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How Often Do You Eat Out?
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26 posts in this topic

My husband is a bit upset by the fact that we will not be able to eat out as often, or at a wide variety of places. The one consolation is that he loves El Pollo Loco and their whole chicken pieces are gluten-free. So he can still get that and have the whole family eat it! I was just wondering how often you guys eat out. We used to go out at least once a week, and always when we go out shopping, since we travel more than an hour to get to the stores. Now it seems I will be packing more meals and we will have to start having more picnics... B)

I'm not as upset by this aspect as my husband is, but I know the kids will be disappointed to not eat out, since they love it. This will be even harder when we get their test results back and any of them are also celiacs. How do other parents handle eating out with small children who have celiac disease, and their food chices being limited??

Any replies would be very appreciated.

God bless,

Mariann :)

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Hi Mariann:

We usually eat out about every other week. When my daughter was first diagnosed she had a hard time, she always wanted chicken nuggets. Now she is ok with a burger with no bun and french fries from Wendy's. For now that is the only place she will eat :( , but she doesn't seem to mind and hey at least I don't have to cook!!! :D

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Mariann,

Wow, your situation sounds almost exactly like mine, except that there is no El Pollo Loco around here that I am aware of! We don't have to travel so far to reach our grocery stores, but we have been needing to do ALL of the shopping on Saturdays and it often takes five hours! I try to take snacks along to keep myself and the kids happy, and I make a quick dinner after we get home. Even so, we often don't eat until 9:00 or 10:00 at night on Saturdays!

We used to eat out two or three times a week, at least. I'm actually surprised that I'm not particularly upset about having to cook at home all the time now. Traveling is tough, though--I ended up having a whole series of accidents when I visited my family just after Christmas. Right now, I don't trust restaurants at all! I've been doing the burger without a bun thing for the kids, but I'm not really happy with that, and I think they've had at least one accident anyway. If we could find a local Chinese restaurant that could prepare gluten-free food for us, I would be thrilled--but the language barrier is a huge problem! My older boy still asks for chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese, but I explain that those foods contain gluten, which will make him sick. He accepts this, but I'm sure that will change as he gets older!

This probably isn't particularly helpful, but I just thought I'd let you know that I can relate!

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Hi Mariann,

I'm the Celiac in our family and we still eat out regularly (once or twice a week). Eating out is a social outlet that I am not about to give up. At first my husband was always asking do you mind if I order pizza or what ever non-gluten-free food he was getting. My theory is I feel much better on this diet so I do what it takes for me to be well fed on gluten-free foods. I don't mind what anyone else eats. When I was first diagnosed,I talked to most of the local restaurants to figure out which ones would be easy for me to eat at, which ones were hard, and then the impossible ones. We no longer go to the pizza place or Chinese - too hard to eat at those. Otherwise we eat everything. I bring hot Baked Potatoes, chips, condiments, etc. based on what that restaurant can do for gluten-free food. I also have a stash of Mommy snacks in the car just in case I get stuck with out a great option at a new restaurant.

The only real problems I have anymore come from my toddler trying to force feed me her food. Gotta love when they learn to share! Plus my hands react when I touch her non-gluten-free food. Between that and the fact that I am a taste test cook I think it might be safer for me to eat out- just kidding. I take a taste of whatever I am making to see if it is alright, and just last night I ate a really yummy non-gluten-free pasta noodle because I wasn't paying attention.

As for shopping, the local store carries some gluten-free products, but the specialisty store is 1 1/2 hrs away and tehy carry everything. I try to go to the speciality store once a month. I'm learning to ration my goodies to make them last all month.

I'm about to start on-line food ordering. Has anyone had much luck ordering the gluten-free foods on-line? It sounds easier than the long drive.

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Thanks for your responses guys, I really appreciate it.

I am going to be eating out on Wednesday of next week. My daughter was invited to her friends 5th birthday party at our local Perko's. They don't have very many gluten-free foods and they serve bread with everything. I've tried asking them not to put the bread on the plate, but it has never worked before, so I don't hold out much hope. Except for one thing that is new, they are under new ownership, and the new owner is very eager to please. I am hoping I can work things out. I plan to go in a head of time and speak to them about my situation. I can deal with it, but I expect it will be harder to eat out if any of my kids also need gluten-free. They live on chicken nuggets and french fries!

