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New To Gluten Free

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I have just recently learned that I most likely have celiac sprue. The endoscopy made the gastro doctor believe I have celiac. The blood test was negative but showed I carry a gene that most people with this gene have celiac. Trying to stick to the gluten free diet is really complicated for me. I am not crazy about salads and feel like I have been living on baked potatoes and omelets. I am learning something new everyday concerning the disease and what I can and can't eat. I have been on many websites with information concerning celiacs and there are definitely inconsistencies with them.

I just want valid information and wondered if anyone could lead me in the right direction. For instance - my favorite food is Chicken fried rice - one website lead me to believe this is allowed while another led me to believe it wasn't. I know to be cautious with soy sauce due to most having caramel color. Just looking for answers.

Confused in Kentucky.

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Welcome to the board!

There is a lot of great information here, so I hope you are able to find some of the answers you need.

Regarding soy sauce, it is generally not the caramel color that is the issue - most soy sauces have wheat clearly listed in the label. There are soy sauces that are safe for Celiacs, including La Choy and San-J. With that and other gluten-free ingredients, you could make fried rice.

Please let us know what we can do to help and what questions you have.

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I just want valid information and wondered if anyone could lead me in the right direction. For instance - my favorite food is Chicken fried rice - one website lead me to believe this is allowed while another led me to believe it wasn't. I know to be cautious with soy sauce due to most having caramel color. Just looking for answers.

To start with, here's the safe list: http://www.celiac.com/articles/181/1/Safe-...ents/Page1.html

You should try to focus on all the stuff you can still eat. Meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables-- all are ok. You can have pizza, you can have pasta; the ingredients are just irritatingly expensive. And it helps if you're in a town that's at least large enough to have a health food store, or if you're already in the habit of shopping online.

The bad news is that you're going to have trouble eating in restaurants. Most large chains offer gluten-free menus, but often they fall down on actually delivering the food gluten-free. (I'm thinking of my last trip to Chili's.) Outback and Bonefish Grill are usually reliable; I understand that someone high up in ownership is celiac. They even offer gluten-free brownies. But in general, risk of cross-contamination is so high in restaurants that unless it's a national cuisine that doesn't have much use for wheat anyway (Thai, Vietnamese, Ethiopian/Eritrean), it often isn't worth it. At the least, get into the habit of getting to know your server (or if possible the manager or the chef) and make sure they understand what gluten is and how essential it is for you to avoid it.

The person replying above is correct about soy sauce. Caramel color isn't the problem; wheat is. Unfortunately, soy sauce that I've tried that doesn't have wheat tastes like ass. (Well, it tastes like pecan shells, which may be worse.) However, San-J's gluten-free tamari is excellent. (What's the difference between soy sauce and tamari? No idea, except the latter costs more.)

In short, don't panic. Don't starve, and don't worry about having to eat only one or two things all the time. In no time you'll find there's a vast array of things you can still eat and enjoy, and you'll keep learning new things about food all the time. Two years ago I had never heard of quinoa; now my turkey chili and quinoa is my favorite thing to eat. Good luck, and welcome to the tribe!

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Thank you so much for replying with useful information. I know in time in will all be second nature but now it is so overwhelming. I had never heard of celiac until the phone call from the doctor - so of course I thought it couldn't be too bad because I had never heard of it. I know there are many things that are so much worse than celiac and am thankful that what I have isn't a life threatening illness.

I guess the inconvenience of the disease is what is so frustrating. I have always been fortunate and able to eat whatever I wanted and now I spend hours upon hours in the grocery store reading labels.

Anyway, I appreciate any feed back I can get regarding ways to cope and not want to scream.

Less confused in Kentucky

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Thank you so much for replying with useful information. I know in time in will all be second nature but now it is so overwhelming. ...

I guess the inconvenience of the disease is what is so frustrating. I have always been fortunate and able to eat whatever I wanted and now I spend hours upon hours in the grocery store reading labels.

Anyway, I appreciate any feed back I can get regarding ways to cope and not want to scream.

