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kellirae

How To Tell Others About Gluten Intolerance?

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So I've been gluten free for about 6 months now and have done well telling family and friends what I can and can't eat. Our new boss decided it was a good idea to have a pot luck lunch next week and we passed around a sign-up sheet as to what we were going to bring. There wasn't anything on there I could eat for sure (not knowing what brands of sauces, etc. people would be using in their dishes). I obviously plan to bring something I can eat, but we're all (8 of us) going to eat together and I think it will look odd if I only eat my dish. Two people in the office know about my issue because they've seen me eating strange things and I've explained why. However, I don't really feel comfortable sharing my gluten intolerance with everyone and don't trust anyone to make something I could eat, so even if they tried I wouldn't eat it without seeing it made. I think some people I work with just think I'm fussy and snobby, when that's not the situation (but I've dealt with a lot being sick off and on for the last 5 years). Has anyone dealt with this? Any suggestions or advice would be great.

Thanks!!!

Kelli

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What you DON'T do is eat poison to be nice.

Depending on your personal style, comment on how good everything looks and how you would love to eat it all, but you have this goofy stomach (or however you usually talk... I always go for the joke)) If anyone asks questions, explain Celiac breifly and change the subject. No one is as fascinated with Celiac as we are!

If someone makes a snide remark (there's one in every bunch) just don't hear it.I think (and hope) you will be pleasantly surprised at how smooth things go.

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I'm not understanding why you don't want to tell them about your gluten concerns? It might seem kind of fussy or snobby, when people offer you cookies or things you can't eat and you continually refuse... but it's really a serious health issue!

I remember feeling like people thought I was being fussy when they'd ask me, in sort of an impatient voice, "Oh geez... can't you just eat a LITTLE??" I used the old "rat poison" adage I read on here... "That's like me asking you if you can eat just a LITTLE rat poison. Eating a LITTLE gluten will make me very sick."

I am the same way when people say they'll make something gluten free for me. I thank them profusely, but explain that if I don't see it made, I just can't take the chance that I'll get glutened because it's really more involved than not using wheat flour and I'm more than happy to bring my own food. I laugh when they give me the pained look ... as if to say, "Oh you poor thing." I tell them it's not as hard as they think, although I've been doing it for years, and I NEVER starve... one only has to look at my body to see that!! ha ha

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I tell them, if I'm asked, and make some joke about being high maintenance, or a pain in the @ss or something. Just enough so people know I'm not snubbing their dish.

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I tell them, if I'm asked, and make some joke about being high maintenance, or a pain in the @ss or something. Just enough so people know I'm not snubbing their dish.

Jestgar... I am CRACKING up at your photo!!!!

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Jestgar... I am CRACKING up at your photo!!!!

:D :D :D

I wasn't sure if it was too small to tell what it was.

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'fraid you may have to come out of the closet or folks might indeed think you are fussy or snobby-sad but true. i have found it most successful to say right out of the gate, matter of factly, that i have celiac's disease- most important part they hear then is disease (so not a fussy thing)- and that i can't eat any gluten at all, so if i avoid their dish not to be insulted. Usually then folks want to know what happens to me, so i just say there are little finger like structures in the digestive system called celia that allow the body to absorb nutrients. with celiacs gluten causes those structures get flattened out so i can't absorb nutrients and it can take a week or more for them to rebound. that has worked well in avoiding hurt feelings or misunderstandings in social dining situations.

now of course there can be many other effects of celiacs, but i limit my explanation to relevant facts and the seriousness of the condition, and that the reaction takes a while to correct itself so i have to meticulous. people will be curious, but i have found this tact prevents judgement, and since these are work folks, and you will have food related interactions in future, you may actually find that folks pay attention to what they put in the food in future, so they can either warn you off, or modify the dish so you can try their treat. strange but true, but often it seems to be a way that folks can show their interest concern and friendship.

also, as you begin to know what sauces do and don't have gluten, when they try and tell you the ingredients, you can better know yea or nay. for now if someone says their doesn't have any wheat in it, you can ask if it has any pre-bought sauces, and then explain that sometimes it sneaks in there....

i think that pretty covers what i have found to be helpful...hope that helps you too :)

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Just say "I have food intolerances and really don't want to be sick over the holidays."

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Too small? Oh, you're going to give poor santa a complex... coal in your stocking this year for insulting santa's "manhood"! :P

:D :D :D

I wasn't sure if it was too small to tell what it was.

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I have no problem telling people I have celiac disease, but if I don't feel like getting into it (or it's not the right venue to give a fuller explanation), then I just say I have serious food allergies (I know it's not an allergy!! lol) and have to be very careful.

