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Help--Recently Diagnosed--Mostly Vegetarian Eater......gluten Free Diet Panic


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#1 sofismom

 
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Posted 29 December 2012 - 05:47 PM

I was semi- diagnosed about a month ago, and after many tests, ( many)...... confirmed diagnosis from my doctor yesterday morning. So..... I began trying to figure out this gluten free diet, which started with a trip to my grocery store, that left me very depressed. My head is literally spinning trying to figure out how to eat this way. The other, slightly big problem, is that I mostly eat veggie. ( not a strict veggie----once in a while--less than once a month, I will have a few bites of steak or chicken) and I do still eat animal products, eggs etc.. I mostly just don't do "meats". Well, I have always relied on delicious pasta and breads to give me "bulk" calories, as eating fresh fruits and vegetables all day doesn't really supply a lot of calorie intake. I am a thin person, and to not be down right skinny, I have always looked for extra calories. Well, most of those things are now forbidden. I don't know how I am going to keep weight on. I don't even know how I am going to figure out how to eat gluten free....... I feel like it is in everything........ at least everything I keep checking. We eat out ALL the time, and how in the world can one eat out and eat safely? I have spent so much time on the computer, trying to learn as much as possible about this, and it is, to say the least, overwhelming beyond belief.

Yesterday I went to bed hungry, ( despite the many rice cakes I ate to fill myself) as I simply couldn't find gluten free meals/dishes in the store, and didn't have any recipes yet. I got some snacks, and plenty of extra fresh veggies to have something to eat at all. Today, breakfast was okay, as I made three eggs, using smart balance butter, and a bowl of fruit. I would have also had yogurt, but found online that Dannon Oikos "may" contain gluten, so that was nixed. For lunch we went to Texas Roadhouse, as I got routed to them from a few sites stating that they had a gluten free menu....... well, that turned into a disaster..... so i ate some steamed carrots and broccoli there, ( which according to what I have read since coming home, was likely subjected to cross contamination)! I'm about to head to a different grocery store, in an attempt to get something!! We live about 2.5 hours from San Diego and go there often so I plan on hitting whole foods the next time to check out there options for gluten free.

It is taking everything I have to not flat out panic, simply because it just seems so difficult.

I did check all my vitamins and supplements and it looks like all of them are gluten free, ( a few even state it on the package) so that was good news! Although, according to what my doctor said, the reason I am deficient in so many ways, despite taking supplements like crazy, is a direct result of the Celiac and my body not absorbing....so until I get this under control and 100% adhere to this diet, I guess the supplements are pointless anyway.

Uggghhhhhh...so frustrating! Am I over reacting to this, or is this normal to feel this way? Any help with the diet would be soooo appreciated. :)
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#2 tarnalberry

 
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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:31 PM

Briefly - beans, lentils, rice, corn, quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat are all other sources of complex carbohydrates that can help bulk up your meals. Use plenty of fats in cooking (like olive oil and coconut oil and avocados) and don't shy away from nuts and seeds! You might also look into making baked goods from nut flours.

Also... I hate to be a downer, but eating out often... yeah, not really compatible with a gluten free diet. I'm not saying you can't do it, but you have to find the right restaurants (get to know the people), make sure they are avoiding cross contamination risks, and realize that, despite all your effort, you may get contaminated when other people are in control of your food.
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Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"
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#3 captaincrab55

 
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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:12 PM

There may be a reason why your so thin, Celiac Disease! It appears that you have use of the Internet. With that, one can find many gluten-free recipes. Search the web, it worked for me. Good Luck,
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#4 Pauliewog

 
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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:39 PM

I started eating gluten free as a vegetarian in Feb. I found I was always hungry and never really felt "good." On the forum I read about the Paleo/Primal diets and started looking into that. Now, 10 months later, I am eating meats and feeling great! I am not happy to eat meat but I do (a lot of eggs and fish, some chicken, occasional pork/beef). I think one thing that has helped a lot is upping my fat. I now cook things in "real" butter. I have started eating full fat yogurt off and on. I also add coconut cream to my coffee. This I think has helped me feel full. As an example, today for breakfast I had eggplant cooked in butter topped with cheese and two eggs along with the coffee/coconut cream. Meals like this help me feel full. Lunch was okra cooked in butter, salmon and a handful of olives. For a snack I'll eat an apple with peanut butter.

You can eat lots of sweet potatoes (make oven fries or fry them), regular potatoes (butter/sour cream), avocados.... If you are fine with corn then get fresh corn tortillas and make fajitas (with or without meat).