As for shopping online, I only get the foods I can't find at any of the stores within driving distance. I do not drive to the out of town stores just to shop, we fit the shopping trips in when we have to travel there for other appointments (usually doctor appts.). This saves on travel expenses. I don't like having to pay for shipping unless I have to. I have not noticed much of a price difference online, versus the store, but the shipping is always extra, so...

Mariann

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Sarah,

You mentioned that your son missed having macaroni and cheese. I've tried a box mix called "Mac & Chreese" which is gluten free. It's made with brown rice pasta. I've used the alfredo style one with organic garlic, basil and oregano which I don't know that he would care for. Their web site is www.chreese.com. I purchased this at a local health food store in Oklahoma City. I don't know where you live but I assume it somewhere in the east after reading some of your comments. This is manufactured in Vermont so maybe it might be available to you. My children are grown but I too miss the simple little things that I ate growing up. I have found when we eat out we eat out we tend to eat more mexican food because so much of it is corn based.

I enjoy your comments on the forum. You really seem to have read extensively about celiac. I was diagnosed three years ago but have not done my homework as well as I should have.

I'm still looking for a decent bread for sandwiches. Any suggestions?

Thanks.........................Judy

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Judy, thank you so much for the tip! I just checked out the website for "Mac & Chreese," and it looks like something I will definitely want to try for my kids! I live near Philadelphia, so I expect I should be able to find it somewhere around here. Thank you for the compliment as well--like Mariann just posted in another thread, I absorb medical knowledge like a sponge when the subject interests me. I'm sorry that I don't have any great recommendations in the bread department; I eat very little bread now. I have never been much of a sandwich person (except for peanut butter!), so now I just slather peanut butter on a Lundberg brand rice cake. It's really good--and it sort of reminds me of the flavor of peanut butter on saltines, which was a childhood favorite of mine. I hope you are doing well!

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I just wanted to share with you guys that I had a very nice lunch today at Mimi's Cafe restaraunt. I had a tuna and avocado sandwich and had them substitute a bed of lettuce for the bread. I explained that I am gluten intolerant and can't eat any bread at all. They brought it to me and verified that there was absolutely no bread anywhere on my plate. Not even any crumbs! :D It came with a choice of fries, baked potato, mashed potatoes, fresh fruit or muffin. So I had some nice fresh watermelon, cantalope, honeydew and orange slices. It was very nice, and I really enjoyed it. I was a little nervous about going there, since they serve to every table a wonderful bowl of carrot cake slices and french rolls. I was not happy with the thought watching my family eat them, but I wanted a meal that I knew would be gluten-free. When the bread bowl came I sent it to the other end of the table and once my food got there I never thought about it at all. I can only hope my experience on Wednesday is an agreeable one. We have to go out of town almost everyday this week and that means a lot of eating out! But thursday it will be in the evening when we finish the doctors appointment so I can get Outback Steakhouse!

Thanks everyone for their responses.

God bless,

Mariann

Oh and if you think about it tomorrow please keep my son in prayer. He will be having his left sinus operated on around 11am. I know he will be fine, but it is always a good idea to pray! I wonder if the sinus problem is caused by the celiac? Still waiting for the kids test results...

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Mariann, your son will be in my prayers :)

Lily

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Hi everyone,

I eat out everyday for lunch and then Friday and Saturday night for dinner. At P.F. Chang's, you can request a gluten-free menu. Therefore, I am able to enjoy Chinese food once again. With all the new emphasis on Atkins and carbs, you can get hamburgers at Hardees and McDonald's without the bun. The chili at Wendy's is gluten-free. Then, there is always the salad anywhere (carry my own dressing or squueze lemon juice on my salad in a pinch). At Heavenly Ham or Honey-baked Ham, the glaze on the ham has wheat starch on it. However, you can request in advance that they cut you some ham prior to the glazing process. I do this and then ask that they make me a salad from my ham.

Eating out is a social time that I refuse to give up. I enjoy my friends and their company. I am very fortunate to have so many restuarants that are willing to cater to my needs. I am very sensitive to gluten. I was hospitalized for 11 days prior to my diagnosis because I was so sick. My antibody levels were over 200 and now they aer in the normal range (less than 30). This is proof enough for me that I do not have to give up eating out as long as I am careful about my selections. Tip: Be very cautious about steaks. For instance, at Ruby Tuesday's the steaks are received by the restuarant pre-marinated and the marinade includes wheat starch.

