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Desperate And Feeling Terrible In Japan
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Hello.

My name is Eric and I'm writing this as a last ditch effort. I have read other posts on here and feel awful for their suffering, but I'm inspired by the help and hope people provide.

As I am writing this I am having a very hard time concentrating, like I'm in a fog. So please bare with me.

I am living in Japan currently. I am a seasonal worker in the ski/snowboard industry. I supervise a shop in northern Japan at an international resort town.

I am 25 and thought I was a fairly healthy person, I wasn't paying very close attention though and simply neglecting many problems, until recently my health has been crumbling.

The problems started as severe weakness and chronic fatigue mainly in my legs. Along with that I have problems concentrating and my short term memory is not the best often. I have problems with seeing as well, mainly things far away, object close to me are much easier. I have lost a lot of weight as well and have a hard time staying warm. Recently, I had a random bloody nose. My vision often pulses in a way and seem to have a short attention span too. None of these things happened to me with any regularity before now.

I am fairly positive that I am gluten intolerant, but do not have the means to get tested here in Japan, as I am not in the financial position nor do I speak Japanese well enough or even know how I go about seeing a nutritionist here, nor am I sure they would know how to help.

I am a vegan and I have been trying to adhere to a very strict gluten free diet for a week or so and the symptoms seem to fluctuate slightly, but I feel bad a lot more often than good.

I am at the point where I am paranoid about every thing that I eat. My diet for the last couple days has been reduced to rice, edamame, and some fruit, and vegetables.

This is so hard to express the full situation and I don't even really know what to ask about, I just know I need help and I am breaking down, its overwhelming and I can feel myself entering depression.

Anything would help, please.

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I think you should get in and get a general check up/evaluation regardless of the gluten issue. We can often have other this out of balance as a result of the damage that gluten does to our bodies. My DH had a sudden bloody nose this year, turns out that is a symptom of high blood pressure. His was quite high so it brok the little blood vessels in his nose. Some of your other symptoms could be indicative of other conditions that should be rules out whether of not they are gluten-realated, some can be treadted independantly. Sudden weight loss can also be a sign of diabetes. I have experienced that. I don't think you should just try to bear with these symptoms until you can get to the bottom of the gluten issue. I think other tests should be done and you can continue to get to the bottom of the gluten-issue independently.

There are English help lines. Do you have the numbers?

My DH is Japanese and I lived in Japan once upon a time. Used to have all the numbers but I am afraid they may be too old. I know a Japanese Doc in LA California who knows something about celiac disease. I could give you his contact info if it would be helpful. He was educated in both Japan and America, grew up in Japan, but speaks good English. He's the one who told me about celiac disease and started my journey.

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I'm sorry your having such a hard time. Do realize if you go gluten free before testing that you would have to do a lenghty gluten challenge if you decide later you want testing. Being gluten free will not have any effect on testing for any other health issues though. I agree it might not be a bad idea to just get a general checkup.

What you are eating is what you should be eating to help you heal if you are not going to have any celiac testing. Single ingredient foods make for less chance of being glutened or CC'd in the beginning.

You might find something like the Triumph Dining Cards to be helpful. They have them for different languages and I think Japanese is one of the them. They might make it easier to shop and to go to restaurants.

It does take time to heal and we can have ups and downs at first. Avoid dairy for now and be aware that some of us do have other intolerances. Soy is one that is pretty common so you may want to consider dropping that for a little while if you are still having issues gluten and dairy free and the physical has ruled out other reasons for illness.

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Many people with gluten problems also have problems with Soy. If you don't get better with gluten elimination you might try eliminating the edamame. I didn't think I would be sensitive to soy but it turns out it is really bad for me. Especially causing problems with depression and anxiety that happen almost instantly whenever I get either gluten or soy. I knew that gluten could cause the depression symptoms, but I had no idea about soy causing depression. It made a big difference in my health.

I don't know how important it is to you to remain vegan, but my healing went really fast when I started eating more meat. I think the increased protein has made all the difference in the world to me. My muscles and my mental functioning are so much better now. It is overwhelming to be in that foggy state of mind that you describe and I lived with that for a long, long time. It never happens now as long as I stick to meat and vegetables. If you want to stay vegan, I hope you can find a source of protein that isn't soy based to see if increasing protein will help you.

