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JesikaBeth

Eating Gluten When Stressed

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Hi Everyone!

I was Dx as having Celiac Disease last year, and it took me a while to get into the groove of gluten free living. I had a really hard initial adjustment period, but managed to get over the hump. I began experimenting with foods and recipes and went from being a non-cooker, to actually enjoying cooking. My health improved drastically, and although not completely, I am much better than I used to be.

Recently though, on and off, I have been really stressed ~ and... I have been turning to gluten filled foods. This is not good, on so many levels.

I only turn to these foods at work (I would never eat glutenous foods at home)

My work is both highly stressful and pretty bare when it comes to gluten free options :huh:

Problem is, I am starting to really feel cruddy about it (emotionally and physically)

I have some other things going on in my life which have made it kind of hard to keep up on the self-care (I am n a knee brace and unable to move around much, let alone exercise - which is a great form of stress relief for me, my mother is very ill and we have a strained relationship, i am struggling a lot financially, etc.) but overall I manage pretty well ~ except when it comes to work days.

I am self employed, but other than that I work 3 days a week for a private family as a caregiver. I have talked to my boss about keeping gluten free options. That hasn't really happened.

I know ultimately it's my responsibility to ensure that I remain gluten free, and I know the consequences of not remaining gluten free.

I know I could bring my own gluten free options with me to work, but sometimes that feels like such a hassle (ok, I am not completely over the hassle part of the diagnosis)

It should be easy - don't eat gluten, bring non gluten foods, and go on with every day life...

I guess I am just overwhelmed with lots of stuff right now and struggling.

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This may be a dumb reply but...

Have you considered popcorn or rice cakes to bring with you? They are gluten free and carbs and crunch are great stress relief. I even saw that as a fact somewhere. Sorry to hear about all your troubles. Hope all goes well and you find some relief~

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It's hard and it's frustrating. I just want to eat a pizza and deal with being sick. I have not found any gluten free alternatives I like..pastas, breads, cookies...UGH! It's hard and it's annoying and it's far from fun.

But it is easier if you find things you do like. Is there anything you like to eat that is naturally gluten free? Any potato chips? Popcorn?

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I know I could bring my own gluten free options with me to work, but sometimes that feels like such a hassle (ok, I am not completely over the hassle part of the diagnosis)

It should be easy - don't eat gluten, bring non gluten foods, and go on with every day life...

I guess I am just overwhelmed with lots of stuff right now and struggling.

Well, you know the answer. That's a good start!

But, is the answer workable? Apparently not, right now.

So, why not?

What, exactly, is the hassle about bringing gluten-free food with you? What is the process going on RIGHT AS you are putting gluten in your mouth? What is stopping you (when you're not at work) from setting up the situation at work so that it is healthier?

You have a lot of stuff going on, and in our society, we stop thinking of the REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF as being that important. Oh? Need to eat? Well, why not grab something on the go? Because it's hard to find (for a celiac), not as healthy items (food selections that are grab-n-go), and it's not as healthy for the body (the digestive system never gets a chance to kick in well because our sympathetic nervous systems are still driving us). When these sorts of things happen, getting back to *just* the basics can really help. (Not that it's easy, you have to learn to say "No" to a lot of things you might otherwise want to do.) But it helps prioritize your life.

Not to mention, how much less stressful might it be if you weren't eating gluten?

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Maceroni ~ Thank you for your support, and no it wasn't a dumb reply. I have actually done the popcorn thing quite a bit (( Hugs ))

shendler ~ Thanks. I actually have found gluten free specialty foods and alternatives that I like, so that's not necessarily the problem for me; it's more so a mental thing ~ getting the want, motivation, know-how, etc. to do what I need to do to ensure I can follow the same routine at work, as I do at home. With that being said, thank you for your support! And if you need any gluten-free alternatives that I've found yummy, I'd be happy to share.

tarnalberry ~ Well, usually I think a) I'm hungry B) there's no alternatives and/or the alternatives that are around are not appealing c) i can deal with being sick for a while if it means being able to enjoy this (donut, etc.) d) i'm stressed/annoyed/tired/frustrated

You are exactly right when you said, "we stop thinking of the REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF as being that important" So true! So True! Thank you for that reminder!

Thank you, also, for the reminder of "getting back to the basics" :)

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It's hard and it's frustrating. I just want to eat a pizza and deal with being sick. I have not found any gluten free alternatives I like..pastas, breads, cookies...UGH! It's hard and it's annoying and it's far from fun.

But it is easier if you find things you do like. Is there anything you like to eat that is naturally gluten free? Any potato chips? Popcorn?

Have you tried enjoylife snickerdoodles? They are amazing!!! I love them more than glutenous cookies. I've never had anything tastier. Oh my goodness! I want some now!!! Ahh! Google enjoylife and youll see them!!They sell them at most stores, if you have a store around with a small little section for gluten free stuff it should be there.

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You really need to come to work prepared with what you may need. It is not helping your stress levels to be glutened as that will only increase the amount of physical stress your body is under as well as increase the mental stress because of the neurotoxic effects of the gluten. You also may find you don't heal as quickly and may need the brace and have more pain as your body is going to be doing all it can to fight the toxin you are injesting and your body need nutrients to help it heal. Eating gluten foods is going to decrease the amount of nutrients you are absorbing and that your body needs for that healing process. In addition gluten can be an addictive substance for many of us, the more you 'cheat' the more likely it is to kick the addictive aspect into overdrive. You have got to start thinking of gluten as poison, for that is what it is to your body.

