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lailabean

In Tears Preparing Meals For My Gluten Free Family

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I really need help because I am having a literal breakdown over this. My husband and 4 yr old daughter are both on gluten free diets. My husband won't eat anything from a regular supermarket because he is afraid of contamination. So, I have been buying everything from Whole Foods. I literally spent 2 hours at Whole Foods going through their 20 page list of gluten-free items. I bought salt free 365 beans that were on the list along with other gluten-free items.

Everytime I cook, my husband says he has been contaminated by whatever canned goods I use. I am beside myself because I love cooking and food. I have really compromised my life to help adjust to a gluten free eating style. But my husband will only eat whole foods that are uncanned. He says that a lot of people experience this contamination, but I find that hard to believe. Are we destined to flavorless nothing for every meal because everything is a contaminant?

He is convinced that my spices are contaminated. I don't know what to do. I am angry and resentful because I have worked so hard to educate myself and accomodate my family. I am so sad.

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First off WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE!! When I'm tired I still go there! lol

Here is something i just posted on another board...also with this kind of cooking cross contamination is limited...actually I have never been CC-ed cooking this way!

My room mate bought me a toaster oven. At first I hated him for it cause I couldn't find good gluten-free bread....well I found good gluten-free bread and now that is all i cook in. I do what is called pouch cooking, you take any kind of meat, throw some seasons on it, wrap it loose in foil with a tiny vent at the top and throw it in there at 450 for about....fish i cook most and that's 15-20 min. You can also put tater tots in there, my fav! and any vegies with a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the foil and seasoning. Throw it in there for about 20 min and when it's done it's done, no mess, no dishes and it's fast! You can also (I learned this from Alton Brown on food TV, check out the pouch cooking show) do noodles!

Grab the gluten-free top ramen, layer in this order: top ramen, scallops, mushrooms, 5 shrimp, and the top ramen seasoning. This is where is gets a bit tricky. Bring the foil up and throw in 1 cups of water, close foil and cut a tiny vent and YAY you have a great meal! It's EASY! I love to cook but I find you can do so much with pouch cooking! It's also easy to travel with, just bring foil! lol I hope this helps!

Also I have found for most cookies just replace wheat four with cheap old rice flour. I have a GREAT AND EASY chocolate chip cookie recipe, it's a bit time consuming cause you have to trun the cookies 180 after 7 min and they have to sit before you move them for 5 min but they are the BEST. When I bake them my friends are always over JUST for the cookies and I have NOTHING left over...and these are my "gluten-ous friends!" they are also dairy free! Let us know if you need anything!!!! and if you want the cookie recipe!

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Everytime I cook, my husband says he has been contaminated by whatever canned goods I use. I am beside myself because I love cooking and food. I have really compromised my life to help adjust to a gluten free eating style. But my husband will only eat whole foods that are uncanned. He says that a lot of people experience this contamination, but I find that hard to believe.

I buy MOST of our food from a regular supermarket. I only buy canned or frozen foods if they have a gluten-free label or it's ABSOLUTELY CLEAR from the ingredient list that there's no gluten added in any form. As best I can tell, I've never glutened my dd or myself with canned goods or spices (I did have to throw away a couple of questionable spice blends when I de-glutened my kitchen pantry.) When you think about it, why would CC be any less likely at whole foods than at a regular supermarket? Or does your dh think that the foods are CC'd in the production stage? I do always prefer to use whole foods when I cook, but sometimes it's just not feasible, from a time or cost standpoint.

Is your dh getting sick after he eats? If you're being careful about food prep and cooking (and it certainly sounds as if you are) then I'd wonder if he's reacting to something else that he's eating. Perhaps he has an additional food intolerance that he's not currently aware of. My dd can't eat dairy or soy, as well as gluten - it took her getting sick a few times for me to figure that out. Since then, she's great. Also, if he is getting sick - could it possibly be CC from cookware or utensils?

Good luck to you - I can "hear" the frustration in your post. I'd be tempted to do what another poster suggested, and tell him to cook for himself!

