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. Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease SymptomsWhat testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease ScreeningInterpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test ResultsCan 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-FreeIs celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic TestingIs there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and DisordersIs 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 BeveragesDistilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free DietFree recipes: Gluten-Free RecipesWhere can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.For Additional Information: Subscribe to: Journal of Gluten Sensitivity
Ha, thanks for the bit of comic relief I didn't know about the DC yahoo group; I'd be willing to give it a try to meet some gluten-free people my own age. I've been to the meetings for the Gluten free DC meetup group, but the age range seems to range from much older than myself to much younger. My good friends are very indulgent of my "little diet" (their words), but sometimes they ask what's the harm if I just eat a little bit of gluten. It's been a little frustrating. As for hanging around restaurants, my job keeps me far too busy. I routinely work 60-80 hours a week, which doesn't leave much time for lunching and lurking, but I will give it a try. Thanks!
Before I cut out gluten, a doctor told me I had contact dermatitis, which wasn't too far off the mark knowing what I know now. I would get flare ups all the time, and my life was one long adventure of itchy misery. For a long time I had my baby sister convinced that I was allergic to her.
The skin reaction to gluten is a delayed reaction type. That means symptoms flare up hours, even days after the offending food, and the circulating allergens can persist. You can keep a list if you like, but likely a long list of innocent foods will start looking like the culprit when all that happened is that you ate them within the same itch producing window. I have found that common anti-histamines taken daily will cool the itch. I usually take Zyrtec daily when I relapse, and add Benadryl or Cortisol cream as needed.
For years I was down to about one Zyrtec maybe every other week but the past few months I've experienced a flare up and I've needed it daily. I was sure my body had re-booted because to my knowledge I was still eating gluten free but I only just realized that the yummy honey mustard in the cafeteria was the culprit. It's been 5 days, and I'm down to a zyrtec every other day. From past experience I know it takes about 2 weeks to a month to get my body back to normal.
Things will get better for you too. Read labels very carefully, beware of "natural seasoning" "malt" "other spices", and I've found that I feel like magic and sunshine when the food coloring is gone. When in doubt, don't eat/drink it. And it might feel annoying, but ask people exactly what they put into any dish they serve you. You'd be surprised the flour ridden shortcuts people will use to seem like culinary whizzes when trying to impress a crowd. And lastly, it's not rude to refuse to eat something you don't trust. It's your health, you have a right to not feel crappy just because they feel generous.
I'm living in the lovely cosmopolitan city of DC feeling absolutely constrained by my gluten free lifestyle. For once it would be pleasant to meet a charismatic, well-educated gluten free man in the 28-35 year old range. Are you out there? I'm looking for my celiac soul mate, or at least a new friend I don't have to explain the food rules to over and over again