How Do You Deal With Office Parties?

office party gluten
is there a test for gluten sensitivityDude note: The holidays are all about giving. So I thought I’d take the 14 days after Thanksgiving and answer 14 emails I’ve received from my fellow celiacs asking for guidance. And I’d like this to be a communal effort. My advice, shocking as this may be to hear (sarcasm), may not always be the best advice. So please chime in and lend your voice. Maybe I can clear my inbox at some point in 2016.

Day 5 of 14

Today’s post is in response to an email I received on April 29, 2014. No…that is not a typo. The good news is that yes, I do save and read all of your awesome emails. The bad news is that yes, I am a tad behind on some of them.

So here I am…just turned 50. And I’ve worked in an office all of one year my entire life. Got out of college and worked in retail management for a bit. That was a drag. Started bartending. Good cash. Took acting lessons and moved to NYC and then LA. Sucked at it. Years later in late 90’s, taught myself web design and development. Got a job in NYC for a dot-com. An actual real job, with real people, in a real office. (It went belly up after one year and have been working for myself since.)

And yes…we celebrated birthdays. And milestones. And more birthdays. And more milestones. And every single time, it centered around food. But alas, this was before my celiac days so what did I care. But what if I was still in that office (shoot me) and I had to deal with the office parties now? That is the dilemma of this fellow celiac. Take it away…

Hi Gluten Dude. I just want to thank you for all you do in support of Celiac. My daughter and son, along with myself suffer from this frustrating disease. My daughter was in a Denver hospital last year for four months and we live in North Carolina, which says just how little doctors know about this. This quiet, reserved mom turned into a mama bear for her daughter. It’s very discouraging, which brings me to my question.

I work full-time for a large corporation and as you can probably guess there are always office parties of some sort. From birthdays to holidays to a full moon! If it’s written in on a calendar it’s a cause for a celebration. People don’t care and if this sickness doesn’t affect them they are not concerned; in fact, several peeps have even apologized during a party to everyone standing around how sorry they are that I can’t eat a doughnut or anything else while their mouths are full of food. It doesn’t bother me as much as it use to in the beginning but I have gotten to the point where I don’t even want to socialize anymore because of how they act and if I don’t participate I look like a bad employee.

Do you have any suggestions that I could do to help myself? I bring my food from home but that draws attention during the parties as to what I’m having, including the question, “is what you are eating gluten free?” Really people? Any advice you have is much appreciated.

Have you tried something like this?

If the above approach does not work, my advice is just to not worry about what others think. Perhaps easier said than done, but really who gives a rats ass what you can or cannot eat? I’m always amazed at how some people are so consumed by how others eat when it comes to their health. I would think NOT participating in the corporate social gatherings is not a good career move. But then again, I wouldn’t survive a day in that kind of atmosphere.

What about you folks out there in the working world? How do you deal with this??

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41 thoughts on “How Do You Deal With Office Parties?”

  1. I’ve been working in an office environment for over a year, and we do the same thing. Celebrate everything. They even do twice monthly food days where they come around with food. Typically I stay away and feed myself elsewhere, but I had to tell my HR about it and they’ve entered in some fruit and vegetable days into the mix, and for office parties, alcohol is almost always gluten free haha. If the office party is at another location, I’ll call ahead myself and ask for a gluten free meal, just to be safe then sorry and have an option to eat if it seems safe!

  2. I always eat before hand, one so I’m not tempted to “just try this” or super distracted by hunger. I also keep a glass of water in my hand so it is just possible that I already ate and they just didn’t see it. When asked I tell folks that I’m not hungry (which is true because I ate before). I only pop my head into potlucks and birthday celebrations and congratulate the person in question. In the past I have gotten on the planning committee or in the hosting group so that I’m legitimately busy helping with the event and thus cannot eat. Then eating my own food happens away from the event as well. People tend to forgive the hostess for not eating and the topic of why I’m eating is not brought up.

