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StephanieM

Resources For Family Members To Understand X-contamination?

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Hello. I visit my inlaws every Sunday (family tradition).. and I get sick every Sunday. They are aware that I have Celiac Disease, and tell me when to bring my own food. Problem is, when they tell me that they have stuff for me, inevitably, I get sick... I am tired of a 5 day reaction because they aren't careful.. They'll make, for instance, stuffed zucchini, and have a few for me in the exact same bakingn pan, that "don't have any breadcrumbs".. I've tried to explain to them, that it's like their grandchild's nut allergy.. The immune system responds to the tiniest amount, even undetectable to our eye/stomache.. They understand anaphylaxis but they don't understand Celiac.. I'm frustrated beyond belief because I am constantly sick from eating there. Does anyone know of any resources I can print that talk about crosscontamination and how to prevent it, so that they will realize it's not in my head? They don't believe me when I talk about having gotten sick off their bbq because they can't put my gluten-free food next to the 'glutened' stuff and use the same tongs.. They really don't get it... Please help if you know of any online stuff I can print..

tia,

Stephanie

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If I were you I would just bring my own food every time. That way they don't have to cook for you and you know you are eating something safe. You have to put your health first.

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BUt it's a 'no win' with them, because they take offense when I bring my own food after they've told me that they have stuff for me... I really want to educate them, and finding materials that support that I can get sick off a tiny amount from contamination may help them see the light...

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Sorry you're having a problem but your husband really needs to step in and explain it to them. The one whose family it is with the problem, needs to defend their spouse, that's the rule and the only way it really works. He needs to say, " if you're going to touch her food with the same bar-b-que tongs and cook it besde gluteny food, then she can't eat it. If you do that, than we will have to leave so I can take her to a restaurant (or home), where she can get safe food. I can't have her health compromised all week because of our visit here. She can bring her own food but you have to support her in that and not show hurt feelings. She's not rejecting your talent at cooking, she's fighting a disease that reacts to miniscule amounts and her dr and I support her. We hope you will too."

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People seem to have a problem with change - you used to eat whatever and now you don't and sometimes people resist that. I tried to educate, just like you did. Problem is twofold - first, they often don't get it, ALL of it, and make a mistake somewhere. The second problem is even harder to explain to folks - all of their cookware, strainers, pans, etc. have great potential for contamination. My Mom balked at that term - contamination - ok, so it doesn't sound so good but that's what it is !

So they get grumpy at first, but there is a point where you don't want to spend your week recovering from the weekend. Start bringing your own food and only eating your own food. Seriously, I've been glutened from a tossed green salad (no dressing) ! Stick to it - if they see you waver they won't take you seriously. Tell them you're there for their wonderful company first & foremost and that you need food that won't make you ill. They may grumble at first but after a couple of weekends of this they will see how serious you are and they will stop thinking too much about it. This is how I handle my work situation where there is always lots of food - I consistently avoid the gluten and bring my own stuff and no one barely notices anymore.

Yeah, it all sucks and it isn't easy but if you don't take care of your celiac disease no one else will - and only YOU suffer the consequences. It took me awhile to "get it" too. <_<

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wow! Very well put! I think I'll print it and have him memorize it! LOL!! I love your conviction, and I wish I could just say that myself, because that's how I explain it to my own family and they listen... Thank you for the advice...

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I guess that's my challenge.. I bring my own food everywhere else, just not there... And I too get sick from ridiculous issues of contamination..If I didn't feel so sick, I probably would never believe it myself if someone else told me.. So it's beyond education at this point I guess, that's what everyone seems to be telling me... And I guess i have to get my hubbie to back me up more as well... He is the one telling me that they said they'll have food for me, but since he now sees me getting sick, perhaps he too will support me bringing my own food there without question.

Thanks everyone for the support.. This can be a frustrating disease, surrounded by others who are doubters...

Stephanie

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Sorry you're having a problem but your husband really needs to step in and explain it to them. The one whose family it is with the problem, needs to defend their spouse, that's the rule and the only way it really works. He needs to say, " if you're going to touch her food with the same bar-b-que tongs and cook it besde gluteny food, then she can't eat it. If you do that, than we will have to leave so I can take her to a restaurant (or home), where she can get safe food. I can't have her health compromised all week because of our visit here. She can bring her own food but you have to support her in that and not show hurt feelings. She's not rejecting your talent at cooking, she's fighting a disease that reacts to miniscule amounts and her dr and I support her. We hope you will too."

Excellent Advice angle0251!

I would just not go. lol Spend the day with myself.

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LOl! Trust me, the only thing holding me back from doing that, is then the kids go with my hubbie, and my inlaws load them up on junk, which only I have a problem with... If it weren't for the 'kidde' factor, i"d be telling him to go alone!!