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tarnalberry ~ Well, usually I think a) I'm hungry B) there's no alternatives and/or the alternatives that are around are not appealing c) i can deal with being sick for a while if it means being able to enjoy this (donut, etc.) d) i'm stressed/annoyed/tired/frustrated

As you can imagine, I'm going to ask more "Why's".

These aren't the sort of why's that you can just answer, though. They generally require a couple of days pondering them.

a) why are there no alternatives? if you know you're going to get hungry during the time you're at this job, why are you not bringing food to feed yourself? if it was a forest trail you were working at, that had no food of it's own, wouldn't you bring your own food? so in this case, where there is, essentially, no food, are you setting yourself up to feel like you're starving?

B) why are you choosing poison (we call gluten poison sometimes...) over something that will sustain you even if not appealing? if you were lost in the forest for days, had a pile of poisonous mushrooms and unflavored, runny cream of rice in front of you, which would you eat? the mushrooms might taste better - until you died - but the gruel will at least keep you alive.

c) why is 10 minutes of enjoyment more valuable than 3 days of pain and discomfort? are you actually evaluating the *true cost* of the consequences (not underplaying it) and the *true value* (not overplaying it) of the cost/benefit? if not, why?

I *KNOW* it sucks to find yourself somewhere without good food options. I'm hypoglycemic, so I'll get nauseous and a headache that makes me feel like I've been kicked in the head and the stomach. And my reactions are only about two days long. But I'm not going to go pick gluten (even though I'll drive past a Taco Bell, a Noah's Bagels, a Subway, and a bakery), because I failed to bring food with me (keep a food bar in your purse/pocket/etc. for those emergency longer-than-expected trips), because the only available food (let's say a bag of baby carrots) doesn't sound appealing at all, or because it looks good. Who knows what I'd miss out on enjoying while I feel bad. Who knows how much I'd damage my insides and increase my risk of dying younger.

I don't mean to say it's easy. I mean to say that you can find a way to do it. Maybe it'll take a month to figure out. You're talking about it here getting advice, so you're well on your way there. Just don't say "It's impossible." When I know life is going to get busy, I stock up on gluten-free bar food, and I make big batches of something easy (like chili) so that I can have leftovers for a few days or make something to freeze (like a triple batch of pancakes). You only have to do this one afternoon or evening a week to get you through a whole week. But you have to make the commitment, you have to look ahead seven days. And you can do it! (And there are plenty of other options - other people do this different ways, but completely successfully.)

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here's an idea:

make your own granola. i like nut mixes with m&ms added or granola bars made of oats and chocolate chips. there are lots of things you can take. dried fruit. i work at a small retail store with one food machine that only carries hostess cakes, oreos, and twixes.... absolutely nothing safe. and when i looked in the fridge to evaluate the risk of bringing my own food i decided their kitchen is much to risky. i have been buying small bagsof craisins and baking on the first day of the week so i have extras to take with me the rest of the week.

its a lot easier than you think to choose gluten free. just kep stuff with you. i always have fresh fruit because no matter what that is one option that is usually the most attractive to me. id rather have an apple than a snack cake any day.

from what you have said so far, you seem to be a very smart person. you know what you're doing. i can also tell you are a strong person. dealing with financial issues, your own health problems, and another family member's. with that being said, i will reiterate what has already been stated. you need to accept that the gluten you are ingesting is ADDING to your stress. it is not making the stress any more bearable. people say junk food is comfort food but that stereotype does not apply here.

what are your favorites? any gluten food can be made gluten free. for example, cinnamon rolls are very good with out gluten!

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I think you know you need to change your priorities. Your health and healthy eating has to come first. I know, it's very hard to do that. We feel it's too selfish and other's who are "sicker" than us should be first. No one will put you first but you. This isn't an either or proposition. What I mean is, someone isn't going to be hurt or die because you take some of your free time to shop or pack food. Someone will suffer if you don't, first, you because you're going to react and second, the persons in your care like your parents and patients because you won't feel your best or be able to give your best.

It's easy when life gets tough for us to try and take the easy way out on personal indulgences. "I'm stressed to the max so I Deserve this donut." No, you must take goodies that are good for you. I can tell you already know this but need to tell that little devil in your head! Would it be easier to buy these items online and just have them delivered to your door?

Do some soul searching and make up your mind that, of course, you are worth planning ahead for. Your deserving of the same loving care that you give your patients. You're going to give that care to yourself from here on out.

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Thank you guys for responding! I was having a really bad day when I originally wrote this thread, and am doing much better today and have thought about a lot of things. I appreciate your suggestions/feedback :)

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Those bad days are tough. Makes me either want to eat nothing, or a jar of peanut butter. (Goes really well on apples... :P) The better days will always be there, though, and knowing that can help!

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I went through a time like that in the beginning.

I'm sort of both lucky and unlucky though, as the majority of my reaction to gluten is a severe skin reaction. (Nasty DH lesions all over my face and scalp and sometimes if I get glutened bad enough, a rash all over my body). The "celiac skin" makes me feel very bad about myself and its extremely physically painful. It sucks, but it's a pretty good reason not to cheat!

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