    I also make it very clear to coworkers that when they push food, they are risking my health. I am happy to sit down one on one and clear up any concerns they have, but I gently remind them that we are there to “celebrate” and focusing on my food limits is taking away from the fun.

    The hardest part for me is the networking hand shakes… everyone has been eating gluten and I get it all over my hands (and then get a rash). There’s lots of hand washing (for me) at these events.

    1. I do exactly what Amber does: eat beforehand and always have a glass of water in my hand. I’m also tea-total and learned the water trick a long time ago — it keeps people from offering you either food or alcohol. Talk a lot, interact, and focus on the people not the food, and no one will (usually) notice or care what you are or aren’t eating/drinking.

      If possible I also bring my own treats to share, but that’s not always an option. I also always keep some safe snacks in the car or my purse or pocket, so I never end up starving.

      If anyone offers me anything I just say, “no thanks, I’m great/good” because that’s all they (the hosts) really care about anyway — whether you are happy or not. If anyone gets more busybody than that, the words “celiac” or “food allergies” will usually get a sympathetic look and a quick change of subject.

    2. Amber – I have immune issues along with all of the other stuff… no handshakes for me… ever. I arm bump elbow to elbow when I meet people. They ALWAYS give me a weird look but then it’s like… hey that’s a good idea. I think we need to bring the curtsy and bow back. No transferring of germs or gluten or anything else from people!

  3. I bring my own food to whatever office event. If we go out to a restaurant, I order coffee and make good conversation. I work in an office, and I travel a lot for work. There’s a cultural expectation within the population I work with that you will eat if something is offered. To not eat what is offered is very rude. As often as I can, I notify folks ahead of time that I can not and will not eat what is offered. Given an explanation, no one has ever had an issue with my not accepting the gift and community of food. For meetings out of the office, I bring my little lunch box, pop it open, and as long as I’m happy and not making a deal, no one else is. Sometimes folks ask and once answered move along to the next topic. For office parties, I bring my own treats and just have fun. One person gives me grief. He constantly belittles this illness because he doesn’t believe Celiac is real. He makes comments about how stupid it is that I won’t eat anything, about how a bagel won’t hurt me, about how I’m overreacting (by not saying anything and just doing my own thing?), about how I should just eat the cake. If I’m not physically hurting him, he needs to shut his pie hole. Punching him in the nose could be arranged.

    1. And our holiday party is in a couple weeks. I already have a beautiful spread in the freezer at home for me to bring — Indian spiced stew, masala tapioca biscuits, chocolate chip rosewater muffins, and chai chocolate chip cookies.

  4. I have been struggling with this lately and I am a 20 years celiac. I have been working a regular job for the last 11 of those years and the work environment is the worst!! I made a comment on a GF support group last night that I was struggling and right away got a comment from someone saying they prefer not to be negative and are so grateful for their diagnosis so I took down my post. OK, yeah, I feel that way too. But that doesn’t mean it is not freaking hard and you don’t feel left out a lot of the time. If I know there is a function coming up yes I will bring food. But when your top boss says you guys had to work so hard last month and we appreciate you so we are ordering pizzas for all of you…..I just go to my office. So to the letter writer I just say I feel your pain. I acknowledge that it is hard. We are in this boat together and I hope it made you feel better to talk about it.

    1. Gloria, I’ve had to deal with this many times. Privately approach your manager or team lead and ask if the pizza place can provide something gluten-free for you. It might (or might not, depending on contamination level). Sometimes the manager can order salads to go with the pizzas that are good, or get a gluten-free pizza. If nothing else, I always use these types of “events” as a way to stock my desk up with Diet Coke for free 😉

      Another approach is to talk to the admin doing the ordering and they might take care of the issue for you. After a few approaches, the admins at my company know to email me first to ask if something is safe for me to eat along with everyone, and when we get the in-house corporate caterer, she is well aware of my condition and always provides something fun like yogurt parfaits (for breakfasts) or gluten-free wraps and cookies for lunch.