As stated, avoid eating out. It is an adjustment but you just have to make sure all meals are prepared. I just returned from a 14 day trip to California and I ONLY ate out once and that was fries at In-N-Out because I was too afraid of getting sick in restaurants. I cooked all my meals at my hotel or in friend's homes. Better than spending a day of vacation sick!
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#5 Monklady123

 
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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:46 AM

One thing that helped me was to make a list of everything that is naturally gluten free. After you start writing you'll realize that most things are gluten free. In fact, everything is naturally gluten free except wheat, barley, and rye (and some of the "cousins" such as spelt). And a few things like oats, which are naturally gluten free but are usually contaminated by processing. (so buy the ones certified gluten free).

So, once you realize that almost everything is gluten free then you can start thinking about cooking. This is winter, so what about soups? Hearty vegetable soup is great. You can put some gluten free pasta in if you want, or rice. Split pea or lentil soups are good. What about quiche? You can make a gluten free crust from gluten-free Bisquick (easiest) or from a gluten-free flour blend (second easiest) , or from scratch (which I would never do, lol). Or you can make crustless quiche. Lasagna using gluten-free pasta. Stir fry with tofu. If you do eat some meat occasionally then what about fish? My supposedly-vegetarian daughter will eat fish. -- Nuts are gluten-free, have peanut butter for some protein. Look up "African peanut stew" -- we LOVE this served on rice. -- I discovered quinoa when I was diagnosed. I make a quinoa/brocolli/cheese casserole that everyone loves. My dd eats just that, and then I'll cook up some sausage for the meat eaters. -- Grilled cheese and tomato soup? yum...

Once you start looking around you'll realize that everything you cooked before either already is gluten free or can be made gluten free by using gluten-free pasta, or cornstarch instead of wheat flour to thicken, or things like that.

As for eating out....well, that's more difficult. The best advice I was given was to call each of the restaurants that I had liked to go to and talk to the manager and/or chef. Call when they're not busy. Then I found several things at each restaurant that I like to order and those are my go-to items. Yes, it's hard. I remember early after I was diagnosed I went to a local sandwich/pizza place (Lost Dog Cafe, for anyone who knows that place). The only thing I could eat was a salad since I didn't want to pay the price they were asking for the gluten free pizza. Everyone else had these yummy smelling/looking pizzas or gooey sandwiches. I felt very sorry for myself. :P Now I just don't go there, or I order the gluten-free pizza.

I think what we have to come to realize is that the company is more important than the food. There will always be something to eat at a restaurant, even if it's just a drink and a baked potato. But being there with our friends is the most important thing. It's hard in the beginning but it does eventually get easier.

Hope some of this helps. :)
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#6 dilettantesteph

 
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Posted 31 December 2012 - 07:01 AM

I am vegetarian and gluten free. It isn't as hard as you are thinking. You can eat eggs, cheese, yogurt, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, beans, nuts, buckwheat, oil and butter for more calories. I ate meat for a little while because I thought I had to, but it didn't do me any good, and I just don't like it. I'm not any worse for not eating it again now. I was vegan for a long time too also without additional issues. You just need some time to wrap your head around the whole thing. Roasted root veggies with olive oil are really good. There is nothing wrong with being lean as long as you are not hungry. Rice cakes aren't enough to fill up anyone.
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#7 LauraB0927

 
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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:48 AM

I am not a vegetarian, but I do understand your feelings of panic right after being diagnosed! I was completely overwhelmed in the food store the first few times, but please believe me when I say that you get used to it and it becomes easier as you go along. The newbie thread is a great source of information and I would definitely encourage you to read that as soon as you can. Quinoa is a great source of complex carbs and protein and if you cook it with chicken broth instead of water it gives it a great flavor. Although we always recommend to start with a whole foods diet in the beginning (until you heal more), if you need that pasta to keep you going, corn pasta is gluten free and is a great alternative to regular pasta. I served it to my extended family yesterday and they couldn't tell the difference! Also, try taking a digestive enzyme along with probiotics to help you process and digest these foods until your gut heals more.

P.S. there are some apps (if you have a smartphone) that will help you locate gluten free restaurants. People post reviews and let you know if they've had any issues with cross contamination. The one I use is called Gluten Free Registry and its been very helpful, but its probably better not to eat out for a while until you get the hang of it.

Welcome to the forum and feel free to ask any questions that you have!! Everyone on here is amazingly supportive...
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"Dark and difficult times lie ahead ahead - soon we must all face the choice, to do what is right, or what is easy..." - Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter)

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#8 mommyto2kids

 
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Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:25 PM

I used to live in Oceanside near you. There is Whole Foods in your area. Find a clerk to help you. Yes it is nornal to feel this way. Lots of people have panic attacks when they first get celiac. I did. It was super bad. For me almost post war disorder. I was a real mess. Sometimes I get to be a mess again when I have a mystery flare like today. As for bread, there are many good gluten-free breads. I like them better than regular bread. and there are tons and tons of gluten-free pasta out there. They take a while to get used to but are ok. We eat them all the time. I hope that helps. Get some good gluten-free magazines. There are many out there. Check amazon or ask others what they like. But I garantee, in San Diego you will have lots of support. My aunt is in SanDiego and finds good gluten-free food because she is gluten sensitive. So I know it is there. Let us know if we can be of more help.

