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I Feel Overwhelmed And It's Only Day 1
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29 posts in this topic

My test results came back today.

They're indicative of Celiac. Now what?

I got the call over the phone so the doctor didn't really go into detail, but I've spent many hours online researching. I have appointment on the 17th with a dietitian at the doctor's office to help me get started on a Gluten Free diet.

I had no idea what Celiac was a month ago. My doctor was asking regular questions at my annual appointment. I am 23, Anemic (I've been on Iron 4x daily for a year now).. That is the reason I started going to the doctor. I had blood in my stool, purple lines under my eyes and I am ALWAYS tired. I am also overweight! I have been most of my life.

When I was 12 I started missing school because every morning when I woke up I would be so sick, I'd be in the bathroom for multiple hours. My mom used to think I was faking it. At 13 I had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, the tests came back fine according to my doctor, my intestines *looked* fine. They were looking for signs of Crohn's disease as my maternal Aunt has had Crohn's since the early 90s. My mom also has extreme Colitis.

Fast forward 10 years.. by now in my world constant diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, constipation are just the normal part of my life. It actually didn't even occur to me that other people don't deal with it! My husband would hate to go to dinner with me if we were going to go shopping after, because he would know not even 30 minutes after eating dinner I would need to hit the bathroom. I just figured it was "IBS" In my mind I was thinking vegetables/lettuce are upsetting my stomach, gluten never occurred to me. I schedule my life around being sick after I eat.

So when I mentioned to the doctor "Yeah, I have diarrhea all the time.. I have for over 10 years." Combined with the other symptoms I have that I read online, I am now thinking "Why did no one mention this before??" My doctor told me when she suggested I be tested that it is constantly misdiagnosed and they are trying to catch it faster now.

So my reason for posting is to ask, what now? I asked her if I need more testing or what and she just said "No tests right now, we need you to start a Gluten Free diet" So was the blood test enough to diagnose this? I read about the biopsy from an endoscopy... Do I need that?

and HOW do I live Gluten free!! I made my first trip to Target tonight to read labels and it seems like everything has wheat/gluten. By the time I left the cereal, snack and bread aisle I was ready to cry.. How can I be depressed about things I didn't even like before, simply because I can't have them now?

..What happens if I eat Gluten, is it only the diarrhea/stomach cramps/pain.. If I am accidentally glutened, should I be worried?

So many questions :( Sorry guys, I know this was all mixed up, I just have so many thoughts running through my mind I can't seem to get them out before I forget it or something else is in its place... And Sorry for being whiny.

Thanks All. Happy New Year

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First, welcome.

Second, breathe.

Third, peruse the main site for info about eating gluten free :http://www.celiac.com/categories/Gluten%252dFree-Cooking/

Fourth, stay out of the Target processed food aisle for now. Well, probably forever...

In the beginning stick with whole foods - meat, veggies, fruits. Learn to read labels (see list of gluten ingredients on this site). The beginning may be tough as your body starts healing. Probiotics and digestive enzymes are big helps. Consider dropping milk products of they bother you.

Did they test your vitamin levels? Many Celiacs are deficient in some vitamins which may hinder recovery.

Most of all, peruse the site. Ask questions. Don't panic. Eat basic, simple meals. Clean up your kitchen - soap and water removes gluten from most surfaces. Exceptions are scratched plastics, Teflon, wooden spoons, and regular toasters (just replace them). Clean your grill with oven cleaner (grates).

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Listen to Pricklypear--she's right on all counts. In the beginning, it really IS easier to cook with natural foods because you have less chance of getting glutened. Also, your body needs the nutrients from whole, natural foods. Check to make sure that your spices and seasonings are gluten free, though....and remember that soy sauce contains wheat. Use wheat-free Tamari sauce instead--there's no difference in taste.

