3 Reasons to Mind Gluten in the Office

Joshua Scott — October 5, 2016

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are conditions affecting millions of Americans. When it comes to food in the office, it pays to keep this in mind.

Haven’t heard of celiac disease? According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When a person with this disease ingests gluten, the lining of their small intestine is damaged and they’re prevented from absorbing some nutrients. Over time, this can lead to some serious complications. There is no cure for the disease, but the most common treatment is strictly following a gluten-free diet.

The trouble is, gluten is almost everywhere in the American food landscape. It’s in bread, pasta, cake; basically anything made with wheat flour, which can include ketchup, gravy and salad dressing; it’s even in beer!

So why should you be aware of this condition as it pertains to your office? There are three simple reasons.

1. CELIAC DISEASE IS BECOMING MORE PREVALENT

You might have heard the joke that gluten intolerance is just a passing fad, or a trendy, voluntary diet for hipsters. But that’s far from true. Though nobody can explain why, it seems that celiac disease is becoming a much more common ailment than it used to be.

As this article from NPR notes, prevalence of the disease is up – and not just due to better diagnosis and awareness. More people display the symptoms than ever before. In fact, the article states that close to one percent of the population has this condition. There’s even a rise in nonceliac gluten sensitivity, which is when a person tests negative for celiac disease, but still displays similar symptoms after ingesting gluten.

Whatever the cause, you can bet that at least someone you know is gluten intolerant. Work at a sizable office? It’s likely multiple people at the company have to deal with this condition every day.

2. GLUTEN CONTAMINATION CAN MEAN MISSED WORK AND LOWER PRODUCTIVITY

The symptoms of celiac disease can vary widely. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, symptoms can include everything from fatigue, depression, and iron-deficiency anemia to diarrhea, rashes, migraines, seizures, and more. Imagine trying to work while experiencing all that…

What’s worse is that these symptoms could be triggered by even trace amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board or a toaster. Sufferers of the condition have to always be on guard for potential sources of contamination, else they end up dealing with some distracting – and sometimes painful – effects. Long story short? Make it easy for everyone at the office to be healthy so a bad lunch doesn’t turn into a bad week of work.

3. PARTIES THAT INCLUDE EVERYONE ARE THE BEST

If you’re like most people, you’ve been to at least one party that was super awkward. You didn’t really fit in, you didn’t have a good time, and there wasn’t much for you to do. If you’re throwing an office party, include everyone! Take into consideration the very likely possibility of someone being gluten intolerant and offer up some tasty gluten-free foods.

Need some suggestions for a yummy, gluten-free menu? Check out these delicious gluten-free items from Northern Fork’s very own menu.

 

  • Southwest Chorizo Scramble
  • Greek Salad
  • Grilled Flank Steak
  • Grilled Salmon with Fresh Herbs
  • Roasted Portobello & Red Peppers with Red and White Quinoa
  • Zucchini & Swiss Terrine
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake (because you can’t forget dessert!)

*Northern Fork offers many gluten-free catering options as a Beyond Celiac GREAT Kitchen.

At the end of the day – and the end of the party – you don’t want anyone feeling left out. Luckily, it’s super easy to offer delicious treats that anyone, gluten intolerant or not, can enjoy.