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Should I Give Up My Job?

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I was recently diagnosed with celiacs and microscopic colitis. I already have addisons disease. I have a demanding job as a university professor, under constant scrutiny. I used to enjoy the job despite the pressures. I could leave my apartment, take my grading with me, and watch the world go by as I graded stacks of papers. Now I am confined to my apartment. My tummy is completely unpredictable (I still have to run to the toilet with diarrhea)and I get hungry and cannot concentrate. I can find NOTHING satisfying when I am out and about to eat for lunch, despite living in a major US metropolis. When I get hungry I cannot function at all properly, and I get depressed and angry.

This is a curse, a major blow to me. I have tried to be positive but honestly feel like giving up. My teaching has been affected, and I am constantly evaluated by students under the American system. My mind lacks the facility it used to have, my body is very very weak. I have been robbed of my freedom and the joy from my life has evaporated.

I just want to give up. I would rather be disabled then at least I would get some sympathy for what amounts to a massive disability.

I will probably have to give up my job. I am not sure if my life is worth living.

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Please, seek some help for yourself. Many say that Celiac disease is much like losing a loved one with the stages of grief and the sense of loss and depression that can come along with it.

Yes, you have a lot to deal with. I can't say if you should give up your job or not, but I can say that therapy will help. If only to help put things in perspective and to give you some coping strategies.

Since you are in an academic setting, there is likely easy access to mental health experts. Please, make an appointment today. We are all here for you.

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Things will get better, don't worry! Since you were recently diagnosed with Celiac it's possible that your body is only in the beginning stages of healing. Although I do not have to deal with microscopic colitis and addison's disease (both of which I know are difficult), it took me about 5 months of a strict gluten free, dairy free diet before I really started to feel better. I had a hard time at the beginning finding things to eat (especially at restarants and school cafterias). I was always a bread and dairy addict so nothing ever sounded good when I first changed my diet. Eventually I found some good go-to recipes that I could easily make and store for lunches, and I began trying new vegetables and fruits that I had never considered eating before and found that I loved many of them. It takes a lot of time to get used to the diet, but I think websites like this provide a lot of good knowledge and support.

Since you're a university professor, will you have time off during the summer? I know your job is demanding, but maybe you could take some time off (I know this is easier said than done)? I hope this was at least a little helpful. Hang in there!

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the more time you take the more you will find there ARE places you CAN go! many city online restaurant guides now have gluten-free listings. many major chains are putting gluten-free foods on their menus. yes, it's a pain to call but it's your health so take the time to call places - amazingly even some Italian restaurants have gluten-free foods and are known to do very well with preventing cross contamination.

each day is a new challenge, but each day you find a new technique to get through it.

obviously i don't know what school you teach at, but there ARE many universities that have dedicated cafeterias for students w/ different dietary issues. If you are at a larger school you may have one w/ a kosher kitchen which could help - not all, but many kosher foods fall w/in the gluten-free diet protocol.

and i am sure you are not the only person on campus who is dealing w/ Celiac - perhaps an open dialog between you and the head of food services regarding options for those w/ Celiac on campus could create gluten-free options for those in need (not that i am saying you should be the spokesperson, but even if there is just one choice a day that could be an improvement.)

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Thank you for your advice and words of encouragement. I have been gluten-free for six months now, and, yes, it is like a grieving process.

I have many frustrations, but the one of the worst is finding something satisfying and quick and easy to eat during the day. I am stunned by the complete lack of options. I get depressed and angry. The gluten-free bread is totally unsuitable for sandwiches. Are there no reliable alternatives to sandwiches? Nothing I can purchase on the hoof?

My teaching has been a struggle this semester. I am from abroad, and find the US system ruthless; I will be evaluated by my students whose only concern is their grade, and who are angry at me for my lack of energy in the classroom this year. I am worried about the future of my career. I am exhausted with everything.

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Thank you for your advice and words of encouragement. I have been gluten-free for six months now, and, yes, it is like a grieving process.

I have many frustrations, but the one of the worst is finding something satisfying and quick and easy to eat during the day. I am stunned by the complete lack of options. I get depressed and angry. The gluten-free bread is totally unsuitable for sandwiches. Are there no reliable alternatives to sandwiches? Nothing I can purchase on the hoof?