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The problems started as severe weakness and chronic fatigue mainly in my legs. Along with that I have problems concentrating and my short term memory is not the best often. I have problems with seeing as well, mainly things far away, object close to me are much easier. I have lost a lot of weight as well and have a hard time staying warm. Recently, I had a random bloody nose. My vision often pulses in a way and seem to have a short attention span too. None of these things happened to me with any regularity before now.

Eric, these all can be symptoms of radiation poisoning, particularly the chronic fatigue, weight loss and nosebleeds. Did it all start since the Fukushima accident? The situation is quite a bit worse than the Japanese government admits. Where in northern Japan are you, what is the microseivert/hour exposure where you are sleeping and spending most of your time, and how much care are you taking to avoid radioactive cesium in your food?

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Eric, let first start with that I empathize and understand that this would be overwhelming as you are in a very tough position. Dealing with an illness is tough enough, but to do it whilst under-insured and away from home(in a country that is not your 1st language) really MUST be hard on you. I do hope you are able to see a doctor soon. If not only to test for celiac/gt but to rule out other issues. I can appreciate you living a vegan lifestyle, but if you are indeed celiac you would already have a tough time getting the nutrients you need (your uptake of nutrients is compromised with a damaged small intestine). You may need to reconsider your diet, it can be done vegan(there are some good vegan folks on this forum that may be able to help), however it will be very tough. Morally you may not be able too, but would you consider modifying the diet to include eggs and fish? I know it is not a vegan diet, but it would add needed protien and nutrients. I suffered with brain fog and was deficient in iron, d, b,...etc and noticed improvement as they fell in the normal range as my gut healed (I also take a one a day vitamin with iron). There are many knowledgable and helpful folks on this board, so keep reading and posting. One for the knowledge and two so you do not feel so isolated. I'm not sure how I can help, but if it is moral support I'm there for you. Good luck.

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I am also in Japan and am trying to find out if I have Celiac or not. It is extremely difficult because Asians usually do not get Celiac so doctors here don't even know what it is (aside from having read it on a page in a medical text). The hospital I went to didn't even have the blood tests and finally the doctor was able to have my blood sent to the US for testing. If you don't have health insurance here then those options are going to be hard.

Not eating gluten here is hard because of the soy sauce. It eliminates pretty much most foods with any broth or seasoning. Additionally, being vegan makes it harder. If you ate fish you could get some protein that way. Basically you are left with cooking for yourself. If you can eat soy then tofu is an option.

From your post I am assuming you are in Hokkaido. If you can find some import stores then you can get things like canned beans, rice noodles, etc. Ask if there is a Kaldi Coffee near you (They are in Sapporo-- assuming you are in Hokkaido). They are an importer as well and I have found gluten free (label even says) Indian curry mixes that are mixed with coconut milk.

Also, Tengu Natural foods has an online store (English) with a Gluten free section. Be careful though, they don't really know what gluten free is and I found rye products in that group. Just check the product then go to the product's homepage and check the ingredients. They sell wheat free tamari which is like a soy sauce. I don't notice any taste difference. It is just a bit thicker.

http://store.alishan.jp/index.php?main_page=index&language=en

The Foreign Buyer's Club also has a lot of gluten free things. It just depends on how long you are going to be here. Also, if you can find someone with a Costco membership they sell lots of nuts quite cheaply compared with Japanese stores.

It isn't easy!

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Eric, these all can be symptoms of radiation poisoning, particularly the chronic fatigue, weight loss and nosebleeds. Did it all start since the Fukushima accident? The situation is quite a bit worse than the Japanese government admits. Where in northern Japan are you, what is the microseivert/hour exposure where you are sleeping and spending most of your time, and how much care are you taking to avoid radioactive cesium in your food?

That was actually my thought, also. The nuclear plants at Fukushima are still emitting large amounts of radiation, and from recent articles I've seen (http://enenews.com/) the status of 'cold shutdown' may be questionable. So, it may depend where in northern Japan you are, check out this site: http://blog.safecast.org/

My personal suggestion would be to get an iodine supplement (I have a liquid one) or some vitamin supplements that have iodine. Also try to eat as much food as possible that's from outside of Japan. Or just leave.

