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samuella

Parties And Fruit Trays, Etc

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I was diagnosed with celiac in the spring. My 7yo son was diagnosed about a month ago. Neither of us have noticed any big changes being gluten free and I am really strict about what we eat.

Last night we were at a party. It was a potluck; we ate before we went and I brought a few snacks for my son. He ate some fruit pieces from a grocery store-bought fruit tray. When he told me I asked him to let me know first so I could put some on a plate for him and wash it first. Is this being over cautious? Another example: One thing I brought was a big bag of gluten-free chips. I opened it and put some in a bowl for him and went to give it to him. When I came back the chips had been discovered by other people who were eating them (understandably!). I was planning on having some but because people who could have gluten on their hands had put their hands in the bag touching the chips I didn't have any. Too cautious or not?

We haven't been glutened since going gluten-free so I have no idea how we'd react. But we also haven't noticed any improvements (we were never that sick to begin with) and it's starting to feel silly to be so paranoid about this.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts! :)

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I think you are exactly right. If you can't eat first, don't eat. I hadn't thought about washing off the fruit or carrots, that's a good idea.

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I would say that you are using the amount of caution that we practice at those kind of events.

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You are blessed that you found out before you got sick. Some of us have been sick for years and years and for some it's too late when we get diagnosed. Our bodies sometimes never completely heal, although we are much better than we were on gluten.

When I bring stuff to a party for my 7 year old celiac boy or for me, I keep it separate from everyone else and I dont' let people get their gluten hands in it. I found a cooler that looks like an oversize purse at Target and I carry that with me. I put a few chips or whatever on a plate for him and make sure he sits down and eats.

I know it's harder for you to be so cautious when it doesn't make you sick, but if you aren't so cautious you will get sick in the future. You are preventing the hell that I and others live or have lived with on a daily basis.

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AH man wrong answer peoples! You were supposed to tell me I don't need to be so cautious! :) OK, OK, I'll keep being super paranoid and be the crazy one at the party.

One thing I find hard is that I don't find people with allergies are so cautious. Like I have a friend who is allergic to wheat and feels awful when she eats wheat, but she isn't washing the fruit! And another with a child allergic to milk - same thing. And they don't seem to get sick from fruit trays. So how do I reconcile that? I mean, if we don't get sick from it (whether we would or not is an unknown), I know there can still be internal stuff happening, but if it's once in a while my understanding is that very low amounts very occasionally are not likely to cause problems. I know someone is likely to come back and say to me "Rat poison!" but I think that's simplistic. My GI doc would ask people to eat gluten once a day for 4-6 weeks in order to do a scope and as he puts it, he wouldn't ask someone to do something that would be hurting them (he totally says if you react to the gluten and can't handle eating any then don't do it!). So it doesn't seem that black and white. Just musing. Don't freak out on me - I'm not about to start eating gluten! :)

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AH man wrong answer peoples! You were supposed to tell me I don't need to be so cautious! :) OK, OK, I'll keep being super paranoid and be the crazy one at the party.

One thing I find hard is that I don't find people with allergies are so cautious. Like I have a friend who is allergic to wheat and feels awful when she eats wheat, but she isn't washing the fruit! And another with a child allergic to milk - same thing. And they don't seem to get sick from fruit trays. So how do I reconcile that? I mean, if we don't get sick from it (whether we would or not is an unknown), I know there can still be internal stuff happening, but if it's once in a while my understanding is that very low amounts very occasionally are not likely to cause problems. I know someone is likely to come back and say to me "Rat poison!" but I think that's simplistic. My GI doc would ask people to eat gluten once a day for 4-6 weeks in order to do a scope and as he puts it, he wouldn't ask someone to do something that would be hurting them (he totally says if you react to the gluten and can't handle eating any then don't do it!). So it doesn't seem that black and white. Just musing. Don't freak out on me - I'm not about to start eating gluten! :)

Myabe if you knew someone with a peanut allergy? They wouldn"t have eaten even one of those chips if it was made with peanut oil. If pB&J sandwiches were served, they wouldn't touch anything the others touched & would probably leave.

When you have kids (everyone under 22 & some adult males)serving themselves food, who knows what might be in the food! If everyone just used a spoon, it was probably fine.

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"Rat poison!"

I am undiagnosed Celiac/DH.

