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badsharkmovie

How To Handle Office Parties/get Togethers

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there is an office party going on today for someone's birthday. while i don't begrudge anybody bringing in baked goods for everyone, i do feel a pretty rising resentment for being left out due to my celiac disease. everyone here knows that i am afflicted, and yet still no one had the forethought to bring in something other than pizza and cupcakes and cake and i REALLY don't appreciate the people i've told about it (which is EVERYONE) coming up and telling me about all the food that's available and then others coming in and eating in front of me. i know i shouldn't feel this way and that it's insensitive towards everyone else as they don't suffer from celiac disease, but i still can't help feeling resentful. is there any way to cope in these situations?

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there is an office party going on today for someone's birthday. while i don't begrudge anybody bringing in baked goods for everyone, i do feel a pretty rising resentment for being left out due to my celiac disease. everyone here knows that i am afflicted, and yet still no one had the forethought to bring in something other than pizza and cupcakes and cake and i REALLY don't appreciate the people i've told about it (which is EVERYONE) coming up and telling me about all the food that's available and then others coming in and eating in front of me. i know i shouldn't feel this way and that it's insensitive towards everyone else as they don't suffer from celiac disease, but i still can't help feeling resentful. is there any way to cope in these situations?

While its true it was thoughtless of them not to even offer to bring in an alternative for you, in actuality it is better for you to bring in food yourself so you won't risk getting Cross Contamination (CC) from some stray gluten. I speak from experience. With this condition its best to try and get over a lot of the social issues of feeling excluded around food if you can. If you can find or start your own a celiac support group where folks share food that may be a safer alternative--or simply invite people over to your place for a party where you provide all the food. And in future, at this office, if you participate as part of the crew that manages the parties (say do the ornaments or paper goods?) and make sure you get gluten-free food for yourself you then can be sure you safely get what you want while not feeling left out. You may discover there is some other person there who is also gluten intolerant but not telling anyone -- who would be grateful! Just make sure that whatever you bring you get your serving first before someone who likes gluten discovers that gluten-free cake for instance is just as good as wheat flour cake and CC's it! On that note--maybe next time you could offer to bring the cake and make one from one of those gluten-free mixes...

Bea

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there is an office party going on today for someone's birthday. while i don't begrudge anybody bringing in baked goods for everyone, i do feel a pretty rising resentment for being left out due to my celiac disease. everyone here knows that i am afflicted, and yet still no one had the forethought to bring in something other than pizza and cupcakes and cake and i REALLY don't appreciate the people i've told about it (which is EVERYONE) coming up and telling me about all the food that's available and then others coming in and eating in front of me. i know i shouldn't feel this way and that it's insensitive towards everyone else as they don't suffer from celiac disease, but i still can't help feeling resentful. is there any way to cope in these situations?

I think we have all had these feelings amongst the various groups of people that we are affiliated with in some way. There is really no point in getting mad at them or letting them see how bad it makes you feel, because mostly they tend not to be able to come to grips with it. Just politely decline the food and say, I am sorry, I can't eat that. I have found that as time has gone by the people I see on a regular basis are slowly becoming more considerate of my needs. My bridge group (meets in the afternoons and always includes a coffee break with baked goodies) will now either provide something separate for me (a plate of nuts, dried apricots, preserved ginger, for example) or even learn to bake something gluten free. Last night at my book club meeting, for the first time (after 2-1/2 yrs) the hostess said "I baked these for you" and they were delicious. I don't know what she called them, but here is the recipe:

50 grams butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups shredded coconut

1/2 tsp almond essence

Melt butter, add all the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into balls. Make a thumbprint in the middle and fill with jam of your choice.

Bake at 180 degrees C, 350F, for 12-15 mins.

I gave her a hug. :D And no, I wasn't glutened.

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I'm sorry you felt bad at the party. Are you new to gluten-free? It does get easier with time. What I've learned over 5 years of gluten-free diet is to separate socializing from food. I've even gone to restaurants with friends for the company, eating beforehand and only ordering coffee. Heck, I did that last Friday. We went to a place that makes gluten-free pizza so I could eat, but then everyone wanted to go to a bakery down the street. I had coffee and enjoyed the time spent with friends. To be honest, baked goods just don't even look like food any more.

Nobody means to make you feel bad, unless they're the sort of person who pulls wings off butterflies. People with normal diets haven't the foggiest clue how sick wheat makes us, that we're possibly feeling left out, and many think that we could "cheat" if we really wanted to. In the situation of someone eating in front of you and you just can't stand it, you can always excuse yourself and go elsewhere. You can even say something like "I'm sorry but I can't have pizza and the smell of that is driving me nuts. Can we chat later?" Most people will understand, and many will even apologize.