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I think you should get in and get a general check up/evaluation regardless of the gluten issue. We can often have other this out of balance as a result of the damage that gluten does to our bodies. My DH had a sudden bloody nose this year, turns out that is a symptom of high blood pressure. His was quite high so it brok the little blood vessels in his nose. Some of your other symptoms could be indicative of other conditions that should be rules out whether of not they are gluten-realated, some can be treadted independantly. Sudden weight loss can also be a sign of diabetes. I have experienced that. I don't think you should just try to bear with these symptoms until you can get to the bottom of the gluten issue. I think other tests should be done and you can continue to get to the bottom of the gluten-issue independently.

There are English help lines. Do you have the numbers?

My DH is Japanese and I lived in Japan once upon a time. Used to have all the numbers but I am afraid they may be too old. I know a Japanese Doc in LA California who knows something about celiac disease. I could give you his contact info if it would be helpful. He was educated in both Japan and America, grew up in Japan, but speaks good English. He's the one who told me about celiac disease and started my journey.

Thank you. I think I'm done trying to figure this out myself and I'll just have to pay whatever it is to get the check-up. I have some Japanese co-workers and friends and one will probably be able to go with me. I think you're right that I need to deal with all the issues and don't pin to much on the gluten part. I'm going to get some tests done and see what they say. Thank you again, I need this push to go to the doctors.

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I'm sorry your having such a hard time. Do realize if you go gluten free before testing that you would have to do a lenghty gluten challenge if you decide later you want testing. Being gluten free will not have any effect on testing for any other health issues though. I agree it might not be a bad idea to just get a general checkup.

What you are eating is what you should be eating to help you heal if you are not going to have any celiac testing. Single ingredient foods make for less chance of being glutened or CC'd in the beginning.

You might find something like the Triumph Dining Cards to be helpful. They have them for different languages and I think Japanese is one of the them. They might make it easier to shop and to go to restaurants.

It does take time to heal and we can have ups and downs at first. Avoid dairy for now and be aware that some of us do have other intolerances. Soy is one that is pretty common so you may want to consider dropping that for a little while if you are still having issues gluten and dairy free and the physical has ruled out other reasons for illness.

I realize I will have to face a challenge possibly some day down the road, but I'll deal with that when I get there and I'm okay with it. I was just done with the irregular BMs and I don't want to go back to gluten right now. I've been dairy free for 8 months since I turned vegan, but I will take your advice and avoid soy for now to see if that helps. I'm also going to get a check-up soon. Thank you so much for the help.

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Many people with gluten problems also have problems with Soy. If you don't get better with gluten elimination you might try eliminating the edamame. I didn't think I would be sensitive to soy but it turns out it is really bad for me. Especially causing problems with depression and anxiety that happen almost instantly whenever I get either gluten or soy. I knew that gluten could cause the depression symptoms, but I had no idea about soy causing depression. It made a big difference in my health.

I don't know how important it is to you to remain vegan, but my healing went really fast when I started eating more meat. I think the increased protein has made all the difference in the world to me. My muscles and my mental functioning are so much better now. It is overwhelming to be in that foggy state of mind that you describe and I lived with that for a long, long time. It never happens now as long as I stick to meat and vegetables. If you want to stay vegan, I hope you can find a source of protein that isn't soy based to see if increasing protein will help you.

I'm going to cut out soy and see if that helps. I have eaten a lot of it in the past, as with gluten, so I'm guessing there is a good chance I have a sensitivity to it now. I want to do everything I can to stay vegan. When I hit my low my resolve was wavering, but it will take a lot and all other options exhausted before I give up my dedication to veganism. I hope I can find a protein source as well. Thank you for all the advice.

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Eric, these all can be symptoms of radiation poisoning, particularly the chronic fatigue, weight loss and nosebleeds. Did it all start since the Fukushima accident? The situation is quite a bit worse than the Japanese government admits. Where in northern Japan are you, what is the microseivert/hour exposure where you are sleeping and spending most of your time, and how much care are you taking to avoid radioactive cesium in your food?

To be honest, I haven't taken any precautions really to avoid radiation poisoning. I'm living in Niseko, which is near Sapporo, it's an international ski town. No one else here seems to be experiencing any problems, but I don't know anyone that is eating the way I do. I will look into this more. Thank you for the response.