      1. Thank you Connie for your words. I live in a small rural town and what they order would never be safe even if I asked for special food. I know what I could do and should do. I’m sure if I said something they would work something out. I just think I am depressed and sad because of another new diagnosis. Just don’t care if I eat or go to the functions. But I appreciate your comments.

    2. Since this was off-topic of my last reply I wanted to reply separately.

      I wouldn’t have taken down your post. Both of your viewpoints are equally valid. There are always good days and bad days, and some days you will feel like the world is ending and others feel so grateful for the diagnosis you could burst.

      It’s ok to admit you are struggling, especially to a support group! That’s what they are there for.

      Lots of hugs to you, and if they won’t support you, the GD community will!

  5. I wrote a post about this topic last year–definitely a tricky one to deal with! I think a good sense of humor and proactive communication are your best bets. People really do mean when when they say they’re sorry you can’t partake–these events are (at least theoretically) about bringing people together more than just the food. Check out the rest of my tips on how to deal with Celiac at work here: and good luck!!

  6. First of all…thank you for your website! I have been GF for 24 years…your site is a great resource! Just had my first experience with DH – that is how I found you! DH sucks…but just another reminder to be even more careful!

    Office parties…I bring my own food…better to be safe than sorry! Enjoy people and music…never focus on the goodies we are not missing!

    Happy Holidays!

  7. Ugh, the worst part of my job.

    #1 piece of advice – if you are required to go to something, you can ask for ADA accommodation, including getting a meal from somewhere else or reimbursement for bringing your own food.

    If you’re NOT required to go to something, then these paths apply:
    -If they’re asking if the food you are bringing is gluten free, its because they genuinely don’t know what gluten is. Educate, educate, educate.
    -Talk to your co-workers about making a move towards healthier parties. Bringing in fruit plates with fancy dips, veggie trays, and baked potato chips are all fun things to do and are things everyone can eat.
    -Ask about getting a space in the company freezer and putting some frozen Katz cupcakes in there for when there is a need for cake.
    -Try to talk to your co-workers about mixing up the type of parties they do. Go to a restaurant. Go out for coffee. Bring coffee in. Have a potluck. Do a non-food secret santa/white elephant/etc. Bring a buffet in (Chipotle’s is great and can be made gluten free).
    -Put yourself on every food planning committee possible. It will always ensure that you can order yourself something gluten-free and you may arise as an advocate for others in the company that are having the same issues (vegans, vegetarians, dairy free, etc.).

  8. If I’m able to I always bring something that I know I can eat, be it a dessert or something for a potluck. My coworkers have been awesome and always allow me to go through the potluck line first before everything gets contaminated so I can at least get my dish before someone else messes it up. I also made a standing rule of “if someone made it at home I’m not eating it.” This gets me out of eating possibly contaminated stuff but also the gross stuff my one colleague makes for the “gluten free-vegan people.” If it’s something like a birthday or retirement when there will be cake, I just pack a couple of cookies or something small so I can celebrate with everyone else. I think I’m one of the lucky few who doesn’t work with jerks and they are all actually nice about it.

  9. I really like Amber’s suggestions! Good tips so you still appear to be a team player. It can feel like you are on defense non-stop, especially in those more open-office environments where you are always walking by a cake or cookies to get to the copy machine. And then crumbs everywhere! Ugh.

    Lately, I’ve been interviewing for jobs and so I’m tackling a new angle to the celiac-and-work challenge: lunch networking meetings, even interviews over lunch! Try as I might to steer people to coffee or drinks, some just insist on lunch, and I hesitate to bring up my Celiac so early when interviewing/networking! Would appreciate any suggestions on this too.

    Enjoying the 14 days – Thanks!

    1. That is tricky. I think it’s fine to bring up when networking, since you’re usually dealing with 1 other person and can suggest a place that you know will work for you. If they ask about it, the conversation can end up taking your exchange to a more personal level, which isn’t a bad thing.