My teaching has been a struggle this semester. I am from abroad, and find the US system ruthless; I will be evaluated by my students whose only concern is their grade, and who are angry at me for my lack of energy in the classroom this year. I am worried about the future of my career. I am exhausted with everything.

I agree that it would make sense for you to talk to a counselor. I've mostly been at home for a few months now, but every week I talk to my therapist on the phone. I was seeing her to deal with something unrelated when my health issues started, but she has been an important source of support for me during this. It helps to express my feelings of sadness, anger, or hopelessness. I also feel less isolated.

It may also help you to see a nutritionist. S/he may have ideas about how to deal with needing to be gluten free. The lack of convenience of the gluten-free diet is a major issue. I'm hoping to see a nutritionist too.

I also live in a major metropolis, and I found that there is a Celiac support group here through MeetUp.org. The group goes out and eats gluten-free food together. I think for me it would really help to meet other people who are struggling with the same issues. And to find out where to go out to eat! Maybe there is a support group in your city? Maybe you live in NYC, and we can go together?

A lot of my hope for my recovery comes from going through something similiar over a decade ago. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. I revamped my entire life to accomodate recovery. For awhile, I gave up meat, dairy, white sugar, and wheat. I was crushed at first at giving up so many foods I liked, and it was really hard to stick to the diet. But I got better, and something amazing happened - I adjusted to the diet. I learned how to find things to eat when out and about in the world. I learned to read labels. I shopped at health food stores. I learned to cook fresh food well. I met other vegetarians. I started to prefer food that was good for me.

Best to you.

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Thank you all. I may have to see a counselor by the sound of it. I don't think there is a support group here (Oakland CA) but I will check it out.

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Before you seek counseling, may I suggest you talk to your doctor about your Addison's disease? You have been gluten-free and hopefully at least partially healed your small intestine. If you are on an oral corticosteroid, the absorption profile might have changed and you are showing a lot of signs of corticosteroid overdose. Irritability, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and abnormalities in blood sugar can all be caused by corticosteroids.

I'm a postdoc and I understand busy. Food on the hoof is a problem but with a little planning you can do fine. I try to bring my lunch, but in a pinch at various coffee carts around campus there are packaged salads with the croutons and dressing separate, apples and bananas, potato chips, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt. There is a sushi joint where I can get plain tuna or salmon rolls, and a Burger King where I can eat the french fries and a chicken salad. The campus grocery store for students actually has a small gluten-free section with cookies and crackers. In my desk, I typically have apples, bananas, Larabars, the Safeway band Rice Noodle Soup Bowls that can be made with hot water from the water cooler, or microwavable TastyBite brand Indian food that comes in a pouch and can be put in a bowl and warmed easily.

I can usually find food at a gas station convenience store too, although it may not be the healthiest. Lay's chips, cheese, raisins, hard-boiled eggs, pieces of fruit, and Tiger's Milk bars (all are gluten-free except the peanut crunch one) are all things I look for.

As far as still having diarrhea, if you are adhering closely to a gluten-free diet you may have other food sensitivities. A lot of newly diagnosed celiacs don't tolerate casein well, and some have trouble with soy.

I hope this helps a little, and I really hope you get through your depression. It's an awful feeling.

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I am a teacher, and wasn't exactly "there" last year when I was going through the intense symptoms, fear of what was wrong, and the dx'd learning curve. I even quit my coaching position b/c I couldnt handle the stress and the recovery. Thankfully my principal protected me from parents who were wondering what was up.

Yes, it is difficult to find out what you can eat. I always tell people the hardest part is eating on the fly. It took my a half hour once on the road to find a place that I could have a feeling of assurance that I could have a gluten free meal (finally stopped at a Boston Market and ordered things I remembered were gluten-free). These forums were a God send, I still search for food and restaurant ideas here. Although I still get frustrated and upset (like this week when I walked into a buffet that was set up by the parents for the teachers and I didnt want to bother anyone by asking "what's in that" so I walked out), it has gotten A LOT better. It definitely is a learning curve.

