We usually toss something delicious on the grill as the main dish and have a few veggie and grain/starch sides. We had my parents over for Labor Day. Husband smoked a pork shoulder roast, and I made black beans and rice and fruit salad on the sides. We've done ribs, brisket, or burgers as well, with sides like baked beans, quinoa salad, vinaigrette potato salad, tossed green salad, potato or corn chips (not all at once, thank goodness).
I'm a PhD student with an hour commute each way to campus. On average I put in 9-10 hour days in the lab (trying to write up two papers now so I can graduate someday), and I also participate in volunteer and social activities. Like Jestgar, the vast, vast majority of food that I eat is made at home from scratch as much as possible. I've been taking a few more chances lately and have really paid for it. In the interest of full disclosure, I do have a husband who helps out but I end up doing about 90% of the grocery shopping and meal planning because I've done more research on what I can eat safely.
Last Saturday I did a big grocery shopping trip and then crock-pot roasted a chicken and served it with oven-roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, and a raw beet-apple slaw. The leftover veggies went with breakfast the next morning as well as Tuesday night's grilled fish and rice dinner. The leftover chicken went into homemade fried rice for Monday's dinner, which also provided leftovers for Tuesday lunch. On Sunday I made a huge pot of bean-potato stew and a loaf of gluten-free bread. I've been eating the stew for lunch all week and used some of the bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches for last night's dinner. I think tonight's dinner will be grilled burgers with a side salad (I make my own vinaigrette- super easy) and sweet potato oven fries (from fresh-cut potatoes, not frozen). Since I get home late on weeknights we keep those dinners simple.
This is a big shift from the way the majority of America eats. It takes getting used to the planning, but once you've got that down it's just another task to add to the list. An added bonus is that you'll be healthier for it in a lot of ways. Since you're a student you need to be able to plan things around classes or an otherwise weird schedule, so I would advise getting a crockpot. We also bought a rice cooker when I first went gluten-free and we use that thing at least twice weekly- a good $30 investment for us. A Foreman grill might also be a good idea for you- you could buy packs of, say, chicken breasts, freeze them individually, thaw one in the morning and grill it up quickly at night.
That's fabulous! I'm so glad to hear that your cruise was such a positive experience. And as for the new boyfriend: I knew within a month that I would marry my husband if he asked. We got engaged after dating for only seven months. We've been married for 7.5 happy years now and he's been my best support since I went gluten-free nine months ago (in fact, it was his idea to make the kitchen gluten-free). When it's right, it's right.
I'm gluten-free and currently dairy-free (as my intestines heal from a recent bad accidental glutening). Here's an example of what I eat:
Breakfast: Lundberg rice cakes with peanut butter, an apple or banana
Lunch: leftovers from dinner (last night we had tuna, red beans and cucumber in homemade vinaigrette dressing), So Delicious coconut milk yogurt
Dinner: (I'll post representative examples from the previous week since tonight I'm eating St. Dalfour canned bean meal) corn-quinoa pasta with Newman's Own pasta sauce and ground turkey; spinach salad with grilled salmon and homemade vinaigrette; crock-pot roasted chicken with brown rice pilaf and sauteed broccoli; eggs, bacon and pan-fried potatoes; chicken-veggie soup with rice
Unfortunately DF means that you have to rely even more on whole foods and cooking from scratch. Fortunately, you might only need to be completely DF temporarily. I've been gluten-free for almost 9 months and it took a few months before I could add back dairy the first. I expect that it will take at least a few more weeks before I'm willing to brave it again. As for "back to basics"- I didn't do that completely when I started. Other than gluten itself, dairy, peppers, and cruciferous veggies were the big offenders for me nine months ago so I eliminated those completely to start. Sometimes things that I knew were safe would set me off anyway because my gut was in bad shape. It's happening again this time around, but I know that it will eventually pass.
For supplements: hopefully someone can recommend a good probiotic for both of us. The one I have now upsets my stomach. I'll have to see if I can find the ones I used to take, as I liked those and I think they did help. If you find that you can't totally avoid dairy, a Lactaid tablet will help with the lactose intolerance (unfortunately we often have trouble with casein and Lactaid won't help with that).
The Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef (bloggers who just published a gluten-free cookbook) went to Italy for their honeymoon. This was well after her diagnosis of celiac disease. Here's one of her posts on eating while she was there: eating gluten-free in Italy. I really, really want to go there. Have a fabulous time, Kimeran.
My tests came back negative as well, and like you, the only celiac test run from my blood was tTG-IgA. I'd been on a low-gluten diet because it was the only thing that alleviated some of the misery (I didn't know it could give false negatives). I know now that a total IgA test should have been done, because a total IgA deficiency is fairly common.
In short: these tests have a high rate of false negatives for a lot of reasons. If going gluten-free helps you, then stay with it.
Oh, that's a bummer. Sorry you're feeling so ill. I'm not officially diagnosed either (negative for bloodwork on an incomplete panel, doc refused to test further so no biopsy), but determined last December that I had a gluten intolerance. I feel comfortable calling it celiac disease because of my family's strong history of autoimmune disease (on both sides) and the progressive gut damage following accidental intake (the reaction flares up, then my gut gets progressively more irritated as [I assume] the autoimmune lymphocytes kick into gear, then I lose the ability to digest certain foods for several weeks). I treat the condition as celiac disease and am extremely careful about foods now. I don't eat deep-fried foods in restaurants at all unless I KNOW that no gluten foods are fried in that oil (which pretty much restricts me to the fries at Five Guys). I made that mistake once (unbreaded chicken wings in a gluten-free sauce, but the wings were fried in the same oil as breaded foods) and boy, did I pay for that one.
