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Hello to all!

Was wondering if anyone here is in any way affiliated with the military and wondering how there are coping with Celiac and the military lifestyle. I am now only a military dependent (spouse of a Marine), and I couldn't even imagine being active duty with Celiac...having to eat MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) while deployed wouldn't even be an option as I know for a fact those will never be gluten-free!) Anyway, back to the subject at hand...

I'm recently diagnosed and we are living in a desert area that doesn't provide very many gluten-free items (actually it doesn't provide much of anything at all, but that is a whole other post ;) ). The military Commisary offers maybe 10 certified gluten-free items - all consisting of cake mixes, bread mixes, and brownie mixes - things I'm not really interested in having. I've requested items, but that is a lost cause, trust me! In order to buy healthy certified gluten-free items, I have to travel an hour to find a health food grocery store. We don't even have a Whole Foods within a 3 hour radius!

I try to live an organic whole foods-based lifestyle, so traveling is an unfortunate necessity for me - I do order foods online from time to time, but that adds up quickly and not the way I want to go about obtaining groceries - I use online sites mainly for treats so that I am not tempted to stray. (I was vegetarian, but after being DX's with Celiac, I felt lost in the choices of food I could have).

There is a small health food store up this way, but even that is 40 miles away and because it's a 'mom-and- pop style', they charge ridiculously and are also very limited.

Because of my intolerance, my husband states that I need to enroll into the miltary's EFMP (Exceptional Familiy Member Program). In reviewing the paperwork, I noticed that it seems to be geared toward Cancer, disabled, asthmatic, and mental health patients. Wondering how Celiac would fit in. I have called and they (of course) weren't familiar, but stated that food 'allergies' should be covered. I know that they will relocate some families with extreme conditions if they need to be close to a specialized center/provider. Also wonderning how that will factor in - guess time will tell.

In the meantime, is there anyone out there who is enrolled in EFMP with Celiac??? If so, any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Somehow, I feel there are going to be a few extra hurdles for us than for the average EFMP candiate. Hoping it's not that case, but there always seems to be a need for a little extra when it comes to Celiac...

Thanks in advance!

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Hello,

It isn't easy coping with being gluten free and in the Navy. When I go on deployments, I end up taking my own food or pick things up as I hit port. Being diagnosed with Celiac Disease is actually a disqualifier and usually gets you medically dischared. The GI doc I had put me down as Gluten Intollerant so I can stay in until retirement (about 5 years away).

I understand your frusteration with the commissary. I will admit that they are getting better. Like you said, most of the items certified gluten free are mostly mixes for sweets. The best info I can give is to learn how to read labels. If you have an iPhone, I suggest getting is that Gluten Free, it costs around $5 but it is worth it. Also, look into getting some books that help you understand what you are reading with the labels, I have The Idiots Guide to Gluten Free and The gluten-free Diet. They have really helped me learn to read the labels and how its "hidden" in the labeling system.

I deffinately understand about the way things add up when in comes to buying foods off of the internet. I started doing that and got away from it pretty quick. I am fortunate that I have a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods about an hour from where I am stationed. Is there a grocery store near you called Fresh and Easy? If so, you can find some things there without too big of a problem.

As far as the EFMP, do the paperwork and send it in. I can not guaruntee what will happen with it. The worst they can say is that you don't qualify. If your doctor does his reports corectly, you could end up getting transferred to a different base, they have to make it clear that there is no support for your needs at that duty station.

Good luck, and if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I will help out if I can.

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Hello to all!

Was wondering if anyone here is in any way affiliated with the military and wondering how there are coping with Celiac and the military lifestyle. I am now only a military dependent (spouse of a Marine), and I couldn't even imagine being active duty with Celiac...having to eat MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) while deployed wouldn't even be an option as I know for a fact those will never be gluten-free!) Anyway, back to the subject at hand...

I'm recently diagnosed and we are living in a desert area that doesn't provide very many gluten-free items (actually it doesn't provide much of anything at all, but that is a whole other post ;) ). The military Commisary offers maybe 10 certified gluten-free items - all consisting of cake mixes, bread mixes, and brownie mixes - things I'm not really interested in having. I've requested items, but that is a lost cause, trust me! In order to buy healthy certified gluten-free items, I have to travel an hour to find a health food grocery store. We don't even have a Whole Foods within a 3 hour radius!

I try to live an organic whole foods-based lifestyle, so traveling is an unfortunate necessity for me - I do order foods online from time to time, but that adds up quickly and not the way I want to go about obtaining groceries - I use online sites mainly for treats so that I am not tempted to stray. (I was vegetarian, but after being DX's with Celiac, I felt lost in the choices of food I could have).

There is a small health food store up this way, but even that is 40 miles away and because it's a 'mom-and- pop style', they charge ridiculously and are also very limited.

Because of my intolerance, my husband states that I need to enroll into the miltary's EFMP (Exceptional Familiy Member Program). In reviewing the paperwork, I noticed that it seems to be geared toward Cancer, disabled, asthmatic, and mental health patients. Wondering how Celiac would fit in. I have called and they (of course) weren't familiar, but stated that food 'allergies' should be covered. I know that they will relocate some families with extreme conditions if they need to be close to a specialized center/provider. Also wonderning how that will factor in - guess time will tell.

In the meantime, is there anyone out there who is enrolled in EFMP with Celiac??? If so, any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated! Somehow, I feel there are going to be a few extra hurdles for us than for the average EFMP candiate. Hoping it's not that case, but there always seems to be a need for a little extra when it comes to Celiac...

Thanks in advance!

Hello,

Bob, retired Army here.

If you have access to a Chinese or Oriental grocery store, they usually have a large assortment of noodles made from rice, sweet potatoes, cornstarch, etc. They will also have rice, potato, tapioca and corn flours and starches used in making gluten-free flours.

Once you settle on a gluten-free flour mixture, you can use gluten-free recipes found on line, and usually, a good mix can be used with most cookbook recipes calling for reular wheat flour. You may have to add Xanthan gum for baking. It's about $10 or $12 a pack, but it lasts a long time. You can bake better bread than you can buy. Be advised that most gluten-free breads are only allowed one rise, and that "starch" is not the same as "flour".

"Bob's Red Mill" on line and in some stores, has a wealth of gluten-free products.

Good luck!

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Hi, I'm a military spouse (Army) and I've had Celiac Disease for 7 years. My son has it as well and my daughter is on the gluten-free diet because she has Asperger's. We're in the EFMP program, but not for Celiac Disease. I was told that since there was nothing to "treat", it couldn't be added. It would make travelling a lot easier and yes, I think they should have some consideration for people with severe food allergies. Maybe if enough people complain, something might happen.

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