      It’s def. trickier for interviews, since there are usually more people to coordinate (though good for you that you’re getting them!) I’d try treating it like you would if you were a vegetarian who got invited to an interview at a seafood restaurant – nonchalantly, but clearly. Emphasize that you’re excited about meeting with them and offer some alternative suggestions, and then always make sure you eat ahead of time.

  10. Was diagnosed with Celiac in the summer of this year so this is the first holiday season for me as a Celiac. Had my 25th anniversary with the company this year and celebrated at our annual Christmas party. The meal was “buffet style” and I had informed them ahead of time of my Celiac disease and was told that the gluten free items would be labeled. I was sure to stay away from the stuffing, but fortunately the gravy was labeled as gluten free. Well something got me there as I was glutened and was down and out for a week.

    Annual office holiday “treat day” was yesterday and a meeting room was full of baked goodies. Not one gf option yet I still brought goodies for others to have.

    It sucks all around but I am done trying to explain to others what having Celiac means because as the video shows, nobody gets it except fellow Celiacs.

    1. Welcome to the club Joe. I know it’s not a club any one of us chose to become a member in…but hopefully we all are healthier (and happier) with the knowledge of what was making us sick for so many years. Here are a few tips I’ve learned since my diagnosis in 2002:
      – NEVER eat from a buffet. When attending a buffet event, I always ask the staff (prior to the event if possible) for a separate plate with plain chicken and steamed veggies. Who cares if it tastes crummy…you have a little something to fill your stomach and you’re doing what you can to avoid the cross-contamination.
      – You may have bouts of sadness or anger – Still happens to me occasionally. I’m not mad at the diagnosis, but just wish things could be “easy and normal” sometimes. You may experience this around the holidays this year. I only allow a couple hours for my Pity Party, then it’s back in the ring.
      – Never be tempted to cheat – It sounds like you become quite ill, but I constantly see or hear of folks who cheat and think it doesn’t matter. Either you’re in or your out…there’s no 99%.
      – Be wary of meals/treats “well-meaning” friends/relatives make for you – It sounds harsh, but unless they have a GF kitchen, or are cooking in yours, ask them to please don’t do it. I’ve been sickened several times by this and it’s just not worth it.
      There are many, many more…but embrace your new diagnosis/life and we’ll all be here to support you!

  11. Easiest and safest is to bring your own plate of food – if it doesn’t come from my own kitchen I don’t trust it. I get no flack when I simply say that I have Celiac Disease and am so sensitive to the tiniest bit of contamination that I’m sick for 3 months. No one wants that.

    If you don’t want to go into a long explanation just say I have a lot of food allergies, emphasizing “lot”. Last thing I want at a party is to have to explain everything. It is nice to enjoy it just as everyone else.

    Good luck!

  12. I don’t have the office party issue, but I do have to go to a ton of receptions at conferences. The first year or two after being diagnosed, I tried asking the banquet manager and eating things I was told were safe, but got glutened multiple times. So now I religiously avoid all reception/party food. If anyone says anything (which is rare), I just say that I have multiple food allergies. Folks seem to get that and let it drop.
    And I’ve started bringing my own booze! I have a small, fairly flat, portable, soft-sided cooler that fits into my briefcase or tote bag. I stock it with a few good gluten free IPAs or pale ales and just subtly pour into a glass when the catering staff isn’t looking. No one ever knows the difference, and I don’t feel deprived that way…the beer I’m drinking is a heck of a lot better than what’s generally offered at the open bar! 😉

  13. I am blessed beyond belief. One of my co-workers has a best friend who is celiac and she actually emailed me the recipe of the cookies (from her friend) she wanted to make to bring to our office party. I ok-ed it and thought it was so generous of her. When I signed up for the potluck, my dish said this, “Gluten Free and Vegan Stuffing with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts – and it doesn’t suck).