As for gluten-free substitutes, don't bother with the cookies and other nonsense. However, if you miss bread, some people like Udi's while others like Rudi's. With both brands (which are usually found in the frozen-food section of healthfood stores and Whole Foods), you'll need to toast or grill the bread for best results. If you just want a fluffy sandwich, you can wrap the slices in a moist paper towel and warm them in the microwave for just a few seconds. The best crackers (at least the ones I personally like) are made by Crunchmaster called Multi-Seed Crackers (I like the garlic-roasted variety best) and can be found in the regular cracker aisle. Glutino also makes a gluten-free cracker that's similar to Ritz. For pasta, you can't beat Tinkiyada, though Glutino makes a good ravioli noodle. Always cook the gluten-free pasta a few minutes less than the packages say (for example, I boil the spaghetti noodles for 11-12 minutes rather than the 16-17 minutes that is suggested on the package). Oh, and the BEST bread that is similar to French bread is a baguette made by Against the Grain Gourmet, which can be found in the frozen-food aisle (their website is wwww.againstthegraingourmet.com if you want to check if it's sold near you). Against the Grain Gourmet also makes one of the best gluten-free pizzas on the market.

As for what happens if you get glutened, everyone's experience is different. Personally, I get diarrhea within 30 minutes, feel fatigued, get a headache and a stuffy nose, my eyes swell, and I feel foggy brained. This lasts for about 2-3 days, but I usually feel pretty crappy for about a week. The longer you abstain from gluten, the more sensitive you may become so that you'll know pretty quickly if you've been glutened. However, everyone is different. The last time I got glutened, for example, my tendons became floppy in my feet because of nutritional deficiencies caused by the destruction of my intestinal lining, and both feet fractured within a week of each other. Those injuries remained painful and debilitating for eight months because I couldn't figure out which nutrients I was having trouble absorbing. Prior to that glutening, I was glutened...and the result was that I had to receive iron intravenously for two years because that part of my intestinal lining was destroyed.

Lastly, even though you have an appointment with a dietitian, you'll probably know more than she does by the time you meet with her. At celiac conferences, I've been told by the presenters that there are very few dietitians who are qualified enough to counsel people with celiac. Your best bet is to scour this website and others to become your own expert on celiac.

If the processed foods aisle in Target made you depressed, going to a party, picnic, or potluck is really going to lay you low....unless you're prepared! Never arrive at any of these functions without your OWN food. This is the best piece of advice that posters here will give you. Even when people say, "Oh, I was very careful and made a great gluten-free meal for you," you'll have to learn how to warn people in advance by telling them that you NEVER eat meals prepared by anyone but you because there is too much to learn about preparing gluten-free meals, all the pans and utensils have to be scoured or replaced, and the people's ovens, toasters, and barbecues are all contaminated. Believe me--you'll grow strong (and not so sad) with practice. There will a period of grieving, but you'll feel so healthy and happy on the diet, you'll eventually stop craving things you can't eat...and you'll be able to cook/bake great substitutes for your favorites.

I hope some of this info helps--and don't worry....many people will have helpful suggestions on this site.

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One other thing - don't expect to be perfectly gluten-free in the beginning. It's overwhelming. You'll make mistakes but you'll learn and you'll get better at it as you go.

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In the beginning I just stuck with a few of my favorite gluten-free brands and a whole lot of fruits and veggies as I was very fatigued by the time I was diagnosed. I also have had a very long history of diarrhea to the point where I would not eat before I went to town to do any shopping. While the diet seems restricted I actually have a whole lot more freedom now as the diarrhea is gone and I dont have to know the location of the washrooms in every store I go to! And now that I am perkier, I am enjoying exploring the aisles of the grocery store - I just found some gluten-free foods in the Asian section last week. And I am rediscovering baking - I made gluten-free brownies that were to die for last week.

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I would say you're feeling overwhelmed BECAUSE it's day 1 :) Eating gluten-free can be a big lifestyle change for some people. I remember being where you are. I almost broke down and cried in the grocery store a couple of times. I never really learned how to cook since we ate a lot of processed foods growing up. Making a meal that doesn't come out of a box/can was new to me. But now I'm enjoying learning to cook! Here's some advice I'll give you:

1. Read everything you can. This site is a wonderful info source.

2. Visit your local grocery store (not Target...my Target here anyway doesn't have gluten-free options for much and a limited produce department-i love target but not for groceries). See if there is a dietician there. My local grocery store has dieticians that will give you a tour of the store to help you find the gluten-free foods.

