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    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

cdog7

When Do You Speak Up?

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I work in the public service and so we have to pay our own way for the annual Christmas party, summer BBQ, etc. They can never guarantee that there will be safe food for me, but won't allow me to go without paying. Why should I have to pay for food I can't eat? I'm perfectly happy to sit there and watch other people eat and be part of the social event. But they said no.

Public service position or not, that's just ridiculous that you are excluded, and you're not even asking for any special food accomodation!!!

One of the problems is that gluten sensitivity is so seemingly silent to others around the sufferer, with symptoms for many being episodes you'd rather undergo in private. So, if you're not immediately projectile vomiting or going into anaphylactic shock in front of the crowd after ingesting gluten, people's misconception is that you mustn't be experiencing anything of consquence. We all know how false.

Whenever I am around others who are eating what I cannot, I find myself thinking how lucky I found out why I was unwell. And I watch those others who are eating the hot dogs on the healthy whole wheat bun with a side of pasta salad, (the ones who have a good chance of themselves being gluten sensitive but just don't know, or even deny it exists), those people will go home and feel crappy, and never take control of what's slowly killing them.

I'm not mean spirited, but I have to admit that it kinda takes the edge off.

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Actually, you have a good opportunity to bring it up soon, too.

May, at least in the USA, is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. Maybe you could talk to the person who is in charge of the meals and ask to have a food event to help build awareness for what it's like to live with this disease, or with any food allergy or limitation?

...it could be something simple, like having all gluten free food for everyone so they can be aware of what you can eat. Or it could be even more instructive, where they make some lovely gluten free cakes and pasta and such for you, maybe some allergen free (but awesome) foods for anyone in the office with that type of diet, and everyone else gets crackers. :P And while that's unlikely, truly, if you could set it up as something to bring about an understanding of this, it would really bring home what it feels like to be in your shoes, you know?

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Wow- I read all this and I feel pretty lucky.

I am a college professor, so I don't have the office environment to deal with all that much. My department is pretty cool and autonomous. When I went gluten free (about two weeks ago)- I told a few select people. They encouraged me and reacted positively. One of the older members of the department sent me a listing of local restaurants that had gluten-free menus. Plus I live in the Southwest so as long as I can get authentic Mexican food I tend to be okay.

I have a lunch group- made up actually of European professors (kinda ended up that way.) They are French and Swiss and they were horrified at the prospect of me never being able to eat bread again... but on Tuesday (our first group lunch together since the diagnosis) they gamely went with me to the only gluten-free restaurant in town and munched on gluten-free bread, rolls, and cake. I really appreciated the effort that they made.

I live far from my family and have no family of my own so I don't have those dynamics to deal with. But my mom has been super supportive over the phone. She's been educating herself and reading up on the problem, and is scheming up gluten-free menus for the holidays. But I understand. When I was in grad school I tended to work in offices and everything is pizza, doughnuts, sweets, etc. And you felt like you had to eat the crap even if you didn't want to. Pizza for me was the killer. I am lactose intolerant, and I could never have it and it was at EVERY EVENT from middle school through grad school. The only difference is once I was in grad school my colleagues felt sorry for me and always got me pasta (glutening myself, but i didn't realize it them) There is a whole culture of food in this country that is really hard to get out from under.

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At our potluck today I had salad, quinoa salad, fruit, and the chocolate cake I made. I missed out on: store bought bread and butter, store bought muffins, store bought donut thingies, and some goat cheese/rhubarb concoction on slices of bread. I don't feel at all deprived. :)

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I've learned it's just better and easier to bring my own food and snacks and just enjoy the fellowship instead of focusing on the food. At my work's Friday meetings, I eat my banana and yogurt while the others munch on donuts and I don't feel deprived in any way. We laugh and talk and don't ever focus on the food. It's not always easy. When I went to a bridal shower a few weeks back, I almost cried at the menu. That was the turning point for me to realize I need to focus on other things besides food.

My rule is if I didn't make it and it doesn't have a label, I won't eat it.

Jenn

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I have a frequent problem with friends and coworkers (mostly the latter) seeming completely oblivious to my diet needs, and not caring to really understand it, when it comes to social situations with food. At my office, this includes every single management effort to promote 'bonding' in the staff, and typically leaves me out. People around me get excited about their pizza, or their free bagels, and I just feel depressed

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One of the problems is that gluten sensitivity is so seemingly silent to others around the sufferer, with symptoms for many being episodes you'd rather undergo in private.

