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Newcomer In Michigan, Diagnosed Today
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Andrew,

Welcome to the gluten free world. You will find out how good you can feel. It will take some work and you might go into a withdrawal phase from gluten. Take it as it comes.

Since you've been ill for so long you will welcome the relief from eating gluten free. Slowly go over everything that comes into contact with you. You sound like you may be very sensitive to gluten. Start checking personal care products, replace the obvious gluten items and then learn the un-obvious products (medications, vitamins, soda, beer, blue cheese, soy sauce, spices......).

You will also learn about cross contamination. French fries cooked in oil that has cooked breaded fish will knock you for a set back. Plastic and wooden kitchen utensils/cutting boards, along with coated pans may need to be replaced. A toaster used for poisoned bread should not be used for your bread.

Many people find they need to give up dairy (and sometimes soy) for a few months for their intestines to heal. You will be frustrated and confused at times. It's ok. It will get better.

Remember it is not all in your head!! You now know what has caused the problems in your life. (ok, maybe not all of them!)

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Thanks for the words of encouragement! It has been a bit overwhelming trying to wrap my head around all of this... it seems like gluten is everywhere! I even found it in my shampoo.

You brought up some interesting points that I had not considered. I would have never thought to replace wooden spoons or to get a new toaster. Looks like I have some shopping to do.

While I think I'm starting to understand the scope of change that this will require, my biggest concern is accidental contact or ingestion because of how much I eat out. Not just at restaurants, but visiting with parents, or my girlfriend's parents... I would never expect people to change their eating habits for me so I'm trying to figure this out how this will work...

Anyway, thanks again for your insight! Can't wait to go gluten-free and finally start feeling better!

-Andrew

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Hi Andrew,

You've definitely come to the right place! The positives that you have on your bloodwork would be enough for most docs to conclude that you have Celiac Disease. The endoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosis, and you're a positive there too. Welcome to your new gluten-free existence! I've been gluten-free since October of 2009 and within 24 hours many of my symptoms were gone....like yours, my stomach gurgled after meals, along with gas and bloating and (thankfully only occasional) diarrhea. I had no idea how ill I had been feeling until I felt well. I had no idea how 'at peace' my gut could be. I had no idea how fatigued I was. So despite the fact that my test results are negative for celiac disease, I will remain gluten-free. Yes, THAT's how good I feel. I hope you'll feel well soon too!

If you're just starting out at this, I'd recommend you start small...pick up some gluten-free staples at your local grocery store like bread, cereal, crackers, granola bars etc. to accompany the foods you already have on hand that you know are safe - fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. These staples will hold you over so you don't starve while you figure out what you currently love to eat that will need to be altered to be gluten-free, and what you can learn to live without completely. Eating out can be very tricky, but most restaurants are aware of what Celiac Disease is and can help you figure out what they serve that's safe for you. As for sharing meals with family and friends, it's all about education, for you and for them. I hate being a high-maintenance diner, who can't eat x & y & z. But you'll probably find that lots of homecooking is already gluten-free, and only a couple of modification are necessary. There are few things safer than meat and potatoes as long as you're careful about sauces. I gave up gluten just before Canadian Thanksgiving; I skipped the stuffing, brought my own gravy and was good to go, especially since my mom baked me my own crust-free pumpkin "pie". Like most of us, you'll get tripped up from time to time on things that seem unlikely to have gluten in them (so far my biggest surprise - Twizzlers. Seriously?) but you'll figure it out and it'll be worth the effort because of how much better you'll feel.

Welcome to the fold and happy (gluten-free) eating!

Cheers,

Lynne

gluten-free since October 6, 2009

New Brunswick, Canada

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Just a word of warning about cross-contamination, Andrew. If the previous poster's stuffing had been cooked in the bird, the turkey would be contaminated and unsafe for you to eat. This is the kind of way your family can help accommodate you--by cooking the stuffing separately, and not using any gluten-containing bouillon to baste with, for example, would render the turkey safe. It's going to be a learning curve for you and your family, but it's easy for them to help you if they are willing. Having the official diagnosis will help you as some families are disbelieving that you have to be so strict about all gluten, the "just a little bit won't hurt you" brigade. Well, just a little bit will hurt you, especially after you have done some healing.

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