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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.
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Co-Worker Cluelessness
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18 posts in this topic

I work with a group of about 15-coworkers. To varying degrees, they are all aware of my issues. Though I try not to make a big deal about it, and I am of course closer to some than to others. A few of the people in department like to hand out Christmas gifts - usually the same thing to everyone. This year I got Ferrer-Rocher chocolates (Wheat, Milk, and Soy ingredients), Nutella (Milk and Soy), and a milk chocolate bar (milk, duh). The milk chocolate bar is from a co-worker who I'm pretty close with and who absolutely knows I can't have dairy. The other two I'm not as close with, but also have heard about it (the dairy, especially, has been talked about in various group settings where I couldn't join in with their eating activities, since I knew about the dairy allergy before I found out about gluten). Two other co-workers gave me candles, and another a lottery ticket- I'm thankful for their thoughtfulness.

I'm just annoyed, because while they say "it's the thought that counts", shouldn't that mean making the slightest effort to not give something you know the recipient can't touch? I mean, I would prefer nothing. Just grumbling. Maybe it just touched a nerve because of how much I used to love Nutella - it's painful to receive it as a gift when someone should know better (obviously they don't, and mean no harm).

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I'd chalk it up to stressed out people trying to simplify their shopping. They've probably all been running around shopping for their families and shopping for co-workers is just an afterthought.

I would just "re-gift" them, or donate them to the food pantry.

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I would just comment that not much 'thought' went into the thought :P -- not to their face of course. Few people turn down chocolate, so you shouldn't have any problems getting rid of them. Make someone unexpectedly happy, like a security guard, a parking lot attendant, someone unexpecting :) Merry Christmas!

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I think lots of people get useless (to them at least) gifts. A teacher friend was deluged with chocolate, wine and perfumed cosmetics every Christmas. She was allergic to all of them, but appreciated the thought and passed them on.

It is annoying, but probably not personal.

Have a lovely Christmas :)

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I gave my kids' bus driver chocolate for years - when she had retired someone told me she couldn't eat it, but her husband loved it!!! Ugh.

I have a box of chocolates I will regift and a large chocolate bar from a small studio I work at that I will regift as well (allergy alert has wheat, though it's not an ingredient). People who gave this do know about my celiacs but I don't say anything. Yes, thought that counts - hey they included me - but more thought would be nice. People without dietary issues tend not to look for them or really "get it". No big - probably give the bar to my kids.

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Oh yeah! I'm a diabetic and people often give me candy. Now technically I can and do eat some candy when I have a hypo. But there is very little I can eat. Like you, I can't have dairy. Yes, there is dark chocolate that doesn't have dairy but if I eat it, I get bad GERD.

When we lived in NY we had secret pals. We filled out a paper prior to tell them what our favorite things were. Under the sweets section I put, "Please no sweets. I can not eat them." But I still got lots of candy. Under the general food section I put, "Beans only. I love dried beans!" I never got any of those. I did get champagne. And I don't drink. People often give you what they want. And somehow they think you'll want it to.

The other day my mom offered me Reeses peanut butter cups. I told her again that I couldn't have them because they had dairy in them. She is one of those people who thinks of a glass of milk as dairy, but nothing else. Oh and... She can't have dairy either! She's one of those people who eats what she shouldn't and then just can't understand why she get sick.

When I refused the Reeses, she laughed and told me that she knew that I ate what I wanted anyway so she couldn't understand why I was turning them down now. Left me furious as I told her that no, I did not. To which she laughed again and said, "Oh, ho, ho! If you WANT if, you EAT it!" Thankfully my daughter backed me up on that one!

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FWI those who can do dairy but not soy: Maranatha brand makes an almond butter and dark chocolate spread that is reminiscent of Nutella. If you can't handle the Nutella, you might be able to handle that. While it has soy lecithin, it doesn't have much soy protein, or I would react to it.

http://www.maranathafoods.com/product/dark-chocolate-almond-spread

I don't know what it is about chocolate bars, I've even had my extremely savvy spouse attempt to give me bad (as in not gluten free) chocolate, so I think he knows know not to even attempt to bring it near me unless I have read the label on that item first. This included the last time we went to the movies at Thanksgiving time, and I requested a chocolate candy package from the concession that I know the manufacturer labels as "gluten free" and that I have eaten before, and he read it before he got it, I still made sure to read the label in the dark with a light before opening the box. As for most other people, unless they are supposed to be avoiding the same thing, they just have no freaking clue whatsoever ingredients are in any food, and couldn't care less. I mean, my MIL has sent gluten- bearing items here, (candy/nuts again) and I had to yell when I found this stuff had made it into the pantry, which is the Forbidden Zone. It needed to be eaten by the normal person, donated, or put in a dresser drawer until that time, not "stored" with our food. I assume an awful lot of re- gifting goes on.

My neighbor and people to who's houses I've been to have sometimes managed to produce packaged safe goodies, which is nice that they went to the effort, but one must be creative and quick to make an excuse if it doesn't quite work, like, they got the gluten free part correct, but it's loaded with oats, soy, flax or aspertame or splenda or something. Then I feel sad, but, what can one do. :rolleyes:

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Omg! I am right with you on that. The most rediculous thing for me is that my boss bougt me these candies, I love chocolate, that clearly say wheat, soy and milk on the front and she knows I am gluten free. As a matter of fact her grandson is gluten free and she is supposed to be too. She knows how sick I was in te past and ought to know not to give a thoughtless gift. it is not a thoughtful gift if it is something that will poison the person you give it to. Really?! If I could not have nuts I guarantee you she would have made sure it did not have nuts. I just really do not get it.