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Eric, let first start with that I empathize and understand that this would be overwhelming as you are in a very tough position. Dealing with an illness is tough enough, but to do it whilst under-insured and away from home(in a country that is not your 1st language) really MUST be hard on you. I do hope you are able to see a doctor soon. If not only to test for celiac/gt but to rule out other issues. I can appreciate you living a vegan lifestyle, but if you are indeed celiac you would already have a tough time getting the nutrients you need (your uptake of nutrients is compromised with a damaged small intestine). You may need to reconsider your diet, it can be done vegan(there are some good vegan folks on this forum that may be able to help), however it will be very tough. Morally you may not be able too, but would you consider modifying the diet to include eggs and fish? I know it is not a vegan diet, but it would add needed protien and nutrients. I suffered with brain fog and was deficient in iron, d, b,...etc and noticed improvement as they fell in the normal range as my gut healed (I also take a one a day vitamin with iron). There are many knowledgable and helpful folks on this board, so keep reading and posting. One for the knowledge and two so you do not feel so isolated. I'm not sure how I can help, but if it is moral support I'm there for you. Good luck.

Thank you all the kind words. I appreciate it so much, its hard to express. I will see a doctor soon. I finally realize these problems are too serious to not just go see what they can tell me and deal with the money issue later. I've started aggressively taking vitamin D and B12 supplements to see if this will help. I want to exhaust my options before I give up my vegan diet. Again, thank you so much for your response. Everyone here has been so helpful.

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I am also in Japan and am trying to find out if I have Celiac or not. It is extremely difficult because Asians usually do not get Celiac so doctors here don't even know what it is (aside from having read it on a page in a medical text). The hospital I went to didn't even have the blood tests and finally the doctor was able to have my blood sent to the US for testing. If you don't have health insurance here then those options are going to be hard.

Not eating gluten here is hard because of the soy sauce. It eliminates pretty much most foods with any broth or seasoning. Additionally, being vegan makes it harder. If you ate fish you could get some protein that way. Basically you are left with cooking for yourself. If you can eat soy then tofu is an option.

From your post I am assuming you are in Hokkaido. If you can find some import stores then you can get things like canned beans, rice noodles, etc. Ask if there is a Kaldi Coffee near you (They are in Sapporo-- assuming you are in Hokkaido). They are an importer as well and I have found gluten free (label even says) Indian curry mixes that are mixed with coconut milk.

Also, Tengu Natural foods has an online store (English) with a Gluten free section. Be careful though, they don't really know what gluten free is and I found rye products in that group. Just check the product then go to the product's homepage and check the ingredients. They sell wheat free tamari which is like a soy sauce. I don't notice any taste difference. It is just a bit thicker.

http://store.alishan.jp/index.php?main_page=index&language=en

The Foreign Buyer's Club also has a lot of gluten free things. It just depends on how long you are going to be here. Also, if you can find someone with a Costco membership they sell lots of nuts quite cheaply compared with Japanese stores.

It isn't easy!

I hope you will find the help you need in the end. My thoughts are with you in dealing with this problem, it's hard and isolating to deal with it here in Japan. Thank you for the recommendations, I'll look into getting some imported things. I'm perfectly fine with cooking everything for myself and will cook a ton of it, when I finally figure out what I can and need to eat. Thank you again for all the help.

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That was actually my thought, also. The nuclear plants at Fukushima are still emitting large amounts of radiation, and from recent articles I've seen (http://enenews.com/) the status of 'cold shutdown' may be questionable. So, it may depend where in northern Japan you are, check out this site: http://blog.safecast.org/

My personal suggestion would be to get an iodine supplement (I have a liquid one) or some vitamin supplements that have iodine. Also try to eat as much food as possible that's from outside of Japan. Or just leave.

I'm a little nervous about this now as I do eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit that could be contaminated. I'll try figuring out whether that is the problem. I hope they will check for this when I see the doctor. I'm not sure how to get iodine supplements yet, but I looked up what foods have iodine in them and Nori seemed to have a bit, so I ate all the Nori seaweed I had and will buy more soon to see if this helps at all, until I find some iodine supplements. Thank you for the links and the advice.

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I HIGHLY doubt that Fukushima has anything to do with your problems. I know people doing animal rescue within 50km and they are fine. Considering that you are hundreds of km away, I don't think it is a problem. Vegetables grown within the area are banned for sale. I have seen fish from the Pacific that have been caught not in Fukushima Prefecture but near. You don't eat fish so that isn't a problem. If anything, the edamame from China you are eating will make you sick! Most supermarkets show where the veggies are from. If you memorize the kanji for Fukushima then you can check to make sure you are not buying produce from there (I've ever seen any in a store).

