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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

When Do You Speak Up?
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52 posts in this topic

I have a frequent problem with friends and coworkers (mostly the latter) seeming completely oblivious to my diet needs, and not caring to really understand it, when it comes to social situations with food. At my office, this includes every single management effort to promote 'bonding' in the staff, and typically leaves me out. People around me get excited about their pizza, or their free bagels, and I just feel depressed

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I don't want others to provide me food. If they do, they are thoughtful, but then I'm scared to eat it for cross-contamination concerns. So I decided to just bring my food. You know....they are kinda damned if they do and damned if they don't. If somebody tried to cook gluten free or bring you a gluten free cake would you actually eat it? Or would you then have to ask a bunch of questions about how they made it to determine if it was actually safe. I guess my way is to keep a low profile and "Let them eat cake."

There is a feeling of being left out when you start out this life, but I hope it gets better for you. I still feel that too.

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I have an idea.. maybe goofy but.. send yourself a beautiful gluten free treat, if you can or get a friend to bring it as a 'celebration', and let them all see that 1. There are other gluten free foods out there and 2. Someone who cares would think to provide something special. They may or may not get it.. I did it for a friend who works in a school. I took a pan of brownies over to her. They were for her - alone-.. being gluten free. ;)

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I can appreciate why you'd rather provide your own food. For the same reasons I am wary of pot lucks. But there are actually nearby restaurants - even a Whole Foods grocery with a gluten-free bakery - where I can safely get food. So it's not an issue of not having any safe options, they just always choose the options I can not have.

I always end up bringing/getting my own food in anyway, I just want to understand what their thinking is.

Hm, yeah the social issues are pretty much the worst part of this for me. I don't mind the diet so much, but that's because there are plenty of genuinely delicious options out there! My meals at home are still quite satisfying, even most of my meals dining out. I love food, I just wish it wasn't such a source of stress and disappointment when it comes to the office. Someone else just stood up and made a joke about how little they care about the salad, so long as they get pizza - it's just like a recurring insult.

Sorry to be so negative, I did just have a reaction to something this weekend. :-/ Just starting to get better!

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I haven't been in a work environment since self diagnosing. But I have always had weird little food issues and my co-workers were used to me refusing food in favor of what I packed for myself and with the exception of one..did not hassle me about what I was or wasn't eating...and that was more out of concern that I might be not be eating enough.

My friends are pretty much ok with my limitations, there is an effort to make sure I can eat something , they all read and understand labels...we've only had issues when I try to drink beyond my safe margaritas...I react to grain based alcohol..but that is part of the learning curve for them and myself.

Now my family? That's hit or miss.. My mom offers me bananas..she chooses not to understand it and goes as far as accusing me of being a hypochondriac. My MIL has substituted ritz crackers for bread crumbs on chicken parm in order to accommodate my diet...it was a sweet thought..but it took a few minutes before she understood that gluten went beyond a loaf of bread. My kids (6 & 8) read labels and have a good sense of what might be gluten. Stepson(20) and my husband both think it's funny..most of the time they will acknowledge it's a real issue for me...but DH gluten-ized me a week ago and I'm pretty sure I was being 'tested'..he normally doesn't remember what he does from one day to the next..but when I started talking about going to the hospital for a bad bout of depression and anxiety out of the blue...and leaving him in charge of the kids he confessed that he accidentally used the community margarine tub when he surprised me with eggs for breakfast....since I haven't been treated with breakfast..never mind breakfast in bed in about 10 years..I didn't even think to ask what butter he used.

Now on my mothers side I have a cousin and her daughter that have been gluten-free and Casein free for years...I just found out about them being gluten-free a few months ago...my mother had been keeping that little tidbit to herself...because "I didn't need any more encouragement, with this nonsense." Hindsight being 20/20 I had obvious issues with gluten all of my life. My mother should probably be tested(she won't) and her father probably had issues with gluten too.

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I already told the story but.. my family got together for my birthday and had ice cream, cake and goodies.. nothing for me.. and, oh yes, they know about my dietary restrictions. They sure had a good time. Is it enough to drive you crazy? Sure. I just don't care anymore. No one there seemed to think I would feel left out or bothered. Oh well. I don't trust others when it comes to food prep because of attitudes like this so I will just provide my own, thank you very much!