3. See if there is a local celiac support group in your area. My local group is amazing and I have gotten so much advice from them. This may be the best thing you can do because you can get advice on good local restaurants, grocery stores and doctors.

4. Encourage your family to be tested- celiac is genetic so other people in your family may have it too.

5. Just know that it's a learning experience and you'll get to where you understand it all :) You'll find gluten-free foods that you like and others that you don't.

6. You may need to replace cooking supplies, tupperware, spices. There are many threads on here that discuss that. I would imagine you will need a new cutting board.

7. It still is possible to eat out!

At one point there was a thread going that had advice for newly diagnosed people, but I couldn't find it to link it. I was afraid I would have to give up my favorite foods when I went gluten-free, but I've found gluten-free versions of many of them that I still enjoy. You will get glutened at times and everyone's reaction is different. Some people even will react differently at different times.

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Great advice from all of them! I want to respond to something else though. Your dr said to be gluten free for now? Did you get a celiac diagnosis? You really want to make sure all the testing is done and the diagnosis is made before going gluten free. Some drs will want you to go gluten free and then "challenge" it by eating it again. Once you are gluten free you probably won't want to do that.

Some drs will want to do an endoscopy to confirm the diagnosis (mine accepts positive blood as good enough). You must be eating gluten to get a positive result so don't go gluten free until after the endoscopy if one is in the cards for you.

I'd call my dr in the morning, get copies of all tests run, and make sure that the gluten free prescription is intended to be permanent if I were you.

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I am in the same boat. I did actually break down in the grocery store several times. But, I have now been gluten free for 3 weeks and it is getting better. I do not break down everytime I think about what I cannot have. I used to think all of my symtoms were in my head since they were so strange and sparatic. When I read posts of folks who have had the exact same feelings and diagnosis, I think at least we have this support to help us through and my hope is that eventually I will feel better.

Thanks for posting your story, this also helps me know I am not alone in this. We can do it!!

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KotaKate88 and Jen D - I'm right there with you. My biopsy was indicative and I don't have the blood test results back yet. gluten-free for almost 2 weeks and really struggling. I'm exhausted from reading labels and websites and not coming up with definitive answers. I AM feeling better, but fatigued and frustrated. Thanks to all the encouragement from the others who've posted.

My question - TMI - does anyone have issues with constipation and how do you deal with it? Meats and veggie/fruit and nuts are fine, but I need some advice to get things moving. THANK YOU!

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For constipation and/or diarrhea, I highly recommend taking probiotics every day. Try Culturelle, it's gluten-free and dairy free. Drink a lot of water to flush your system. Celiac guts have unbalanced gut flora and need them.

http://www.thefooddoc.com/probiotic_facts

HEALING TIMES VARY FROM PERSON TO PERSON, SO DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED IF YOU TAKE A FEW MONTHS TO STRAIGHTEN OUT YOUR SYSTEM.

Maybe this will help get you started-This info was compiled for a friend with NCGI and my family and is a starting point for information about celiac/gluten intolerance.

For info:

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/symptomsofceliacdisease/a/celiacsymptoms.htm

http://www.celiacdisease.net/symptoms

Dietary concerns –LISTS OF safe and unsafe gluten free foods:

http://www.celiac.com/articles/181/1/Safe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Safe-Ingredients/Page1.html

http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html

Good books:

Living Gluten free for Dummies--Danna Korn

Celiac Disease: the First Year by Jules Dowler Shepard

Cecelia's Marketplace Gluten Free Grocery Shopping Guide --get the most recent version

A quick “get-started” menu for gluten-free eating follows:

FLUIDS: Drink 1/2 your body weight daily in filtered H2O every day. A must! Celiacs are dehydrated from malabsorption. Plus, it helps cleanse toxins from body tissues and organs and keep the bowels running smoothly. Gluten is an invasive toxin.

AVOID too many sugary sodas at first--they wreak havoc on the gut.

