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Hi there;

I started having really bad digestive symptoms 13 years ago, and it's been ongoing ever since. I never seem to have a day off from indigestion and stomach pains. I was diagnosed with IBS about 8 years ago. I've tried prebiotics, and some of them help a bit, but nothing seems to help completely--I still get indigestion after almost everything I eat.

I just heard about Celiac Disease about a month ago, and after researching the symptoms, I think I probably have it. I haven't been tested for it, and I can't any time soon because I'm currently deployed to Iraq. I'll be able to get tested when i return to the states in a year.

Not only do I have horrible indigestion, but I have also suffered from Angular Chelosis for about 6 years now, where the corners of my lips split open. I read that this is one of the main symptoms of Celiac. I also have chronic fatigue--my doctor thought I might have Fibromyalgia, but now I'm wondering if it could be from Celiac.

Even though I don't know for sure, I'd still really like to start a gluten-free diet just to see if it helps. I don't get to buy or cook my own food out here, but we do have a huge dining facility with tons of options. I am also a vegetarian, which I think is going to severely limit my options. What types of things should I look out for? I know not to eat any bread products, but that's about it. Is salad with veggies and fat free dressing okay? Any suggestions on more filling things to eat?

Are there any drinks that have gluten?

Thank you.

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On the front page of this site, there is a safe foods list. Because you are in the military, you need to make friends with the chefs. Most veggies are ok, but the seasonings sometimes have gluten. Like soy sauce and teriyaki. Most rices are fine, but if they are cooked in chicken broth, you could have a problem because many brands of chicken broth, especially the institutional kind, have gluten in them.

The best way to eat, especially when starting out is whole, unprocessed food: lean proteins, veggies and fruit and some whole grains, like brown rice.

Most are helped by probiotics and digestive enzymes. Also, many of us need to give up dairy for a time because lactose is processed in the part of the intestines damaged by gluten.

Start chatting up your chefs to find out the ingredients. SEarch this site for DINING CARDS. It gives a list of all the suspect ingredients and is geared towards food preparers. It takes some diligence and there's a bit of a learning curve, but it is so worth it to feel better.

BTW, my theory is that more than 50% of those diagnosed with IBS and Fybromyalgia actually suffer from Celiac or gluten intolerance. No evidence to back it up, other than anecdotal. I think it's because Celiac is a systemic issue, and no two people are alike with symptoms. Just my two cents. I hope you start to feel better soon!

Janie

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