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Help Me Figure Out What Made Me Sick, Please!
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Hey, I'm Brittney and I have been eating gluten-free since November. I have not be diagnosed with Celiac Disease specifically but I am intolerant and have confirmed allergies to barley, oats and wheat. I read about many people who are "glutened" like this is a big, out of the ordinary event. I eat gluten-free and get sick probably twice a week still- often with no known cause. Such was the case last night.

For supper I made "maid-rites" which is a Midwest sandwich with hamburger, brown sugar French's yellow mustard and Lowes Foods (gluten-free) Ketchup. I used Udi's white bread. I also baked gluten-free Lowes brand french fries. All of these items are on gluten-free lists as safe. I felt sick to my stomach already before I had finished eating. Everyone else in my family was fine. They had regular hamburger buns.

I feel consistantly well when I eat Chex cereal. (Actually my sick feelings almost always come at supper time.) When I cook for supper (any time I have casseroles or things with multiple ingredients) there is any increased chance I will get sick.

I am becoming paranoid that everything creative makes me sick. When I am sick I have stomach cramping and pain, sometimes rectal pain and irritation and diareha. When I am sick I don't feel well for a few hours (until I have a bowel movement) or up to two days depending on how bad it was. Today is a bad one. I'd appreciate your advice!

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Hey, I'm Brittney and I have been eating gluten-free since November. I have not be diagnosed with Celiac Disease specifically but I am intolerant and have confirmed allergies to barley, oats and wheat. I read about many people who are "glutened" like this is a big, out of the ordinary event. I eat gluten-free and get sick probably twice a week still- often with no known cause. Such was the case last night.

For supper I made "maid-rites" which is a Midwest sandwich with hamburger, brown sugar French's yellow mustard and Lowes Foods (gluten-free) Ketchup. I used Udi's white bread. I also baked gluten-free Lowes brand french fries. All of these items are on gluten-free lists as safe. I felt sick to my stomach already before I had finished eating. Everyone else in my family was fine. They had regular hamburger buns.

I feel consistantly well when I eat Chex cereal. (Actually my sick feelings almost always come at supper time.) When I cook for supper (any time I have casseroles or things with multiple ingredients) there is any increased chance I will get sick.

I am becoming paranoid that everything creative makes me sick. When I am sick I have stomach cramping and pain, sometimes rectal pain and irritation and diareha. When I am sick I don't feel well for a few hours (until I have a bowel movement) or up to two days depending on how bad it was. Today is a bad one. I'd appreciate your advice!

Just some thoughts... If you share your home with gluten-eaters, are you doing everything you can to avoid contamination? Do you share condiments, toasters, cookware, etc? That would be something I'd check first. It may also be that you need to cut back on the processed foods for a while until you're completely healed. Even if they're gluten free, they can still mess up your system.

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Is there any possible way that your family's hamburger buns came into contact with you? I say anytime you are assembling a meal with gluten and gluten free ingredients cross contamination is highly likely. Also your cookware...is it scratched and is gluten cooked in it? Do you use dedicated tools for cooking gluten free? Is your toaster 100% gluten free?

I'd say since you do fine at breakfast with cold cereal that it has something to do with your cookware or cooking surfaces.

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This sort of thing can be paralyzing. I know how it is to be afraid to eat anything! The mystery was solved for me in my house when I realized that it was old, tiny crumbs that were making me sick. NOT KIDDING. We gave the microwave a thorough cleaning and got a whole new toaster, and my husband no longer uses gluten-containing items in either of them. Also, I was getting sick from old butter, peanut butter, mustards, and jams in the fridge that had crumbs in them (you know, you spread it on your gluten bread with a knife, put the knife back in the jar, and suddenly it's all contaminated).

Before I knew better, I even went to a work get-together and had some cheese that was on a plate with some bread and I guess the cheese had crumbs because I got sick! It seems unreal and infuriating at first that you have to worry about crumbs, but once I accepted it and dealt with it, I no longer get sick at home. I hope this helps!

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If you are sharing teflon pans with gluten bearing foods, you have a problem. Ditto metal pans with old, baked on residue, or rubber spatulas, tupperware storage containers, wooden cutting boards, rolling pins, etc. Cast iron pans you are using for gluten free need to be dedicated, also.

I am more fussy than some, and if it is a condiment, in my refrigerator, I prefer it to be specifically labeled "gluten free" right on the label, which means the manufacturer is at least trying harder. It beats getting sick because somebody changed their formula or supplier at the last minute. I just checked the French's webpage and they are claiming they are gluten free http://www.frenchs.com/faqs/YellowMustard.php

French's yellow mustard, Ingredients: Distilled vinegar, water, no 1 grade mustard seed, salt, tumeric, paprika, spice, natural flavors and garlic powder

Okay, unless they are putting gluten free on the labels and testing each batch for cross contamination, they could be using grain vinegars which are supposed to be safe, but still, some sensitive people react to. "spice" and "natural flavor" can be anything, and I've noticed garlic powder is sometimes coming from China. I have reacted to Chinese garlic powder, and I do not knowingly use stuff sourced from that country.

For Lowes Food Tomato Ketchup I am not finding who the manufacturer is, but one site is saying the ingredients are:

Tomato Concentrate, (water and tomato paste) High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Salt, Onion Powder, Spice, Natural Flavors.

