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GFAnnie

Taking This Too Seriously, Or Not Seriously Enough? Get Rid Of Pets Too?

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In the past three weeks both myself and my three year old have been diagnosed with celiac.  In the meantime, I would put money on my one year old also having it, as he was really the reason I decided to get myself tested, since he's got a littany of symptoms and has not been eating gluten in a while so he of course couldn't be tested. (and I should add that I also suspect my husband does too but he's too symptomatic to be tested as well) Anyway, it was rather shocking as both three year old and I are basically asymptomatic. 

So begins the gluten-free quest.  As far as food, pretty much easy enough, though I keep making little discoveries along the way, most recently that nuts supposedly are a no-no because of cross contamination so only nuts from nuts.com will do.  Okay.  In general, the cross-contamination thing is a real PITA for a family of asymptomatic celiacs.  This is where the real crux of our issue  lies.  I often see people say things like "see what your body tolerates" in terms items that could be cross contaminted, or in terms of soaps, lotions, toothpaste, etc.  If "see what your body tolerates" is the hallmark of what is safe, we would then be fine to eat pizza and bagels all day long!  But of course, it's not.  So I feel especially paranoid about  everything, knowing we won't get any symptoms.  Perhaps our shampoo is destroying our bodies on a daily basis, we wouldn't know the difference.  So I guess our only option is to go INTENSE with the gluten-free rule.  Absolutely everything Certified gluten-free?  Do I even trust the customer service rep. on the phone when they tell me their product does not contain gluten if they don't bother to label the product gluten-free?

And then here's another huge issue. We have a small flock of chickens. Have been keeping chickens for years.  Guess what?  Chicken feed is loaded with wheat.  And chicken feed is dusty. And we keep our  bags of dusty chicken feed on an enclosed porch where the kids play. You can buy ingredients to mix your own, and make it gluten-free, but can I trust that the cracked corn, oats, seeds, milo, etc. don't come from a mill or plant that also processes wheat or barley?  I doubt it.  So no more raising chickens?

And dog food?  Our dog is on a special diet and his food contains gluten.  Get rid of the dog too?

And so I ponder all of these questions while at the same time, knowing I have this disease, and my children have this disease , but I feel fine, so how "crazy" do I go?  Get rid of the pets, only buy the most expensive hard to find items that are certified gluten-free?

Any comments would be appreciated! 

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Slow down! Breathe!  I think you may be going a bit too far.  The best way to tell if you are consuming gluten is feeling better &  to get your blood work re-done every year.   The first year, get it re-done in 3-6 months.  It may not be 0 but should be coming down,  You may have to show this to your doctor:

 

http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/archives/faq/how-often-should-follow-up-testing-occur

 

Lots of people with Celiac live normal lives without being paranoid. I realize some will tell you to go to extremes.  However, most people with Celiac do just great without being that extreme.

 

 I think gluten-free shampoo for kids would be a good idea as they tend to get it in their mouths.  The good news is, most shampoo is gluten-free.  Look for wheat germ oil - that is usually the problem and its not in a lot of shampoos.

 

I wouldn't worry about the dog food unless the little one eats it.  I know that happens sometimes.   :D

 

Chicken food - if you want to make your own, I wouldn't worry about the little teeny bit of possible cc.  You aren't eating it.  

 

I use nuts like Planters with no issues.  There is no way you can only eat "certified gluten free" and get a balanced diet.  You need to eat fruits, meats, beans, etc.  

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Thank you!  This is the kind of feedback I'm in need of.  I really don't feel like I have my compass set on the gluten-free quest!  I think it's harder having two small children with it.  If it was just me, I don't think it would be so difficult to avoid worrying about hidden gluten lurking in everything and killing me!  :P  I just really want to give my kids the good healthy start they deserve and I must admit, as dumb as it is I feel a small amount of guilt for "giving" them celiac. 

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Hi GFAnnie,

 

We do have a member (Jestgar) who raises chickens.  Probably are more too.  Maybe she will  pop in and give some chicken feed advice.

 

It's easier to avoid hidden gluten if you stick with mostly whole foods cooked at home.  The processed foods are the ones they sneak gluten into.  There are some processed foods that are ok for most celiacs though.  Things like Mission corn tortillas and chips, Rudi's and Udi's gluten-free breads and such, Glutino products, Kinickkinick etc.  Planters is a Kraft company and they will label any gluten in their nuts.

 

The tricky thing to watch out for is hidden gluten in things that you use over and over for months at a time.  Things like vitamins, meds, spices, shampoo etc.  Once you figure out safe versions of those items you can stick with them for  along time without worry.  Just check the labels when you buy a new package for any possible changes listed.

 

You can also search on the web or on this site for the name of the product and the word gluten and often find info on their status.  Or check the manufacturers website for info.

 

You may find that over time your lack of obvious symptoms changes.  People sometimes get more noticeable symptoms after being gluten-free for  awhile.  So your built-in gluten detector may kick into gear at some point.