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I feel best when I am in control of what I eat, so it would make me uncomfortable for others to provide an alternative treat for me. That being said, I can feel the angst in your post, and I do undertand completely that it hurts to be left out.

I manage a number of employees. I would much rather someone approach me calmly, explain what is on their mind and at the same time, suggest a solution, rather than present a problem and leave it at that. No one wins there. But I am always happy to be able to accomodate a good employee! If you are planning to stay at this particular job, then perhaps you can speak with your manager and respectfully suggest an alternative treat that you WOULD like.

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I have a frequent problem with friends and coworkers (mostly the latter) seeming completely oblivious to my diet needs, and not caring to really understand it, when it comes to social situations with food. At my office, this includes every single management effort to promote 'bonding' in the staff, and typically leaves me out. People around me get excited about their pizza, or their free bagels, and I just feel depressed – while trying not to look like it.

The last thing I want is to be hated and seen as just a big 'sour grapes' complainer. Honestly, I have trouble with the whole speaking-up thing to begin with, which is something I've had to work on since it's pretty much mandatory now! I am having trouble with figuring out when I should be more 'proactive' and when I should just shut up and try to forget about it.

But everyone here knows I am celiac and can't eat pizza, etc. Today we have a free pizza day, some kind of morale-booster idea, and I was informed there would be salad "for those who don't eat pizza." I am sorry, but I am so sick of salad! Am I right? It's the token 'meal' for anyone with a special diet when you can't get a real meal together. Like, here's some lettuce and low-calorie oil dressing. Bon Appetit! Not a meal (and sometimes cross-contaminated anyway). But people here don't care if I enjoy the options given to me, they feel it's going out of their way to have anything I can eat, period. If it's my birthday, they'll have a cake for everyone and maybe some yogurt for "those who don't eat cake" for instance. Such a treat! What happens is everyone else has some of the amazing-looking gluten food with a side order of what was meant to be my entree.

Ok, so I figure you guys can relate. But I don't want to get all passive-aggressive on my office mates – on some level I feel like I should be grateful they thought of me at all. But at the same time, I don't look forward to ANY of these office meals/treats because they are never a treat for me. Should I say something? Is it worth it?

I'm actually looking for a new job anyway, for several reasons, but who knows when I'll find anything. It's still really rough out there.

Another question – is this normal? Is this other people's experience in social situations? I find that actual friends seem more thoughtful, even if they still can forget sometimes (which of course, I might too, if it weren't my daily life). This is a small office, less than 30 people, they all know me. It just seems really weird, almost hurtful. But then I think I'm overreacting.

Ugh. Are there like, coaches for this sort of thing? There should be gluten-free life coaches!

My office is kind of on the other end of the spectrum... they try to include me by offering to bring me gluten free stuff. I appreciate it, but it scares me because I don't know how they prepare it. So, I respectfully and thankfully decline their offer, tell them with a smile that I'm really high-maintenance and it isn't worth the trouble...which usually gets a laugh.

My suggestion, if you decide to speak up about the "morale boosters", is to approach it with the attitude that you appreciate their efforts, but it's difficult for individuals who have major dietary restrictions. Then provide some fun ideas that don't revolve around food...like a casual dress day, or having a meeting outside if the weather is nice. It's also healthier (and cheaper) for all the gluten-eaters too, who've been loading up on pizza and donuts. A break from all that fat and carbs will probably be good for them. <_<

If it's a no-go, do make sure you have a treat for yourself on those days, so you don't feel left out. It's also helped me to remind myself how I'm not going to regret that slice of pizza like everyone else will later in the afternoon when they lapse into their food comas. :P

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Oh Chasbari, that is awful! I can so relate. And yes, I think it is making me crazy! But maybe in enough time my skin will get thicker. I just don't know

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For the work partys, talk to the person who organizes them. Maybe you could suggest something everyone could eat, like ice cream sundaes. Just be sure they don't get cookies & cream & suggest the gluten-free toppings. Maybe microwave popcorn and sodas. Or suck it up and bring your own. :)

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I love the idea of non-food-related morale boosters. :) I know I'm not the only one here who'd appreciate it, too!

And I do agree with bringing my own treat on these occasions. Something to make me feel 'rewarded' even if it's just coming from me. :)

I think if we did have more 'perks' that weren't entirely food-based, it would just be a huge weight lifted.

