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Living With A Celiac Spouse: How We Cope
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First, we are new to the forum and thanks to everyone here posting because lots of mysteries have been solved. I wanted to share our process with anyone here who is the spouse/partner of a person with Celiacs. So, in short "this is how we roll" :)

Ill give you are really quick history but thats just it. Its not to make anyone who has Celiacs jealous or anything. Me (husband) does not have Celiacs. Before my wife was diagnosed, she dated, fell in love and married me who pretty much hates to eat. Its not that i hate eating the act of it. Its that I can literally eat the same thing every day and not care at all. In fact I used to eat a bacon cheeseburger every single day no matter if it was at a 5 star restaurant or a diner. LOL. I used to say I had the palate of a 6 year old. id be fine on chickie fingers and fries. She, was more or less the same. We are not "foodies" nor have we ever been food motivated. One thing we had in common was the perplexity of our friends and family speaking of foods like they were oxygen, comparing dining guides, and living for The____at Nobu or whatever. In fact we lived in NYC for years and neither of us had or cared to own a Zagats guide!! To most people that is not only heresy but strange!!

So flash forward to the typical self diagnosis. Yup, of course no doctor could diagnose her problem. They considered options...and cut HER SPLEEN OUT!! But, never connected the dots. Anyway we figure out by basic scientific trial and error with some help trolling here that she definitely had Celiacs.

Now if you DO NOT HAVE CELIACS READ CAREFULLY. From my perspective, a person who can eat whatever they want (in theory) When I saw my wife SUFFERING with every mysterious symptom you can imagine I made the OBVIOUS decision. NO GLUTEN FOR ME. Yeah, that's right. Why? Because I am not a FU*&ING BABY who needs to make her condition worse, and life more complicated by eating "my own food." What's more is that Celiacs people are alienated everywhere, and to be further alienated at HOME is insanity! Really, reading some of the threads about people who have lost relationships, jobs, friends, etc because of a Medical Condition makes me very sad. I would be very hurt, angry and sad if i discovered i made my wife ill for days or weeks because of a cross contamination or a kiss after eating some buttered rolls with beer battered bread crumbs fried in Wine sauce!! Seriously folks, I know I have the advantage because I am not a "foodie" but I honestly believe if your partner/spouse doesn't go Gluten Free for safety, health, comaradarie, and efficiency sake you really need to consider what "love" is. I wont rant but has it come to, "honey I love you, but not as much as Pasta, fresh hot bread, and mac and cheese" that is shallow.

I know there is no food on the planet that tastes so good I am willing to have my wife physically and mentally ill for a week afterwards!!

We decided NOT to struggle with it. Once we realized she had Celiacs it was POW! A switch went down and we cut out the danger foods and we literally deny they exist because it isnt worth the pain the suffering.

Some of our own ideas: We use/carry plastic forks spoons etc when we are at home and away. We use paper plates, and we RARELY IF EVER go out to eat. Its just not worth the hassle. Think about it. We cant enjoy a meal when we are stressing over cross contamination, lack of knowledge by staff, and the worst: waiters that will say anything rather than admit they dont know!! Its just our perspective and we realize this isnt feasible for everyone.

We have notices that when we get "crazy" with eating, like try something that is outside of the tested stuff we start to have weird reactions and have to start analyzing ingredients and we drive ourselves nuts. So we try to stick to the same things we know work

Finally the best part is I have benefitted MASSIVELY by going gluten free!! What started as an act in solidarity and love resulted in my chronic migraines being reduced to record low levels. I have more energy than ever and throughout the day my blood sugar seems so much more stable without carbs! I can't believe how GREAT it is to be without the WHEAT!!! ITs crap! I used to feel sleepy after big italian meals and pizza etc, since Gluten Free not at ALL!! I sleep better, feel more focused and emotionally HAPPY!! Go figure? We are starting to think I had some type of sensitivity as well?

Who knows?

Anyway we just wanted to share our opinion on this and really believe that one person can't really have celiacs. Its such a sinister disease that it has to be controlled as a unit.

Imagine if someone in the house was deathly allergic to peanuts and the other person had a peanut addiction? Or if one person had a rare sunlight disorder and their spouse insisted on living in Barbados? Lets get real!