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I haven't been around much the past few weeks, for a few reasons. I mentioned above that my son was having surgery. His surgery went great, but we have been having to go out of town practically every other day for doctors appointments and have had to eat out a lot. It seems like I get contaminated everytime (except the one time at Mimi's Cafe). I have not got to start feeling better yet, and I just really want to feel good.

I had a bad experience at Outback Steakhouse. I explained to the waiter that I an gluten intolerant and can not have any bread product near my plate! I ordered a steak and a baked potato, and a salad (with no croutons) and they put croutons on my salad. I sent the salad back, but I have a feeling they just picked them off the salad and gave it back, since I did have a reaction. I couldn't really tell, since the restaraunt was so dark I could see my food very well. Then when my steak came (I ordered it cooked medium) it was completely raw inside. I had to send it back. I'm worried about the grill. Maybe the steak was contaminated from the grill?

So the last two times I have packed food for myself. It was a little odd sitting in McDonald's eating homemade veggie beef stew! :rolleyes: But at least I felt like I wasn't getting any gluten. I didn't even touch my kids nuggets.

Mariann

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HI

I've been gluten-free for about 4 years now and no longer eat out. I still enjoy going out to restaurants with friends but eat at home first. I know there are gluten-free restaurants springing up (THANK GOD) on the east coast but are none where I live. I happen to be a restaurant inspector and take advantage of this and read labels, question cooks and waitstaff... please everyone remember to remind the kitchen staff to change their gloves when preparing your food (salads, etc) and make sure they are not frying burgers, steaks and chicken on the same grill as the one they use to toast the buns and cook the items with marinades. I've had some bad experiences with staff that think they are being helpful but just do not understand the extent of the care they must have. I envy those of you that are in areas where they actually HAVE a gluten-free menu or even understand what that means! Someday gluten-free restaurants will be as common as Burger King as more and more people are being diagnosed with CS. I can't wait!

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I was just recently diagnosed and went out to eat last night for the second time since I found out. I called beforehand, and spoke to the chef, who informed me that my only option would be to get the baked chicken. So, I went, ordered it and when it came out an onion ring from another person's meal was on the chicken. I panicked, but felt I couldn't send the whole meal back (I was out to dinner with my boyfriend's parents) so I just ate it. Can that onion ring do a lot of harm? What would anyone else do in that sort of situation? This kind of thing makes me think that I can't really enjoy going out to eat anymore, which was one of my favorite things to do. :(

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Hi Judy -

I just registered for the forum today and noticed you are looking for a good sandwich bread...the best I have found is a bread mix by "The Gluten Free Pantry," called "Favorite Sandwich Bread." You have to make it yourself but it's the closest thing that I have found to real bread and is really pretty good! :D

I know you posted awhile ago, so I hope it helps!

I'm not sure where you live, but I am able to purchase it at Whole Foods Grocery Store, and I believe they have a website.

Laurie

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Mariann,

Have you received the tests results on your children yet?

Your question about eating out was interesting for me to reflect on. About 6 months after my diagnosis (3 years ago), I completely stopped eating out. I bet I went a year without eating out more than 2 times. Frankly, I was terrified - and was sensitive to so many foods that eating out was simply not pleasurable. I am, however, a very social person. So I started inviting friends over to my house on Friday nights. We had guests every other Friday night for months - and even though I'm a working mom (with a hardly-ever-home spouse), I just made it work.

I look back on those days with fondness. I'm busier and healthier now, and I eat out a couple times a month - always at the same restaurants. My daughter, age 7, almost never eats out, and that's fine with her. We have her friends over here 6 days a week - or we ship her out to their house (w/ a food bag!).