AVOID DAIRY for a few months if you can. Lactase, which is the enzyme that breaks down the sugar lactose, is produced in the tips of the villi. When the villi get blunted in celiac disease, sometimes the ability to digest lactose is decreased and you can become “lactose intolerant.” This may cause bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, etc. After you go gluten-free, the villi will heal and most people are able to tolerate dairy foods again.

PROBIOTICS are a must. A good one is CULTURELLE.

Celiacs' leaky guts have an unbalanced amount of gut flora.

IBS /“Irritable Bowel Syndrome” is not a diagnosis but a list of symptoms affecting the large intestine. We joke that it stands for the doctors' real thoughts as: “I Be Stumped “.:)

All the digestive issues like acid reflux and heartburn, excess gas, camping, diarrhea and constipation will disappear or diminish on a gluten free diet.

DIGESTIVE ENZYMES--I used them before each meals and it helped A LOT!!!

SUGAR--too much makes me hyper, so I use stevia, honey, pure maple syrup (not Bottled pancake syrup—they contain gluten!)

Earth balance soy-free is a good choice if you cannot have butter. You need some good essential fatty acids: Safflower oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, coconut oil.

REMEMBER: WHOLE FOODS AND FRESH FOODS ARE BEST TO HEAL YOUR GUT AND KEEP YOU HEALTHY.

And homemade is better than packaged. (especially bread)

Your diet should be more about the fruits, vegs, meats, poultry, eggs, seafood and nuts. The packaged stuff is convenient, yes, but the real nutrition is in the WHOLE natural foods.

READ LABELS CAREFULLY AS INGREDIENTS MAY CHANGE. SOME FOLKS LIKE PACKAGED CONVENIENCE FOODS because it is easier--AND THE ONES LISTED BELOW ARE OFTEN SUGGESTED BY MEMBERS AS TASTY gluten-free FOODS

Breakfast IDEAS:

Erewhon crispy brown rice cereal or gluten-free Kellogg's RICE KRISPIES, gluten-free CHEX corn or gluten-free CHEX Rice cereal, gluten-free CHEX honey-nut or gluten-free CHEX Cinnamon

Add: rice milk, almond milk or coconut milk and add berries or sliced banana.

CERTIFIED gluten -free oatmeal w/cinnamon (glutenfreeda brand, Bob's Red Mill )

Eggs and bacon or sausage with gluten-free toast or bagel (Kinnikinnick, Udi's or homemade)

Cream of buckwheat --it's good!! (no worries--Buckwheat is not from the wheat family)

Amaranth pancakes w/pure maple syrup (bottled syrups can contain gluten)

gluten-free packaged pancake/waffle mixes (Pamela's brand is very good as is Bob's Red Mill –we use BRM on the site, for short)

Van's frozen waffles.

FRUITS and VEGGIES—eat plenty of these.

Snack ideas that are safe and handy :)

Cozy Shack Rice Pudding cups (in the dairy section)

All natural applesauce cups

gluten-free cookies or muffins (Bake them or buy them.)

Pamela's Baking Mix is versatile and good for cookies, baked goods.

Bagel with cream cheese and jam . Udi's are pretty good (frozen section)

Pamela's makes a very good brownie mix too!

Chobani Yogurt

Lundberg rice cakes or sliced apples and celery sticks with natural peanut butter smeared on

Glutino crackers with cheese or peanut butter

BOAR's Head brand pepperoni, salami, all their cold cuts and cheeses

Planter's peanuts, almonds, cashews.

SUNMAID raisins, prunes. Craisins by Ocean Spray. (some raisins and dried fruits are dusted with flour to keep them from sticking but these brands are safe.)

smoothies- made with coconut milk, fruit, yogurt, etc

Potato chips----like Cape Cod or Kettle Brand or Utz

Glutino brand pretzels—they come in all flavors even chocolate -coated

Coconut milk ice cream (Turtle Mountain So Decadent brand is very good)

Ice Cream, if dairy is not a problem for you. I believe Haagen Das is okay. Check the label.

