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Gluten-Free Diets?

Ok, I have a wheat allergy and a gluten allergy (per the allergy dr I went to) - but I have never been tested for (nor do I feel like dealing with the testing right now) for Celiac disease. I have every symptom of it (um...except rapid weight loss!) - so I figure I should aim for a gluten-free/wheat-free diet. I have a few questions for anyone out there who might know:

- Is there websites with diet ideas? I keep finding ones that want to sell me gluten-free products - but none with other alternatives. I have health food store next door to me (literally) - I can find what I need.

- I found some lists of things that may have "hidden" gluten - and the list seems to contain EVERYTHING. What the hell should I eat? Fruits and veggies. Check. Meat. Check. What else?

- Are there any health risks to following a gluten-free diet that I should be aware of? Things i need to make sure I get in my diet to make up for not having wheat?

Any ideas or comments would be GREATLY appreciated!

CoffeeGal


Mon. Feb 13, 10:11am

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CoffeeGal -

My sister has celiac disease. You should really be tested for it so you know. This is a LIFE LONG change in your diet if you have celiac, even if you start to feel better. You can be damaging your intestines if you continue to eat gluten and you have celiac. Rapid weight loss isn't always a symptom either. My sister actually gained weight with celiac. You can make sure you're not over compensating with other grains like corn and rice (still high calorie!) to try and avoid this.

The BEST place to get information on this topic is the Celiac Sprue Association http://www.csaceliacs.org/ . Find a chapter near you and if there isn't one, don't be afraid to drive, or start one! This was the best thing my sister ever did because they are so helpful with recipies, resturants, and really learning what you can and can't eat.

Linz

Link

Monday, February 13, 2006, 10:29 AM

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Thanks Linz - I'll check that out. I will get tested, just with everything going on in my life right now I can't even afford my co-pays for a few dr. visits. I'm going to try to cut gluten out as much as possible. My allergist said that my allergies could be causing a lot of the same symptoms - so to try to cut it out as much as possible and see where I go from there. I will look into getting tested once I get back on my feet with the $$ (couple months, tops).

Thanks for the info!

CoffeeGal

Monday, February 13, 2006, 11:31 AM

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you're not about to miss much nutrient wise by cutting out wheat. I'm allergic to wheat, but not celiac. Just make sure you eat leafy greens for fibre (better for you anyways!) If I remeber correctly, soy flour, rice flour, amaranth flour and quinioa flour are all gluten free. Tinkyada makes great rice pasta. If you go to a deli, ask to read the ingredients of the meat- there are some out there that are wheat free (but I'm in Cda, so I won't tell you about cdn ones). Braggs makes a wheat free soy sauce. Let me knoe if there's something specific you're after that usualy has wheat...

glutenfree.com is a relatively decent site, though they do sell alot of stuff to make life seem a little more "normal" food wise. celiac.com has a lot of info.

Monday, February 13, 2006, 12:06 PM

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Please do consider getting tested. This is a large change to make if it's not necessary and what if it's something else and only mimics celiac? You could certainly eat gluten-free for a trial period - according to my mother's specialist you should see some alleviation of symptoms after about a week if this is the case.

Anecdotal evidence here: my mother thought she might have celiac disease due to her symptoms but her doctor insisted on testing her, and testing showed that she did not. Turns out she actually had a different condition and is now being treated for that. If she had not gotten testing she might not have found out what the real problem was for quite some time. Digestive problems are miserable and can be difficult to pinpoint so any chance to verify should definitely be taken.

Now a few things and resources for being gluten-free.

Disclaimer: i am not gluten-free but have a dear friend who is that I often cook for. When I cook for her - everyone eats gluten-free (and no one has ever noticed). These are some things I have learned.

Start making note of 'safe' foods for yourself and where to buy them. Quiz waiters relentlessly and if they don't know definitely ask to speak to the manager or chef. People mix in flour and/or breadcrumbs into all kinds of dishes! Hambugers, soups, sauces, etc... suspect everything because you'de be amazed at how many times it's in there! Chicken bullion has gluten in it :o

Rice flour works beautifully as a thickener for sauces or gravy. I generally use cornstarch for sauces and rice flour for gravy. However I still haven't found a good subsitute to use in baking that I am happy with.

Corn tortillas may well become your friend. Roast them over an open burner on your stove and fill them with either breakfast items (eggs, little ham, peppers) or veggies and meat for lunch or dinner. Some corn meal does not contain gluten either so you may be able to make corn bread.

Use quinoa in place of pasta (brown rice pasta is great though) in salads or pasta dishes or you may find you just like it as a side.

Wrap burgers in large pieces of lettuce for a 'lettuce wrap sandwhich' when you go out with friends - just ask the waiter to leave the bun off and include a couple large pieces - this is really not considered all that odd in the day and age of atkins.

These are just a few suggestions - a large list is here:

http://www.glutenfreeinfo.com/Diet/S-FoodList.htm

I carefully research anything that isn't straight meat 'n veggies - gluten is really pervasive in many foods so good luck! However I do know that after cooking for/with her for several years (2-3 times a week) my own diet has much less than it used to simply because I've stocked my kitchen to be very friendly to my gluten-free guest :-)

kitana


Monday, February 13, 2006, 12:25 PM

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Oh another thing about eating out: Guten transfers from food to surfaces and back to food. Grill resturants and anyone prepping food for you on what has been prepared on surfaces and in pans that your food will be cooked on. Don't eat anything fried in oil that's had breadding in it. Don't eat mayo out of a container that's had a knife that's touched bread back in it. Don't eat things that are gluten free out of large containers in the grocery store. Even if there aren't crumbs, there might still be gluten!!

Linz

Tuesday, February 14, 2006, 2:51 PM

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Thanks for the extra info ladies. I *am* allergic to gluten, so I'm going to have to cut it out whether I have celiac or not. I have a gluten free bakery a block away - which is cool (www.mrritts.com), and found a bunch of stuff today. I'm glad to find stuff!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 9:23 PM

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