Secondly, ask around if there is a JA (Japan Agriculture) store near you. They sell produce grown in your local area. Given that Hokkaido is buried under snow now, they may not have a lot to choose from!

If at all possible, try to go to Hokkaido University Hospital. They will have English speaking doctors and larger labs for whatever tests. If you are on a limited budget then you will probably end up wasting money at a local clinic.

http://www.huhp.hokudai.ac.jp/english/med01.html

Are you eating anything that you don't make yourself? Any prepared foods?

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Eric I will also advise that you eat some meat or eggs. I was a vegetarian wannabe most of my life and stayed away from meat a lot but my body functions SO much better on it. I saw your earlier reply and understand. Just adding my voice and vote ;).

Adzuki(if you can get non-sugary preparation) and quinoa may give some protein. Quinoa is supposed to be a complete protein, containing all the amino acids etc. of meat. You can cook quinoa by itself or you can measure your rice for the rice cooker, remove 1 Tb. of the rice and replace with 1 Tb. quinoa and rinse and cook as usual. The measurements can be different, just omit and replace equal parts for a portion of the rice. Here's some explanation/recipe of another version of this rice with grains/legumes http://www.justhungry.com/zakkoku-mai

We have purchased from this company before. They have some gluten-free items. I don't know about currently, but at that time many were aimed at kids. In the past few years there has been more awareness of "wheat allergy" with kids so most of the products were to benefit them. There's a kid's curry mix that is gluten-free for example and used to be a cream stew mix, also dairy-free. Small packages as it was aimed at kids. Anyway we got millet soy sauce etc there. I also have a soy allergy but if I remember the alternative grain "soy" sauces, some didn't have soy either. I want to say there's a quinoa "soy" sauce too.

http://www.sokensha.co.jp/company/e_summary.html

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Hi Eric,

I'm celiac for 7 years, vegan for 2 and have had a place in Japan for 30 years although I dont live there full time.There are a lot of other things you can eat and some you have to work to make sure of. Nori is one of them. Some nori is imported form Korea and processed with Shoyu aka wheat and water. There might be a few things your eating which cause problems. Onigiri form 7-11 or Family mart all have wheat fillers. They may look like simple rice balls but they are not.

It would unlikely you have a health food store in your resort area but maybe one of your co works can order some real shoyu or sorghum shoyu or even braggs aminos. Don't trust soy sauce to be made from soy.

You can eat juwari soba and use water with ginger and chopped onions for sauce or make your own. It should be easy to buy juwari soba in most large markets -- It has to be 100% juwari as others all contain wheat. If you dont have problems with soy, you can eat yuba -- tofu skin, also fairly easy to make yourself with soy milk. its usually served with different salts like ume shio, yuzu shio and matcha shio which you can use for other things if you dont have a salt problem. Some salts are found in groceries too. Other grains are awa, kibi and hie which are types of millets and very tasty. they can be like a hot breakfast cereal or grain instead of rice. Missys mom mentioned quinoa too, Thats great if you can find it and be cooked in the rice cooker -- 1 cup to 1.5 cups liquid. I use veggie broth instead of water.

Finally, my doctor in yokohama Imai sensei <takashikun.imai@nifty.com> knows celiac and may be able to help or offer some advice by email if you cant get in to see him.

good luck

Ken

I'm a little nervous about this now as I do eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit that could be contaminated. I'll try figuring out whether that is the problem. I hope they will check for this when I see the doctor. I'm not sure how to get iodine supplements yet, but I looked up what foods have iodine in them and Nori seemed to have a bit, so I ate all the Nori seaweed I had and will buy more soon to see if this helps at all, until I find some iodine supplements. Thank you for the links and the advice.

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To be honest, I haven't taken any precautions really to avoid radiation poisoning. I'm living in Niseko, which is near Sapporo, it's an international ski town. No one else here seems to be experiencing any problems, but I don't know anyone that is eating the way I do. I will look into this more. Thank you for the response.

OK, that's good. You are far enough north that radiation shouldn't be a problem. There are definitely some people in Fukushima prefecture who are ill and many have moved away.

Since you're not near the reactors, I'm going to add my voice to those who are worried that you are malnourished on a vegan diet. Veganism does not work for everyone. Vegan diets tend to be deficient of iron, calcium, selenium, and completely lack B12, preformed A, and D3. You can eat carefully to get enough iron and calcium, but the others partly depend on luck or supplementation.

