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USFgirl

Newly Gluten-Intolerant & Vegetarian

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Hi everyone!! :)

I'm so happy I found this forum -- glad to have some support with this situation.

Let's see, I'm not sure where to begin. My doctor told me (back in August) that I am VERY likely gluten intolerant. I had an endoscopy done and I am not a celiac, but my doctor wanted me to try the gluten-free diet to see if it would help me. I've had headaches almost every single day for the past 10 or 11 years of my life. I'm now 21 years old so you can imagine how I have felt most of my life growing up. It's been awful and I am ready for these headaches to leave my body forever.

A few issues: Obviously I'm struggling with grasping the concept of the amount of food types that I can no longer eat, and it's even more difficult for me since I am a vegetarian & a VERY picky eater. I haven't been able to stay on this diet for more than a day. Pittiful, I know :(

I also find that I just cannot afford the gluten-free foods. The only real change that I have made in my diet is I now only eat gluten-free Quinoa pasta-- no more real pasta, which is killing me because it's my favorite. I miss it more than I could ever explain.

And lastly, I still live with my family and I find it impossible to attempt to eat a gluten-free meal when their meals ALWAYS include gluten and/or meat. I find myself utterly dreading meals because after a long day of class, work, and studying I still have to come home, figure out what on earth to eat, attempt to avoid gluten, and sit with my family while they eat their gluten.

Another issue is I am always hungry and can never seem to fill up. My doctors can't find anything wrong with me regarding that issue and say it's "normal".

Before anyone asks, no my family is not willing to go gluten-free with me. It's honestly just too expensive and none of us can afford it. :(

Like I said, I'm glad to be here. Does anyone have any advice for me?

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You are going to rely on the other sources of protein like beans and nuts to make up the difference in your diet.

I would suggest that you take vitamins to supplement.

My natural headache cure.... Vitamin supplemented water like Smartwater, with a sublingal vitamin B12 supplement, deep breathing for relaxing the muscles, and "remember what it feels like not to have a headache" mantra.

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Welcome to the board!

First, it is always a good idea to stick to whole, naturally gluten-free foods, especially at first. Plain veggies, fruits, beans, gluten-free grains, nut, seeds, etc, are the things to buy. Preparing meals from scratch is not only safer, but more nutritious. Your body needs the nutrients, hence the hunger you're experiencing. That is quite common, and will subside as you heal. Keep in mind that the endoscopy is hit and miss, so you could very well have Celiac. However, the diet is the same either way.

The length of time it takes to heal varies widely from person to person. I had a ravenous appetite for about a year, and my digestion was practically non-existent.

That said, you can have real gluten-free pasta, and it tastes every bit as good as the gluten-filled stuff. I haven't tried quinoa pasta, but the consensus around here is that Tinkyada makes the best gluten-free pasta. IMO it is even better than the traditional wheat pasta.

One thing to keep in mind too, is that there is often a period of withdrawal. Especially when gluten-filled foods have been your favorites. This often means that none of the specialty gluten-free foods will satisfy at first. Research has found that gluten and casein can act as opioids. That is, they can actually create some of the same effects in the brain as heroin. This is one reason why gluten-filled foods are so often our favorites, and we can't imagine having to do without them. They truly are addicting. This is one very good reason to skip the specialty gluten-free items for awhile, because they often just don't satisfy what we think we like about the traditionally made ones. I believe this is also what makes many people picky eaters. But that can change, once gluten-free for awhile.

Eventually, you'll be feeling better, and may enjoy some of the specialty gluten-free products. But most agree that homemade gluten-free breads are by far the best. The prepackaged gluten-free breads just don't measure up, for the majority of us. Homemade also costs considerably less.

Anyway, being vegetarian shouldn't make things more difficult at all. Just remember to feed your body all the nutrients it needs. Beans and other legumes, whole gluten-free grains, nut and seeds, can all provide plenty of protein as well as other nutrients.

