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New To This - A Few Questions
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I was actually diagnosed with celiac disease in 1998 but after a misunderstanding between my PCP and myself (I hadn't realized that he had tested me, let alone that the results were very positive), and because I was pretty much symptom free, I did not take on the gluten-free diet at that point. Now, after losing my 23w old fetus and nearly my life to pneumoccal sepsis, my previous celiac disease diagnosis has come back to the forefront. I just started the diet 2 days ago and seem to be doing okay - my family eats a wholesome diet with much cooked from scratch so I am hoping with keeping an eye out, we wil manage.

I am worried about accidental exposures though through flavourings and coloring etc. For example, do I have to worry about any sodas? I am also wondering about food prep. The rest of my family are staying on a regular diet for now (we are in the process of having my 2 young children tested). Do I need to worry about touching pasta that may be cooked for them, or cereals that I serve them? What about my breadmaker? It has been previously used with wheat flour, do I have to trash it, or will a thorough cleaning do? It seems to me like a stupid question, but I just don't want to miss anything. I am sick and tired of being so utterly exhausted and really want this diet to work for me.

I also enjoy baking but was quite overwhelmed at the store yesterday trying to work out what gluten-free ingredients I needed to have in. There are so many different flours ... I would mainly be making cookies with my kids and probably some bread for me. What ingredients should I make sure I have in my cupboards?

Thank you so much

Heather

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Heather,

I have been on a gluten-free diet for 22 years but only recently realized the dangers of cross contamination. I have my own toaster now, my own pans for cooking. I have gotten rid of all the wooden spoons and plastic spoons and teflon pans which could have contamination.

As far a baking there was a mixture of rice flours on this site a couple of days ago I believe from Connie. You use equal parts asian flour (fine) glutenous flour, and a regular rice flour and substitute that mix for flour in your cookies etc. I did it yesterday for toll house chocolate chip cookies and I took them to a BD party for my niece and no one knew they were gluten-free until I told them. You can purchase the asian rice flour and the glutenous flour at an Asian Market and the cost is much more reasonable then at the health food stores.

You must be very careful using the same mayo, peanut butter etc, as your other family members may have used those products and contaminated them. I really didn't think this was possible until I was having problems and when they tested my blood it showed an elevation of gluten levels. Since I have been more careful they have dropped below 20.

I hope this helps a little, I am sure more people will give you suggestions to help you. Hang in there.

Kathy, NJ

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I've heard about some "Bob's Red Mill" (or similar) flour...this way you don't need many different flours. One common baking ingredient is xanthan gum, but I would suggest using mixes at the beginning -- some of them can be really delicious and amazing.

Kathy made some good cross-contamination suggestions. Get new pots, pans, toaster oven, wooden spoons, collander, etc. You do need to be conscious of what you touch. If you're making a gluten-free and regular pasta at the same time, make sure that a utensil you use to stir the regular pasta doesn't touch the gluten-free one. Don't put anything in the microwave or on a countertop--use a plate. Don't double-dip anything (cream cheese, butter, pb, jelly....don't remember if this was mentioned). Finally, don't eat anything that you question. I don't cook gluten-free...well, don't cook beyond using mixes, so I can't really help, three. Good luck.

-celiac3270

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I've been gluten-free for a couple months now and I'm finally getting a handle on what I like/don't like. It takes a lot of experimenting. The best bread I've made so far is a variation of the four flour recipe in Gluten Free Gourmet by Bette Hagman. It has tapioca flour, corn starch, garfava flour (made with garbaonzo bean and fava bean) and I use glutenous rice flour rather than sorghum flour for the fourth flour. I also had to adjust a bit for elevation by using a little less water. But the bread tastes like high-quality white bread, good texture and taste. You can modify it by adding raisins and cinnamon, or by adding onion powder and sprinkling dehydrated onions on it, etc and so forth. Only by experimenting will you find what works for you.

As for the bread machine- I found that most gluten-free bread works better if you don't use the bread machine. Typically gluten-free bread works much better with just one rising rather than two, so I just use our bread machine to make wheat flour bread for the family and I make my own bread in a pan by hand.

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    • Honestly, I would not trust the school to provide a gluten-free meal except for fruit, salads, veggies, etc. I sub in a school cafeteria and I swear everything is breaded or on bread. Utensils are shared. They're very clean but unless you have a very knowledgeable person in there, I just wouldn't chance it. I found a slim Jim type snack that says gluten-free on it. If you want to give me your email or FB account, I can send you some very valuable info on 504's though. They carry the student right through college. I kept a copy of what a friend wrote about her daughter being in a sorority and just how the 504 helped immensely. But, I would definitely get one and still be prepared to pack a lunch. All our meals are delivered frozen and we just hear them up. If your school actually fixes food, that's different. 
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    • Hi Nobody, Welcome to the forum!  I noticed you said you have been avoiding wheat products.  That's good, but are you avoiding rye and barley also?  Wheat, rye, and barley are the 3 grains that cause reactions in celiac patients.  About 10% also react to oats. If you haven't had the full celiac antibodies test panel, it might be worthwhile getting that done now.  The ttg is just a basic test and is generally followed up by an endoscopy or the full celiac panel. I wouldn't worry a lot about getting cancer.  That doesn't happen often. It is possible some of the other grains you might be eating are contaminated.  A group did a test on several off the shelf products a few years ago that would not normally be thought of as having gluten and found some actually did have low levels of gluten.  Things like corn meal for example.    
    • I can not help you with the the 504 plan, but I do know that I would do it.  My daughter is 15 and so far has tested negative for celiac disease, but in the event she does test positive, she will need a 504 plan to help keep her safe.  I am sure other parents will chime in.  This topic has come up repeatedly.  Until then, try a search with the forum.  Lots of people have posted with their comments and experiences.   As far as lunch is concerned, my kid has not purchased a school lunch since the 1st grade.  She says they are gross.  (Poor me!).  But, I would not trust the school to provide a gluten-free lunch.  Sure, they are required by law, but let's face it, who is working in the kitchens, ordering, etc?  I am on a University campus and have called out food service for not following gluten-free safe practices!    I would pack a lunch, at least until her health has stabilized.  The 504 plan is great for extra trips to the bathroom and hand washing.  It provides some protection in the classroom.   Keep advocating for her Mom!  You are doing a great job!  
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