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samcarter

Member Since 04 Aug 2008
Offline Last Active Jun 07 2010 06:43 AM
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Topics I've Started

Shared Equipment

24 May 2010 - 06:34 AM

So I never thought I was this sensitive to gluten. I knew that if i actually ate something with gluten, I would start getting the symptoms--headache, sometimes a bad stomach, most often neuropathy. I had been avoiding even stuff with wheat starch (like Pringles). Because I knew that would cause the same symptoms.

Then I went to Trader Joe's yesterday, to get some pizzas for the kids. I picked up a bag of tortilla chips--should be safe, right? And a container of spicy guacamole (which turned out to taste horrible, but that's beside the point).


A few hours after dinner, I had a horrible stomachache, the same kind of sleepiness I get when I've been glutened with a big dose of wheat, and a headache. I looked at the labels--"made on shared equipment." Now, I i had seen this, but before on Trader Joe's labels they make a point of saying that their providers take care to avoid cross-contamination. Not any more, it seems. It also seems my sensitivity is getting worse, not better. UGH.

Anybody else have trouble with trader joe's food? seems like even if they say it uses gluten free ingredients, everything is made on shared equipment. I'm going to have to go back to buying dedicated gluten free foods from dedicated facilities, and whole foods all the way, I guess.

Shampoo, Conditioner

01 February 2010 - 07:42 AM

I was one of those who thought I didn't have to worry if my shampoo or conditioner had gluten in it. I honestly did figure, "I don't get it in my mouth, so what's the big deal?"

Well, nearly two years into my gluten-free life, I developed a very annoying rash on my forehead. Red, spotty, with little flakes and "scabs". Painful, too. I thought it was acne--I've had this kind of rash before and was told by a dermatologist that it was acne--and I was treating it with a scrub cleanser and salicylic acid. It would wax and wane, get a little better, a little worse. I wondered if it was cycle-related, or food-related, tried cutting out sugar and dairy...nothing.

Then I finally got around to looking at my shampoo and conditioner. I avoid sulfates in my shampoo, so I had found JASON Biotin shampoo and conditioner at the grocery store. Lo and behold, there on the label was "wheat protein." I felt so stupid. And I realized that I had started using this shampoo a few months ago, which was around when my rash started to flare.

And I've realized since that because my hair is long, sometimes I fiddle with my hair, it gets near my mouth, and...duh.

Oh, and I realized my Garnier Fructis face scrub has oat amino acids...maybe that doesn't have gluten in it, maybe it does, but I'm going to play it safe.

Well, I confess here and now, as a former "personal products don't need to be gluten free" person, that I'm cleaning out all my personal care products and finding gluten free ones. So far I'm loving Shikai shampoo and conditioner, and if anybody has a recommendation for a gentle face cleanser, without sodium lauryl sulfate and gluten, I'd appreciate it. Right now I'm using an old bar of Kiss My Face Olive Oil soap. I also need to find a good face lotion.

For anyone who thinks it doesn't matter, because you've been using whatever you can find and you're not having problems...you never know. I thought I wasn't having any problems, but I'm hoping I found the cause of my rash. It's definitely not acne, because when I use the salicylic lotion on a breakout, it clears it up right away. But this rash hasn't gone away for months.

Anybody Have Experience With Low Carnitine Levels?

18 June 2009 - 06:58 AM

Long story short: when my third son was born, they did the typical newborn screenings, with a new test added recently in our state: Carnitine levels. Apparently a low level of carnitine can indicate an inborn error of metabolism. My son's level was extremely low, and immediately the assumption was that he had a metabolic disorder.

However, then they tested my carnitine levels, because this is a genetic thing and my brother died at age 30 from unknown causes; they thought it might be a metabolic issue. My levels were as low as you can get. The doctor said he'd never seen anybody 'walking around' with such low levels.

They tested me for the carnitine transport error, and I didn't have it. They had no explanation for my low carnitine levels. I ended up going to another doctor, a pedatrician with expertise in metabolic disorders. She reviewed my history and said it was possible that my carnitine levels were so low because, prior to my third pregnancy, I had been eating a vegan diet. She said that my son's levels were most likely low because I had no carnitine in my own system (babies in utero get carnitine from their mothers, after birth they metabolize it or absorb it on their own).

My son is still on a low dose of carnitine supplement. He was tested and had a low normal, then got tested again after an illness, and his levels had dipped down (during illness, when children don't eat, they use carnitine to metabolize stored fats, so I wasn't surprised that he was low on carnitine). I went gluten free last August, and my levels have been normal; now I've been doing some reading and finding that in the few studies that have been done regarding serum carnitine levels and celiac disease, patients with celiac--especially children---have low serum carnitine.

I tested negative for celiac with an EMA test, but have had extremely positive response to the gluten free diet. Is it possible that celiac was causing my carnitine deficiency?

Legumes A Problem Now?

09 June 2009 - 04:32 AM

So after going gluten free, it became clear that my "mild" food allergies (bananas, apples and green beans) were intensified. I cut those out. Then I noticed I'd get a rash when I drank soy milk, so I stopped using that.

Now it seems that any legumes--baked beans (which were gluten free, I checked), peanut butter---are causing the same kind of effect gluten once had on me. UGH. Basically horrible gas, and diarrhea in the morning after eating them. Literally, they go right through me, just like green beans used to.

Not that I mind particularly, but it seems the longer I'm gluten free, while I feel great, the more foods I have to eliminate to KEEP feeling great. Gluten, dairy, bananas, apples, green beans, soy, peanut butter.

Is it possible to develop a legume allergy after having a green bean allergy, since they're in the same family?

And when will this food elimination stop? I feel like the protagonist in Margaret Atwood's "The Edible Woman" where food after food was rejected by her body, unti she was eating nothing. Gah.

Lifelong Mystery Solved..

24 May 2009 - 02:50 PM

My husband commented today that I don't 'fall down' and bump against things as often as I did when we met ten years ago. I was a very, very clumsy kid, and it didn't get any better when I was a teenager. More often than not, I would have huge scabs on my knees from falling, and in college I had bruises up and down my legs from just bumping into things. I even fell out of my loft bed and broke my back, while I was sleeping.

Now, I realized, I don't bump into things as often. I still do, occasionally, but I don't have bruises up and down my legs, and the last time I actually fell--really, competely fell and bloodied my knees---was last fall.

It was probably ataxia, all those years. And it only got worse when I was vegetarian, because i developed a carnitine deficiency, which lead to muscle weakness.

So, add to the positive benefits of a gluten free diet--no more scabbed-up knees and bruises everywhere! :)