The absolute easiest way to cope is to find out about parties ahead of time and bring your own food. It's not a big deal if people are eating cake and pizza when you have good, homemade food and a gluten-free dessert.

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badshark -

i doubt anyone in your office was trying to make you feel bad, but let me ask you: why is it everyone's responsibility to cook for you? i'm sure your coworkers assumed you would bring in gluten free food for yourself, or perhaps they didn't want to risk making you ill by bringing in food and then finding out you couldn't eat it. it seems like you are begruding other people for not giving you attention. my advice is stop being so passive-agressive and take care of yourself instead of expecting others to do it for you. i take responsibility for my own health and i bring my own food (and i am a good cook so i always bring extra to share) and have a great time wherever i go. not only am i gluten intolerant(2 years) but i am also a recovering alcoholic (8+ years sober) and i go to bars all the time with my friends. i don't expect them not to enjoy their cocktails, so i order pellegrino water with an olive and ask the bartender to put it in a martini glass to be festive. my point is it isn't about the food or the alcohol, it is about socializing with others.

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Yep, it'll get better over time, if you learn to separate the socializing aspect from the eating aspect. At this point, the food is an afterthought to me, and I don't really pay attention to it. Even my next door neighbor, who knows - and cares - about my dietary restrictions every once in a while offers me something I can't have. Why? Because she's being nice and sharing what she has; like your office workers, 99% of the time they don't have to stop and think if they should share, they just do. (Be it sharing food, or opinions in the case of your coworkers, really. :) )

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Yes, ignore the food they have and bring your own.

Go to a health food store and get some frozen gluten free treats, or mail order, and keep a stash in your freezer for these occasions, or learn to bake.

The "bun in a cup" recipe can be adapted to cakes, or brownies, and it takes a minute and a half in the microwave to bake. You can make up zip lock baggies of gluten free mix, and then add an egg and some water and vinegar, put in in a custard cup, and have a gluten free cakelet in less than 5 minutes. I make 2 gluten free "muffins" all the time in the am, one for me and one for my spouse.

Adapted Bun in a Bowl, for 1

2/3 cup gluten free flour or nut meal mixture of choice (can use tablespoon cocoa powder for chocolate)

dash salt

quarter teaspoon baking soda

spices of choice

sweetener to taste, 1 to 3 teaspoons (and can use Splenda, for instance)

1 beaten egg

tiny glop molasses

honey, if desired

teaspoon vinegar

water to make batter

lemon peel and juice for lemon flavored ones

teaspoon or more of cooking oil

mix in large cereal bowl, and bake in microwave for about 1 minute 30 to 1 minute 45 seconds. Can be baked in 2 custard cups.

Regular baked goods are way too sugary and high carbohydrate for me, so it doesn't bother me to see others eating it, as I don't like them that much.

You can also find those Mi Del or Pamela's or K toos gluten free cookies in a lot of stores, which can be used as a baked treat which keeps well.

Betty Crocker makes gluten free mixes now. My husband made up a box of the brownie mix and it was really good. This could be served to gluten eaters without a problem.

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I want to start by saying that I work in an office with very supportive and thoughtful co-workers. I also want to say that it simply somtimes does not make a difference. I still feel left out and frustrated at times too.

I work in an office where we have food-related events and celebrations several times a week at minimum (birthday parties, anniversaries, luncheons, awards ceremonies, conferences, business lunches, baby showers, retirement parties...I could really keep going). I have been gluten-free for 3+ months and my boss still pops in my office and says, "Go grab a doughnut!" I always think to myself, "How can he forget!??! I have missed weeks of work because of this illness and NEVER eat along with them. Are you freaking kidding me?!?" Then one day I realized that I am doing a great job just grinning and bearing it if they can forget. Maybe I don't stand out as much as I feel that I do - and that can be a great thing!

Here are my tips:

1. I never eat out at restaraunts or at any event held in our cafeteria (I work at a college). I simply refuse to sacrifice my health. This is simply not up for debate. (I realize everyone does not need to be this extreme, but for me it is necessary.) I do not feel bad turning down lunch invitations or going along and just ordering a cup of tea.

2. For some events, I will bake gluten-free cookies or cupcakes and bring them along. People love trying out my "special" food. This does get expensive though so I don't do it all the time.

3. I keep chocolate chip cookies in our freezer for the times when I don't specifically cook a gluten-free dish. I will pull them out when everyone is eating birthday cake so I don't feel so left out.

Dealing with the social situations gets much easier as I continue to make strides toward accepting my new lifestyle. Our strict dietary restrictions will NEVER change, so you must focus on changing the only thing you can control: your attitude and outlook. I try to remember this when I feel frustrated.

Good luck to you! I will be thinking of you while I eat my bunless Oscar Meyer 100% beef hot dog at our cook-out this afternoon :)

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Yes, ignore the food they have and bring your own.