Rho

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(HUGS)

I am the celiac in my family. I do all of the cooking and I have wondered how much harder it would be if I were not in that place of control. Is he new to celiac? Could he be going through some emotional issues that come with a new diagnosis? For the first month I was dealing with so much that I was lashing out at my husband left and right. For me, being told I had celiac was a huge loss of control in my life. This made me angry and resentful. I still feel this way sometimes when I eat out but eating in has become quite the opposite for me. Since I do all the cooking and all the shopping I feel much more in control of my diet and my body because of celiac. It just took me a while to be able to put a positive spin on celiac. Perhaps he can help you cook and participate in the whole process more. I think he may learn to appreciate how much you are trying to keep him healthy when he sees what a process it really is. I don't know about your husband but I know that if the diagnosis was reversed in my family my husband would probably be perfectly happy with me doing all the reading and cooking and calling for the doctor appointments...you get the idea. I don't think that is the best thing for this situation. I would naturally try to take care of him but in the process he wouldn't feel any control over celiac.

You are an awesome mom and wife!!! You are doing a great job taking care of your family. My advice is to include your DH in the process. I think it will do him some good.

Good Luck

Meredith

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Do you have a new can opener? A while ago someone posted trying to locate where cross contamination could be coming from. The can opener turned out to be the the offending kitchen appliance. The poster had already replace everything else in the kitchen, pots, pans, spoons, and plastic.

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Some spices DO contain gluten. Is it possible that this is where your husband is getting glutened? McCormick brand spices will clearly label gluten if they contain any. Also, are you using new pots, pans, cutting boards, utensils, etc.? Some people find that they need to replace some of those things to stop getting glutened. Are you using a toaster that was previously used for gluten breads? If so, that's a certain place for CC to happen. Is your household gluten free? If so, have you thoroughly cleaned out your pantry, counters, shelves, etc.? This could be a possible place for CC. Some people experience symptoms much quicker than others. It is possible that your huband could be super sensitive and honestly be reacting to something. I also wouldn't rule out other sensitivities as multiple sensitivities are common with Celiac. If he was just diagnosed, you may want to cut out lactose from his diet as many new Celiacs are lactose intolerant for a period of time until the villi in their intestines begin to heal.

There's a huge learning curve to this whole Celiac thing. It's quite a pain in the beginning until you figure everything out. It will likely take quite some time to get everything right. I think it took us about a year. Add to that the emotional baggage that your husband is probably carrying from being sick for so long and you have a real mess.

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and tell your hubby if he's going to be that big of a pain in the ass COOK FOR YOURSELF THEN!

HAHA, I second this!!

You're amazing for what you're doing...going out of your way like you do to make sure he can eat things..I used to be so scared to eat because I was afraid to get sick like I was getting all of the time...I've since lightened up. There's a lot more that we can eat out there than some of us even realize... Hang in there...

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First--{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}

Is your husband only recently gluten-free? Most of us had to eliminate dairy as well as gluten--dairy gave us the same symptoms as gluten-- but many of us were able to re-introduce it after several months.

If it makes your husband happier if you buy new spices, and he doesn't mind paying for them, then go ahead and buy new spices, it's not that big a deal in the long run.

As far as canned goods go, you do have to read labels there. Many canned soups contain wheat, many canned tomato sauces contain wheat, most jarred sauces contain wheat, even deli tuna salad often contains bread crumbs to stretch it out! But canned beans? Hmm. I've never heard of their containing wheat before. Where did your husband hear this?

However, if something was produced after 1/2006, it MUST list whatever it contains. Even the possibility of cross-contamination with the top allergens is now listed--you'll see something like: "This product was produced in a facility that also processes wheat, (or nuts, dairy, eggs or whatever)" If that does not appear, then the product was produced on a dedicated wheat-free line. (This includes spices, too!)

There has been a lot of recent discussion of modified food starch and whether or not that is gluten-free. As long as the product was produced after 1/2006, it is supposed to be cornstarch unless it says specifically, "modified food starch--wheat." I would avoid purchasing food items in dollar stores , as they seem to be able to legally sell out-dated items (sounds like you don't purchase food there, anyway).

Whole Foods really annoys me because they don't have all their gluten-free foods in one spot, which makes for hours of label-reading, as you have discovered.

Another possibility is that your husband's problems with gluten are secondary to something else, like Lyme disease or mercury toxicity, both of which can CAUSE gluten sensitivity.

Something about your post is really bothering me, though. I'm wondering about another issue here, and if I'm reading things wrong, I do apologize. Is the problem here your husband's continued intestinal distress, brought on by what he believes to be cross-contamination? Or is all that just an excuse for him to be a control freak over you?