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I had my first gluten free weekend with family last weekend. I took much of my own food and got tired explaining - especially since I don't have a celiac diagnosis, just a self-diagnosis gluten intolerance. We had icecream cake from Coldstone creamery - I asked if there was any plain vanilla at home in her fridge. She said that I could just take the cake apart from the icecream and eat it that way. Hmmm??? That was my first experience - been gluten-free for a month now. I can't offer any help, just wanted to sympathize!

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Thanks for the response!

I've had my own HUBBIE try and rinse off chicken that his dad put teriyaki sauce on, without me knowing.. I was FURIOUS!!!

My own family tries.. but to no avail... I'm italian, and I spend summers up at their cottage with the kids.. Try being gluten free in an italian house! OMG bread everywhere. I was gluten free for 1 1/2 years, and now I'm being glutened weekly. Literally! My migraine meds are costing me a fortune... Bread crumbs sneak their way into every single thing I eat.. I've gotten sick off salad because I think my dad put it in a ziploc that he had used bread for! When he cuts the bread at the table, even my 6 year old watches the crumbs fly around and tells him that he shouldn't do that! My 6 year old gets it, and my parents don't.

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Educating them won't help. If they haven't 'gotten it' by now, it isn't going to happen. Trying to educate them further could make them feel offended (I'm not saying their feelings would be justified) and it just won't work. I'd recommend you bring your own food, and say that your celiac's has 'gotten worse', and your food choices are even more limited now. That fib will save your health and their pride and perhaps your marriage - because putting your husband in the middle won't help and could hurt. (If one of your in-laws knows that celiac's doesn't 'get worse', then they must have enough knowledge to know that cross-contamination is also bad - so they probably wouldn't 'out' you on your fib.)

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Thanks for the response!

I've had my own HUBBIE try and rinse off chicken that his dad put teriyaki sauce on, without me knowing.. I was FURIOUS!!!

I think if I caught my dh doing this I'd tell him I'll wash off the arsenic I'm coating his chicken in from now on. He shouldn't worry, it'll rinse off. Then I'd be serving chicken twice a week for a few times (and let him see me rinse his chicken too). Just to keep him guessing. lol

Yes, I do have a strange sense of humor. Once a lady at our church meeting was complaining her husband was telling her, her cooking taste like dog food. I said I'd buy several cans of dog food, leave them on the counter and serve him some corn beef hash for dinner. Then when he complained I'd pick up one of the cans of dog food and say I'd buy a different brand next time. I know her food didn't taste like dog food because we always had pot lucks and we all had asked her for recipes several times.

There are people in this world who just don't get it and never will.

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I got sick of being glutened everytime I went to a relatives house nad put an end to it. My daughters would make me special gluten free dishes and I would still get sick.. They just don't understand what it takes to have a gluten free kitchen. So I finally told them that I love thier food, and I appreciate thier attemps, but I would not eat any of it. Now, I bring everything I eat, and they finally get it. Just perservere. In time it will be just the way it is. Nobody will think twice about it.

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Oh my gosh, it is such a relief to know I'm not the only one. Up until now, that's how I felt... I too get sick when others say they are making something 'gluten-free'.. I've seen my dad make a pizza, with flour EVERYWHERE, using floured hands to touch everything else.. Then they will break apart the bread all over the other food... It is true, if they haven't gotten it by now, they won't..

LOL though, I took EVERYONE's advice and brought my own food to my in laws this past Sunday. Boy was i in the doghouse! "What, our food isn't good enough for you?"... Geez eh? SO I explained that I get sick off their BBQ and I can't afford to.. I tried to make an analogy with my nephew's fish allergy and ask my MIL if she'd cook fish, then put something on the BBQ for my nephew, and she said no.. So, once again, they understand anaphylaxis, but not Celiac... Too funny though, now I just have to laugh... It's a no win situation. I either get sick weekly, or get 'attacked' for being too good for others... Gotta love it when you just can't win!!

But seriously, so reassuring to hear others; stories.. I do not know anyone who is Celiac in my family/friends circle, so it gets tiring to have others look at you like you're insane.. My husband still cuts salami on the same cutting board as his French bread, and doesn't see the issue!

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INSANE!! That is a horrible situation. Unfortunately the ONLY way for them or really anyone to understand this is to plan an elaborate scheme. Hire some actors in paramedic uniforms and have them ready. When you know they have contaminated something ask them. They will assure you they have not. Progressively act ill and dizzy make sure your husband gets increasingly concerned. Say you need to lay on the sofa and enroute slip a Gaviscon tablet into your mouth. In moments you will have a nice foamy froth in your mouth. Next begin kicking and twitching etc. Your husband will then (wink) call the paramedics. They arrive try to revive you and play dead on the sofa. Once your inlaws are hysterical collapsed crying on the floor with guilt mumbling how "i didnt realize the crumbs would hurt" and all that. Just get up off the sofa and say " I think I have proved my point."