 

When you add a new item to your diet is when you are most at risk of making a mistake.  Especially if you are not paying attention to the ingredients label.  So take adding new things slowly and investigate a little before adding them permanently.

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It took me awhile to notice what my gluten-ingestion symptoms were. Your entire family may notice things once you're gluten free for awhile.

 

It sounds like a good policy to adopt is a strict 'no hands in your mouth' rule for both you and your kids. No fingernail biting, teeth picking, etc, unless you've just washed your hands. If this is followed your chances of getting CC from animal products are low. That said, I would probably opt to make my own chicken feed.

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Never be paranoid!  (celiac or not) as that is a useless trait   :)

 

May I suggest you keep all your pets (as you will not be eating their feed) and read this thread:

 

http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/91878-newbie-info-101/

 

just so I do not have to type it all  again... Thanks...it is valentine's day after all and I have a "date"  ;)  with the hubs.

 

Do NOT feel guilt about "giving" your kids anything. We are not in charge of our genetic makeup.

I do not blame my parents for my genes. I thank them for loving me and giving me a good life. And my genes gave me "good stuff" too, like long eyelashes and people who live to their 80's and we all have good dance moves! LOL

 

Seriously....How could they know I would develop celiac? None of us know these things, hon.

 

Your children will think you are awesome for loving them and taking good care of them :) Hang in there. 

 

Please! Read the book Real Life with Celiac Disease by Melinda Dennis and Daniel Leffler MD

 

It will calm you fears and explain SO MUCH.

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You are new to this...before long you will get a firm hold on how to keep you and your children safe.  

 

My grands became gluten-free at 18 months and the second has always been gluten-free...it really is not an issue for them (now 4 and 6 years old) as it is simply their "normal".  They have been their own advocate for a very long time -- I actually think going gluten-free is easier on our shorter family members then it is on the rest of us.  Oh hey, they have chickens too...not sure what the feed is...I'll have to ask.

 

The best thing you can do is stay calm, take the next weeks/months to learn all you can so that you demonstrate to your children this is "normal" for your family and not a big deal -- important Yes -- worthy of panic Nope.

 

That said...I was in tears on my first grocery missions post diagnosis...after the tears dried I had to buy my first pair of reading glasses for all the tiny ingredient lists...eventually we reduced all processed foods so I don't even need the readers on most grocery missions now.  

 

I strongly suggest you stick with as many whole foods/non-processed items as possible.  Even the processed labeled gluten-free items should be treats rather than staples in your diet -- especially during the first months while you are healing.  When shopping stick with the perimeter of the grocery store as much as possible -- where you find fresh veggies, fruit, meat and dairy.

 

Read the "Newbie 101" Thread a few times...the book that Irish suggested is phenomenal resource...order it if possible.

 

Hang in there...it does get much easier with time :)

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I would suggest getting a gluten free dog food for  your dog. I know that when the cat food I feed my cats changed their formula and had gluten in it I started geting gllutened and had to figure out where it came from. Even though you aren't eating the dog food, if your dog likes to lick you or you pet it, you have the chance for cross contamination or from handeling  the food.  Talk to your vet about a good food. Don't get rid of the dog. But find something that works.

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Both my dog and cat are grain free. My other cat is also grain free but having some issues with his diet, so that's just something that needs to be worked out. Pets need the right foods just like humans. You'll be fine. It's going to be rough at first, especially with kids, but you'll figure out a routine that works for you.

 

I went militant my first year. (still kind of am) but that doesn't mean you have to be paranoid about everything.

 

Hope it gets better. Love your pets!

 

Jesse

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I too, am the genetic weak link that passed Celiac to both of my kids, so I can relate to the guilt. You will come to find out however, that a gluten free diet benefits everyone, regardless of if they have a sensitivity. You and your children are being forced into better health.

While you may have been asymptomatic at diagnosis, I can almost guarantee that will change. Once your body becomes used to NOT having gluten, it tends to protest violently when it is exposed. That is when the fun begins. You can eat pizza and bagels now with no visible reaction, but six months from now, if a cruton touches your lettuce you may very well spend the next three days in misery.

We also have chickens, and both the feed and the oat straw were an issue. My husband had to take over the chicken chores because the dust made the kids and I sick. Our feed was stored in the barn. You may want to move yours outside- large metal trash cans with lids will keep the feed try and safe from rodents.

Our dogs and cats eat grain free food. Like people, animals tend to do better without gluten in their diet.

It is generally the more expensive, higher quality lotions and shampoos that contain gluten, specifically wheat protein. Most do not. Lipstick you do have to be fairly diligent about, as you most definitely will ingest some.

A lot of us who share our hones with gluten eaters have eventually made the decision to make the whole house gluten free. Avoiding cross contamination in a shared house, particularly with small children, is very difficult. If you are met with protests, remind yourself that they are better off without it anyway, and they can indulge all they want when thy go out.

You have come to the right place for answers. This forum has proved invaluable to me over the last three years.

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