This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.
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What are the major symptoms of celiac disease?
Celiac Disease Symptoms
What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic)
Celiac Disease Screening
Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results
Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free?
How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful?
The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free
Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested?
Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing
Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases?
Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders
Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid?
Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)
Is there a list of gluten free foods?
Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients)
Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages
Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?
Where does gluten hide?
Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet
Where can I buy gluten-free stuff?
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I have ridden the Amtrak Zephyr for 2-3 days for the past couple of summers, and was able to eat three times a day despite having celiac. Bring a couple of soft-sided insulated coolers that are designed to carry a six-pack of soda. They collapse for easy storage later. Put a Blue Ice in the bottom of the cooler, then loaded perishable food, and added a small Blue-Ice on top. You could also decide to freeze a couple of juice bottles and use them as a source of cold as well.
Here is what I did:
1. The day before leaving, I bought a Chipotle Burrito Bowl with no tortilla and froze it solid (I didn't care what happened to the lettuce). Also purchased a couple of small salads with protein at the last minute and packed them. Try to eat these within the first two days. I also had yogurt the usual dry snacks with me. You CAN get ice refills from the snack bar attendant, but have no access to their microwave.
2. Breakfast is easy in the dining car. I had no problem eating scrambled eggs, bacon, grits and juice. If you are skipping the dining car, you can always buy a carton of milk in the snack bar and add it to dry cereal and a disposable bowl/spoon. A couple of day's cereal fits in a sandwich sized Ziplock bag. Bring a couple of Lactaid tablets with you, or eat the cereal dry. You can also buy gluten-free cups of oatmeal or Gorilla Munch from Whole Foods. YOu can also bring your own fresh fruit like apples/bananas.
3. For dinner, I only ate in the dining car once since there were limited options. I had no problem with the roasted chicken, and had them add a baked potato instead of the starch since baked potatoes are on the menu already. The chef crew is really busy with three seatings in the dining car, so don't plan on much help regarding special requests.
4. The chef crew is cooking in a confined area and serve many in limited time, so assume you won't get much help from them. The train stops for a few hours at certain points, and sometimes there is close access to a Subway or other celiac-friendly places.
It's good that you are feeling better. Sometimes it takes awhile to regain the weight that you have lost until the villi have had a chance to heal.
I have the perspective of being a Registered Dietitian (RD) with celiac. While the title "nutritionist" can be used by anyone, we have the benefit of a Bachelor's and lots of clinical practice before being admitted to the profession via national exams. Please be careful of anyone that tells you to eliminate too many foods (beyond the celiac scope), as sometimes this can create additional problems. That being said, I can say that I have learned lots both via my training AND information on this forum!
Crohn's is also an autoimmune disease. It cannot be healed, but it can go into remission with good medical care and a special diet. There is not a specific test for Crohn's, just colonoscopy and a set pattern of symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, bleeding, and painful cramping. Celiac and Crohn's can co-exist as two separate diseases in some people. Ironically, the diet during active Crohn's limits some of the foods that make the celiac diet palatable, such as nuts and other high fiber foods.
If acupuncture makes you feel better, it is a positive thing that you are doing for yourself. Anything that you can do to be proactive in your own treatment is a bonus.
There is a grocery store chain named Somerfields (sp?) that has a good range of gluten-free foods. The one I visited is on Edgware Road north the Edgeware Tube stop. The multi-shelf gluten-free unit is located in the back of the store near the meat department. There were so many items to choose from! They have different brands (Trufree, Doves Farms, Livwell, Eat Natural, Orgran) and everything from cookies, breads, rolls, pasta, muesli cereal, crackers, tarts and small cakes. A separate area on the food label indicates whether it contains gluten, making label-reading much faster and easier than in the US. Cost is roughly equivalent to the highere prices for gluten-free food in the states. The gluten-free food is delicious, and provided much more variety than I have ever experienced. They also had an extensive variety of chilled salads and yogurt desserts without gluten.
I did not have much success finding bakery or non-salad food in Marks and Spencer, though I visited a larger store. They do have delicious vanilla/cherry compote yoghurt, though.
Most waiters that I encountered were more than willing to check with the cookds to see if the food was free of gluten, and did so with out hesitation. The easiest chain I found was Pret A Manger, which is located all over London, and very reasonably priced. They have a notebook available behind the counter so employees can check for gluten content. Only caveat is that they close around 6pm.
I just returned from my first flight since being diagnosed. United provided the special meals on flights to and from London. Their dinner going over was plain salad, steamed chicken, rice, carrots and fruit. Breakfast was a rice cake and some fruit along with juice.
I supplemented the breakfast food with some prewrapped string cheese, Blue Diamond gluten-free crackers and MiDel gluten-free cookies. Some of the shops in LAX also sell fresh fruit, so was able to buy and eat in the airport while waiting.
Going back, they provided plain salad, steamed chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, yogurt and raisins for the main meal. The lunch was a garbanzo bean salad, plain salad and raisins. The only irony is that they initially put a prewrapped rye cracker on my tray which they removed, while all of the other passengers got a bag of chips labelled "coeliac friendly". Go figure!
I supplemented the food with some gluten-free corn crisps and mini Baby Bel cheeses purchased in London.
A flight attendant friend of mine suggested that you call the airlines a few days before departure and ask them to tell you if and what special meal is next to your name in order to confirm. She also said to identify yourself to the galley staff after boarding so they can check their meal roster.
Overall, a good experience and gave me confidence in travelling. The big perk is that the "special" meals are often served first