As everyone said, there's no point risking being sick over the holidays to avoid a bit of social discomfort at a work potluck. Do it in whatever way you're comfortable, just don't eat poison! :)

Just say "I have food intolerances and really don't want to be sick over the holidays."

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Yep, just tell them. You do not have to go into details. "I have food intolerances/celiac disease. If I eat something I shouldn't I'll be calling in sick tomorrow".

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Oh, how I identify with you!

My clinic has regular potlucks, and I have NEVER eaten anything but a plain salad/veggie sticks from any of them! People always have commented about how healthy I eat, etc, and ask me if I'm vegetarian and stuff but I just say that I have a really really sensitive stomach and I know what I can and can't eat, and people dont really give me a hard time about it at all.

I haven't felt like getting into the whole gluten-intolerance thing. This sounds terrible but I dont want to tell people ''gluten-free'' because I don't think that you can really understand it until you have lived it, or done a lot of research. I dont want someone to give me meatballs that they say are gluten-free but contain breadcrumbs. Sometimes people who arent used to special diets don't know to pay attention to the less obvious things.

Thats my advice... ho[e that helps!

Haley

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I'm not understanding why you don't want to tell them about your gluten concerns? It might seem kind of fussy or snobby, when people offer you cookies or things you can't eat and you continually refuse... but it's really a serious health issue!

I remember feeling like people thought I was being fussy when they'd ask me, in sort of an impatient voice, "Oh geez... can't you just eat a LITTLE??" I used the old "rat poison" adage I read on here... "That's like me asking you if you can eat just a LITTLE rat poison. Eating a LITTLE gluten will make me very sick."

I am the same way when people say they'll make something gluten free for me. I thank them profusely, but explain that if I don't see it made, I just can't take the chance that I'll get glutened because it's really more involved than not using wheat flour and I'm more than happy to bring my own food. I laugh when they give me the pained look ... as if to say, "Oh you poor thing." I tell them it's not as hard as they think, although I've been doing it for years, and I NEVER starve... one only has to look at my body to see that!! ha ha

As the one who started the rat poison adage I still struggle on the 'but surely you can eat a little' and such.

For me the worst situation is when people TRY ... you KNOW they don't get it but then they try and keep assuring you its fine. The pressure to try because they did just makes it all the harder for me.

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Thanks to everyone for your advice. I definitely don't plan to eat anything - just uncomfortable with sharing this information with people at work. But the ideas everyone shared were helpful!

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I've gone with the "selective" route. I tell them that I have a Gluten-Intollerance (since that is my official diagnosis for the time being), if I get a confused look and no question I tell them it is similar to a really bad food allergy and it gets left at that. If they actually ask what it meens, I simply tell them that I can't eat anything made out of wheat, barley, malt or rye. Of course being in the Navy the very first question after that is "You can't drink beer? That sucks" Usually followed by "I love potato bread, do you eat that?" Then I have to tell them that conventional potato bread still has wheat flour in it. It is by all meens a constant uphill battle.

It did take a little while to get to the point where I was comfortable telling people, of course there are still challenges and when I'm asked if I want something that has gluten I remind them that I can't eat that. I think it just comes with the final acceptance (Five stages of greiving). I went through all of these when I found out what exactly was "wrong" with me, everynow and then (especially with the hoidays) I get sad for the simple reason I haven't found replacements for certain foods, but I am getting there. In my experiance, when you are open with people about Celiac, the looks go away and you will find there are people out there that are willing to help you out.

One of my Daughter's behavioural therapists (my youngest has PDD-NOS) knows about my diet and when they had an art show with work from children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, the very first thing she asked me is if I noticed the Gluten-Free crackers they put out. There are studies that say our diet is good for them and has shown some help with my daughter, but for her to remember that I needed them as well was awesome. People will still respect you for not eating their food when they understand and some will try to help as much as possible.

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I have noticed recently that when my celiac disease comes up in conversation frequently someone will chime in with "Oh, my cousin has that" or "a girl I work with has that" As more and more of us are diagnosed, people are becoming more aware of celiac as a real disease, not a chosen diet like being vegitarian.

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Well, turns out I didn't need to be so worried about lunch after all. I ate my dish and we ordered a veggie tray so I snacked on some of those items and nobody said anything (which is a surprise considering how things usually go). Now I just have to get through tomorrow (my boyfriend's family is getting together for an early Christmas celebration and I know based on the menu I can't eat the main course or most of the side dishes so he suggested I bring my own food - his parents and siblings know, but this is at the grandparents and they're making the food).

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