This is the ONLY way they will EVER register how serious this is.

I wish i was joking.

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OMG hilarious! And yes, as much as I laughed when I read it, I, honest to God, think that that would be the only way.. I used to think they didn't believe it because I didn't show overt signs of being sick right away.. But now I do. NOw within an hour of being glutened, my belly expands to 4 times its size, I get the body chills, pale, the works.. So, letting them see me sick isn't enough.. They have to see me stop breathing! Maybe I should get myself an epi and tell them it has progressed to anaphylaxis.. LOL..

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great thread. i have only been gluten free for about 4 months and only very recently trying to be "strict" about it, and already frustrated by the incomprehension of family members. i cant entirely blame them though, since celiac is not well known and they have seen me eating "normally" up untill earlier this year.

the worst is the "christian science crew" on my dad's side... one of my aunts recently suggested i "try and train my body to accept wheat" lol!!!! to be fair one of my christian scientist uncles has been great about it though... he was very sympathetic even looked up an article about celiac disease. he had food allergies as a kid and my grandma would force him to eat the foods that made him sick!

i use a "mixed kitchen" any tips on how to avoid contamination?

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My kitchen is mixed as well, and to date, I have never glutened myself. HOwever, I don't eat gluten free bread ever because I can't be bothered to buy butter, jam, pb that is kept without crumbs, as I always get breadcrumbs in our condiments from the kids..

I use separate muffin tins for my muffins, and never cook the gluten muffins in them.. When I bake for the kids, I am VERY careful not to get the flour airborne, as I have gotten sick this way..

I stopped BBQ'ng stuff with gluten in the marinade, because I get sick of BBQs all the time. SO hubbie has to use only my sauces now...

There are so many rules for CC.. I will try and attach something from the internet:

(sorry if what I wrote is redundant...)

Don

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thanks a lot!! i am talking to my dad about this today. in addition to that i may write a note in red sharpie and leave it on the fridge (sounds kind of agressive, haha but if i dont he will probably forget!)

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Oh my gosh, it is such a relief to know I'm not the only one. Up until now, that's how I felt... I too get sick when others say they are making something 'gluten-free'.. I've seen my dad make a pizza, with flour EVERYWHERE, using floured hands to touch everything else.. Then they will break apart the bread all over the other food... It is true, if they haven't gotten it by now, they won't..

LOL though, I took EVERYONE's advice and brought my own food to my in laws this past Sunday. Boy was i in the doghouse! "What, our food isn't good enough for you?"... Geez eh? SO I explained that I get sick off their BBQ and I can't afford to.. I tried to make an analogy with my nephew's fish allergy and ask my MIL if she'd cook fish, then put something on the BBQ for my nephew, and she said no.. So, once again, they understand anaphylaxis, but not Celiac... Too funny though, now I just have to laugh... It's a no win situation. I either get sick weekly, or get 'attacked' for being too good for others... Gotta love it when you just can't win!!

But seriously, so reassuring to hear others; stories.. I do not know anyone who is Celiac in my family/friends circle, so it gets tiring to have others look at you like you're insane.. My husband still cuts salami on the same cutting board as his French bread, and doesn't see the issue!

Sounds like you need your family to define the word "Murder"... Ask them if there's a difference between a quick or slow death from murder...

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So true.. I"m actually embarrassed to say this, but this summer I've been glutened WEEKLY without exception. I have felt more sick this summer than I have in 2 years. ALl from CC issues because we eat at my parents' cottage, in laws, and just in general eating at others' houses... I am embarrassed to say it because I know how bad that is for me.. Hubbie said to me the other day, in frustration, that it's always something, I'm always sick.. I pointed out to him that does he notice that I NEVER get sick when we eat our food here.. I'm only sick because we are with the families so much.. so IT"S NOT IN MY HEAD as I know he still likes to think.. Like he blames me for getting sick when it's others' food prep standards that are the problem! SLow learning curve for me I guess, I'm learning to stick to my grounds and bring my own food regardless of who it offends...

Steph

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I worry her husband might find that alienating. I certainly did, and my fiance was offended by it. There's a line between "we all must be gluten-free or we're stupid and shallow" and the experiences some people have described here. I'm the only person I know with celiac disease (or who eats gluten-free for any reason) and I manage to happily co-exist with my family and my in-laws and friends. I'm lucky, I know. But I don't think that guilting someone into going gluten-free by having him read someone else's post about how anyone who doesn't do what he did is wrong is necessarily a good long-term solution.

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