If I am on the road and just need to fill my belly, I stop at a convenience store and pick up some potato chips or a chocolate bar (not the healthiest, but holds me over until I get home). Another tip is stock up and foods that you can eat and bring them to work with you. I have some Progresso soups in a cabinet in my classroom, so if I ever get hungry or I forget or don't have time to get lunch ready at home, I'll have something at school. I also bring in bananas every week to snack on.

Things do get better, I hope that it gets better for you quickly.

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Instead of quitting your job, would it be possible to take a leave of absence? That would give you time to see a counselor, nutritionist, try new recipes, shop gluten free, etc?

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I mean no offense, but you are making this hard on yourself. Yeah , finding food when out is tough - so bring your own darn food. Sandwhiches are not the only packed lunch one can make. Yes, it may take some time to be creative and figure out what to pack, but lots o things are difficult and take time. There are a lot of posts here that can give you ideas. Food is foremost about fueling yourself, being satisfying is just a bonus. (Yes, I'm a firm believer in practicalty.) you can figure out how to make this work, but you've got to be willing to really work at it, abd go outside your comfort zone. (Though my lunches are often leftovers from dinner (no, you don't have to microwave all hot meals!), which isn't even very adventurous!

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Thank you all. I may have to see a counselor by the sound of it. I don't think there is a support group here (Oakland CA) but I will check it out.

Good news - looks like there is a Celiac MeetUp based in Berkley:

http://www.meetup.com/Gluten-Free-Bay-Area/

I wish we could go together to a meeting! I moved to NYC from SF, and I miss the Bay Area sometimes. I think that NYC and the Bay Area are probably the easiest places in the U.S. to be gluten free, even though it doesn't feel like it right now.

Trader Joe's is a great resource for gluten-free pre-prepared foods. I used to go to the one in Emeryville when I worked over there.

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I second seeking therapy. You are angry and frustrated. You aren't seeing your situation clearly. You have a job many would envy, illnesses that are manageable, and with some basic tweaking, things will get better. But right now you can't see that.

I don't believe you truly would prefer people feeling sorry for you for a disability. It just doesn't sit right for someone who has achieved as much as you must have to obtain a teaching position. That is your frustration talking, and you must work through it so you don't make some poor decisions and hurt your life in the long run.

I run for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and there are some days, when believe you me, I just want to quit everything and scream that it is not fair. I can't eat with everyone else, I have to have special accommodations, and because of some other situations and ailments, I can appear like the whiny, needy one. NOT the way I am or want to appear. But each time I run, each mile I log, I am reminded that there is someone out there facing down a death sentence, fighting for their future, for some, just fighting for a chance at a few more years...and they would give anything to be in my position. It's a sobering reminder when I get annoyed or frustrated with my situation.

You can do this, and life is not as awful as it seems right now. Get some therapy, and sit down with someone to help you strategize how to feel better and live your life more effectively. Pack your lunch and take along food everywhere you go, so you never have to worry about what is around you (and I assure you, CA is way easier than small town PA! :)). TALK to your students! Don't you think a couple of them have some health issues they might be fighting? Explain to them that you are going through a hard time, and that you are giving them everything you've got right now, even though it might not seem that way. They may seem immature and distant, but you'll be surprised. Learn to view this experience as a challenge, not a disability. Other people seem to have none of these problems, yet they still whine and screw up their lives. You have a legitimate problem, but you are still working through it. Take pride in that.

Good luck, and don't give up. The fight is worth it.

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Thank you for all your replies. I will peruse them carefully in my own time. Yes I am stressed and angry, but I am also suffering badly. I hardly leave my apartment because my stomach is so unreliable. Eating on the fly should not be the headache it is--with respect, making do with chocolate and chips, or finding the one option that MIGHT be available on a buffet, is NOT good enough. I lived on carbohydrates and a few morsels here and there is not enough to keep me going. San Francisco's ferry building is a food mecca--but just try finding something edible that is not gluten free.

Unless you teach, and are evaluated constantly by students who don't really get it when you are feeling weak and exhausted, you cannot fully understand what it is like. I have spoken to my students, but the bottom line is that I know from past experiences their understanding is very limited.