<_<

seemingly silent... but sometimes, oh, sometimes...

silent but deadly

:ph34r:

So sorry, couldn't resist. :unsure:

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I'm happier when I bring my own delicious sandwich to an event and don't care that there's nothing for me. Like another poster said... if I don't make it, I don't eat it!

A friend grew impatient w/ me when I said I didn't care to go to a restaurant cause there was nothing there for me. She said, "Can't you have a chicken caesar salad?" I said, "How would you like to have a chicken caesar salad EVERY SINGLE TIME you went out to eat??" I was so sick of salads!

I spoke up when friends visited and wanted to go to those awful buffet places (I call it The Trough... haha). Against my better judgement, I had baked chicken and white rice and salad. When they were going up for seconds of all sorts of different foods... my choices were baked chicken and white rice and salad. I finally said I will NOT go to Troughs anymore. Never even mind the huge possibility of CC... I was sick and tired of having ONE choice of food.

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I sympathize - my office mates know I have gluten issues, and they try to take it into consideration for the most part - but the company as a whole does not. We'll have summer picnics, holiday luncheon, etc. and there won't be anything much that's safe for me, so I tend to bring my own food. This one sucks: there's an employee luncheon next month. It's at a banquet hall, so it's not easy to bring food. Almost everyone goes, and you're released from work immediately afterward - about 2 hours early. If you don't go, you have to stay to your usual quitting time. So, I can either go to the lunch and eat nothing, or I can work all afternoon like a sucker while everyone else gets a nice lunch and leaves early. I've asked if they can do gluten free (there's at least 2 of us in my company that need it) but I haven't gotten an answer yet. Even if they can, I've been cc'd plenty lately and I don't know if I want to risk it. I'll probably eat my own food early, and then just sit through the lunch.

Most of our other celebrations are pot-luck based, so there's usually some stuff I can have - tortilla chips & salsa, veggies, fruit and cheese plate, etc. I've brought gluten-free cupcakes and cookies to share, as well. For b-days and such, there are plenty of pizza lunches, so I usually save a treat to bring from home so I can eat with everyone and not feel deprived. Sometimes my co-workers will choose thai or mexican or something else that seems safer for me - but I've been glutened at many of those places, too, so I have mixed feelings about that. I'd generally prefer to bring my own food, but I understand the feeling of being left out!

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<_<

seemingly silent... but sometimes, oh, sometimes...

silent but deadly

:ph34r:

So sorry, couldn't resist. :unsure:

You made me think and I had to smile: Wasn't it the late great George Carlin who coined the phrase, "...silent but deadly"? I wonder if he was gluten intolerant!!

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She said, "Can't you have a chicken caesar salad?" I said, "How would you like to have a chicken caesar salad EVERY SINGLE TIME you went out to eat??" I was so sick of salads!

That is so where I am at!!! You pore through the whole darned menu and try to figure out, well if I order this without that or maybe that without this and this, oh, fergeddit, I'll just have the fr***ing caesar salad. :lol:

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It is really difficult... At my work, we're given cake on Fridays, every week, to celebrate the birthdays for that week. They also supply pastry savory treats with that, for "those who don't eat cake". There's absolutely no treat for those who are gluten-intolerant, and I know of at least 3 other people at work that consider themselves gluten-intolerant (But who probably eat the cake anyway, that's another story).

To be honest, anything that would be supplied would be right next to the cake and covered in crumbs - no thanks!

Our caffeteria meals are also a mine-field for gluten. The manager basically told me he can't guarantee anything's gluten-free, since they may use flour to thicken sauces. He's in a unique position to make a stand on this, and tell his employees to use corn flour, but no, he can't be held responsible for them using whatever is available, sorry. So yes, lots of salads and plain rice for me!

I often bring lunch to work, and snacks on a Friday, so I don't feel bad. When they have cake, I whip out the snack. Then I don't feel so bad about missing out :)

It still is painful watching colleagues tucking into plates full of cake though :( And I do get remarks from colleagues on my salad days - oh, eating healthy today are we? No, just trying to avoid explosive d, thanks for your completely inane and useless comment!

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I hate speaking up! It makes me feel like a burden. I've recently started making my own peanut butter and chocolate gluten-free cookies. I keep them in the freezer at work. I take them out for special occasions/parties and people are actually jealous of the cookies. Pizza is great, but to me pb and chocolate cookies are great too :) I have just changed my perspective that they have their treat and I have mine instead of thinking about what I'm missing.