Organic Corn chips w/salsa, hummus, or Guacamole

Sunflower , pumpkin or flaxseeds

Candy—Hershey's kisses or bars, regular size Reese's cups, Snickers, York peppermint patty, Butterfinger and M &Ms plain and peanut. Ghirardelli squares.

Make some Chex mix with gluten-free chex cereals

gluten-free Rice Krispies treats (recipes are online)

CHEBE pizza and breadstick mixes

Check the labels of all packaged products-- if they were made with wheat or malt gluten, they will state so on the package.

LUNCH and DINNER:

Leftovers from last night's dinner make an easy lunch

Some Progresso soups are gluten-free. Check the label!

A sandwich with gluten free bread or rolls—UDIs, Scahr's and Canyon Bakehouse are decent packaged breads, rolls and bagels, but homemade is the way to go.

I have a simple recipe for white sandwich bread that is delicious if you want it. Just PM me.

A big salad with tons of veggies and grilled chicken or shrimp and Hard-boiled eggs/ with gluten-free or homemade vinegrette dressing. A list of gluten free salad dressings is available online. Marzettis, and most of WishBone and Ken's are okay.

Homemade vegetable minestrone ,chicken soup, stews, black bean or white bean chili (gluten-free stock)

chicken or bean nachos (can use corn tortillas)

red beans and rice

almost all mexican food is safe (just no flour tortillas!)

pasta and sauce w/meatballs (brown rice or corn pasta TINKYADA BRAND rice pasta is delicious! Cook 13 minutes exactly) and use gluten-free breadcrumbs (just crumble some gluten-free bread and season)

meatloaf (beef or ground turkey) baked potato or yams, green veggie of some kind

Other proteins: roasted or grilled chicken, turkey, pork, beef, salmon, talapia, scallops, lamb, some sausages are safe, bacon (Check labels)

Vegetarian chili--homemade.

I eat a variety of veggies..whatever looks fresh at the super market or farmer's market or stands...steamed, grilled--- or roasted root veggies in stock.

Sweet potatoes—baked at 350 degrees in a pan for 45-50 mins.--are yummy

Potatoes—roasted, grilled, whipped with milk

Fritattas with veggies and salad

Stuffed peppers—with ground turkey, beef or lamb and rice

ANY recipe can be altered--just use gluten-free breadcrumbs, or rice pasta ---use any flour made from amaranth, corn, bean, etc...just NO WHEAT, RYE OR BARLEY or cross -contaminated OATS. Quaker oats are Cced!!. Bob's Red Mill are not.

Cross-contamination is the bane of our existence. Learn how to make your home safe.

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/cookingglutenfree/a/crosscontaminat.htm

Hidden sources of gluten:

http://www.practicalgastro.com/pdf/September08/HlywiakArticle.pdf

Packaged/processed Foods:

A package stating a product is “Gluten-free “ does not always guarantee it was processed and manufactured and packaged in a dedicated facility. You want the GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group) circle stamped on the package –it is a big gluten-free in a circle.

Some DEDICATED gluten-free facilities are:

Bob's Red Mill

1-2-3 Meredith's Marvelous

Authentic Foods

Pamela's

Cause You're Special

Udi's

The Cravings Place

Andean Dream

Kinnikinnick

Organic Nectars

Orgran

Foods by George

gluten-free FULL FLAVOR Gravy

Prana Bar

Enjoy Life

EnergG

Gillian's

They make all kinds of ready made mixes and flours to make it easy to start baking.

THERE ARE DOZENS OF HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS IN THE COOKING SECTION ON HERE. THESE GUYS ARE AMAZINGLY CREATIVE.

That should get you started. NO NEED TO FEAR EATING!!

Best wishes!

IH

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KotaKate88 and Jen D - I'm right there with you. My biopsy was indicative and I don't have the blood test results back yet. gluten-free for almost 2 weeks and really struggling. I'm exhausted from reading labels and websites and not coming up with definitive answers. I AM feeling better, but fatigued and frustrated. Thanks to all the encouragement from the others who've posted.

My question - TMI - does anyone have issues with constipation and how do you deal with it? Meats and veggie/fruit and nuts are fine, but I need some advice to get things moving. THANK YOU!