To eat vegan without supplements you need to be lucky enough to have enzymes to convert A from beta-carotene and D3 from D2. Not everyone does. You also have to be lucky enough to be living in a region with selenium-rich soil and have bacteria in your gut that produce adequate B12. Deficiency in both A and D shows up first as vision problems. You mention taking some B12, which is good. If you are taking vegan D2 for your supplement it still may not help you. I'd specifically recommend supplementing with cod liver oil if you want the best shot at restoring your vision. I think there are vegan mineral supplements that should correct iron, calcium, and selenium issues.

I wouldn't both supplement iodine and eat seaweed. Oversupplementing iodine is really bad for your thyroid gland and seaweed has a lot of iodine.

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/iodine/

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I HIGHLY doubt that Fukushima has anything to do with your problems. I know people doing animal rescue within 50km and they are fine. Considering that you are hundreds of km away, I don't think it is a problem. Vegetables grown within the area are banned for sale. I have seen fish from the Pacific that have been caught not in Fukushima Prefecture but near. You don't eat fish so that isn't a problem. If anything, the edamame from China you are eating will make you sick! Most supermarkets show where the veggies are from. If you memorize the kanji for Fukushima then you can check to make sure you are not buying produce from there (I've ever seen any in a store).

Secondly, ask around if there is a JA (Japan Agriculture) store near you. They sell produce grown in your local area. Given that Hokkaido is buried under snow now, they may not have a lot to choose from!

If at all possible, try to go to Hokkaido University Hospital. They will have English speaking doctors and larger labs for whatever tests. If you are on a limited budget then you will probably end up wasting money at a local clinic.

http://www.huhp.hokudai.ac.jp/english/med01.html

Are you eating anything that you don't make yourself? Any prepared foods?

Thank you for all the advice. I think you are right about the radiation, I'm eating the same veggies and fruits everyone I know is eating and no one else is having problems, plus I think the symptoms would be slightly different.

I was always planning on buying local, but I've been lazy about memorizing the kanji, thank you for the push, I'm going to look try this next time I'm shopping.

I decided against the visit to a hospital or doctor because my symptoms started to improve. I'm guessing it is a complicated array of things that were going on, but I'm starting to feel better by hugely increasing my caloric intake and avoiding foods that are people are commonly intolerant to. Once I feel okay again, I will try to narrow down which ones I have sensitivities to.

Thank you again for all your help.

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Eric I will also advise that you eat some meat or eggs. I was a vegetarian wannabe most of my life and stayed away from meat a lot but my body functions SO much better on it. I saw your earlier reply and understand. Just adding my voice and vote ;).

Adzuki(if you can get non-sugary preparation) and quinoa may give some protein. Quinoa is supposed to be a complete protein, containing all the amino acids etc. of meat. You can cook quinoa by itself or you can measure your rice for the rice cooker, remove 1 Tb. of the rice and replace with 1 Tb. quinoa and rinse and cook as usual. The measurements can be different, just omit and replace equal parts for a portion of the rice. Here's some explanation/recipe of another version of this rice with grains/legumes http://www.justhungry.com/zakkoku-mai

We have purchased from this company before. They have some gluten-free items. I don't know about currently, but at that time many were aimed at kids. In the past few years there has been more awareness of "wheat allergy" with kids so most of the products were to benefit them. There's a kid's curry mix that is gluten-free for example and used to be a cream stew mix, also dairy-free. Small packages as it was aimed at kids. Anyway we got millet soy sauce etc there. I also have a soy allergy but if I remember the alternative grain "soy" sauces, some didn't have soy either. I want to say there's a quinoa "soy" sauce too.

http://www.sokensha.co.jp/company/e_summary.html

Quinoa has definitely been on my list of foods to add to my diet, but I can't seem to find it here. I might end of ordering it online, if problems persist and I can't get ample protein back in my diet.

Thank you for all the recommendations.

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You are in another country perhaps you picked up a parasite?? That will cause all the symptoms you mentioned. It also sounds like maybe your not getting all your vitamins. Might be a vitamin deficiency.

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Hello Eric,

I was declared celiac two years ago just before going to Japan and have been living in Tokyo since then. At that time I was barely able to climb ten stairs in a row without getting a rest. I felt myself getting old inside. Now I feel young again. And I know what to have body crippling down feels like.

Here are some advice I hope will find some use.

