Gluten free at work..is it a challenge?

We've heard from Coeliac_copper about limited GF choices at schools / colleges etc. So what's it like at big, medium to Sme workplaces? Have you switched jobs/ lifestyle to make things simpler? Is being a homeworker a dream as you make your own foods at home? Do you make your own packed lunches to avoid the worry? Does that limit your lunchtime networking with colleagues? How are work events and courses catering for you? What more would you like work places to provide ? Vending machines with fruit vs kit-kats?! Or do you hate to make a 'fuss' and dive into the buffet salad bar with couscous and shared tongs anyway and hope for the best?

Or does your work cafeteria provide great GF labelling and options? Do they get the cross contamination issues?

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  • Our work cafateria specialises in food containing gluten and provides a vegetarian option for the lifestyle picky eaters, so I take my own salad lunch.

    Groups of visiting customers who can't eat certain animals for religious reasons are pandered to.

    They put out baskets of snacks for employees to serve themselves. The only think I can eat is some of the crisps, but I don't eat them because of the fat and salt.

    I don't bother with the free Christmas dinner either on the two days it is offered, and I get taunts from people bragging they they have been twice.

    People bring cakes in when there's something to celebrate, and still offer me some even though I have explained many times that I am a coeliac and have even got posters displayed on notice boards.

    I get taunted by people talking about 'good' crusty bread, 'good' real beer, and 'real' fish and chips, just to rub it in that I don't eat 'good' or 'real' food.

    We have internal computer usergroup meetings where 'nice' chocolate covered shortbread biscuits are offered arround by 'the boss' to his brown-tonguers. He organises buffets if we have working lunches, containing nothing I can eat.

    When we have visitors for a meeting everyone goes to the canteen for a slap up dinner, except me of course - "don't suppose you want to come, do you Phil?". "No, guessed not".

    I wish they would classify Coeliac Disease as a disability, then I could kick some ass. As it is, I just have to take it on the chin.

  • Phil it seems like you work with a bunch of playground kids! Geez they need to get lives and grow up. When I was in a new job after being newly diagnosed what I did to 'try and fit in' was to see the catering mgr/ chef on the side and ask what the gf meal would be each day. It was a pain in the ass for me - yet if we had clients coming to lunch it meant I could be a little less conspicuous sometimes and at least have a jacket potatoe and topping (that was also not cross contaminated). I also ended up getting a bit bolshy and checked eg if the cooked salmon was ok (no cross contamination) as they never did get around to labelling up the GF options yet the Vs had an array of choices. I've nothing against veggies - what annoys me is why the catering peo can't see it's less hassle for them to have at least 1 GF meal a day and to label it on the menu and ensure staff are trained not to use the same tongs as they have for Gluten items.

    In the end tho as I kept feeling ill despite these 'checks' with chefs etc I gave up paying my hard earned dosh to them and made myself lovely lunches. I ensured I'd always join colleagues for lunches and dive to the mircowave area (in the quietest now-where-ville area of the cafeteria). Often they thought my home cooked curry and rice looked better than their lunch. I also found clients/suppliers were more savvy/tactful than my Mgr etc. So don't let em exclude or mock CD. Be the person that shows up occassionally with a pack of GF thorntons chocs (if you have to 'playthegame'). Or be bigger than them and let it wash over you.

    One thing you could explore is whether your HR/CSR team have an internal newsletter or intranet. Quite often if they do they're happy to do a short piece on Coeliac or Diabetes etc awareness week. Maybe a subtle way of making your Mgr look like a fool & educating some of the rest?!

    Well done for getting posters up at work! Flypost in the loos for May's CD awareness week? ; ) Have you discovered any other Coeliacs at work. I knew where I was with 6000 peo on site there should be at least 600! I never manage to band up/discover any tho...

  • i have 2 part time jobs & in one i am in a team of people who had never heard of coeliac disease previously & one which already has two coeliacs in it....guess which one i feel safer & more understood in ????

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