Also, it is important to avoid CC (Cross-Contamination) from your family's foods. Use only smooth-surfaced pots and pans, and wash them separately, by hand, using gluten-free soap and your own sponge/cloth. Never use cast iron pans, wooden utensils/cutting boards, rolling pins, etc. Don't use scratched non-stick pans either. If you want to toast gluten-free bread, you'll need your own dedicated gluten-free toaster. Do check all skin/hair care products, makeup, etc, to make sure they are gluten-free. Call or email the company when in doubt, and of course this board has many fine members who are always willing to help answer your questions.

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I am also vegetarian and there is still tons of stuff for you to eat

If you have a Trader Joes near you they have tons of gluten free food much cheaper, I like their brown rice pasta the best, they have mac and cheese, brownie mix, pancake mix, and they will print out a list of all the gluten free stuff they carry if you ask.

you can make rice, risotto, you can get corn tortillas with beans, cheese and veges or quesadillas, making indian or thai food is easy and doesn't normally require any special expensive ingredients.

make extra and label it in the fridge or freezer and make sure your family knows not to touch it so you have extra meals

There are a lot of vege gluten free cookbooks you can probably get at the library for free

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Welcome friend,

I think you are more than halfway to success, starting this diet as a vegetarian. You are already used to eliminating certain foods from your menu, and that is half the battle for newcomers. Meats, fruits & vegetables are the only foods I can tolerate, and I've been on this diet for many years. Believe me, it does get easier, and you will feel so much better and be so much happier with life. There are so many foods that you can enjoy as a vegetarian (I often go vegan for years at a time, then add chicken or turkey when I crave them). I sometimes go to my favorite restaurants and stock up for a few weeks at a time, breaking the food down one by one into 8 ounce styrofoam cups that I label & put into the freezer. Refried beans, rice, salsa & tamales are some favorites, along with the chicken, fish & turkey. I make fresh pineapple smoothies and freeze them, then blend them a second time to make them into ice cream. Oranges, kiwi, pineapple, acorn & banana squashes, potatoes--I stock up on them so they're always in my kitchen--it makes life so much easier. I think you'll find yourself eating pretty much the same foods over & over as you progress, so it's good to have them around when that overwhelming hunger hits. I usually eat every two hours, and I always eat all I want. I weigh 94 ounds and am under five feet, so I am now GRATEFUL to be on this diet. I've seen on tv recently that this is the diet a lot of health-conscious experts are now recommending, so, thankfully, we are ahead of the game. I wish you all the best as you travel this road to great health. Best wishes, Welda

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it is SO EASY to be vegetarian and gluten free!

Broccoli doesn't have gluten. Nor do eggs. Or lettuce. Or spaghetti squash. Or tomato sauce. Do you eat fish? no gluten there.

You don't have to use the expensive manufactured and packaged gluten free alternatives. Go for whole, natural foods as Mother Nature intended. If you feel like baking something, buy some whole blanched almonds, stick them in the food processor and make your own flour (soooooooooo much cheaper than buying already ground almond flour!).

My husband won't do gluten free either, and I'm having a heckuva time trying to convince him that even one crumb from his morning Eggo could make me sick, so I understand living in a "mixed" household. But it is not impossible. You just have to think outside the food box, and do what you need to do to get well.

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Gluten-free and vegetarian makes eating out more limiting -- but, if you've been vegetarian a long time (I think I'm at around 14 years), then you're already used to ordering off a fairly limited menu (or creating your own meals and asking the chef to whip them up), so it's not too bad.

Other than cutting out pasta and bread (I use gluten-free versions occasionally), my diet at home hasn't changed all that much. I did start taking a multivitamin and it's helped quite a bit; I'm also thinking of getting some protein powder to add to my fruit smoothies because I feel like my protein intake has gone down just out of bad planning. While I get the hang of things, supplements are perfectly ok by me.

The one change I made to my vegetarianism is that I now eat eggs. I don't have them often, but it gives me an added option when I eat out, and I've found that after being glutened (which is happening less and less often) and losing lots of nutrients through D and V, eggs are one of the few things I can keep down. They still gross me out and maybe someday I'll cut them out again, but for now it seems to be a concession I have to make for my health.

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I'm a vegan who is embarking on this gluten-free journey. I've decided it is easier to learn a few raw food recipes to make things simple.