Digestive enzymes helped me with c. Everyone is different, though. I take both enzymes and probiotics now. It took a few months of gluten-free for my c to start clearing up, and then I panicked because I was so used to anything other than c being d.... Anyway, it's a roller coaster.

And apples. Eat apples.

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Filtered fresh carrot juice first thing in the morning helps. Also, lots of water and probiotic foods are a good idea for the big C. The whole thing about eating fiber never helped me and I think made it worse. When I started a low fiber diet including all of the above, my C got much better.

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Thank you for the feedback - I have two apples with me here at work today! I will try to find that probiotic mentioned.

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Anyway, it's a roller coaster.

And apples. Eat apples.

I agree! :rolleyes: it's all that!!

and agree again!! apples have pectin--good natural fiber. :)

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Thank you for the feedback - I have two apples with me here at work today! I will try to find that probiotic mentioned.

Walmart's, any drugstore--online--supermarkets.

You should be able to find it!

& Lots of water.... ;)

hang in there!!

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I am overwhelmed by the amount of responses!!

Thank you so much for all of your support and helpful information!

I will probably have to read it 3 or 4 times until I get it all in.

Obviously I still feel overwhelmed, but after reading all of your responses I am starting to feel like "I am not alone"

I can't believe how many people feel the same way I do.

I still cannot imagine life without constant D or knowing exactly where the nearest bathroom is ALL the time. I definitely felt it was in my mind... People told me it was, my own husband thought I was exaggerating.

I did have blood tests and the results came back that I do have Celiac, and that is when the doctor called to tell me to start a Gluten Free diet ASAP.. and that she was not scheduling any more tests at this time, so apparently for her a blood test was enough?

Jen D- We are definitely not alone! I am so very happy I found this form.

IrishHeart-- You have such an incredible amount of knowledge! Thank you so much for posting all of your recipes and helpful hints.

All of you are amazing! Thank you!!

I know this is going to be difficult for me. I'm a college student (married to another college student) so our budget is definitely already limited, it seems like eating fresh always costs so much more-- i think that's why i was such a big fan of the processed food aisle. I graduate in 6 months, it is going to be rocky for a while- But eventually I'll get this under control.

--if I was asked a specific question, I apologize for not answering it!

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Also,

About 6 weeks ago I made split pea soup with BARLEY, corn, carrots etc. The soup was delicious and I sat down to eat dinner with my husband, about half way through my bowl of soup I got so sick, I had the biggest migraine I've ever experienced and I was instantly nauseous, D and vomiting. I could not eat for about 2 days, my entire body was so tired and I just went to my room and laid in the dark for hours.

Could the migraine be directly related to my eating Barley? I've noticed migraines more often than I've ever experienced them before.

At the time I had thought it was just a migraine that happened to make me nauseous but now I am thinking it was the barley?

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Also,

About 6 weeks ago I made split pea soup with BARLEY, corn, carrots etc. The soup was delicious and I sat down to eat dinner with my husband, about half way through my bowl of soup I got so sick, I had the biggest migraine I've ever experienced and I was instantly nauseous, D and vomiting. I could not eat for about 2 days, my entire body was so tired and I just went to my room and laid in the dark for hours.

Could the migraine be directly related to my eating Barley? I've noticed migraines more often than I've ever experienced them before.

At the time I had thought it was just a migraine that happened to make me nauseous but now I am thinking it was the barley?

I was getting migraine much more often when I was eating gluten. So it definitely could be barley.

Eating cheap:

Frozen vegetables are OK. Read the package, but unless they have a seasoning or sauce, they can be cheaper than " fresh". There are corn pastas that are cheaper than the rice ones. Whatever you put on pasta, even marinara and cheese, is good on rice. The Asian section has some rice noodles that are gluten-free and cheap, too.

As you get going, you'll find that there are lots of " regular" food you can have that aren't expensive. Just think, " I want to make my split pea soup. How can I make it gluten-free? Maybe rice instead of barley? Maybe no rice or barley?"

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Learn to love inexpensive cuts of meat and the crock pot. That will get you a LONG way on a budget.