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I have the exact same problem! I was just diagnosed a couple of months ago so its really hard right now, especially in university where everyone eats out all the time. My roomates don't seem to notice or care at all, and constantly talk about how good their food is all the time! They even thought it was ridiculous of me to suggest bringing my own toaster.. I've even started avoiding going out for dinner because people don't really get it. I agree though, they really need counselling or something for people who aren't quite sure how to deal with the situation. Glad I'm not alone! :)

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Good point! Honestly, letting people know doesn't really do much. They will feel sorry for you for a split second, then go back to enjoying their pizza. And I don't trust anyone making me food either.. people even get offended when I read the ingredients after they have already told me "there's no wheat in it". Just have to be safe haha!

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I am feeling your pain. Yes, the social aspect is beyond discouraging. Went to a social event today, it was announced that there was "vegetarian and gluten-free" lunch options. I was handed a really messy looking salad, brown lettuce, chopped celery and chopped carrots....with whole wheat club crackers. UGH. I too am way tired of salads.

However, I was prepared this time. Had a gluten free protein drink handy. Even drinking it warm was better than an empty stomach. So I am learning. One of the worst reactions to date was my Dad bought me a loaf of gluten free bread at the local gluten-free bakery. I forgot and put the safe bread in the toaster right after wheat bread. Had severe swelling in my ankles most noticably, and also in the face and tongue. Also had abominal pain.

So much to learn, have to be proactive for myself...it is unrealistic for me to expect others to "get this..gluten-free business." I am an excellent cook, and master at the picnic lunch. Have been reactive to wheat,oats, rye for the last 3 years. Even though diagnosed in 1987. Avoidance of complaining. Most people think you are mentally daft..."Sensitive." So, if the office is eating Pizza. Its, no thank you, thank you for offerring, etc. You could keep a frozen glutin free pizza in the break room. Thanks for letting me sound off as well.

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Are there any "safe" restaurants in your area? could you suggest that they order from one of these places so that there are options for you?

I must admit I am spoiled. I have amazing co-workers who go out of there way to ensure that I have things when we have "pig outs". (Including bring ingrediant lists from products, just in case they missed something) At first I was very leary, but they have truly learned what is safe and how to keep it that way. They call me to find out if there are gluten-free products similar to what they were going to bring. When we order out, I am the one who gets to choose. They have now all learned what places nearby are safe. I hope your co-workers can come to the same place. But you might have to speak up so they understand.

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The social eating thing is a real pain. Friends came over the other night & asked if they could please bring dessert & they would bring ice cream for me. Even asked what kind I could have. They arrived with pies (!!!) and brownie fudge ice cream. She wanted to know why I couldn't just eat the ice cream & leave the brownie part. grrrrr. And how many times have I explained to them. Oh well. I had some fudge bars in the freezer for myself & had one. Guess it's the thought that counts.

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It would be nice to find friends who were gluten-free too. I miss my old friends but everything they do revolves around drinking beer and they are down right mean about my diet.

I pretty much gave up ever going out with them. Work is not much better. Being social and going out to lunch is out of the question as they just don't get this diet and disease I have.

Luckily my family has been super supportive so far. I can tell it wears on them but I don't mind eating by myself most days.

Never realized how social eating was until I started this.....

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So now I'm kind of just damned no matter what. When they have the pizza parties I can't participate, which makes me seem antisocial and weird to them. I can't get anything extra tacked on, because people resent the hell out of that. Now I could walk in to the lunch room and start eating something completely different but I have the strong feeling that would be really, really awkward. But I was told if I want anything else to just get it myself. I think my saying anything at all has really generated even more hostility from the people who don't get it here. It's really a damn shame.

I would go in, sit at the table with my hands folded, and smile. And nothing else. If anyone asked I'd say I was allergic but had been told I wasn't allowed to provide food that wouldn't necessitate a trip to the emergency room. Then shrug and continue to smile politely.

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I would go in, sit at the table with my hands folded, and smile. And nothing else. If anyone asked I'd say I was allergic but had been told I wasn't allowed to provide food that wouldn't necessitate a trip to the emergency room. Then shrug and continue to smile politely.

I love this. It's almost a form of non-violent resistance. The gluten sit-in.

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