  14. I’m the not only Celiac at the office, just the only one who gets a bit of flak for it because another coworker who claims to have Celiac still eats full-of-gluten food. I wish I were kidding. I have other coworkers who come to me to talk about how they “are trying to go gluten free like [me] because it’s healthier,” as they stuff a dinner roll in their mouth. I tried to educate but it’s fallen on deaf ears at the office.

    Our office does monthly staff meetings where they cater in lunch and often my requirements are forgotten, so like a squirrel – I have food stashed in my work space. On celebratory days where they order a cake, I stop at a local bakery that makes wonderful GF items and buy myself a fancy cupcake.

    The holidays with friends and family can be iffy. My friends have been wonderful, either making dishes completely gluten free, or making sure I know I CAN’T have something and they are conscious of cross-contamination on serving utensils, etc. Family has been more difficult since I’m the only one who is GF and I end up getting lots of sad looks because I can’t partake of a lot of the food OR, much to my chagrin, a comment of, “Surely you can have just a little piece of Aunt So-and-So’s cake.” No, no I can’t.

    I’ve resigned myself to forever feeling like the kid not tall enough to ride the rides at the amusement park when it comes to most food-related get-togethers. I get to stand there and watch everyone else enjoy the food. But, I can also laugh about it now – it is what it is.

    1. I am sure that some of your family members have CD but they do not know about. At least you can say you are the smartest one in your family for realizing you had something and for going to the doctor to diagnose it.

  15. “It is what it is.”

    I use that phrase all the time. No use bitching over things we can’t change. Gotta roll with things as best as possible.

  16. I have to say I am feeling blessed that the three companies I have worked for since my diagnosis 10 years ago have been amazing. Two were major corporations and each would make sure all caterers were aware and food was clearly labeled. The commissary even had a written protocol for making GF. Luckily at bigger corporations I was not the only one. I am at a smaller company now and my office manager talks to every caterer, we have lunch delivered once a week, and if they can’t accommodate he will order in a separate lunch for me of my choosing. No one says anything if I don’t partake of a birthday celebration, however they usually try and have GF ice cream. I do get occasional weird questions, but overall its great. I really feel for everyone dealing with much much harder situations.

  17. This makes me realize, again, I am very lucky with my co-workers. One is a former chef and though he likes to make food for our team, he makes sure its gluten free. There are still occasional questions, but I’m not nagged/bugged to eat stuff I mustn’t.

    Recently there was an outing at a local bar for pizza and beer after work. I made sure I ate a meal before I went and had a coke with a lime (fools those who want to make sure everyone is “drinking”!). When offered pizza I just said I’d already eaten and that was that.

  18. Count me in among the ‘hold a drink in your hand’ crowd. That and a ‘no thanks, I’m good’ dissuade most inquiries – the only times people have tried to insist, a quick reminder of “I’ve got food allergies, sorry” does the trick.

    As for not feeling deprived, I’m a *huge* fan of making sure that my desk is well-stocked with goodies, and that I’ve got some stuff stashed away for emergencies when there’s a ‘let’s all order lunch in for the meeting!’ suggestion. If you’ve got access to a freezer, this is pretty easy, but there are some shelf-stable things at Trader Joe’s that work well, too (there are a bunch of indian dishes that are surprisingly good for having such long expiration dates).

  19. We have donuts, bagels, muffins, or coffee cake every Wednesday morning. It’s not really a party so I just don’t partake, but I do hate getting the email every week to remind me I can’t eat donuts anymore.

    When there are other types of parties with just dessert-type things I just have nothing at the actual event and I try to avoid talking about why. I tell myself that Celiac is saving me from all kinds of calories! But I often treat myself to a special snack before or after so I don’t feel like I missed out totally.