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You are wonderful!

I think quite a few families with celiac children end up going totally gluten free in the home, but I don't think that many do so when it's just a husband and wife (or two people in the home).

We didn't go totally gluten-free, but my husband isn't really much of a bread eater, nor much of a snacker. It was easy, last August, when I put the other toaster in the basement and replaced it with my new gluten-free one -- I don't know when in five years I've ever seen him make a piece of toast. He does eat sandwiches for his lunch downtown, but just takes the whole loaf of bread, condiments, lunch meat, to work on Monday and keeps in the workplace refrigerator.

We do have his and hers pasta -- will make the spaghetti sauce and sausage (all gluten-free, of course), then have two pots of boiling water and two colanders -- one for his noodles, one for mine. That's pretty easy to control. He doesn't much care about munchies, and is pretty hooked on whatever rice-based salty crunchy things I have around -- or he's always careful to get the "right" tortilla chips or potato chips, etc.

It is a challenge, and it's definitely not well understood (I've had staff in restaurants rolling their eyes when I start asking ingredients questions). I still have a friend (albeit, not a really close one) who thinks it's just the latest fad diet, like low-carb/Atkins was a couple years back. Doesn't get it that it is a debilitating medical condition. Fortunately for me, my family members get it and keep separate toaster and pans marked "gluten free" and stashed away for when I come to visit.

Anyway, three cheers for you!

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WOW -- good for you for being a big enough person to realize that she needs this diet to feel better. I can think of quite a few people close to me who really have no desire to understand (if someone truly does not understand that is one thing. But if someone is ignorant enough to know what is wrong and make a point of to ridicule/humiliate/guilt me... shame on them). It is quite admirable to do that.

I really enjoy reading other people's situations in terms of one partner has celiac and the other does not. I definitely think it is an issue of "do what works for you". For me, I make 90% of the meals and my cooking repertoire includes no gluten (I am the one with celiac). My fiance rarely cooks, but if he does it is gluten free. If need be, he will have a glutinous hotdog/hamburger bun (but usually goes without). If he needs pizza he orders the regular kind and picks up something for me to eat from the grocery store on the way home.

All in all, thanks for sharing that :)

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You and my boyfriend, dear husband of Celiac, should high five! We've been dating for a few months and up until that point he had no idea what Celiac Disease was. I am a strict strict strict NO GLUTEN girl, and not only did he pick up on it quickly, but did research *imagine that* and wanted to learn as much as he could about keeping me safe and healthy. Flash forward to our decision a couple weeks ago to move in together, without having the "gluten free kitchen" talk.... Yes, I know, whoops... But what did he do, he took all of the glutenous food to work to quickly eat and get rid of, he threw away the pasta in the pantry, and will now only buy foods that he either knows by reading (very carefully and learned-ly) are safe for me or by asking me about questionable ones. I didn't ask him to do any of this!!! I was shocked. (I swooned a bit, I will admit)

He now even gets caught up educating others who don't know about Celiac disease and lurking gluten! (well, he partly likes to know more than everyone else, so that helps, heh)

There are conscientious and thoughtful people out there, looking out for our guts! It helps the Celiacs like me, who feel still a bit alienated and judged by many, feel a little more accepted :)

-tianna

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You get five stars!!!!!!!!!!

Wish you would teach seminars on this subject.

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You seem like a great, supportive husband, and that's wonderful. I'm sure your wife is very grateful for the lengths you have gone to.

That said, I think you're being pretty hard on people who don't give up gluten for their significant others. I live with my fiance, and did before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. We're definitely foodies, both of us. I have not asked him to give anything up. I do most of the cooking around here, so of course what I cook is gluten-free, and he knows I'm not making any gluten-full food again, and he doesn't care, he's a grown up, he can make what he wants. When he does make a sandwich or whatever, he cleans up. He brushes his teeth after he eats. He's extremely careful, he loves me more than I can tell you, and I feel that every day. He is NOT shallow. I cannot imagine a human being treating me better. I think for me to ask him to give up gluten forever would make me feel atrocious, because it would break his heart. I wouldn't want to put him through what I went - and am still at times going - through. If he did it voluntarily, that's fine. He's never made me sick. He's careful because he loves me, just like you gave up gluten because you love your wife.