Someone who used to work here actually used to ask me when he ordered food if there was anything on the menu I could eat. It was awesome. I loved that guy. There was a pizza place that makes a gluten-free risotto which I love. Everyone saw me eat it, love it, worship it, praise it. I even shared some. I almost feel like we stopped doing that because of the extra expense (also that guy left). And yeah, money is tight, and a lot of times the gluten-free options are more expensive. Maybe that's the real reason - the stuff they get is the cheapest way to do something for the office? Maybe there's someone here I can ask tactfully if they know whether it's a budget issue.. I really don't want to seem like someone who demands all the expensive stuff when no one else gets it. Will probably suggest the outdoor meeting thing. :)

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I love the idea of non-food-related morale boosters. :) I know I'm not the only one here who'd appreciate it, too!

And I do agree with bringing my own treat on these occasions. Something to make me feel 'rewarded' even if it's just coming from me. :)

I think if we did have more 'perks' that weren't entirely food-based, it would just be a huge weight lifted.

Someone who used to work here actually used to ask me when he ordered food if there was anything on the menu I could eat. It was awesome. I loved that guy. There was a pizza place that makes a gluten-free risotto which I love. Everyone saw me eat it, love it, worship it, praise it. I even shared some. I almost feel like we stopped doing that because of the extra expense (also that guy left). And yeah, money is tight, and a lot of times the gluten-free options are more expensive. Maybe that's the real reason - the stuff they get is the cheapest way to do something for the office? Maybe there's someone here I can ask tactfully if they know whether it's a budget issue.. I really don't want to seem like someone who demands all the expensive stuff when no one else gets it. Will probably suggest the outdoor meeting thing. :)

I work for a large national company and the biggest morale booster for us is that the VP of our department allows us to wear jeans everyday of the week during our busy season...which, coincidentally, falls during the winter and lasts for a few months. We love not having to wear business attire when it's 20 degrees outside! B)

Something on that scale may not work for your company, but it's good to get the higher-ups thinking outside of the "let's-boost-morale-by-distributing-food" box. Personally, I'd prefer a raise with the money they spend on food, but I'll take what I can get. :)

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I forgot about this until now. We got a water cooler and were all paying $2 every month for the cold water & it had an instant hot water. We earned a treat & the hospital paid for the water cooler for the next budget year.

Free coffee & tea was a nice booster. We got a stereo with speakers around the office once. One place I worked, we hated the color of the walls and instead of a picnic lunch for all 70 people, we got the walls repainted (maintance did it).

Don't know if this is feasible, but some places earn a bring a pet to work day.

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Yes, we'd all prefer the raise, since we've had frozen salaries since 2009! (And frozen hiring) Basically we're all pretty slammed with work, short-staffed, and the boss wants to do something that doesn't cost much to just try to bring a few smiles. And that's awesome. But I've heard a few others grumble about the free food approach too, since it just doesn't solve the problems. Really, I think if it were possible to just give everyone $5 gift cards they'd like it way better. But maybe there's some reason we can't do that, or give out cash

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I think it makes a lot of sense to talk to the person who organizes these events. It sounds like they are *willing* to make accommodations or do things differently, but just don't quite know how.

It seems like they might be able to do a better job of making these events feel inclusive if you came to that person with suggestions such as:

- What you'd like them to order for you/everyone on pizza day

- Other ideas for team-building that don't revolve around food

- What can be done to prevent cross-contamination

- Letting you know ahead of time about the events so that you can bring something special for yourself that day

As for my personal opinion - I'd rather be in charge of my own food.

I actually just posted a copy/paste about dealing with unsafe food offerings from my blog on this very topic on the Manager Bringing Gluten Free Cake thread:

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Yes, we'd all prefer the raise, since we've had frozen salaries since 2009! (And frozen hiring) Basically we're all pretty slammed with work, short-staffed, and the boss wants to do something that doesn't cost much to just try to bring a few smiles. And that's awesome. But I've heard a few others grumble about the free food approach too, since it just doesn't solve the problems. Really, I think if it were possible to just give everyone $5 gift cards they'd like it way better. But maybe there's some reason we can't do that, or give out cash

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Or, go work with a bunch of dieticians;-). They pretty much have my food restrictions down, and the rules for what food can be provided for group events is kind of horrifying. But it means there is always fruit.

And, yes, shoot me if someone else suggests I eat iceberg lettuce for lunch.

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Dissenting opinion here, but then I'm decidedly low-maintenance.

