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MaggieMay

New And Overwhelmed

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First I just want to say Hi!

So I am not actually diagnosed as of right now at least. My Dr. and my dietitian both feel that I need to go gluten free and that I need to have some more testing done. I have had stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting my entire life and only recently decided to actually tell my doctor I honestly thought that everyone felt like me. I have had a few blood tests done and both have come back with a sensitivity to gluten which is when my doctor sent me to a dietitian. I am very nervous about this whole thing and feel overwhelmed with it all because it seems like gluten is in everything. I was hoping that you guys would have some great beginner tips for me.

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First I just want to say Hi!

So I am not actually diagnosed as of right now at least. My Dr. and my dietitian both feel that I need to go gluten free and that I need to have some more testing done. I have had stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting my entire life and only recently decided to actually tell my doctor I honestly thought that everyone felt like me. I have had a few blood tests done and both have come back with a sensitivity to gluten which is when my doctor sent me to a dietitian. I am very nervous about this whole thing and feel overwhelmed with it all because it seems like gluten is in everything. I was hoping that you guys would have some great beginner tips for me.

Hi back, and welcome. Beginner tip one: Relax, breathe. Going gluten-free is a lot easier than you think. Gluten really isn't in everything; it just seems that way sometimes.

Take it meal by meal. Breakfast is easy if you're an eggs-and-bacon type person; you don't have to change anything. If you like cereal, you'll probably be making changes, as most include barley malt. I eat puffed millet every morning; other gluten-free cereals can be found in any health food store, or there's Rice Chex at any store, now gluten free.

Many people like sandwiches for lunch. I eat sandwichy type stuff, but wrapped in soft corn tortillas, again available at any store (at least around here). Gluten-free bread is available, but I have yet to meet anyone who likes it. I bet somebody will turn up momentarily with excellent recommendations, though.

Supper (and every meal) you mainly want to focus on what you can still eat. Potatoes and rice are excellent and versatile, and you can explore many new grains such as millet, quinoa or teff. Eating in restaurants can be a challenge. Chains (other than Red Lobster and Olive Garden) are usually better about having gluten-free menus. (You can find them at the restaurants' websites almost always under Menus: Nutrition.) Outback and Bonefish Grill are much the best at this.

Overall, this is what you want to focus on: what you can still eat. Meat, cheese, eggs, beans, fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, potatoes, corn, and on and on. Don't panic, don't feel overwhelmed and try to enjoy the ride. Depending where you live, there may be a celiac support group; they could help enormously. Be sure to take advantage of this discussion board. Ask questions; there really is no such thing as a dumb one.

Good luck to you, and welcome to the tribe!

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It'll get easier, I promise. Just start with the simplist meals and after a few weeks, branch out slowly, one new food at a time and you'll have the hang of it in no time.

You need to go through your cupboards and purge anything with gluten. Toss it, donate it, cook it for your church but don't eat it. Look at the ingredients on all your spices, some will have to go. If you are unsure you can call the customer service phone # on the package. Or you can post it here and someone will know what to do.

Replace your toaster and give everything else a good wash. Then you are on your way. Really if you eat simple meals of whole foods that you prepare yourself in the beginning, you will have a good start and the diet won't seem so overwhelming.

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It is very overwhelming at first, but it does get a lot easier as time goes on. You just need to learn to read every label. You will become an expert! I stuck with meat, veggies and rice for the first few weeks. There is so much information out there. So many web sites with great recipes, blogs, and there are a lot of good cookbooks.

As far as bread goes, the best one that I have found so far is Pamela Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix. I make it myself in my (new, non glutened) bread machine. Most of the premade loaves taste like a piece of cardboard. And its way too expensive for a few slices of ick.

Its become second nature to me now. General Mills has made more of their cereals gluten free. This was the best thing ever for me. I truly missed a good bowl of cereal. I went a little crazy with it at first. I was eating cereal for breakfast lunch and dinner, but I think I've gotten it out of my system for now. LOL

Take a deep breath, it will all be ok!

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Thanks for the tips and encouragements! My dietitian had told me about getting a new toaster and I at first just stared at her in disbelief. She had also mentioned that I have to have my own spreads because if someone say uses peanut butter and puts the knife in there after it has touched the bread it will be contaminated I never would of thought of this. The idea of cross contamination is scary because it can be done so easily when people do not realize it. Today at work I thought about the break table that people eat at, can I not eat there anymore? I ate a bowl of cereal today thinking that it would be fine because it said rice and corn well lower on the list was malt flavoring I had no idea. I have no one in my family that has this problem but since its genetic I guess they just do not realize it. I eat out way more than I should so I guess this will be a blessing because it will force me to eat at home more.

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As far as the break room, I've read several parents whose child has their own tray for food at school. They always put their food on the tray only, never on the table. I may not go that far but a friend always opened a napkin under her food like a placemat. I also got into the habit and that would probably suffice.

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it won't be quite so bad. you're going to start feeling a lot better and that will make up for it.

i second the pamela's bread mix. i loved it. my sister and husband even did. the best gluten-free bread i have had. another good one is gluten free pantry sandwich bread.

also there are some good blogs out there...with good recipes and tips. karina's kitchen, kill.the.gluten, gluten free mom...etc. most of them have a list of other blogs so you should be able to get a handle on it.

the best advice anyone has ever given me (and someone mentioned it already but im repeating for emphasis):

don't expect things you make or buy to taste like the gluten full counterpart. some things taste so good, but if i took a bite with the mindset that they would taste good if they taste normal, then i wouldnt be able to enjoy them. i love kinnikinnick bagels. LOVE THEM. but they dont taste at all like a regular one. thats just one example. as long as you have an open mind the transition will be much easier for you. i didn't have an open mind for the first year or so...but after that it dawned on me, i couldnt really remember what most "normal" food tasted like anyways so why try so hard to compare them. since then i have found many things i can enjoy

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Dear MaggieMay,

I, too, am new at this gluten free diet and agree it can be overwhelming but am learning, too, that you just need to take it one day at a time. Some days I am so hungry, and have nothing safe to eat, so I'm learning to drink a glass of chocolate silk soy milk - such a treat and fills my belly. I'm also lactose intolerant, but can handle soy, thankfully. I'm staying away from processed foods like bacon, lunch meats, etc. Each week I dare to try something new - although, I'm mostly sorry! But that way I'm figuring out what is safe for me. I don't have the benefit of health food stores and all of the gluten-free products in my country (Jamaica), so I eat lots of fresh fruit, pure gluten-free oatmeal, soy milk, rice, potatoes, yams, rice and plain old fish and chicken. My belly likes all of that. It's sometimes boring, but beats the misery in my gut when I cheat! I love raw almonds as well. I recently read Elisabeth Hasselbeck's book "The gluten-free Diet". I found it very helpful, being self-diagnosed and a new kid on the block. She has lots of helpful hints, and keeps the humor about it. I appreciated that. Not everyone likes it on this board, I've found, though. Educate yourself through websites - that has been my biggest help, as I don't have access to a dietician here. Good luck. It will get better. I've lost a lot of weight, which has been good up to now, don't need to lose anymore though! My prayers are with you!

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