I have a business trip next week to rural, eastern Washington - and it's remarkable to me now how easily I just pack my own food for a 24 hour absence from home (as compared to the panic & stress I would go through a couple years ago). Laurie

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Hi Lorie Ann 13,

Thanks so much for the information about sandwich bread. I live in Oklahoma City and we have an Akins Health Food Store that carries several of the "Gluten Free Pantry" products. I'm not sure about that particular bread mix but I have one of their (The Gluten Free Pantry) catalogs. You said you "have to make it yourself". Do you use a bread machine or just the oven? I've both, so that wouldn't be a problem. All the breads that I've tried seem to fall apart so hopefully this will be better. I'm not a big sandwhich eater but just to have an occassional slice of bread or to use it for a grilled hamburger would be great. It's been about three years since I've had a decent tasting slice of bread.

Guess we all have to stick together in this situation don't we!! I've really found this site so useful. I think I've learned more since I joined last month than I have in the past three years. Thanks again for your thoughtfulness..........Judy

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Hi jaimek,

I love the picture of the puppy! How did you do that? Anyway, regarding your dining experience, I had a similar experience. I went to two restaurants and ordered their salad with NO CROUTONS! Guess what, yes, and although I was very upset, I simply said please this will harm me and she took it back and brought out a new salad. I did explain that just removing the croutons will still make me sick. I do make a point to be more generous with my tips. But I have found that most waitresses are willing to relay messages to the kitchen staff but somewhere along the line mistakes can and do happen.

So I would not eat the onion ring. But I do understand how hungry you must have been and perhaps you felt awkward with your boyfriend's family. I would anyway. But I have worked too long and hard to get better that I will not contaminate myself, especially when dining out. B)

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Hi Tammy. Thanks for the response. I actually did not eat the onion ring but ate the chicken that it was touching. My doctor already yelled at me for that one, but you learn from your mistakes. Since I never really had severe problems to begin with, it is hard for me to tell whether I ingested gluten or not. That is bad and good. I don't get sick but I also don't know if my body is healing correctly. Guess I will just have to wait to get my next endoscopy to see if my intestine is improving. As for the picture of the dog, all you do is go to "my controls" and then into "avatar settings." There are all sorts of pictures to choose from. Enjoy :)

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Mariann- that stinks that you had a bad experiance at Outback. I eat there quite a bit. The first few times I went I tried and tried to explain to the waitress that my food had to be gluten free, and that they had to be very careful. Then I realized they had a gluten free menu. When I request the menu they seemed to take my condition much more serious. I have two daughters, so when we go to McDonalds or any other fast foo chain I rearely even eat. I tried to get a hamburger patty and some fries once and the same person that was putting on the buns grabbed my patty and you could see some crumbs in it. I just don't feel comfortable at fast food restraunts. I have become accustomed to reciving a few stares as I pull out my small travel cooler with my gluten-free food in a restraunt.

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I am brand new to this site, but was diagnosed almost 2 years ago after 9 months of being extremely sick. Typical story, I'm sure. I was down to 100 pounds when my doctors finally figured it out. I have severe reactions to any gluten, so eating out was really scary at first. Now I am not at all shy about speaking to waiters and waitresses, and asking for the kitchen manager if I have any doubts about the waitperson's understanding of my needs. If I know in advance which restaurant I'm going to, I get a copy of the menu and call ahead and speak to the kitchen manager or chef. I even ask them to read the ingredients to me over the phone, so I know what to order before I get there. Fast food is a little trickier. I live in Hawaii where there is lots of Asian food, which means lots of soy sauce. Thai food is the easiest for me to order, because many of the dishes don't use soy sauce. Our local Outback has been very easy to deal with, and they now know me and are extra careful with my food. I don't hesitate to ask lots of questions or to send things back to the kitchen at any restaurant, and I have never encountered any resistance to this. Restaurant folks want you to have a good experience and come back again. Those who take good care of me get huge tips and a sincere thank you as I'm leaving the restaurant. I also contacted the manager of my local grocery store (Safeway), because they already stocked a lot of Bob's Red Mill products, many of which are gluten free. I specifically asked for sorghum flour, since I use it in a lot of my baking. The manager not only ordered that, but now stocks Red Mill gluten free baking mix and gluten free bread mix. The bread mix can be made right in my bread machine, and I use the baking mix as a direct substitute for flour in all my regular non-gluten-free recipes. What I miss the most since I've been on the gluten-free diet is the convenience of just running through the drive-through and grabbing a quick bite. If I don't have my own bread already made, I often use corn tortillas for sandwiches, kind of like wraps. Just zap them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften them up, and they work great for any sandwich filling you want to use.