I apologize for asking something so personal, especially if I am wrong. The reason I ask is, as far as I can tell, everyone I have seen here, male and female, has taken responsibility for their own gluten-free-ness. We have not expected anyone else to be responsible for our food; when we have had to stay with gluten-eating relatives, we have either provided our own food or extensive, detailed lists of what is safe so that we don't burden them. Why is your husband putting so much pressure on you?

I agree with melrobsings: your husband should do all the shopping and cooking.

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First, I want to thank you for supporting your husband and child in their gluten free life. I know it's hard. I know it's frustrating and scary and annoying and overwhelming and irritating. But it gets better.

I would hope that your husband would take a more proactive approach to his food. Maybe he should be on this site too. Does he ever go grocery shopping with you? Maybe you could plan some meals together. Get him involved. Let him see the effort that goes into it.

Your food doesn't have to be boring or flavorless. Ever. If you want any recipes I would be happy to share some of mine. I shop at Whole Foods so you would be able to find the ingredients. I take regular recipes and tweak them to be gluten free. Right now I am thinking of a wonderful pan fried gnocchi with bacon and peas recipe from Fine Cooking. Whole Foods actually has fresh gluten free gnocchi. YUM!

Take heart. Even if your husband doesn't want the support of these boards, you should join us. :)

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Many celiacs feel better on a very simple diet in the beginning. The spices and canned goods may not be glutening him, but they may be making him feel like he's been glutened.

In the beginning his GI tract will be sensitive as it's healing. Think of it like when you are recovering from the flu ... you would need a very simple diet.

So, I would suggest just feeding him some meat and veggies for dinner ... you can season yours after it cooks (herbs are better used like this anyway), or prepare it in a separate dish from his.

As he's gluten-free for a longer period of time, he will be able to expand his diet. Then you can explain to him that you've researched your spices and that these are gluten-free ... that you've researched the canned goods you are using and they're gluten-free ... etc.

I second the suggestion that he gets off dairy.

If a man's complaining about his stomach, it's bothering him. He was probably very ill by the time he was diagnosed ... he's going to be a bit paranoid for a while. It gets better with time ... he needs to feel some relief first.

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Hi,

In my case I am the Celiac husband and I do most of the cooking. In the beginning I thought we had to get almost everything from Good Foods because of possibility of contamination. Everytime we made something like chili it was expensive cuts of meat ground with canned organic tomatoes and kidney beans that were twice the price. It did not take me long to figure out that most of the mainstream brands were really ok. I made a lot of calls or e-mails to the producers and found that things were gluten free but were not labeled as such. This has really changed in the past few years. Unless there are things added most canned or frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables are fine. The only speciality items we currently purchase are bread, pasta, and cookies or crackers. The chips (potato or corn) are all mainstream. I still feel the single biggest factor for me avoiding cross contamination in our house is that it is almost 100% gluten free. If any gluten is in the house it is that product which is isolated not the other way around. Things like the toaster are used only for gluten free. My wife (no kids) eats what I eat. I know this is not an option for many. The more the whole family eats of the same thing (naturally gluten free food) the less singled out people become. I think for people who don't know how to cook or don't want to cook the more difficult the transition. I appreciate what people like yourself are trying to do and wish you the best of luck. At some point I expect your husband will relax and realize there are many safe (and inexpensive) things to enjoy.

Tom

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First, I'd like to thank all of you for responding to me so quickly. I really appreciate it and your words have been very helpful.

My husband was diagnosed as gluten intolerant 3 months ago. He did not test positive on the celiac blood test, but his intestinal sample did show gluten based villi damage. Now my 4 year old has been doing much better on a gluten free diet, although like my husband, she did not test positive on the celiac blood test. We just put her on the diet, because we didn't want to put her under for the intestinal sample at her age.

My husband would be happy to shop and cook every meal, every day. That is part of the "power" problem I have. He is a real "granola" type guy. He could eat boiled chicken and steamed broccoli for every meal. I, on the other hand, am a real foodie. I love to cook, try out recipes, and need a bit more, (or a lot more) food excitement in my life. So, the kitchen is a really important place for me.

We are moving to a new house in 3 weeks which will be 100% gluten free. I am not going to make a separate meal for myself when the other 2 people in my family are gluten intolerant. I want them to feel safe and happy at least in their own home.