I let people know about my "allergy" (easiest way to explain it), but I encourage them to not give it another thought. There are many people out there who have challenges that are far more difficult to live with, making my gluten-intolerance a walk in the park, comparitively.

Plus, if they accomodate me, what about the diabetic co-worker, should they also buy a sugar-free cake for them? And the person with high cholesterol? Should they get a cheese-less pizza? And you should SEE my mother-in-law's dietary restrictions... it would drive a dietitian nuts to even try to accomodate everyone's special diet.

I find it more difficult when someone tries to accomodate me, and fails. Then they are either hurt or angry, feeling that I simply can not be pleased.

If your office has a freezer available, make up some gluten-free treats for yourself (cake, pizza, whatever it is you feel you are missing) and keep them in individual servings in that freezer. When they have a treat, pull your own out and put it in the microwave.

Let everyone have their treats... and have your own, safe treat as well. Don't make the administration cut out the treats because someone is unhappy. It won't make you the most popular person in the office.

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I also don't care what people bring. I'm fine with bringing my own food and I don't need to eat that junk that shows up at group events anyway. :P

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I would not speak up about that at all...I think if I were in your situation I would make up a bunch of gluten-free mini pizzas (or whatever comparable treat you can have) and keep on hand for such occaisions. Because what it really comes down to is you are feeling deprived, jealous and resentful of soemthign that is not your fault and also not your co-workers fault. They probably are not really saying these things to hurt you...They probably don't even realize their comments bother you, BUT even assuming they are vindictive jerks that enjoy rubbing it in your face that doesn't change the fact that you cannot change their minds or thier response to enjoying pizza. They should not have to pretend that their treats suck for your benefit, just like you should not have to sit there eating nothing but lettuce with oil on it and pretend to be happy about it. Why not instead take the proactive path of least resistance to change the situation? Why not make up a list of your favorite gluten-free foods that you can easily have on pizza treat day and just plan to have them there. Ooh and awe as you eat your treat just as they ooh and awe over the pizza. If you do this often enough and your favorite treats are gluten-free packaged items then you may be surprised that the manager will offer to buy those for you on pizza day. But even if that doesn't happen at least you are not relegated to eating only lettuce.

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I guess I am lucky. I no longer work and food there isn't an issue.

But when I did work? I was a vegetarian and for many of those years was on a self imposed, strict diet because I was trying to lose weight. The food we were provided was either sandwiches or pizza, donuts, muffins, cinnamon rolls, maybe bagels.

None of those foods interested me at all so it wasn't a problem for me. I guess if you actually like those foods and might want to eat them, it could be a problem for you.

I actually like salad and if I were to bring my lunch, that is usually what I would bring. I would make one the way I wanted. But also on days where there was going to be an all day meeting and I knew it would be catered, I would usually tuck some food into my purse in case I couldn't get away. I made my own trail mix with nuts, seeds, coconut maybe a little dried fruit and carob or chocolate chips. But again, I liked to eat this stuff.

I actually don't even have a problem going to buffets now. My eyes just naturally zone in on any foods that I think might be safe for me to eat.

Of course there was a time when this wasn't so. You see, I was diagnosed as a diabetic close to 11 years ago. Gestational diabetes 2 years prior to that.

Back then I began to see all foods as poison because I wasn't sure what I could safely eat. It didn't help that the dietician I saw at the time was new and gave me some flat out wrong information. That was when I had the gestational diabetes.

Eventually I learned what I could and couldn't eat and for a good couple of years I refused to be around people who were eating what I could not. I would not go to parties or the movies. I really liked popcorn and couldn't stand to smell it and hear it being cruched around me when I couldn't eat it.

After a long pity party, I had to buck up and start going to those places. I had a child who was invited to parties and wanted to go to the movies. I just started bringing my own food. Like a bag of celery cut in thick slices to the movies.

By the time I was diagnosed with the food allergies it really wasn't hard for me to give up those foods at all! Now I finally knew what had been making me and keeping me so sick. I was eager to feel better.

Give it time. It does get better with time.

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It doesn't bother me when people bring treats into work, because its usually crappy store bought cake or cookies, and I know I can bake something gluten free that tastes a lot better! But I do get excluded from many work events. I work in the public service and so we have to pay our own way for the annual Christmas party, summer BBQ, etc. They can never guarantee that there will be safe food for me, but won't allow me to go without paying. Why should I have to pay for food I can't eat? I'm perfectly happy to sit there and watch other people eat and be part of the social event. But they said no. So I stopped asking about it. And when those events happen, I just stay in my office and keep working.