Furthermore, we absolutely cannot afford to have both of us eating gluten-free. It isn't feasible. We're living paycheck to paycheck as it is, and if we were both using the gluten-free bread and eating the gluten-free cereal, we'd be, well, gluten-free toast. We've certainly leaned more toward gluten-free food in what we buy, and I enjoy baking treats for us to share when we can afford it, but even if we wanted to, it wouldn't be feasible. But we don't want to. So, let's not call everyone who doesn't go gluten-free for a spouse stupid and shallow, okay? Do what works for you.

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I'm in a mixed household like FMcgee. Anything I cook is gluten free, and just about everything I buy is as well. But my husband has his own corner of the kitchen counter for a gluteny cutting board and toaster, and a shelf for granola bars and oatmeal. If he is responsible with his stuff (which he is), why should he be restricted from it? He is a picky eater (not a foodie, but a supertaster) and he really doesn't like a lot of gluten free substitutes. (They don't taste the same, and he's particularly sensitive to bitter tastes, which many gluten-free flours have some of. He is, of course, a good sport, and will at least try muffins I make. ;) ) I wouldn't want him to not have granola bars in the house (he wouldn't eat breakfast) or oatmeal (he wouldn't eat much else in the way of whole grains, and would then snack on unhealthier things).

I completely agree that it shouldn't be seen as 'a problem' to not cook gluteny foods. I completely agree that the "lowest common denominator" is what keeps the celiac healthy. But there isn't only one solution to that question.

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You lost most of your migraines?? that is so cool!

Mine are gone too. I went gluten-free to support my spouse, sure, but a big part of it was that, to be perfectly honest, is that I knew was too lazy to attempt a "mixed" household. I knew I would screw up. gluten-free seemed so much easier. And then I got the huge bonus payoff - no migraines!!! I also have more energy now, hmmmm.

He also needed to give up dairy and that has saved us a lot on the groceries.

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You seem like a great, supportive husband, and that's wonderful. I'm sure your wife is very grateful for the lengths you have gone to.

That said, I think you're being pretty hard on people who don't give up gluten for their significant others. I live with my fiance, and did before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. We're definitely foodies, both of us. I have not asked him to give anything up. I do most of the cooking around here, so of course what I cook is gluten-free, and he knows I'm not making any gluten-full food again, and he doesn't care, he's a grown up, he can make what he wants. When he does make a sandwich or whatever, he cleans up. He brushes his teeth after he eats. He's extremely careful, he loves me more than I can tell you, and I feel that every day. He is NOT shallow. I cannot imagine a human being treating me better. I think for me to ask him to give up gluten forever would make me feel atrocious, because it would break his heart. I wouldn't want to put him through what I went - and am still at times going - through. If he did it voluntarily, that's fine. He's never made me sick. He's careful because he loves me, just like you gave up gluten because you love your wife.

Furthermore, we absolutely cannot afford to have both of us eating gluten-free. It isn't feasible. We're living paycheck to paycheck as it is, and if we were both using the gluten-free bread and eating the gluten-free cereal, we'd be, well, gluten-free toast. We've certainly leaned more toward gluten-free food in what we buy, and I enjoy baking treats for us to share when we can afford it, but even if we wanted to, it wouldn't be feasible. But we don't want to. So, let's not call everyone who doesn't go gluten-free for a spouse stupid and shallow, okay? Do what works for you.

I don't think I could have said this better! :D While I think the original poster should be commended for putting his wife's health first, there is simply no reason, other than having small children around, to have a completely gluten-free household, if one person is not a Celiac. My husband and I do just fine and he has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure there is zero (yes, zero!) CC issues. I even make him sandwiches sometimes with wheaty bread! Imagine that! As long as I thoroughly wash the wheat from my hands, I have never had a reaction so it is possible to accomplish.