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Before you seek counseling, may I suggest you talk to your doctor about your Addison's disease? You have been gluten-free and hopefully at least partially healed your small intestine. If you are on an oral corticosteroid, the absorption profile might have changed and you are showing a lot of signs of corticosteroid overdose. Irritability, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and abnormalities in blood sugar can all be caused by corticosteroids.

I'm a postdoc and I understand busy. Food on the hoof is a problem but with a little planning you can do fine. I try to bring my lunch, but in a pinch at various coffee carts around campus there are packaged salads with the croutons and dressing separate, apples and bananas, potato chips, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt. There is a sushi joint where I can get plain tuna or salmon rolls, and a Burger King where I can eat the french fries and a chicken salad. The campus grocery store for students actually has a small gluten-free section with cookies and crackers. In my desk, I typically have apples, bananas, Larabars, the Safeway band Rice Noodle Soup Bowls that can be made with hot water from the water cooler, or microwavable TastyBite brand Indian food that comes in a pouch and can be put in a bowl and warmed easily.

I can usually find food at a gas station convenience store too, although it may not be the healthiest. Lay's chips, cheese, raisins, hard-boiled eggs, pieces of fruit, and Tiger's Milk bars (all are gluten-free except the peanut crunch one) are all things I look for.

As far as still having diarrhea, if you are adhering closely to a gluten-free diet you may have other food sensitivities. A lot of newly diagnosed celiacs don't tolerate casein well, and some have trouble with soy.

I hope this helps a little, and I really hope you get through your depression. It's an awful feeling.

Yes, my addisons disease needs to be checked. I think my electrolyte levels were okay at the time I was diagnosed with celiacs . . . but since I should be healing then perhaps my dosage needs to be re-evaluated. Your food suggestions are very constructive. I find it hard to get a substitute for sandwiches that really satisfies, and my addisons makes me susceptible to low blood sugar and weakness when I am hungry.

Thank you.

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I find it hard to get a substitute for sandwiches that really satisfies, and my addisons makes me susceptible to low blood sugar and weakness when I am hungry.

Thank you.

Hormel makes some gluten free stuff that is shelf stable that you can quickly heat up. I just add some peas or beans to the beef stew when I am too beat to eat. The scalloped potatoes and ham is sure not the stuff 'Mom' made but it is edible and warm.

Here is a link to their gluten free page, much of it you could zap at work.

http://www.hormelfoods.com/ASSETS/491F45BBEB39475FA2740EB35E0D3F1E/Gluten%20Free%20Products%204.6.10.pdf

Kinnickinnick and Grainless Baker make okay bread and the GB bread is even edible without microwaving or toasting. You may want to give them a try.

I live in NY and have worked in the school systems and know what kind of stress you are under. It is hard. I am glad you are going to get the Addison's checked and do make sure that you are checking your meds for gluten. It can take a bit of time to heal. As ill as you are right now I don't think a short leave of absence is out of the question. It should be close to the end of your school year and things may look a lot better in the fall when hopefully you have had some time to heal.

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I used to be a sandwich fiend too. I have also found lunch the hardest meal to adapt to going gluten-free. My best suggestion is to make a batch of something you like on the weekend and pack it for the week. Try making gluten-free penne and mixing it with some tuna, onion, diced peppers and mayo. It is just like a tuna sandwich (OK...sort of). I regularly make the Moroccan millet recipe from Shelly Casey's Gluten Free Diet book and it makes an amazing lunch. Also, crackers and hummus or another dip is sandwich-ish. I know its not the same as a delicious bun or bread, but with time you will come to love the new foods.

Like the others have been saying, it just maybe that your buy-food-on-the-go lifestyle needs an adjustment. There are great gluten-free snacks that you can pack. Grab these when you are hungry and you won't have to stress about finding something when you are out. There are great cookies, pretzels, protein bars, etc that you can always have on you. It may take a few tries, but find stuff you really like and look forward to eating.

The gluten-free diet isn't a death sentence and with a bit of work you will find food and life satisfying again!