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It is so hard. A friend offered to make something gluten-free for me for a shower she was having.

I just had to confess to her all of the "accomodations" I've had to do in my home kitchen to keep me safe (after trial and sickness, trial and sickness) - and assure her that I CANNOT expect anyone to do that.

Truly, my mother is the only one who takes my needs so seriously that I haven't gotten sick at her home. She bought cookware for my visits and everything. But REALLY, that is the nature of my super-caretaker mother.

I wonder if they would let you research a caterer that provides celiac safe options. I've been there. It is SO depressing when something that is meant as a morale booster leaves you resentful. A few companies I've worked for have definitely used food to boost morale when the owners/management make work life over-stressful and sometimes even ridiculous. Food really can smooth things over.

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Work doesn't bother me. Like the above post said it's usually crappy store-bought cakes and $5 carry-out pizzas. I just make sure I bring something I love for lunch that day.

I do get annoyed at family events. I've been gluten-free for a year and half and we've gone over and over what I can and cannot eat, cross contamination, ect to NO avail. This weekend we were invited to my s-i-l for dinner and I brought green beans and gluten-free brownies. Well the turkey and my green beans were all I could eat at dinner. Every single other item was a casserole with flour or Ritz crackers. Some other guests asked why that was all I was eating so I said it's the only things I can eat and my s-i-l did a "oh no, I forgot you can't eat this stuff"...whatever. Then at dessert I got some ice cream with my brownie and then noticed a weird peachy color swirled in...my mother in law got a piece of peach cobbler and scooped ice cream with the same spoon. I didn't notice in time and spent the rest of the afternoon running back and forth to the bathroom. When we got home I just told my husband straight up that Easter dinner I was bringing all my own food in Tupperware because his family absolutely cannot be made to understand CC. I don't care who gets hurt feelings!

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I do get annoyed at family events. I've been gluten-free for a year and half and we've gone over and over what I can and cannot eat, cross contamination, ect to NO avail. This weekend we were invited to my s-i-l for dinner and I brought green beans and gluten-free brownies. Well the turkey and my green beans were all I could eat at dinner. Every single other item was a casserole with flour or Ritz crackers. Some other guests asked why that was all I was eating so I said it's the only things I can eat and my s-i-l did a "oh no, I forgot you can't eat this stuff"...whatever. Then at dessert I got some ice cream with my brownie and then noticed a weird peachy color swirled in...my mother in law got a piece of peach cobbler and scooped ice cream with the same spoon. I didn't notice in time and spent the rest of the afternoon running back and forth to the bathroom. When we got home I just told my husband straight up that Easter dinner I was bringing all my own food in Tupperware because his family absolutely cannot be made to understand CC. I don't care who gets hurt feelings!

So true. Pot lucks are danger zones because other attendees are not plugged in to CC.

My sister-in-law has a child with a severe milk allergy - so she understands. She tries out gluten-free recipes, but acknowledges that her kitchen is not a safe one for me to eat from. She just tells me if it tasted good or not. :rolleyes:

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      Anti-Endomysial (EMA) IgA
      Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG) IgA
      Deamidated Gliadin Peptide (DGP) IgA and IgG
      Total Serum IgA   
      Also can be termed this way: Endomysial Antibody IgA
      Tissue Transglutaminase IgA 
      GLIADIN IgG
      GLIADIN IgA
      Total Serum IgA 
      Deamidated Gliadin Peptide (DGP) IgA and IgG
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    • ChiaChick  »  Peaceflower

      Hi Peaceflower, Just wanted to say thank you for the chat.
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    • ukuleleerika

      Hello! I am new to this Celiac website... Is there anyone out there with Celiac AND extensive food allergies? My allergies include shellfish, dairy, eggs, cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, nuts, oranges, red dye, and more I can't think of. I went to the allergist about a year ago to see why I wasn't feeling well, and once everything was eliminated, I still didn't feel well. We did more testing to find out I had celiac as well as allergies to cattle as well as rye grass (I live on a farm basically). This was back in January 2016. I recently had my endoscopy with the gastroenterologist a week ago. I have no idea what to do or what to eat... So fish and potatoes for me!
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    • SLLRunner

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