    I’ve struggled most with lunches out. We often have lunches to celebrate something, as a “treat” for the completion of a project, or a thank you from a contractor. I would rather not go. A treat to me would be having my lunch hour to myself to eat what I know is safe. 😉 I attempt to find out what restaurant we’re going to or make suggestions if I’m in a position to. Often the restaurant is not chosen until the last minute which makes planning ahead difficult. I call if I can and try to figure out what I’m going to order so I don’t have to have the whole conversation with the waiter in front of people I work with. This is only occasionally successful because restaurants are not that helpful on the phone in my experience. The last place I asked if they had a gluten free menu and they said “No, but we make things from scratch and can accommodate your needs.” I tried to get more specifics so I would know what to order and they just kept trying to sell me on how good their food is. I finally flat out said I wanted to figure out what to order so I don’t have to discuss it too much with the waiter in front of my colleagues. Still they offered no real help. I almost made up an excuse and skipped the lunch altogether. I had no idea if I was going to be able to order safely. It was stressful.

    Oh and the appetizers! They always order appetizers and constantly try to make you take some. “You’re being so good!” No, really, not my choice. I try to remind myself that they’re just feeling self-conscious about what they’re eating (a plate full of fried appetizers) and are way more worried about what I think of them than what I’m eating or not eating. But it is hard because I want the food too!

    It is difficult to deal with when you don’t want to make the whole event turn into a discussion about your medical history with people you work with. I’ve accidentally let that happen a few times when they started asking questions about my special menu or I got tired of the constant, “Just have one!”

    1. Everything you said has happened to me. Thank you Jessica. Sometimes I deal with everything just fine. Other times I try but it doesn’t go well.

  20. I have multiple food allergies and was diagnosed while working at my current job. Since I’m a public employee, when we have events, they are potluck, so I always just bring my own food and serve myself first from that. I do have a few co-workers who try very hard to at least let me know what is in what they brought. Given that I blog recipes for people with allergies, they are all pretty aware of what my food issues are. Some of the dishes I trust, some I don’t, but even when I’m not taking chances, it is nice that people try.

    When I have to go to a food-related work event, I always pack my own food. I keep meaning to get slightly nicer food storage for those, something a little more subtle, but eh, everyone gets over it.

    I would love to stop hearing “I brought treats! Oh, I’m sorry, you can’t eat this, can you?” but I know it’s not coming from any ill-intent. I KNOW I can’t have the treat and you didn’t need to remind me and everyone… I do bake a lot of things and share with the office, as I do like baking and gluten-free vegan treats don’t have a long shelf-life. At least this way, my co-workers know I’m not deprived, so I don’t get that.

  21. In my opinion, saying you have a “food allergy” seems to downplay our condition somewhat. Yes it is hard to explain to others what it truly means to be Celiac and that we’re not as my gastroenterologist says “wheat belly freaks”, but saying you merely have a food allergy does not help educate people how serious this friggin shithole of a disease this is.

    It’s an uphill battle for sure.

  22. I’ve gotten to the point where I avoid the office gatherings mostly. They are too much work with answering questions and dealing with looks and comments of pity from co-workers. Ugh! I was just dealing with this (& I confess that I had a minor pity party for myself) yesterday when my husband and I were invited to go out to eat after work with some co-workers. Of course it was somewhere that does not offer anything gluten free and even if they did, the risk of cross contamination in their small kitchen would be high. Everyone was disappointed that I said I couldn’t go and then I received those “poor Margo” stares and comments. I don’t participate in the office Thanksgiving celebration out of self preservation. I can’t eat the food and I’m not going to sit there watching everyone else enjoy food that I can’t have while answering questions about my meal brought from home. It’s become easier for me to simply remove myself from the situation. I even eat my gluten free lunch at my desk each day because I no longer trust the break room after having become ill several times after eating in there, though I bring my own food and eating implements as well as wash down the surface of the table I eat at and put my own, clean placement down. Even after taking all of those precautions, which eats into the allotted time for my lunch, I’ve gotten sick from cross contamination in the break room. Of course, co-workers don’t understand that either, but I’m more concerned with my health than I am with what they think of me.