Go to a health food store and get some frozen gluten free treats, or mail order, and keep a stash in your freezer for these occasions, or learn to bake.

The "bun in a cup" recipe can be adapted to cakes, or brownies, and it takes a minute and a half in the microwave to bake. You can make up zip lock baggies of gluten free mix, and then add an egg and some water and vinegar, put in in a custard cup, and have a gluten free cakelet in less than 5 minutes. I make 2 gluten free "muffins" all the time in the am, one for me and one for my spouse.

Adapted Bun in a Bowl, for 1

2/3 cup gluten free flour or nut meal mixture of choice (can use tablespoon cocoa powder for chocolate)

dash salt

quarter teaspoon baking soda

spices of choice

sweetener to taste, 1 to 3 teaspoons (and can use Splenda, for instance)

1 beaten egg

tiny glop molasses

honey, if desired

teaspoon vinegar

water to make batter

lemon peel and juice for lemon flavored ones

teaspoon or more of cooking oil

mix in large cereal bowl, and bake in microwave for about 1 minute 30 to 1 minute 45 seconds. Can be baked in 2 custard cups.

Regular baked goods are way too sugary and high carbohydrate for me, so it doesn't bother me to see others eating it, as I don't like them that much.

You can also find those Mi Del or Pamela's or K toos gluten free cookies in a lot of stores, which can be used as a baked treat which keeps well.

Betty Crocker makes gluten free mixes now. My husband made up a box of the brownie mix and it was really good. This could be served to gluten eaters without a problem.

Thank you for this recipe! Hungry Girl does this all the time, and I wasn't sure how to convert them to gluten free. Can't wait to try it.

If it makes you (original poster) feel better, here was my little meltdown after almost seven months gluten free -- so it's not like I don't have experience with holidays! My husband called and told me my MIL wanted to do brunch on Mother's Day at, of all places, Cracker Barrel. First off, I live in the NE of the US. Our Cracker Barrels SUCK! In the south, they are lard, goop, and yummo, but in the north, it's just nasty. Nonetheless, could you pick a restaurant that might have MORE flour in the air than this one? Maybe Panera, but seriously?! She knows I can't and won't eat there. I was working myself into quite the tizzy because 1. his family has never accepted me and it's even worse now with the gluten-free issue and 2. because I'm a stepmom, not a biological mom, and my mom was horrid, so it's my least favorite day of the year because I feel like a fake and phony. So...after my little hissy fit directed at my MIL but instead received by my husband, the poor man called his mother up and said that he didn't like Cracker Barrel, could we go the breakfast diner around the corner instead? :) Now I feel like a total heel. Notice: I over-reacted because of other things going on in the background.

Chances are, that is what is going on with you too. Plan better, work on whatever else it is that might be causing you anxiety, and simply be thankful that you work somewhere that offers these social gatherings. Some of us, like yours truly, would kill for a decent workplace that valued its workers and the environment enough to at least attempt to do something nice. :)

You'll get through it, and it will get better.

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Social stuff is hard but I don't let it get me down. Instead of thinking how sad it is that I can't join the party I think how lucky I am that I have a good excuse not to eat junk! By days end co-workers will be loosing their belts and taking heartburn meds but I'll be feeling fine! I try to pack an extra good lunch those days, usually leftovers of a favorite meal. Then I just socialize and wish the birthday person well and enjoy getting an extra long break from working!

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maybe wearing a sign around our necks would help people remember, LOL! i know how you guys feel - i STILL have people offer me alcohol even after i tell them i am in AA! ummm...exactly which part of "alcoholic" do they not understand?! seriously, i used to get frustrated too, but now i just say "no thanks" and enjoy my non-alcoholic whatever. i also have had people offer me a piece of cake or a beer, saying things like "just this once - it won't kill you!" i suppose i could get upset, and think "how insensitive!" and try explaining that "just one" piece of cake will keep me in the bathroom all day and "just one" drink will lead to me drinking until i black out. but the reality is i would be wasting my breath; they won't listen, because it isn't their job to monitor my diet or my drinking habits, it is mine. the bosses & coworkers mentioned in this thread sound like nice people who probably have other things to think about other than what you eat - try not taking it personally, it won't help. stressing over it will only make us feel worse, and i think eliminating stress plays a big part in staying healthy for us - we need to not let well meaning people yet clueless people stress us out. we can save that stress for things like standing in line at the DMV ;)

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i didn't know that this little party was going on until i showed up for work on the day in question, otherwise i probably wouldn't have been as bothered. also, i don't expect people to cater to me or any special treatment; just a heads-up would have been nice. since i'd never really dealt with that situation before, i was just looking for a little friendly advice... and boy did i get it! thank you so much to everyone who was actually helpful and understood my position and didn't judge me for feeling this way. and thank you all for the recipes! i can't wait to try them out!

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