The one concession he made, and has made no complaints about, is changing to gluten-free beer himself. I don't drink the stuff at all because the smell of gluten beer is enough to make me really sick. I couldn't get near him for 2 days after he had a beer. Sooooo, he has had fun trying the gluten-free versions and actually likes them just as much. We can actually kiss now without me keeling over! :lol: There are many ways to work things out and I can say without doubt that my dear husband is no f__king baby, either. <_<

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I don't think I could have said this better! :D While I think the original poster should be commended for putting his wife's health first, there is simply no reason, other than having small children around, to have a completely gluten-free household, if one person is not a Celiac. My husband and I do just fine and he has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure there is zero (yes, zero!) CC issues. I even make him sandwiches sometimes with wheaty bread! Imagine that! As long as I thoroughly wash the wheat from my hands, I have never had a reaction so it is possible to accomplish.

The one concession he made, and has made no complaints about, is changing to gluten-free beer himself. I don't drink the stuff at all because the smell of gluten beer is enough to make me really sick. I couldn't get near him for 2 days after he had a beer. Sooooo, he has had fun trying the gluten-free versions and actually likes them just as much. We can actually kiss now without me keeling over! :lol: There are many ways to work things out and I can say without doubt that my dear husband is no f__king baby, either. <_<

Ha! Your last sentence made me laugh out loud.

Gluten-free beer is hard to find where we live, and I don't drink at all, but my fiance has been trying to find it. It's good to know that some of it is just as tasty!

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Ha! Your last sentence made me laugh out loud.

Gluten-free beer is hard to find where we live, and I don't drink at all, but my fiance has been trying to find it. It's good to know that some of it is just as tasty!

It's very tasty, according to my hubby BUT the damn price has gone up! Anheiser-Busch raised their distributor fee and the greedy state I live in just raised the alcohol tax......yeah, go ahead and tax my gluten-free red wine! :angry: So, we got a double whammy and the price (sit down, please!) is $10.80 a six pack! Thank God he doesn't drink that much at all but still! :o

Another good beer is Green's....it's from a micro-brewery in Belgium. Very high alcohol content and hubby loves it but it's even more expensive than the Redbridge.

I think he paid around $6.00 for a PINT so that's special occasion only. At least it keeps him from becoming an alcoholic!

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It's very tasty, according to my hubby BUT the damn price has gone up! Anheiser-Busch raised their distributor fee and the greedy state I live in just raised the alcohol tax......yeah, go ahead and tax my gluten-free red wine! :angry: So, we got a double whammy and the price (sit down, please!) is $10.80 a six pack! Thank God he doesn't drink that much at all but still! :o

Another good beer is Green's....it's from a micro-brewery in Belgium. Very high alcohol content and hubby loves it but it's even more expensive than the Redbridge.

I think he paid around $6.00 for a PINT so that's special occasion only. At least it keeps him from becoming an alcoholic!

WOW. Yeah, my boyfriend doesn't drink a lot either. He's a glass-of-wine-with-dinner guy, and a beer on the weekends while he watches soccer or goes to a football game. At those prices, I doubt we could afford to have him switch to gluten-free beer, and it's not available at any of the bars around here, so he'd still drink the gluteny stuff when he's out anyway. Oh well.

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my hubby also had to deal with my gluten-free changeover while we were dating--and he and his family have been overwhelmingly supportive. you have no idea how much stress it relieves to know that he'll eat where and what i can eat.

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my hubby also had to deal with my gluten-free changeover while we were dating--and he and his family have been overwhelmingly supportive. you have no idea how much stress it relieves to know that he'll eat where and what i can eat.

My boyfriend is more paranoid than I am. He had some gluteny stuff in the house he was really careful with, but he started to get too nervous about it (I get sick for one full month off some ridiculously small amount of gluten) and now he doesn't keep anything in the house. He'll eat it when we're out, but usually not because he doesn't want to have to carry a toothbrush everywhere for kisses. He gets really mad when he hears about people being mean about gluten too. I mean, my father died of cancer almost three years ago. Then we hear about people breaking up with their spouses/significant others over FOOD? If you can't handle a food change, how are you going to handle the big stuff?

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Then we hear about people breaking up with their spouses/significant others over FOOD? If you can't handle a food change, how are you going to handle the big stuff?