It's nice to know there are others of you out there who have the same questions, concerns, and frustrations that I have. I'm looking forward to checking in frequently.

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I love to eat at a small place called 400 Grill. It is a Mom and Pop restaurant, owned and operated by one retired couple. Each meal is made individually, and all of the cans have ingredient labels that they let me read. They are careful if I specify what I cannot have, to not let it come near my plate. My son works a Sonic, so he helped me educate the people there about the difference between Atkins and CS.

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eh... I ate out too much as a kid, so I don't really WANT to eat out. I don't let celiac disease stop me from going out to restaurants - but if it's a place I'm not sure of, I just eat ahead, and go for the company. Eating's a social event, and while I might not join in with the mechanics of eating, I can join in with the socializing. My husband goes out much more often than I do - often with coworkers at lunch (and if I go, the same thing applies - I go more for the company than the food and make other arrangements for my food), or getting takeout at the chinese place across the street.

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My 11 yo grandson is the Celiac in our family; however, that doesn't stop us from eating out. More and more restaurants are becoming familiar with celiac disease. Many fast food chains (Wendy's, McDonald's, Steak & Shake, TGIFridays, etc. will serve meat products w/o the bun and can usually tell you if Fries are cooked in separate oil, etc. Plus Wendy's can provide a list of gluten-free products. At other restaurants my daughter or I talked to the chef/cook and explain the situation. Chicken, steak, chops, ground beef, can be cooked in separate pan or grill not used for other foods, baked potatoes are safe, Fries are good if cooked in separate oil, vegetables are usually ok, but applesauce, cottage cheese, fresh fruit, etc. can be substituted. We have even found a Mexican Restaurant (home cooked meals) that caters to my grandson's needs, and he loves Mexican. We have had good experiences at Outback Steak House. At first we were hesitant to approach the chef/cook, but found they are very willing to accommodate. With celiac disease becoming so prevalent, more restaurants are becoming aware of this problem. Of course, there are things my grandson would like, but can't have, but that's true at home, too. Regarding mac & cheese, we buy quinoa macaroni (& spaghetti) at the health food store and use Velveeta to make a cheese sauce. There are a number of gluten-free spaghetti sauces that are gluten-free free, and we use our failed bread recipes to make bread crumbs for the meatballs as well as meatloaf, chicken breading, etc. Sorry, didn't mean to rattle on so, but I don't like for people to be intimidated by celiac disease. Like any other health problem of this type, where there is a will there is a way. Don't deprive yourself of eating out -- just do a little investigation and don't hesitate to ask. By the way, my grandson was diagnosed at 9 mos of age, but we almost lost him before they discovered the problem. Today, he is a big, strong, healthy boy who is active in sports, takes his own cake to birthday parties, and his own lunches to sports camps, but this doesn't stop him and his friends don't mind. Hope this is an encouragement to you.

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My husband was diagnosed 10/03 and still doesn't feel up to eating out. He's afraid that the restaurant will make a mistake and he'll end up eating something with gluten in it unknowingly and will feel sick, etc. He's even afraid of new foods I make at home, like unbreaded veal cutlets, sauted in a pan in plain butter/olive oil. This new diet/condition has put the fear of God in him.

I spoke to the man who owns our favorite restaurant that we used to go to, and he seemed less than interested in the gluten-free diet. He didn't know what celiac disease was despite being in the restaurant business for 30 years. He said he'd "try" to have gluten-free food for my husband and that the fry cooker was for fries only, but he insisted that his fries didn't have a gluteny coating on them. I didn't get a real good feeling myself when he & I had this conversation. He wouldn't take the CSA hand out that I was trying to give him.

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Jaimek -

I got diagnosed about 2 years ago. It's taken alot of learning and I continue learning everyday. If I notice contamination when I order in a restaurant I send it back now (my fiancee used to do it because i wouldnt speak up) and speak with the manager when I do. This way I know, hopefully, that the problem will be fixed not just covered up. A lot of what made me speak up was realizing how good I could feel when I was totally gluten-free, and I didn't want to get sick at all. Hope this may help. Also, don't be embarassed I found that the people around me who love me understand completely and also try to help 100%. I continue to eat out because I refuse to let this stand in my way of living my life the way I want to.