And frozen veggies, and dried beans/peas.

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I had migraines almost all of my adult life--pre-DX-- and now, I do not. :)

So yes, it is entirely possible the gluteny barley gave you that headache and the nausea. :unsure:

I do admit I miss barley a little--My favorite soup was beef barley--but I do NOT miss feeling ill every single day of my life.

:)

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Frozen Veggies! I've been sitting here thinking fresh, but you're right Frozen are definitely more budget friendly.

I do love using the crock pot!

Thats good advice on thinking of what I want to make and then how do I make it gluten-free.

One of my mother in laws friends is a Celiac, she emailed me today and gave me a bit of advice. She even told me that when she first got diagnosed she would carry around her favorite chocolate candies so that if everyone she was with was having something sweet she could still indulge. That's a huge thing for me, not being able to eat at a family meal. My husbands family is so big and they're Italian, we eat A LOT of meals together..

I actually had never really had much Barley in my life, but it seemed like a great filler and addition to split pea soup. It tasted great at the time, but now the idea turns my stomach!

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Frozen Veggies! I've been sitting here thinking fresh, but you're right Frozen are definitely more budget friendly.

I do love using the crock pot!

Thats good advice on thinking of what I want to make and then how do I make it gluten-free.

One of my mother in laws friends is a Celiac, she emailed me today and gave me a bit of advice. She even told me that when she first got diagnosed she would carry around her favorite chocolate candies so that if everyone she was with was having something sweet she could still indulge. That's a huge thing for me, not being able to eat at a family meal. My husbands family is so big and they're Italian, we eat A LOT of meals together..

I actually had never really had much Barley in my life, but it seemed like a great filler and addition to split pea soup. It tasted great at the time, but now the idea turns my stomach!

If you like mint carry around Junior Mints. They are gluten-free, dairy and egg free so that covers alot of allergy bases!

My favorite "bar" is a Kind+ bar. They're semi healthy and all gluten-free.

Good news about italian is that by changing pastas you up your chance of getting to eat. Screen the ingredients, and see if you can persuade them to switch a few if needed. Sometimes it's just as easy as switching brands. Furnish them with gluten-free breadcrumbs/bread for meat rolls, dressing balls. gluten-free bread COOKS well even if it tastes like cardboard.

Most cheese and meats are gluten-free (sausage, etc).

I have sauce and meat in my freezer so if there's a big pasta dinner I grab my stuff and take it, and they never know I'm not eating their cooking. I've seen gluten-free ravioli and made some great spinach/cheese "naked ravioli" at Christmas (search this site for recipe).

I didn't try pizza pie this year - didn't have the energy to tackle converting the crust.

Chebe makes a breadstick roll mix that was fast and everyone liked it, their focaccia bread is better, IMO. It's not French or Italian bread, but it's edible and semi-interesting.

Didn't make dressing balls this year but at Thanksgiving my cornbread dressing (has French in it too) tasted no different from gluteny stuff.

Sweet rice flour is good for browning and roux - so I'm sure it would fry well. You can also find it at Asian markets super cheap.

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Re: meats

Watch for labels on sausages. They are not all gluten free. Spices used in the processing can be CCed.

Meats that have spices, marinades, rubs---usually NOT gluten-free.

Check labels carefully. ;)

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awesome advice here. i'm going to re-read for a few new ideas myself! (junior mints!!! hooray!!)

wanted to note for original post-er that you'll need to use your own condiments and keep them free from others dipping in and spreading on bread or anything else with gluten. also, have your own gluten free, dedicated toaster and pots/pans. took me awhile to figure out the condiments because my mind was a bit foggy coming off the gluten.....

best wishes! feeling better is worth it, even if it's daunting at first! good luck!

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Irish Heart you helped me with alot of my questions. Thank you!!! I haven't been diagnosed because I cannot afford to go to the Dr and have no insurance. So I am going to try this glutin diet. The way I see it I can't feel any worse than I do right now. I have alot of the symptoms that I have read about online. I'm just sick of being in constant pain! I want a normal life and I hope this helps.

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