I avoided gluten for my 38years - no breakfast, no gravy, no dinner roll, 'dont like pasta', didn't like it. I ate it like "normal" people do when we eat, eat out etc but avoided it (without consciously avoiding)

I went to work in a bakery and now, four months out of it, I itch like crazy still.

In earlier months on this forum I described my symptoms as being like toxins getting out of my skin and "rat poison" is right up there with how gluten appears,to me -in its many names- in food, air, bathroom products etc.

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I'll give you my take on it...

I honestly don't think my daughter would have a reaction if somebody put a "glutened" hand into a bag of chips and then she ate from the same bag. I don't think she would have a reaction if she wasn't the first one to help herself from a fruit tray and maybe there was a bread crumb on there.

The hard part is getting a true understanding of your childs symptoms . . . especially when they are vague. From a one-time significant exposure (my husband gave her regular rice krispies on vacation) I know she will get a stomach ache. However, I know when she eats a lot of crap (say while raiding her Halloween candy during trick-or-treating) she will get a stomach ache. She's been known to complain of a stomach ache at school . . . but they have very little time to eat so she wolfs down her lunch and then goes and runs around on the playground. I can't distinguish between these different stomach aches and I don't know if she can tell the difference either.

What I do know is that it builds up in her. I know this through a horrible unintentional process where she had something with just a tad of barley in it on a once-a-week-or-two basis (totally my fault - I still feel guilty - and always check your labels even if you have bought that product before). After several months, it triggered her full blown (prediagnosis) reaction, it took months to recover.

My thought process is that she can handle a small (but truly unknown) amount of gluten . . . a crumb here or there without even a stomach ache. However, I don't know when or where she might get a crumb so I control the crumbs (invisible or not) that I can so that the ones that I can't control(at school or the occasional meal at a restaraunt) don't cross that threshold of sending her into a reaction (either the months-long-full-blown OR the stomach ache).

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If the fruit or veggie tray hasn't been open long or isn't near any obvious problems, I will eat it without washing it off. However, the hands in the bag thing is a no-no for me.

richard

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Thanks, Janet, for articulating the process that you have in monitoring you child's condition. It really helps to know that others out there understand what we struggle with when managing celiac and gluten intolerance for our kids!

When we have had fruit trays made at our local grocery store, they make special provisions for us by making it in the deli area and not in the bakery area (their standard mode of operation). They also let me pick it up in the deli area too. Some stores have dedicated produce preparation areas which is fantastic, but I always ask at each store to be sure.

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I don't think you're being too cautious. A friend of my friend's girlfriend, if he gets in any contact with gluten, he's sent to the hospital and usually ends up on morphine. The last time this happened, he used a cutting board that was rinsed, not washed from the last use, and had CC from that, and ended up in the hospital. Some people are just incredibly sensitive, so it's not a bad idea, especially is someone was eating crackers or something and was touching the fruit.

You are lucky to have gotten a diagnosis. I didn't have the money for it (it's not covered in Ontario), and it was 2 months of waiting to see my doctor to even schedule anything. I couldn't take the pain anymore, and I wasn't sleeping any more than 2 hours a night, I was fasting 3-4 times a week cause I was so scared to eat, and I'd leave my outings because I'd have to run to the bathroom. I was fed up and took matters in my own hands and I don't look back.

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You said doctors wouldn't intentionally damage patients for testing but actually that's exactly the point of a gluten challenge. The only diagnosis for celiac is to observe damage. Even the blood work is indicative of the antibodies that are doing damage. The goal of a challenge is to create enough damage so that it will be observable.

I agree that you have taken the right approach so far. Exposure is cumulative and there will be mistakes- i dont want to add known contamination yo the inevitable unknown contamination, causing more frequent or more severe eventual reactions. So what if other people with other problems are not as careful?

My son is allergic to corn, but not it's not an ana allergy. We try to eliminate all corn but truly are not as obsessive about it as the gluten. People with ana allergies are every bit as obsessive as we are.

Some celiacs or people with known intolerance take their chances... Some don't get obvious symptoms, others think the symptoms are worth the risk. I have a friend whose father died of cancer related to half-heartedly treated celiac, has a cousin with a colostomy bag, a daughter with extreme eczema, and who knows she feels better off gluten, yet she still makes it the basis of her diet. that doesn't mean I'm going to be any less careful about our diet.

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Yow, making fruit and veggie trays in the bakery? Never heard of that. The Kroger we go to has a back room where all they do is cut up fruit and vegetables.

richard

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