I agree - breaking up with someone over this... probably isn't breaking up with someone over THIS. In other words, if Person A dumps Person B because Person B can no longer eat gluten, then Person A had other issues, either with him/herself or with Person B. It's not that big a thing to handle in the grand scheme of life.

I'm still standing firm, though, on the belief that not everyone has to go gluten-free for one's partner. If that's what works for you and your partner, rock on. That's not what works in my relationship, at least for the moment. My partner is wonderful and supportive and is never even the SLIGHTEST bit irritable about my inability to eat at certain restaurants or try certain dishes. He's more likely to be upset with someone else for being rude or unaccommodating than I am. But it doesn't make sense, in our lives right now, for him to go gluten-free. Now, if we end up having a child or two with celiac disease, that might be different, at least at home, but that isn't the case at the moment. We can't afford it, and it isn't stressing me out or making me sick because he's very careful, and I don't see his gluten-eating status as a statement of his commitment.

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I think if you can work it out, a mixed kitchen is great. We do and it is working. But...that said if a person is ultrasensitive, they cannot be well in a house with any gluten.

I know you weren't referring to that. I just think even offering to be gluten-free with all it's headaches is the biggest show of support ever. Saying you'll suffer along with your partner is a very loving thing to do. Let's all support each other's points of view. After all, my opinion isn't the only right opinion.

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I think if you can work it out, a mixed kitchen is great. We do and it is working. But...that said if a person is ultrasensitive, they cannot be well in a house with any gluten.

I know you weren't referring to that. I just think even offering to be gluten-free with all it's headaches is the biggest show of support ever. Saying you'll suffer along with your partner is a very loving thing to do. Let's all support each other's points of view. After all, my opinion isn't the only right opinion.

I agree, and that's my point. There's no one way to do this. I have no problem at all with people who go gluten-free for their loved ones. I think it's sweet, and if that's what it takes for a person to be well, that's what it takes. I just sense that some think that's the only way to do it - including the person who began this post, who said that anyone who doesn't do it his way is stupid and shallow. The only people who could possibly be called stupid and shallow, I think, are the people who are undermining their partners' wellness.

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Hi,

I started seeing a girl not too long ago who has celiac disease. I'm trying to educate myself at the moment and make sure I know exactly how it works, just to take away any risks of me causing her to be sick or anything.

I think its great how you switched the to the gluten free diet with your wife. Taking it on when you don't actually have to, is something not everyone would do. she's actually quite lucky because most people are pretty selfish that way. so I take me hat off to you sir.

I'm seeing this girl i think nearly three months so very early days and I'm still very young, i'm 23, so it's not the same obviously. but if it comes to it being serious and turns into something, which I'm hoping it does, I'd like to be able to do that for her.

Before this, I never knew anyone who was celiac, I had no idea what it was and I feel now that it sounds ignorant to not know what it was, but its not very common, it took me 23 years before I met someone who had it after all. so as much as it absolutely needs to be recognized, I can see why its so unknown to the rest of the public, which I'm seeing now for anyone who has celiac disease must get frustrating sometimes. like when waiters just guess at foods that are gluten free because they don't understand.

what would worry me if i'm honest, would be if she doesn't keep to a gluten free diet, will this cause her to get moody and potentially cause her to fight with me? that may be a stupid question I just don't know how that works. I've read it effects people's moods if you don't keep to the diet strictly, but I don't know how much and I know she has a habit of losing interest in guys fairly quickly because they annoy her and its in the back of my mind could that be a part of it and how can I stop it from happening at this stage if at all. I'm not around long enough to say anything about her diet. she doesn't even know i'm looking it up.