For eating out, the only places my husband feels safe at are P.F. Chang's and Outback. Those have been the nicest meals we have had in months, because it isn't stressful.

You have taught me a lot. Here is what I am guessing:

1) The CUTTING BOARD/Can opener!!! I never even considered that. Duh. Especially since we don't have a dishwasher. The way my husband cooks, he never even uses a cutting board. But we have had this one forever and I use it almost everytime I cook. I added minced onions to the black beans that I had chopped on that board.

2) Lactose. Another thing I hadn't thought about or even knew about.

3) I appreciate the idea of him starting to heal up now so he might be more sensitive than he will later.

I guess my big question is: I bought some things like Newman's own dressing and Annie's Naturals dressing that say gluten free on them but are produced in facilities with wheat. So they are a no no?

Thank you again! You made my day just by being there and responding.

BTW-Last week's cooking section in the New York Times had a huge thing on gluten free restaurants. Just in case you are interested.

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If your husband had villi damage, he was positive for celiac regardless of what the blood test says. Villi damage is the "gold standard" for celiac diagnosis.

After he's feeling better, then you might test to see if he's sensitive to products made in facilities that also produce wheat.

I make salad dressing right in the bottom of my salad bowl -- olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, maple syrup, tiny bit of mustard.

Also, you need new wooden spoons and check both yours and his skin/hair care products. You need to be careful that you don't smooch after you've eaten gluten.

This all gets easier ... pretty soon it's just second nature.

Other restaurants with gluten-free menus --

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Carrabas

Maggianos (chef comes to table to discuss food intolerances)

Bonefish Grill

Mitchell's Fish Market

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You don't have to make separate meals per se, you can just use the same ingredients to make 2 versions of the same meal.

It's summer, and perhaps the grill could be your friend. You could marinate some chicken for yourself and save off some plain or salt and pepper chicken. You cook his plain chicken first and put it on a separate serving plate and then grill your own afterwards.

Here's a simple gluten-free chicken marinade that perhaps he would even try:

1/4 c olive oil

1/8 c maple syrup

1/4 c balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

orange zest from 1 orange

salt and pepper to taste

for now, try to stick to fresh herbs and gluten-free pesto's that can be added after the fact. You can make a lovely, simple basil sauce by dumping the following in your cuisinart:

1 cup fresh chopped basil

juice of 1 lime

2 tbsb olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

It's a great dressing over salad or chicken. So, DH gets plain grilled chicken and you get chicken with basil lime sauce.

Good luck. My son is recently off of gluten and has been a total grouch. But you can't exactly send your DH to his room for a time out. :rolleyes:

Just keep it simple and have meal components that he can take or leave. You can still eat like a foodie, and he can have his 'granola.'

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Perhaps your husband is not getting gluten cross-contamination but just feeling ill from the effects of malabsorption. At first I always thought I must have been accidentally eating gluten when really everything I was eating was just going right through me due to damaged villi and that certainly doesn

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When I first went on the gluten-free diet I was paranoid and only wnated to shop at the health-food store for things that were labeled gluten-free. Also, for some time before that I was eating a lot of organic foods thinking that would help make me well (of course, I know know what was the root problem) and continued buying organic. My food bill was very high.

Now that I'm over a year gluten-free I shop mostly at regular markts - mostly because I buy whole foods and little packaged gluten-free convenience foods, and do my own baking. If I'm in doubt about an ingredient, I'll contact the manufacturer. I don't think I've EVER been glutened by fresh or frozen foods, or by any canned veggies that had no suspect ingredients listed.

As others have said - IT GETS BETTER WITH TIME. Time for healing, time to become educated, and time to learn to cook with different ingredients.

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whew, glad to hear you are taking your house 100% gluten free, I think that is very important.

Don't forget to get rid of the non-stick pans, I prefer stainless steel so did not have that problem. If you use cast iron, you will need to get new ones. You will also want to just get new cookie sheets, baking pans & muffin pans, in my opinion it is not worth getting cross contamination from the old ones that are "cruddy". I had some stainless steel cake pans that cleaned up well, but alas the old cookie sheets had to go.

Make sure you wash all your oven mitts, pot holder type things.

