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pbgolfer1

Professional In The Food Industry With Celiacs?

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Hello everyone. I'm new to the site, and to the "gluten free" world as well. About 4 days new:) I have been battling anxiety, stomach issues, and a general run-down feeling for a few years (and honestly in a less severe manor for most of my life). The issues escalated during a time of stress in my life but didn't leave with the stress...although you could say the symptoms themselves are stressful, so it's a bit of a catch 22. Regardless, these and a few other small side effects of the episodes that hit me almost weekly in some severity or another have led me to a possible celiac's diagnosis. I am very willing to give it a shot and eliminate the glutenous foods from my diet if it leads to the end of this and a generally better life. I'm very familiar with the needs and limitations in diet of those afflicted, as I have worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years as a cook, kitchen manager, and general manager so I don't really need the "what to/not to eat" sort of help. I would love to hear from others in the industry that may have had some difficulties coping or obstacles along the way. Not being able to taste your own new products as a reference point for guests? Issues with performing quality control "line checks" and the like?

Unfortunately, I'm currently employed as a GM for PANERA BREAD! ...LOL. This makes it hard for a lover of all things food just starting out in a gluten free trial to be around. That much I know and think I can handle. However, I have to wonder if being in a place where breads and such are baked daily, sliced constantly, etc. for 50 hours a week may actually be planting gluten in my system environmentally??? The issues I have that may be Celiac related started before I began working for the company, but is it possible for me to get over them in a place like that? Any thoughts or (hopefully) experiences?

And finally: Being a cook for many years, it is a huge passion of mine! I do hate the idea of having to limit myself in the ingredient department now, but at the same time I am really feeling like it is a great creative challenge that I can really look forward to once I wrap my head around it. Anyone out there that loves to dabble in the culinary world that has found some alternatives to glutenous staples, please, lay them on me! Quinoa seems to be a versatile ingredient and I'm about to get started experimenting with it, but I'm sure there are some others out there!

Thank you to everyone who reads this and/or posts. I appreciate your plight...always have, being in the food business...and even though I was reaching out for others in the industry, I'd love to hear from anyone and everyone with tips for the newbie:)

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I used to work in the food industry and I had to quit. I fell back on my major and found a job relevant to that though I still love to cook.

Chances are good that you are going to get glutened at work, particularly since they make bread. It's up to you, but I would be looking for another job in a gluten free restaurant or perhaps somewhere where flour will not be constantly in the air. It's your decision at the end of the day but it's also your health you're talking about here.

As far as cooking goes, there are so many things we put up on our plates that really don't need to be there for nutritional or taste reasons. I would go right back to scratch and the basics.

Example: Duck with greens, butternut squash, tomato salsa and pomegranate sauce

If you really take it back to basics you will probably find that not only do you eat better than before in terms of nutrition, but you're probably going to get your tongue used to natural tastes again where there's plenty of nice, strong, tasty food that does not require gluten at all. Getting back to those basics was the best thing I did, instead of trying to to replace gluten everywhere it would have been before.

Replicating gluteny things is possible, however they're best eaten occasionally as treats, a way to make sure you don't feel deprived. Once you don't feel deprived, you will crave them a lot less. I think everyone wants pizza and pancakes in the beginning still, it's normal and it will pass.

Things like quinoa are good to use, but you have to remember they are something you can't use to replace gluten with. It has a taste and flavour that is mild and a little nutty but it also soaks up other flavours well. Rice is probably the most versatile non gluten grain due to the number of ways it can be prepared, but it's usually best as a side dish not as the main part of the meal. We have a section for cooking or baking and for gluten free ingredients on the forum where you can always go to ask questions or get ideas, since there are quite a few of us here who love food.

Gourmet food does not have to go out the window because you can't eat gluten. I still host dinner parties where most of the guests have no idea everything is gluten free and none of them have ever complained.

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Hi,PB, welcome!

First of all, have you been tested yet? If not, you probably want to get a full celiac blood panel run, to make sure you're heading in the right direction. You do NOT want to go gluten-free before you get this panel-- and if it comes up positive and you go for an endoscopy, you still have to stay glutened for that. If you go gluten-free before you test, it can cause false negatives in the blood test-- which already has a reputation for a lot of false negatives, anyway.

Second, DANG, man, Panera Bread with celiac? I love that place, but if it isn't already making you sick as a dog, it's going to once you do get diagnosed and go gluten-free. You usually get MORE sensitive to gluten the longer you're off it. It's really hard to think of changing jobs in today's economy, but this might be a good time to look into working for a gluten-free bakery or something. Or going with a corporate desk job. Bummer.

Third, I wouldn't automatically assume that you know all of what you can/can't eat or be around. Start researching... there are tons of links on this website to all kinds of help, info, blogs... you'll find some links to fabulous cooking blogs to help you out with your culinary explorations. As a lifelong cook and baker myself, I'm enjoying the new experiences in the kitchen, too.

Best of luck to you! Hope you are feeling better soon.

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I have a friend with celiac who worked in the baking industry for years. He became sicker and sicker and didn't know what was causing his illness. After he was diagnosed with celiac, he realized that all the flour might be making him ill, so he quit. Even so, he can hardly tolerate eating anything after two years, and he has to wear a mask just to go to the grocery store because even the slightest flour in the air makes him ill. He strongly believes that working in a flour-laden industry caused his extreme reaction to gluten.

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Sorry to say that you can't be gluten free and work around gluten. If you are working with flour it is in the air and it is getting on your skin and you are breathing it in.

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Greetings from a fellow food person. Although I have celiac, I continue to be a professional recipe teser as well as teach cooking classes. At first it was difficult for me to mentally come to terms with my diagnosis as I was in denial but after a few months it became just a normal part of my daily life. In fact, my diagnosis has forced me to become even more creative with menu planning and so on. It is a pleasure to experiment with chestnut, hazelnut, teff, garfava, sweet potato, millet, etc. flours and to learn about their characteristics in baked products. It has actually made me a smarter and more aware cook/baker than ever before. :D

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