When I start my new job, I am gonna put my food in a lunch box with two zippers that I can put a lock on it so some lazy, thoughtless, selfish bafoon doesnt steal my food or poison it. My new employer knows about my food sensitivites and how serious it would be for me if someone takes my food or drink. I cant just go grab lunch at McDonalds or get a snack out of the machine. She said she understands that would be a big deal for me so hopefully it will go well butmI trust nobody and I dont care if putting a lock on my lunch offends anyone. I feel they can bring their own convenient food. at least they can just eat whatever they want and dont have to home cook and mix everything.

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Even people who do care get things staggeringly wrong. For a recent family party, someone baked a beautiful gluten-free cake so I could share. We checked the ingredients. Main one - almond flour. Fine for me, not so good for my anaphylactic son.

And they had looked so pleased with themselves.

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[gasp] Yeah people these days just are not used to the thought process of actually considering what goes into the food and drinks they put in their mouths. That carries over to when they buy or cook for someone else. Honestly, it is kinda sad.

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And, honestly, they may be at a loss for what to get you. I had a friend who made us cookies - she knew I couldn't eat them, and that my husband wouldn't because he doesn't like chocolate. But she was super excited about getting to bake again for the first time in a while, and wanted to share that joy. And, honestly, I'm HAPPY that she shared that with me (and the story) rather than trying to make me gluten free cookies when I couldn't be sure about cross contamination.

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It is the thought that counts. I'd too regift them.

When i was younger, for my teacher, i would get a nice planter or a plant for them. A lot of my classmates would go the coffee mug/candy route, but they really liked this one.

I don't normally do food. I do things that i know they'll use, such as a new set of nice pens that they normally wouldn't get or something of that sort. I did make fudge one year and we made waaaay to much and i brought a platter in and the teachers split it amongst themselves. It was a hit.

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My coworkers are very aware of my issues with food. I have worked closely with ( mostly) the same people for the past 5 years. They (unfortunately for them) have seen me at my sickest ,, not a pleasant sight :ph34r: .They have seen me run to the bathroom ( and sometimes not make it) They have seen me when I could not form a coherent sentence.They were there during my strict elimination diet and the pain and suffering when I started reinterducing/testing foods. They have seen MUCH ,MUCH more then some of them are comfortable with .

They will give me gifts such as fruit they have seen me eat or plants .

Sometimes when they make things they will check the ingredients to see if I can have it and will say" I checked the peanut butter and it is gluten free " ( sweet but I am super sensitive/have other intolerances and will pass) .

They honestly do try :D

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I gave the chocolates to students (I work in a college). They were thrilled!

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When I started working over 30 years ago, lunch with co-workers was simple. Just order sandwiches, chips and soft drinks. Today, with more diversity in my company, we have to worry about all sorts of diet restrictions. Vegan, Vegetarian, No Pork, No meat, but tuna is OK, No cheese, No eggs...and so on. Then, add no soy, nuts, gluten, dairy, and its no wonder some people zone out. My Celiac Hubby has had to skip potlucks, special lunches, and assorted "treat days" because of his allergy. We try not to make a big deal out of it, and here lately, his co-workers have started to make an effort to include him by buying pre-packaged gluten free foods and going to restraunts that are gluten-friendly. But it did take a little while for that to happen.

That is still no excuse, especially if the people know about your allergies.

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I always get chocolates that I can't eat but I figure it's the thought that counts and I regift them. I actually really appreciate being saved the trouble of having to do my own shopping for those kinds of little gifts.

I got given shortbread this year - my mother loved it.

I'd much rather be given chocolates I can't eat but that someone else will appreciate than a cheap junky gift that will end up in landfill or that I wouldn't want to pass on for fear people would think it was my taste.

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Since we're on the subject...

Does anyone feel like a drama queen whenever food comes up as a topic of conversation in the workplace? I try to keep it light, smile and make a joke about it whenever it comes up (and to make sure it doesn't come up), but it's always somewhat awkward. I already have crazy mood swings from accidentally eating things I shouldn't (every day is a new food intolerance, argh), and I have to cover those up quite a bit. Basically -- the office environment is kind of a minefield when you're deep in brainfog or food-induced depression or talking about taking visiting colleagues out to work lunches. (So...I'm just having plain white rice, then, and not drinking the omnipresent barley tea....can we not talk about why?)

Also,kind of a funny moment this week, when the Peruvian guy at work said I should go try the new Peruvian restaurant in town. I said: "Well, I think I can only have the wine there. I have some major food allergies." He said, "What food allergies?" I said: "Wheat." (Not really an allergy, but no one here knows what celiac is, so y'know.)

The most amazing range of expressions happened on his face, as he thought, so, just don't have bread..wait...oh, there's also...and...wow.

It's always funny to see people connect the dots on their own instead of asking insane questions like if whole wheat is OK. Some coworkers are awesome and don't give me the fifth degree whenever food comes up. :)

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