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    • Hello Everyone, This is my first post here and I am writing to seek help from experienced people here. I have been suffering for over 4 years now and still no where close to having a solution/ satisfactory diagnosis of my problem. My problems started in Mar 2012 with sudden diarrhea which would not go away for days. At first, I was given general antibiotics medication which would help bring down the frequency for some days and then it would come back. Since then it has been going on. I am giving a time line and the series of tests and procedures I have gone through. Would like opinion from experienced and experts here. I can send the scans and reports if required. Would really appreciate the help. Male, Indian origin Mar 2012 - onset of symptoms - multiple bouts diarrhea - spaced 3-4 weeks, bloating, weight loss (to start with I was 74 Kgs), GP managed with antibitocs and loperamide for months Dec 2012 - consulted a GI doc towards end of 2012, Colonoscopy done - conclusion was "IBS" - was advised to manage stress. use Rifaximin and immodium Jan 2013 - Aug 2013 kept moderately fine for 3-4 months ..again started getting frequent diarrhea + weight loss (was around 70 Kgs) Oct 2013 - Consulted another doc, MD - stool and blood test - Ecoli and high Eosinophil Count, medication done for 5-6 months, montinored eosinophil from nov - Mar: always kept high.. came down but then again shot up in a month Mar 2014 - Consulted another GI expert - Endoscopy and duodenal biopsy done - H Pylori and Unremarkable Villious pattern, (weight 68 Kgs) - On and Off diarrhea continued. Given: Ivermectin July 2014 - again same doc - Blood test done: High Eosinophil count,  Colonoscopy and Ileum biopsy - preserved villous architecture, features of eosinophilic enteritis; Endoscopy  + duodenal biospy again - numerous H pylori bacteria, Preserved villous crypt ratio, features of eosinophilic enteritis > conclusion: I have eosinophilic enteritis. Started on Prednisolone (steroids) Aug 2014 - 3-4 days of severe diarrhea> weight came down to 65 Kgs. Hospitalised for 3 days - continued on Prednisolonerios Sep 2014 - After 10 days only again a serious bout of diarrhea - hospitalized again - put on IV fluid for 8 days - weight 59 Kgs. Colonoscopy + biopsy done: features of superimposed c. difficile colitis, non-specific mild colitis > c. difficle test came out negative. CT Enterolysis +Scan done: mesenteric lymphadenopathy > nothing wrong acc to docs. IgA deficiency found - diagnosed Celiac - advised for Gluten free diet.   Sep 14 - May 16: continued gluten-free diet, gained weight upto 63 Kg in Jan 16, but then started losing again and came to 59 Kgs in May. No signficant diarrhea. Minor issues. June 16 onwards: Again diarrhea started, still on gluten-free diet, weight lost - 54 Kgs now. hospitalised again under same GI doc - blood test - eosinophil high, CT Enterolysis done: Showing mucosal thickening in Jejunum and Ileum; Enteroscopy (going in jejunum) + jejunal biopsy - jejunal erosions + villous blunting, marked atrophic with V:C ratio of 0.5: 1 to 0:1. HttG blood test done - Came out negative> Conclusion : No gluten exposure (how?) + Refractory Celiac disease. June - July - have been suffering from continuous diarrhea (goes off for 5-6 days and comes back, bloating, trappings in abdomen - waiting for I don't know what. On Rifaximin + Ivermectin + Codeine Sulphate (for diarrhea) I am very depressed and have no clarity on what's going on. If it is celiac, why am I not doing better on gluten-free diet. If the villous damage is still there in small intestine, then why did I kept fine for Sep - May period? HTTG - negative now but was NOT taken in Sep when I was first diagnosed with celiac. Can we trust negative HTTG now and conclude that it has come down? I am 20 kgs down from my ideal weight and still going down. Have no clue what NOT to eat to stop this. Why is eosinophil always high. Can any of you expert help me to put my case to docs in other countries? With lots of hope, Alok          
    • So, I know I'm obsessing but...... University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center website says any total IgA result over 20 won't affect the celiac test.   If this is so,  I'm still confused as to what a weak positive ttg iga means even though her result was barely in this category.  Why bother having a weak positive anyway?   I just don't get it and our doc is on vacation so I won't know what he'll recommend for another week.  I'll be finding out this week if we can see a GI without a referral. Our lyme doc (she's had lyme, may still have it, like I said it's a long story) is having her do an IgG wheat test but I don't think that has any bearing on celiac does it?    
    • Hi!  I've had good luck at the Minnesota state fair because most food booths are only doing one thing so there is no cross-contamination. For example: french fries or chocolate covered bacon or Indian kebabs.   But I live in California and I am heading to the state fair today! Does anybody have any great food suggestions that are definitely gluten-free there? Thanks, Celiac C.
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