Someone asked about ordering foods online.

I order a lot of food online, mainly from the gluten free trading company. I live in Atlanta so I do have lots of health food stores around. But I have still found that some of the better tasting foods aren't carried anywhere, like BBQ sauce (which I usually buy from Outback now!) But I have never had problems ordering online. I also buy gluten-free beer online from New York, and it tastes pretty close to the way I remember beer. As far as hamburger buns and donuts and stuff like that I really prefer Kinnikinnick's foods.

Hope any of this may be useful. I've loved learning about more places to eat from all of you. This forum is wonderful. I wish it didn't take me so lond to find it!

Best Wishes, :)

MURDA

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    • He might have celiac disease (or just the start of it).  He might have Non-celiac Gluten Intolerance, which is real, but there is not a test for it.  He might have other food intolerances (milk, dyes, etc.).  You have been to an allergist and he did not positive for allergies (I assume wheat was included in the panel.).  Trialing a diet is fine, even a gluten free diet, when you ruled out everything.  But you have that quirky TTG result.  I gave you the link from the MayoClinic (top notch) and their algorithm recommends further evaluation.  An allergist is not a celiac expert nor is primary care doctor.  You should get a referral to a Ped GI.  If she/he suggests a gluten-free diet, then fine.  Because if he improves then, the GI will give you a diagnosis.  By the time you see the GI, he might have ordered another round of celiac blood tests, genetic tests, or he might want to order an endoscopy.  This case is not clear and that is a bummer.   The cure is the diet.  But he will be going to school and a diagnosis will pave the way for accommodations all the way to college.  And anyone here will tell you that once you get off gluten (and that is the root cause), it is awful....horrific... to go back on it for further testing.   This is his life and yours.  You must do what is best for your family.  I wish you well and we are here to support you.  I care.  I am mom.  
    • This just published: Highlights   • Kernel-based gluten contamination in oats skews gluten analysis results. • Grinding inadequately disperses gluten to allow a single accurate analysis. • Lognormal distribution of the test results renders a single test unrepresentative.   Abstract Oats are easily contaminated with gluten-rich kernels of wheat, rye and barley. These contaminants are like gluten ‘pills’, shown here to skew gluten analysis results. Using R-Biopharm R5 ELISA, we quantified gluten in gluten-free oatmeal servings from an in-market survey. For samples with a 5–20 ppm reading on a first test, replicate analyses provided results ranging <5 ppm to >160 ppm. This suggests sample grinding may inadequately disperse gluten to allow a single accurate gluten assessment. To ascertain this, and characterize the distribution of 0.25-g gluten test results for kernel contaminated oats, twelve 50 g samples of pure oats, each spiked with a wheat kernel, showed that 0.25 g test results followed log-normal-like distributions. With this, we estimate probabilities of mis-assessment for a ‘single measure/sample’ relative to the <20 ppm regulatory threshold, and derive an equation relating the probability of mis-assessment to sample average gluten content.   The full article can be accessed at Gluten Free Watchdog if are a subscriber.
    • If I may say something right now, the suggestions, advice, and information provided to you in this forum is just that: suggestions, advice, and information.  What has been provided can be used as tools to help figure out what is going on.  Please don't go away disgruntled or too frustrated.  There have been times myself when advice and suggestions was given to me, and I was not sure what to do about all the information.  I had to think and pray on it before I could act on it because my brain was functioning enough to do something about it right away.  It was on survival mode.  Forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe this is where you are at right now.  You are not sure where to go or what to do, so your body is just doing what it can to function day in, day out.  If this assumption is correct, I GET IT!  It is not fun, neither is it easy. Don't give up.  Things will get better.  Take all of this information and go to your primary doctor to see if you both can put your heads together and figure this out.  The answer may not come right away, but be patient.  it could be everything coming at you at once that making your body go into hypersentive mode.  I don't know, because I am not in your situation.  Until you go to the doctor, do what you know to do and God will take care of the rest.  There is something that has kept me sane through this past year: It will be okay because God is in control.  He knows what is happening to you and your future is going to be.  When you have a good day, enjoy those moments.  When you have a bad day, bring back to memory those good days and see if you can do something for another person.  I have found this year that if I focus on someone else through the bad times especially things don't seem as grim. I will be praying for you.
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