Unfortunately everything will probably make you feel sick until your gut calms down a bit. Lay off the dairy- that will only prolong things. I took a bad accidental gluten hit a few weeks ago, a CC (from something that was supposedly gluten-free) last week, and now I can't digest dairy other than butter because my gut is so wrecked. The casein and lactose are just too much. I'm not having problems with rice, so my husband made a chicken and veg soup with white rice for me (he used our homemade chicken stock but we also like Pacific Naturals stock, which is gluten-free). That's generally settled well. You could leave out the rice, maybe add in some gluten-free corn or corn-quinoa pasta. Fruits can also be a problem due to the fructose so go easy on those. If you do eat fruit, try whole fruits rather than juice so there's some bulk to slow down the fructose (I'm having trouble with OJ right now for this reason). Maybe try veggies like baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, well-cooked carrots, etc. If you can't do anything other than sip chicken broth for a couple of days, that might not be a bad thing to give your gut a break. Hope you start finding some relief soon.
Give it time. You're trying to reverse years of damage. My headaches went away within the first week, but the GI symptoms took considerably longer (and I'd only been suffering from fully active disease for a few months). For example, the bloating/gas persisted for a few weeks after cutting out gluten and it was at least two months post-gluten-free before I could digest lactose-free dairy again- that was how long it took my gut to heal to that point. I don't know what your diet consists of, but a lot of people (myself included) have trouble with dairy, brassica veggies (broccoli, cabbage, etc.) and nightshades (peppers, tomatoes) at first. I was able to add all of these back to my diet, but not right away. I also had trouble with tapioca flour until my gut healed. Others sometimes have trouble with corn.
Honestly, I couldn't fully heal until I made our kitchen gluten-free (except for the husband's beer stuff). I kept getting CC'd from stray crumbs or pasta residue, bun or sauce residue on the grill, or even from things like grabbing a condiment bottle that my husband had previously grabbed with his hotdog-bun-glutened hand. I don't expect him to eat gluten-free outside of the house and I'm not going to fuss over restaurant leftovers or a fast food sandwich if he cleans up well, but we don't do gluten food prep in our house anymore. I suspect that you may have been similarly glutened (especially if you kiss either one of them after they've eaten something with gluten). If your husband insists on gluten food prep, maybe it's time for him to make his own sandwiches. As for your son- there are plenty of gluten-free cereals out there (corn and rice Chex, most of the EnviroKids line). There are corn tortillas and Udi's bread for wraps and sandwiches.
And yes, I had chronic sinus problems and seasonal allergies before I went gluten-free.
Here are some of our favorites, with minimal tweaking to make them gluten-free:
Homemade picadillo (ground beef seasoned with onions, garlic, chili, cumin, tomatoes and carrots) with refried beans and rice, served with tortillas. We ate this regularly when I was growing up and the only substitutions I've made were gluten free beef broth in the rice (for a little flavor) and corn tortillas instead of flour ones. Sometimes we just do beans and rice.
Smoked pork shoulder roast shredded with homemade BBQ sauce (aka pulled pork) with grilled veggies and vinaigrette potato salad.
Chili and corn chips.
Tomato-based pasta sauce with crumbled Jennie-O hot Italian turkey sausage, served over (gluten-free) pasta.
Roast chicken with lemon wedges in the cavity and herbs sprinkled on top, with roast veggies on the side.
Grilled salmon with quinoa or brown rice pilaf and tossed green salad.
Warm lentils and diced sauteed smoked sausage (we like Boarshead if we can find it) tossed with red wine vinaigrette and scallions.
Crock-pot beans cooked with a smoked ham hock from Whole Foods, simmered down and served with cornbread (gluten-free, of course).
And I've tweaked my favorite mac-and-cheese recipe to work with brown rice flour, lactose-free milk and gluten-free macaroni. We can't taste a difference. I'd happily serve it to anyone and I doubt they'd ever suspect it was gluten-free.
Go to or contact a local Catholic church's office and ask to speak to or leave a message for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul representative. This is an organization that exists to help people in need with emergency situations, no strings attached, no requirement that you are Catholic. Usually the only requirement is that you live within the parish boundaries (prevents unscrupulous people from gaming the system by hitting up several parishes at once). If the church you contact is not the one nearest you, either you will be redirected or they will contact that parish on your behalf.
I tell you to go there because in the past I have served the community through this group (although in a different location) and we would not have hesitated to provide grocery store vouchers so that people could shop for food that they knew they could eat safely. It's just cruel to expect people to eat food that will make them sick. SVDP is usually a one-time service (they don't provide continuing care so that they can help the largest number of people, but they will give referrals to longer-term services whenever possible). Since you need something to bridge the gap until your income starts up again, SVDP might be a really good fit to help you through the rough patch.
It sounds like you're being realistic. A week is too short to get rid of all your symptoms, especially when they are neuro. Heck, I've been gluten free for 8 months and when I get accidental gluten it takes a week (sometimes longer) before my symptoms go away. So keep up the gluten free diet and ignore those naysayers.
Exactly this. I mean, sure, some of my symptoms got better within a week (as in no more daily headaches), but the gut stuff took months to fully heal. It was a full two months before I could digest even lactose-free dairy again. Stick with it and you will eventually get relief. At the very least, you're not doing further damage to yourself so that's something.