I just read post above. Be careful eating out until you heal. I would avoid it for a few months. Learn from my mistakes. It can mess you up in the beginning learning what you can eat. Many people have lots of other issues too as you will learn on here. Food issues that is.
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#9 sofismom

 
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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:40 AM

Briefly - beans, lentils, rice, corn, quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat are all other sources of complex carbohydrates that can help bulk up your meals. Use plenty of fats in cooking (like olive oil and coconut oil and avocados) and don't shy away from nuts and seeds! You might also look into making baked goods from nut flours.

Also... I hate to be a downer, but eating out often... yeah, not really compatible with a gluten free diet. I'm not saying you can't do it, but you have to find the right restaurants (get to know the people), make sure they are avoiding cross contamination risks, and realize that, despite all your effort, you may get contaminated when other people are in control of your food.


Sadly, over the last few days, I have found that eating out is going to be close to impossible for me. At least for an actual meal. I can go with my family and eat whatever item may be okay, ( as long as cross-contamination is unlikely), but to go and just eat somewhere doesn't seem likely. :-( When we travel, I don't know yet how that will work.
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#10 sofismom

 
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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:42 AM

There may be a reason why your so thin, Celiac Disease! It appears that you have use of the Internet. With that, one can find many gluten-free recipes. Search the web, it worked for me. Good Luck,

Thanks! Yes, the internet has been my saving grace, or else I would be totally lost right now.
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#11 sofismom

 
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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:58 AM

Thanks!! All of these replies have really helped. I am consumed right now reading online and trying to be as educated as possible about all of this. I have "somewhat" started to get used to looking at ingredients every time I pick anything up. I was cooking yesterday, and even spices, before using any, I ran to my computer to check the additional ingredients/additives. If it was questionable, then it wasn't used. Such a drastic change................ My new issue is my one and only vice...... a Corona beer, ( which almost all beers are off limits), and although there are a few that are gluten free, I doubt I would like them. I don't particularly love beer, but I do love Corona! I don't smoke, have always eaten healthy, ( at least what I thought was healthy, w/o knowing I had this disease), exercise, blah, blah, blah........, but an ice cold Corona has been my drink of choice on a hot afternoon, while at a sports event, concert, while doing yard work, while cooking in the kitchen with my children, while relaxing on my porch.......... I will have to find a substitute for this......... I do enjoy wine, and have had a couple glasses over the last few days, ( only after ensuring it was a gluten free wine), but, somehow, it is not as satisfying. So life altering this disease. :-(
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#12 gatita

 
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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:05 AM

I was never a big beer drinker but I understand the occasional Corona craving. I drink hard cider now (Trader Joe's has a really nice pear cider) and enjoy it a lot!

I think the biggest change at first for many (me anyway) is not eating out. It took me months to realize I...just...can't...do it. :( That was always one of my favorite pleasures. I've gotten to know a few restaurants that have been safe so far, but the idea of going out and discovering someplace brand-new is out for now.

The upside is you may discover as I have that you can really enjoy cooking great food at home and save a ton of money! :)

ps. My best friend is vegetarian and we enjoy making lots of gluten-free veggie meals together. Mexican cuisine tends to mostly be gluten-free anyway, so that's our staple.
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#13 GFinDC

 
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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

Hi Sofismom,

Spices are usually ok, as long as they are just one spice, not a blend or seasoning mix. McCormick brand has a good rep for spices, but same thing, you need to verify blends or mixes. Or just don't use them.

You can spend a lot of time in the grocery store reading ingredients on processed foods, or you can switch to a whole foods diet and make shopping simpler. Eating out is not a good idea for beginners on the gluten-free diet. One of the important things to learn for newbies, is what the heck they are eating every day, and how to avoid things that make them sick. Eating food other people prepared is not going to teach you what ingredients are risky, since you generally don't know what they are putting in the food. It's much better to eat a limited number of simple foods at first, so you can make sure they are gluten-free. If you think about how people ate 100 years ago, that is a good start, minus the wheat, rye, barley and oats.

There is a potential for untreated celiacs to have higher than normal liver enzymes (that's bad). So I think it is better for people to avoid alcohol at first. After a while off gluten, the liver enzymes normalize usually.

Some tests that are good to get are vitamin and mineral levels. Celiac disease damages the small intestine and impairs it's ability to absorb nutrients, so people often have low vitamin and mineral levels. That is probably why you are skinny, from malabsorption. After a while on the gluten-free diet, you may heal up your gut and begin to absorb better. And then it should be easier to maintain a good weight.

