This topic is for discussing childcare options. If you want to advertise, please use your Local site.

Au Pair with coeliacs

(20 Posts)
Fairuza Wed 29-Jun-16 11:01:30

I have been speaking to a very nice sounding au pair about coming to stay with us, and she has let me know she has coeliacs disease. I must stay straight off I don't know anything about this beyond what I have read on the NHS website.

However, she also says her favourite foods are pizza and pasta and she eats anything confused

I would really like to try to accommodate an au pair as far as possible, but I'm now a bit concerned about needing buy expensive gluten free options. When I clarified with her exactly what she eats and what she can't eat, she says she tries to avoid flour but that's all.

Basically, I'm a bit confused about the whole thing - any opinions? Could anyone more knowledgable shed some light?

InternationalHouseofToast Wed 29-Jun-16 11:08:13

If she has coeliacs she does a damn sight more than just avoid flour! Gluten is in loads of things - vinegar, beer etc - and she wouldn't be eating standard pasta. Either she's downplaying this in case it puts you off or she doesn't have coeliacs.

This could impact on family meals if she's sharing meals with you e.g. what you put in pasta sauces even if she has corn pasta.

FaithAscending Wed 29-Jun-16 11:13:01

hmm Ok, genuine coeliacs cannot have any gluten at all. Even a teaspoon of gluten can damage the gut. This means no standard bread, pizza, pasta etc but also hidden gluten such as flour in sauces, ready meals, some chocolate (barley is a type of gluten). It's one of those things that's a mine field to navigate but after a few months of checking every label, you learn what is naturally GF and what the good GF alternatives are (but the GF are much more expensive generally, wheat is cheap so making stuff without is more costly, also it's generally made separately to avoid contamination. Finally it's more expensive because it's a captive market!).

I describe myself as 'wheat intolerant'. My coeliac test was negative but wheat makes me bloated and gives me an upset tummy so I avoid it. Coeliac disease is very serious medical condition and a diagnosis should mean eating a totally GF diet. I'm not quite sure about this au pair: she's either saying she eats gluten free pasta and pizza (available in supermarkets these days but not cheap!), she's not really coeliac but avoids wheat or she's a coeliac who doesn't manage her diet very well! I think you need to clarify exactly what she means! No wonder you're confused.

user1465823522 Wed 29-Jun-16 11:15:20

However, she also says her favourite foods are pizza and pasta and she eats anything

With coelics? Hmmm. Sounds a bit fishy to be honest.

Fairuza Wed 29-Jun-16 11:41:16

I'm not quite sure about this au pair: she's either saying she eats gluten free pasta and pizza (available in supermarkets these days but not cheap!), she's not really coeliac but avoids wheat or she's a coeliac who doesn't manage her diet very well! I think you need to clarify exactly what she means! No wonder you're confused.
I agree, and wonder what's going on confused She is also very young (just finishing school) and obviously English isn't her first language so wonder if maybe she's just looked up a translation for wheat intolerance and got the wrong word?

FaithAscending Wed 29-Jun-16 11:57:26

Could well be. You just need her to clarify exactly what she can tolerate.

Fairuza Wed 29-Jun-16 13:41:59

Hmm, well I have clarified and she says her doctor says it's fine for her to eat some gluten as it doesn't make her sick...

Theythinkimworking Wed 29-Jun-16 18:10:00

I had a genuine coeliac au-pair for a year. She didn't get sick once here (but she did when she went travelling a couple of times). It can be a bit of a pain in the rear but its not a total frightmare. Most foods you make yourself can be easily adapted to be gluten free. There are good gluten free alternatives for flour, pasta sauces etc available now. Aldi and Lidl if they are near you have good GF flour, cereal and breads and they dont cost the earth.
However, at times I found that going out to eat could be a pain in the arse and limited our choices. We gave her her own food cupboard and we had to keep separate tubs of butter, peanut butter, jam etc so she didnt get any crumbs. We also had to be sure no stray flour or crumbs or ketchup made it into her food. And it does add €€€ to the grocery bill.
If she is a really great aupair and you cook a lot from scratch, its no biggie but I have to admit I was relieved not to have to deal with it when she was gone.
I now have a no vegan-coeliac-paleo-nut allergy-lactose intolerant policy.

Theythinkimworking Wed 29-Jun-16 18:13:42

Just to add - My last aupair was a fake coeliac i.e. she was always on a faddy diet and that was 10 times more disruptive and indicative of a real lack of maturity and common sense. Approach with caution.

madeleinetheragdol Wed 29-Jun-16 20:09:54

My daughter has coeliac disease uld hate to think people would not offer her a job due to her condition if she were the best candidate. Eating out is much easier than it used to be. And my daughter loves pizza and pasta too!!

Fairuza Wed 29-Jun-16 20:49:21

I can deal with real coeliac though I am concerned about the costs - we have a grocery budget.

More worried about fake coeliac and the lack of maturity/common sense though.

Karoleann Wed 29-Jun-16 20:50:45

It is more expensive and you do need to think ahead about what you eat in the evening. TBH - I usually stick with people that aren't fussy eaters.

RubySparks Wed 29-Jun-16 21:08:27

Karoleann coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease, there is no choice about avoiding gluten.

Karoleann Wed 29-Jun-16 22:14:55

ruby - i know that, I think you must have mis-understood my post.
Gluten-free products are generally more expensive and sometimes you cannot substitute with non-gluten free products, so you do need to adapt menus for those who are gluten free as you allowing gluten (even accidentally) into a coeliacs diet can make them ill.

Karoleann Wed 29-Jun-16 22:17:28

Ah - actually I think I may have mis-understood yours, no I wasn't suggesting that coeliacs have a choice with their diet.

Karoleann Wed 29-Jun-16 22:19:27

Its very important with an au pair that you get a good fit with your family, so someone who has a specific diet OR is a fussy eater doesn't fit with ours as we are quite foodie and like a very varied diet.

Theythinkimworking Thu 30-Jun-16 08:52:34

If the best au pair candidate had coeliacs disease, it wouldn't put me off them entirely. But au pairs are supposed to live as part of the family and they are supposed to help you out and make life a bit easier. The extra work involved in planning and preparing meals, extra washing up (2 different pots of pasta) and the cost of specialist foods and the worry about making them sick is not to be underestimated. Some families are happy for the au pair to look after their own food but I don't want an au pair that cooks for herself and eats apart from us as it creates conflict in the kitchen, make for extra cleaning and confuses the kids who think there is an a la carte option.
People who are 'coeliac' until the carrot cake comes out are definitely to be avoided.

Fairuza Thu 30-Jun-16 08:57:44

Would it be appropriate to ask for a letter from her doctor explaining exactly what she can and can't eat?

FaithAscending Thu 30-Jun-16 09:09:43

I don't think that's unreasonable. It sounds like either she's wheat intolerant so can sneak a bit or her doctor is rubbish and is advising a coeliac that because she doesn't have symptoms she can have some wheat (this is really bad, just because she doesn't have obvious symptoms doesn't mean it's not causing damage to her gut lining).

Aftershock15 Thu 30-Jun-16 09:10:02

My ds is a coeliac. We have a separate toaster and different colour coded utensils and chopping boards for gluten and non gluten food. Stops the chance of cross contamination and mixing sauces etc with the wrong thing when doing a gf and regular alternative.
Gf is more expensive although it is easy to get now - but not all in one shop I find. Some things really don't work as well gf so the non coeliac children don't like it so we do tend to make two similar meals sometimes.
I think I would avoid this girl unless she clarifies what she means.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now