you can have instead of what you cant, and to keep it as simple as possible so you can tell if they followed directions. If there is anything on your meat you will know before you eat it, same with the veggies. Tell them any animal meat/ fish will work and any fresh veggie. It might not be your new favorite meal, but its healthy and you wont get sick. Also it never hurts to make friends with the people who are responsible for cooking the food and make sure to show them how greatful you are for their help.

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I agree with just being nice and polite about it. In my experience catering companies are usually well aware of most dietary requirements. They usually have a standard meal for each specific diet eg. if you are vegetarian they will give you pasta, if you are gluten intolerant they will usually give you a steak and vegies. But if you are vegetarian and have celiac disease they will get confused and have no idea what to do with you...Grrr...anyway, that's just my little rant. I'm sure they have experience with celiac disease and you will get a suitable meal. You may come across problems with the waiters on the day so its best to tell the host (if there is one) when you arrive and confirm each course is gluten free before you touch it. Good luck!

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You wouldn't think a diabetic was being demanding if they asked for a diabetic meal, would you? The other posters are correct that a polite and courteous demeanor will go a long way for you. If you act like it's standard for you to ask this, they will assume it is and accomodate you.

It is uncomfortable the first time you have to do this but it won't be so bad. Soon it will be old hat and you will be posting to other newbies how you handle these type of situations. Knock 'em dead!

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"I usually say i'll go into anaphylactic shock, which is a total lie but it gets the job done."

I personally think it's a bad idea to lie about what celiac entails. Also, you'll eventually run into a place that will just flat out refuse to serve you because they don't want to take the chance they might kill you.

richard

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I am starting a graduate program. The introduction to the department starts with a lunch meal. I am almost positive that it is going to be catered by the university dining services. I know that I should contact the department to make sure who is catering it and then contact them about my food (or bring my own). This is my first time having to do something like this as I was recently diagnosed. I know that I am going to have to have a discussion at some point with the department as I am going to be there for two years and it will need to happen sooner or later. However, I'm nervous about being seen as demanding and needing special treatment. I was hoping people could give me encouragement and/or advice about having to do this. I just really like to blend in. I will thank you before you give any advice as I am moving tomorrow and don't know exactly when I'll be back on line. :)

I'd just go ahead and face it. And you might be pleasantly surprised about the caterer. The one that's used the most on the campus where i work knows all about gluten already.

richard

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Your best bet is to start by simply inquiring about what foods will be served. There is likely to be a natural point in the conversation where you could introduce your needs into the conversation (like: "Thank you for giving me all of this useful information. I have an intolerance to wheat/gluten and I wanted to be sure of the menu before attending..." etc etc).

There are so many gluten free foods, that department shouldn't have any issues providing easy choices for you and other gluten intolerant folks.

Good luck!

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