The damage to the small intestinal villi, can cause problems digesting lactose (diary sugar). But that problem is not universal for all celiacs. There are a lot of different ways celiac can affect us, and people tend to have a wide variety of symptoms.

Getting started is the tough part, but it tends to get easier with time.

Some starting the gluten-free diet tips for the first 6 months:

Get tested before starting the gluten-free diet.
Get your vitamin/mineral levels tested also.
Don't eat in restaurants
Eat only whole foods not processed foods.
Eat only food you cook yourself, think simple foods, not gourmet meals.
Take probiotics.
Take gluten-free vitamins.
Take digestive enzymes.
Avoid dairy.
Avoid sugars and starchy foods.
Avoid alcohol.

Helpful threads:

FAQ Celiac com
http://www.celiac.co...celiac-disease/

Newbie Info 101
http://www.celiac.co...ewbie-info-101/

What's For Breakfast Today?
http://www.celiac.co...reakfast-today/

What Did You Have For Lunch Today?
http://www.celiac.co...or-lunch-today/
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Proverbs 25:16 "Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it."
Job 30:27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
Thyroid cyst and nodules, Lactose / casein intolerant. Diet positive, gene test pos, symptoms confirmed by Dr-head. My current bad list is: gluten, dairy, sulfites, coffee (the devil's brew), tea, Bug's Bunnies carrots, garbanzo beans of pain, soy- no joy, terrible turnips, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and hard work. have a good day! :-) Paul

#14 Monklady123

 
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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:41 PM

About that beer.... you might give Redbridge a try. It's pretty good, especially when it's ice cold and the weather is hot. Before celiac I liked dark beers so it took a few tries for me to like Redbridge. But I really think that we do forget exactly how something tasted after awhile. I'm satisfied with Redbridge now. -- Other alcoholic choices might be a wine cooler, or the hard cider someone mentioned. And my family's summer staple, a gin and tonic. :)
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#15 DownWithGluten

 
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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:15 PM

Hey, hope you're feeling less overwhelmed. I think we can all relate to that initial disappointment and despair. Even the rice cakes...haha, for the first few months all I ate were random rice chips and like chicken broth.

But don't despair, it's not as bleak as it seems. I've been gluten free for six years now and can pretty much eat whatever I want...however, yes, the eating out thing will not be the same. I'm reduced to about 3 or 4 options and don't have the freedom to just eat out on the fly. Before I go on any trip, I still take about 3-4 hours researching restaurants in the area. Etc.

But my main point is, even as a vegetarian, I can say with confidance that you'll be able to eat practically as much as you did before. Restricted to certain brands, will take a lot of Googling and callin companies...but once you find your "safe" go to brands and items, you'll be set. I don't feel at all deprived eating at home. (Again, yes the freedom to eat out or eat at work functions or parties etc...indeed not the same. But as far as cravings, eating what I want on a regular basis...no problem!) My friend I love pasta and bread, too. I used to just go to bakeries and eat bread for lunch, and pasta is one of my favorite things. they're beginning to make better tasting gluten free bread. And the brown rice gluten free pasta, to me, tastes the same as "real" pasta. I swear to you I don't miss "real" pasta in the slightest. The texture is more obnoxious and doesn't hold as well -- but the taste is perfect. I was afraid to try it the first time but was so pleasantly surprised. It's not like whole wheat pasta which does have a drastic taste difference.

You can still have all your veggies. With some research, you can find salad dressings and dips that are gluten free. And regular brands, too. Like Kraft and Newmann's. Not everything has to be organic or "healthy" brands. Although sometimes those are more convinient b/c they take the time to label products as gluten free. But I'm sayin,' you can go grab a bag of Cheetos and pop in some M&Ms and be fine. All is not lost...it's just a matter of finding substitutes to the main things like pasta, cookies, bread...and a matter of doing the grunt work of calling brands and research brands online,... (pretty much, don't eat anything unless you have checked beforehand or unless it's labelled as gluten free. that's my rule). I don't know how much cooking you've done, but you will likely have to rely on preparing your own ingredients and less on pre-made things (like hamburger helper types). Anyway, once you have your safe brands, you're good to go. (Though good to check ingredients from time to time as products can change).

Conveniently for you, as far as frozen meals and that sorta thing... gluten free and vegeterian often get lumped together so you should be able to find variety there too. Usually only healthy and organic brands do the 'frozen food's' though.

(A note with the vegetarian thing __ one hindrance to look out for is 'vegetarian' meat. They almost always have wheat in them. So, those occasional bites of real chicken you mentioned might have to suffice instead.)

And like someone else said, hard cider is a great non-strong "fun" beverage to have instead of beer. And more and more varities of gluten-free beer seem to be cropping up.

Hope that helps. Don't feel you have to resign yourself to rice cakes and carrots forever. With research (and give yourself time :) ) you can still have flavor and fun and eat just as much as you used to.
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