Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back to the Gluten-free Grind

I wish I were so lucky. I’m talking about those fortunate folks out there who get the summers off! Oh to be a kid again, when June, July and August were light and carefree. If you happen to be a gluten-free teacher, or maybe a snowplow driver, listen up because this blog concerns you!

Let me set the scenario: As the leaves prepare to turn, you prepare to head back to the daily grind of your workplace. There are meetings to be had, paperwork to be done, deadlines to meet – but what about that other obstacle you haven’t had to deal with since late spring? That’s right, I’m talking about making your gluten-free lifestyle mesh with a decidedly gluten-heavy office.

It doesn’t have to be a hurdle that’s impossible to overcome. First, the simple tips:
  • Let your co-workers know about your diet, right out of the gate
  • Stock up on your own gluten-free snacks and keep them protected – to avoid cross contamination yes, but also to avoid poaching! They can be tasty, too!
  •  Be polite but consistent in your turndowns of others’ gluten-laced offerings – this sets a precedent that will only benefit you down the line
  •  Keep a little black book – mental or otherwise – of g-free restaurants near your office so when those inevitable work lunches pop up, you’ll be prepared with a winning suggestion

Now, the potentially awkward: What if you are a sufferer of celiac disease or gluten allergies but have a co-worker (or multiple co-workers) who are on a gluten-free diet, not due to celiac's or gluten intolerance? It may go a little something like this.

Joking aside, first, you could inform them about celiac disease (whether you have it or not), just to give them some perspective on the very real roots of gluten-free living. Additionally, explain cross contamination to them – that, paired with some celiac facts, could help change their thinking about not only your diet, but their own. Every little bit could make life easier for you!

Below are some expanded tips on the above ideas, as well as suggestions for at-work breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Happy working, and remember – June is only 10 months away!

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