It is listed on a Lowes document list from last november as a gluten free item, but again, there is vinegar which might be from grain, and the "spice" and "natural flavors" again. Unless the ketchups says Gluten Free right on the label, and says they test for gluten, the manufacturer does not have to adhere to any standards. Some manufacturers have a better reputation for this than others, and it will also vary from item to item. I have not, knock on wood, had a problem with a plain Heinz ketchup. Kraft is another company that tries very hard to call out all gluten on labels, there is one thing I have had an iffy reaction to, so I just don't eat that, but I've eaten other Kraft items without a problem. McCormick is supposed to be good on spices.

But anytime you see "natural flavorings" without confirmation that it is gluten free, it can be anything. Big loophole in American labeling laws with that, because they are required to call out wheat as one of the Big Allergens, but barley, for example, can get a pass, and barley malt leftover from brewing goes places you aren't imagining. :angry:

What about those frozen fries ? Were they run on a dedicated line ? Probably, but... are you sure ?

Potatoes are so easy to deal with. You wash, prick, put in microwave, cut into wedges, sprinkle with oil and salt, run under broiler or bake for a few minutes.

As one other person pointed out, other people dipping into bag and jars of what used to be gluten free items, with a contaminated spoon or scoop, is a very real problem. Do you know if the brown sugar was being poured out, or scooped with a flour - y measuring cup before ? What about the measuring cups you use ? Old plastic, or newer stainless steel that can be cleaned ?

It is quite possible to be "creative" when cooking gluten free, but you may then be doing it a lot more with raw ingredients and scratch cooking, or using different ingredients and brands. This is where any tendency you have towards being particularly obsessed with your kitchen tools, or detail oriented more than average, works to your advantage.

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I still get mystery glutenings. I have found most of the culprits. Sometimes I think feeding my dogs their food might do it. I can't figure it out. I eat very strictly. I think sometimes foods that are labeled gluten free are not actually 100 percent of the time. Maybe one day packaging that says gluten free will mean something. I used to try to eat at a gluten free place that used oats. I found out even gluten free oats were bad for me.

Best of luck.

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You can feed your pets wheat free and gluten free foods.

I ended up with two dogs adopted from the pound at different times who are both allergic/reactive to wheat, so we feed all the pets wheat free pet foods to prevent them getting cross contaminated from one dog or cat drinking out of the other's water dish. We also have one horse who has the rye, bermuda, barley, and soy allergy from ****, but this is controlled by making sure he only gets certain kinds of hay. I believe the horse's auto immune reaction was triggered by his getting a vaccination for West Nile virus, (carried by mosquitoes) right before he had the bad luck of contracting another severe infection called Pigeon Fever which is from a soil born pathogen, carried by flies to any cuts or insect bite wounds (he recovered, but it took a very long time. then the vet did a blood test for allergens and we changed his food, because he was loosing so much hair and so itchy. ) We didn't have the choice about the vaccine because that disease was epidemic here at the time and was killing horses in the state, as well as birds and bats. I don't have any proof, but just offering the evidence. We had other horses get sick, but not the way he did, and they recovered quicker. We had so many dead birds laying about that summer and fall I'm pretty sure they were all exposed to both diseases. (and that's when I started wearing herbal insect repellant every evening during mosquito season, as humans can also contract West Nile.)

The one dog is so sensitive I'd rather have a reaction than see him get accidentally contaminated. Once a manufacturer changed dog food formulas without making it obvious on the bag, just by adding oats which must have been cc'd, and it was a disaster - he'll scratch himself raw, puke, and get poop sick all over the place. Dogs and even cats will lick things, themselves, and people, and dogs drool, so this is worth it not to have to worry about their saliva. I use rice cakes or corn tortilla pieces for treats, as finding a true gluten free biscuit is almost impossible now.

I think that gluten free places that use oats should really have big signs up as warning, because of the number of gluten intolerant or celiacs who do react even to the certified gluten free oats, even tho technically they are supposed to be safe for most. Nobody wants to get sick, and it's just a matter of knowing the truth about what is in the food.

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Wow, everyone covered most of what i was thinking. Like you, I have a wheat allergy. I seem to get glutened by stuff to easily. For example. I cannot have the following foods/ingredients that some people say are safe, but I get sick. I seem to need processed foods that say "wheat and gluten free" I can eat Udi's bread though....yum!!

1. Kraft mayo

2. malto dextrin made in the U.S and abroad

3. dextrose

4. dextrin

5. sweet baby rays BBQ sauce

6. benefiber

7. most alcohol

8. most vinegar

There's more, I just can't think of them all. I will read that celiacs can handle a certain product, but it will make me sick.

If my family were eating wheat buns in the house, I would break out in hives, itchy everywhere, get stuffed up, plugged ears, headache, watery eyes......etc

I cannot share cookware, my cats eat gluten free cat food, I can't share a toaster. The wheat toaster (and bread) have to be in the garage....I could go on forever. I can't walk through the bread isle at the grocery store, I can't sit in a restaurant where people are eating a lot of wheat with very little ventilation and there is a lot of wheat in the air. If the table is not washed and wiped with a brand new washcloth that was not used to wipe other tables, my arms will break out in hives from resting them on the table.....

I have no gastro issues at all. You must be a Celiac/wheat allergy combo?

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