Depending where you are in Kentucky, there may be a support group you can join. A cursory Google search indicates there's one in Louisville, for example. A support group would help enormously in both coping and not wanting to scream, because you can feel so alone.

This board has a forum on support groups (admittedly slow) and a meeting room for meeting fellow celiacs (admittedly also slow, but not as slow as support groups), but you can certainly find support here and solidarity.

If one isn't available, just try to find the humor. I'm always rolling my cart down the breakfast cereal aisle thinking, "Can't eat that, can't eat that, can't eat that..." Eventually, the litany gets so long it's funny. (Getting better though; you'll probably see the ad here sooner or later indicating that Rice Chex is gluten free now. As recently as a year and a half ago when I started, there was no major brand cereal that was gluten-free because they love putting in barley malt so much. Go figure.)

The reading labels thing gets better fast. You start remembering what you've read already, and start finding go-to foods that you love. Taste of Thai peanut noodles (in a carton, microwavable) are terrific, though you have to check to make sure they're gluten-free because for some annoying reason they sometimes aren't. This is rare; most things are either gluten-free or not. Aldi, of all places, is a great place to find gluten-free stuff; I'm particularly crazy about their mesquite turkey lunch meat.

So try not to let it be overwhelming. Try to think of it as a fun adventure. After all, it's the rest of your life, and you're going to enjoy it a lot more if you treat it as an adventure rather than as a trial. Breathe. It's a lot easier than you think going gluten free. And if you need to, ask for help on this board. I'm new here, too, but people here seem really nice. Remember that as a celiac, you've almost certainly been very short on vitamin B12 all your life, creating a lot of nervousness and a certain difficulty with coping in general. You should find this starting to clear up practically immediately. Good luck to you, and hope you start feeling better about things soon.

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A list of mainstream products that can be found at almost any grocery store...this is the website: (just copy and paste in address box)

homepage.mac.com/sholland/celiac/GFfoodlist.pdf

some of my favorites include the following:

Barbara's Puffins cinnamon cereal (wheat free)

Rice Chex cereal, Corn chex cereal, and cinnamon rice chex, chocolate rice chex (will list on the

package if it is gluten free!

Quaker Instant and Quick Grits (add a slice of velveeta cheese for cheese grits)

Ortega Yellow corn taco shells

Van's Waffles

Carnation hot chocolate mixes

Sunny Delight

Envirokidz Amazon Frosted Flakes

Golden Flake Snack Foods: all potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips, cheese puffs, cheese curls

Amy's Kitchen Organic Salsa

Midel Chocolate chip cookies

Blue Diamond Nut Thins Almond(crackers)

Eagle Brand condensed milk

Cool Whip

Breakstones cottage cheese

Yoplait Yogurt - All except crunchies ( like granola, graham crackers, etc)

Jello Brand Jello snacks

Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding - all except crunchies

Soy Dream (Ice Cream)

Ben & Jerry's (All flavors not listing gluten ingredients)

All canned or frozen fruit not containing gluten ingredients (Delmonte)

All canned or frozen vegetables not containing gluten ingredients (Delmonte)

Oscar Mayer All Beef Hot dogs

Bryan All Beef Smoked Sausage

Sara Lee Cooked Ham

Kinnikinnick Bread (frozen food section)

Mustard, Mayonaise, Ketchup not containing gluten ingredients

Reese's Peanut Butter

Aunt Jemima Syrup

Contadina Pizza Squeeze

Hormel Pepperoni

Bush's Baked Beans

Ore Ida Hash Browns and French Fries

Go check this site out it is very helpful!

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Others have given good advice about coping. It really does get easy once you've gotten out of the box which typical American food seems to be stuck in. It amazes me, how even though most foods are naturally gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, dairy-free, etc, it seems that so many prepackaged foods (and even traditional recipes) are often loaded with the top allergens (including wheat). I enjoy cooking and baking, so I make everything from scratch anyway. It really helps a lot if you can cook from scratch.

Here's a link to the gluten-free recipe section:

http://www.celiac.com/categories/Gluten%252dFree-Recipes/

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Thank you all so much. You have been extremely helpful and have made things so much less complicated.

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