Toss the non stick pan cake griddles...

you will also need new rubber spatulas & definitely a new chopping board.

don't forget to check your makeup & your hand lotion, as you will be touching their food...

start checking out the gluten free cookbooks and baking gluten free & letting us know about your best recipes :P

You will be a gluten-free cooking pro in no time. Oh & I would let hubby do some shopping & cooking - he can make his plain & jazz up something for you, but really I eat very tasty spicy things. Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning is gluten free, you can fry a sweet potato & sprinkle some of that on it & it is very yummy (or a white potato but hubby might be like a lot of us & not able to tolerate potatoes)

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Hello lailabean, yes, it will get better with time. I think, it's great, that your new house will be 100% glutenfree.

Did you also think about replacing his old toothbrush? I know, I know, you should do that anyways every now and so often, but that's just a thought.

You don't sound like you do, but if you drink beer, you must know, beer isn't glutenfree either. So it's a nono for him and if you drank it, no smooching afterwards. Wines from grapes are all glutenfree (they taste better anyways, but that's prolly just me... lol).

There are a lot of brands meanwhile, that say glutenfree on the front or the back of the things they sell, like Wal-Mart brand Great Value, Boars Head and so on. Just keep your eyes open.

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Hi lailabean,

I PM'd you yesterday about my thoughts on it all being due to complications of celiac.

Wondering how you two are doing in investigating that.

It seems pretty likely to me that Candida Overgrowth and probably leaky-gut syndrome are the culprits.

As I said, there was a time I had gut pain no matter WHAT I ate! But it was post-gluten-free candida.

If the term made any sense, I would've sworn I was "allergic to digestion itself"!!

Everytime I cook, my husband says he has been contaminated by whatever canned goods I use.

Most canned goods have citric acid or something else that'll cause a reaction in someone w/ candida.

Are we destined to flavorless nothing for every meal because everything is a contaminant?

No no a 1000x no!!

I've come to looooooooooove garlic for one. And sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper are much more flavorful than their common counterparts. (If on anti-candida diet, these 2 are req'd)

He is convinced that my spices are contaminated.

Another candida datapoint - all dried herbs & spices have microscopic mold. I know it sounds nasty, strange and unlikely, but it's true and for someone w/ candida overgrowth, even that teensy bit causes a reaction.

No one healthy would be affected.

Fresh herbs are fantastic tho!!

If your research leads you to think it's candida, despite the very strict (temporary) diet, it'd be great news since the path to recovery is just sitting there waiting to be taken.

Best of luck and let me know if I can help in any way.

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Okay, my husband took the online Candida quiz and believes that might be another problem for him. He is going to try to follow the anti-Candida diet as well for a while and see what happens. He smells like a slice of luscious sauteed garlic from all the raw garlic he is eating right now.

On the upside, I am 8 1/2 months pregnant and am looking great now that I have cut out the gluten and am eating healthy salads, fruit, meats and veggies on his new diet. My midwife is just amazed at how much better I look and feel compared to my first pregnancy.

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There's something I forgot to tell you. I also still had stomache pain every time I ate glutenfree for about approximately 6 months. Today I'm fine.

And, yeehaaw, I'm 8.5 months pregnant as well. How cool! :lol: When is your due date? Mine is Aug 22nd.

On the upside, I am 8 1/2 months pregnant and am looking great now that I have cut out the gluten and am eating healthy salads, fruit, meats and veggies on his new diet. My midwife is just amazed at how much better I look and feel compared to my first pregnancy.

This once more proofs, that not only celiacs have a problem with gluten. Gluten is just not meant to be eaten by humankind...

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As a husband who has celiac, you are a great wife and mother. My wife is in the same situation. Our problem was that once I went gluten-free, I have since found out that most of the food we were eating I am also allergic to. She felt so defeated. I truly feel bad for her, but appreciate her for all she has done. It is a steep learning curve. Like you our 7 year old is doing much better on a gluten-free diet and my wife is stressed out about school. I keep telling her to relax.

Women like you two are treasures that need to be cherished. The fact that you care enough to make it a priority shows that you both will get through.

Her is an example of how awesome my wife is doing. After I went gluten-free we were making pizza with tomato sauce and gluten-free crust. Since my blood test showed I am allergic to tomatoes I thought that pizza was done. Last night she comes up with a pizza that was one of the best I ever had. She used the gluten-free crust, giardiniera and fresh grated cheese. I was so happy.

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