  23. It is painful for me to write this but I am going to talk about because maybe this could help somebody. I remember talking to co-workers about celiac disease and I got all kind of reactions(these were people who were professionals with graduate degrees like me) from people who were understanding as well as people who did not care. Unfortunately the ones you remember the most are the negative ones. I remember when an MSW told the office that she would not eat at those places where “that kind of people” with problems eating gluten would eat. What??? Coming from a social worker??? I also remember when they sometimes excluded me from their birthday parties. One time I asked my boss to bring a gluten-free turkey for the thanksgiving celebration and the day of the celebration he came with the turkey and when I asked him if it was gluten-free he said “no” ( this was state government ); I got so mad in front of everybody and I asked him very angry why he had done that. Years after I got fired from that job but I was thankful to god for that blessing in disguise.
    After I was fired last year I have encountered problems trying to get jobs being celiac disease part of the problem. This year after signing paperwork for a job I asked for an accommodation and I was told my application would be put on hold until I was contacted by Human Resources. When I was contacted by HR and I explained I had a documented disability I never was contacted again and never called back to
    work. That comes from people who do not understand what is celiac disease at work. I have to say I had to file a formal complaint for this which is not funny.
    And you ask me “How do you deal with celiac disease at work”? I feel I have tried to explain and explain and the more I explain the more I suffer. Maybe the key is finding the right kind of job with the right kind of co-workers. I have faith I will find it.

    1. Marie – I’m hoping you understand this site isn’t always the “warm, cuddly” place to find people loving and gushing over you…because I think you need a wake-up call.
      Can I guess that you are one of those people who is always a “victim”?
      YOU are not your DISEASE. People don’t OWE YOU ANYTHING. It’s up to us to make this world livable for ourselves.
      Is there protection under the ADA for Celiac? Yes…but in my opinion, that’s a nuclear option.
      Why didn’t your boss get a GF turkey? Maybe he wanted to tick you off due to your attitude.
      Who knows…I could totally be misreading the situation, but from your “I’m a victim, entitlement-dripping” post, I can only conclude that you need to STOP blaming others and START taking responsibility for yourself.
      My hubby and I were just talking about something similar last night – both of us were abused as children…but didn’t allow it to control our lives or our futures and we were wondering why some people use any perceived injury to become a helpless victim and allow it to ruin their entire life.
      I may take some heat for this one, but you need to stop blaming everyone else and take a page from MJ – “…If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change”.

      1. Good comment NettiZed. Is the glass half full or half empty? Celiac has never come up when I was applying for a job. No medical condition should. Unfortunately people who play the victim at work are generally picked on.

  24. NettiZed’s comments reminded me…. I have it really good with my immediate team (6 people) – but with the larger team (150 people or so) I don’t try to make my dietary needs known. There are occasional pot-lucks. I usually bring something so I know I can eat something – and usually someone brings veggie sticks and dip (avoid the dip!) or a cheese tray (careful here too). Usually there is something I can at least nibble on. Occasionally someone in-the-know will say something sounding apologetic, seeming to wonder what they can do to accommodate me, but in a couple such occasions I have responded with “its not all about me” and a smile … I don’t want 150 people to think they have to accommodate me. My need to be gluten free is no secret, but neither do I broadcast it widely and expect everyone to cater to my needs. And even if they did… I would have to be worried about whether I could trust what they tried so hard to provide. I don’t want to be known as the gluten free PITA in the office, I prefer to be known for my work.

  25. When we exert our right as responsible citizens we expect to help the 150 and 1500000000 people around us. If we do not act we end-up being the real victims of the story. Not to act may be a sign of denial, negligence or sloth, I simply do not want to pass that to the next generations of celiacs.

  26. I’m smiling at the picture: wasn’t there an episode where the birthday girl was lactose intolerant, but the boss insisted on getting her an ice cream cake?
    In my current job there’s a reasonable chance that I will have something to eat. (My pa is lovely, and another colleague has a sister with severe allergies – so there’s at least some understanding within our office.)
    Previous job… some people were great, some were unaware. One person got seriously upset because I wouldn’t try her cake (boss stepped in).
    Mixed bag, I suppose, but that’s life.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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