I suggest you take sublingual Vitamin B12 tablets. If you are a celiac, you most likely are not absorbing the B12 because you are not making intrinsic factor, which is needed in B12 absorption. So buy sublingual tablets!

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I'm vegan and gluten free, so it can definitely be done. I eat lots of rice (which is cheap) and rice noodles, also have started making things like corn fritters and polenta. It doesn't have to be expensive.

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Oh my!

I have horrible headaches when I eat gluten, I still live with my family too... and I'm a vegetarian as well!

It's horrible to live life in pain. I did it too and it's wonderful to feel ALIVE again... don't hurt yourself for your family's sake. I made this mistake and it isn't going to happen again. No matter how much you love them, you can't sacrifice your health (basically your day to day life, and happiness!) for someone else's convenience. Please try a gluten free diet! And try to stay on it!

I have a headache right now that I got from some root beer earlier... :blink: they are really bad headaches! Mine go all the way from the base of my neck and wrap around to my cheekbones.

Even if you can't afford most gluten free items (I can't either!) then try to read as many labels as you can. Raw fruits and vegetables don't have gluten in them and if you buy frozen, it shouldn't be too expensive. Don't feel like you have to sit at the dinner table and eat gluten. It is possible to fix your own, relatively cheap gluten free food!

Being a vegetarian makes it twice as hard, although it eliminates the worry of gluten being used as filler in chicken and other meats. Peanut butter (organic is usually gluten free), garbonzo beans, boiled eggs and nuts are all really good sources of protien, as I'm sure you know! Watch out for tofu, it can contain gluten.

Good luck! You're not alone! :D

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Wow... again, thank you ALL. You all are so helpful & supportive. One of these days (hopefully sooner rather than later) I will tell myself that I WILL stick to this diet. :)

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I've found it fairly easy to stick to a gluten free veggie diet (at least at home) and have it cheap. Just don't be suckered in to buying the replacement items like bread mixes and such--they're too expensive, and you've already said you don't have the time to make them. Here are my quick and easy veggie standby meals:

Breakfast:

cottage cheese with trail mix and/or fruit

yogurt with trail mix and/or fruit

eggs with salt, pepper, and/or cheese

chex cereal with milk (several flavors to chose from), fruit

if you have a little more time, omelets

lunch & dinner:

celery with chunky peanut butter

salad--takes only a few minutes to chop everything up

veggie steamers--you put them in the microwave for 5 minutes and they come out steamed (frozen food aisle), add cheese if you like

corn tortillas--these are my standby. I put any combination of rosarita's vegetarian refried beans, cheese, hummus, sour cream, avocado, lettuce, tomato, etc on them. Heat them up in the microwave--takes five minutes to make, tops. Also consider taco shells to change things up.

also you can add the cottage cheese or yogurt from the breakfast menu.

If you've got some time on the weekend, it can help to prepare meals for the week all at once--also cuts down on cross contamination because you don't have to do it over and over again. Here's some that take a little more time, but can be frozen or put in the fridge. All cheap.

Veggie soup--whatever frozen or fresh veggies you want, water or vegetable broth, lemon extract, salt and pepper, a can of tomatoes to add flavor

Potato soup--slice up the potatoes boil in water until they're soft. Then drain, add milk, butter, salt & pepper, sour cream if you like, and heat up again. Add cheese afterward.

Beans--these are great because if you set them out overnight, then let them cook during the day, you'll have a bunch of beans that you can add to anything during the week. You can have bean soup, add them to the tortillas, eat them by themselves, add rice to them, whatever. Very versatile.

Baked potatoes. Just pop them in the oven when you have time, then put them in the fridge for later. Heat up and add sour cream, cheese, and butter when you want them.

Most of these can be cooked in a really short time. Really you just need to find a few easy to make dishes, and always make sure you have something on hand to eat or that can be fixed quickly. Canned soup and canned veggies are also quick and easy to make. Fresh fruit and veggies can be cheap and easy to add too. And when you have that odd day with spare time, whip up some of the above dishes for the next week.

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