Your symptoms may well be gluten related, or soy, or both, from my experience. (I am intolerant to both).

For the food, you can find proteins in many red beans sold in Japan (which are not soy). There is azuki beans (google it) ver healthy and full of proteins + fibre.

Also, note that if your intestines are irritated you may not digest milk or other dairy products until you feel better. I found however that natural cheese (especially the kind for pizza, but check ingredients)are easier to digest. (Moreover it is quite tasty with japanese rice).

If you are looking for food from outside Japan, have a look at this website.

http://www.iherb.com/

You can find many allergy free brands (I think mainly about Enjoy Life and Orgran). Most products can be delivered to Japan and for much cheaper than Amazon or other websites. The delivery is also quite fast.

As for general rules in everyday life, I recommend you to be careful with everything. Depending on your sensitivity, the wrong cream on the face, the wrong toothpath, a kiss or a shared drink can all be sources of cross contamination. It sounds daunting at first, but it gets easier with time. I personally bought my toothpath in France (I am French) so that I am sure of what it contains.

To speed up the recovery of your intestine, I recommend you eat a lot of carrots and pumpkin. Beware of vitamin supplement for they may contain gluten or soy. The best is to buy them from trusted sources by internet (see the above website). Avoid coffee, tea, spicy food and alcohol.

As for radiations, you do not have to worry about the food in supermarkets. Products are controlled and even if they were not, as an adult you do not have to worry about health problems. People in general would get more radiations when taking the airplane than by eating products grown 300 km from Fukushima. And if you still worry, note that the area where food is grown is always labeled on packages in supermarkets.

Always avoid to eat in restaurants. They are never safe, unless you go to expensive ones. I went to a good one once and the chief came to me, we discussed and i ate like a king without getting sick. This was the exception ou of a thousand.

Avoid all processed foods in general. Except if it is specified to be gluten free.

Hope this help a bit.

Good luck! I know how you feel and all my thoughts are with you.

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Thanks for adding your comments Thomas, There are a lot of gluten free friendly places in Tokyo now and its growing, just have to explain it to some places but they are learning. I've seen a lot of changes in 30 years working there, Maybe we should have a gluten free offline meeting in June when i get back.

Ken

Hello Eric,

I was declared celiac two years ago just before going to Japan and have been living in Tokyo since then. At that time I was barely able to climb ten stairs in a row without getting a rest. I felt myself getting old inside. Now I feel young again. And I know what to have body crippling down feels like.

Here are some advice I hope will find some use.

Your symptoms may well be gluten related, or soy, or both, from my experience. (I am intolerant to both).

For the food, you can find proteins in many red beans sold in Japan (which are not soy). There is azuki beans (google it) ver healthy and full of proteins + fibre.

Also, note that if your intestines are irritated you may not digest milk or other dairy products until you feel better. I found however that natural cheese (especially the kind for pizza, but check ingredients)are easier to digest. (Moreover it is quite tasty with japanese rice).

If you are looking for food from outside Japan, have a look at this website.

http://www.iherb.com/

You can find many allergy free brands (I think mainly about Enjoy Life and Orgran). Most products can be delivered to Japan and for much cheaper than Amazon or other websites. The delivery is also quite fast.

As for general rules in everyday life, I recommend you to be careful with everything. Depending on your sensitivity, the wrong cream on the face, the wrong toothpath, a kiss or a shared drink can all be sources of cross contamination. It sounds daunting at first, but it gets easier with time. I personally bought my toothpath in France (I am French) so that I am sure of what it contains.

To speed up the recovery of your intestine, I recommend you eat a lot of carrots and pumpkin. Beware of vitamin supplement for they may contain gluten or soy. The best is to buy them from trusted sources by internet (see the above website). Avoid coffee, tea, spicy food and alcohol.

As for radiations, you do not have to worry about the food in supermarkets. Products are controlled and even if they were not, as an adult you do not have to worry about health problems. People in general would get more radiations when taking the airplane than by eating products grown 300 km from Fukushima. And if you still worry, note that the area where food is grown is always labeled on packages in supermarkets.

Always avoid to eat in restaurants. They are never safe, unless you go to expensive ones. I went to a good one once and the chief came to me, we discussed and i ate like a king without getting sick. This was the exception ou of a thousand.

Avoid all processed foods in general. Except if it is specified to be gluten free.

Hope this help a bit.

Good luck! I know how you feel and all my thoughts are with you.

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