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I used to be a sandwich fiend too. I have also found lunch the hardest meal to adapt to going gluten-free. My best suggestion is to make a batch of something you like on the weekend and pack it for the week. Try making gluten-free penne and mixing it with some tuna, onion, diced peppers and mayo. It is just like a tuna sandwich (OK...sort of). I regularly make the Moroccan millet recipe from Shelly Casey's Gluten Free Diet book and it makes an amazing lunch. Also, crackers and hummus or another dip is sandwich-ish. I know its not the same as a delicious bun or bread, but with time you will come to love the new foods.

Like the others have been saying, it just maybe that your buy-food-on-the-go lifestyle needs an adjustment. There are great gluten-free snacks that you can pack. Grab these when you are hungry and you won't have to stress about finding something when you are out. There are great cookies, pretzels, protein bars, etc that you can always have on you. It may take a few tries, but find stuff you really like and look forward to eating.

The gluten-free diet isn't a death sentence and with a bit of work you will find food and life satisfying again!

I was DX March 2009 and making a sandwich like egg salad, pbj,etc. was a problem until I discovered Udi's bread. This works great!

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Yes, my addisons disease needs to be checked. I think my electrolyte levels were okay at the time I was diagnosed with celiacs . . . but since I should be healing then perhaps my dosage needs to be re-evaluated. Your food suggestions are very constructive. I find it hard to get a substitute for sandwiches that really satisfies, and my addisons makes me susceptible to low blood sugar and weakness when I am hungry.

Thank you.

I agree with someone else here - if you are very concerned about sandwiches in particular - then use Udi's bread. If you cannot find Udi's bread - look to their website online...they ship direct to you. If you have a local store your store can become a supplier. I live in a very small town, and have one health food store available to me. I persisted with them to order Udi's bread....after a few months it all worked out and they now stock it. With Udi's you can have that sandwich you are craving. I can relate to your post seeing that I am gluten-free and work at a University here in my town. I agree there is stress when you know students are evaluating your performance. I think all of the faculty and administrators know that when students are doing poorly they most likely will give a bad evaluation regardless. I think that you should focus on feeling better and not the "what if's". My dad always tells me that is anticipatory anxiety - and sometimes you just have to imagine a stop sign and tell yourself that the thought isn't positive or beneficial to your overall wellbeing. Start tuning in to all of the things in this world that you CAN do or CAN have instead of what is going wrong. I know it's hard because beleive me my stomach is on the verge of an ER visit right now because I am having alot of pain. Still I think to myself...."yep it sucks that I am intolerant to about every food imagineable, but there are two little children who are counting on their mom giving it 100% to feel better". The other day my daughter comes home asking if we can give her old clothes that do not fit to a girl she knew that had been wearing the same clothes for 3 days. It's in moments like that when I am humbled and realize that there are so many people going through so much more than me at any given moment. It's OK to feel bad about what we are dealing with....but we have to just accept and move forward. You may not think your students understand, but I bet they do. We have had a number of young traditional students who have dies within the past year for many different reasons....cancer, chron's complications, accidents....etc. Those students would understand your troubles. If you think about it many of our students have friends/family/loved ones dealing with different illnesses and disabilities, so I am sure they would show sympathy. Just communicate to them well that their grades may not be posted as fast as they would like - and you may not be able to respond to e-mails ASAP....but that you are still doing everything you can to make sure you take care of their coursework/evaluation.

Just my two cents....I do empathize with your situation and am myself upset that I cannot just run somewhere and pick something up like I used too. I find that a staple for me is Wendy's Grilled Chicken....plain no bun and a plain baked potatoe. I literally go there 3-5 times during the work week and since I am regular...they all know my situation and work to the best of their ability to prevent any cross-contam. They are really the only fast food option I have since we really only have BK, McD's, Wendy's and Taco Bell.

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I agree with someone else here - if you are very concerned about sandwiches in particular - then use Udi's bread. If you cannot find Udi's bread - look to their website online...they ship direct to you. If you have a local store your store can become a supplier. I live in a very small town, and have one health food store available to me. I persisted with them to order Udi's bread....after a few months it all worked out and they now stock it. With Udi's you can have that sandwich you are craving. I can relate to your post seeing that I am gluten-free and work at a University here in my town. I agree there is stress when you know students are evaluating your performance. I think all of the faculty and administrators know that when students are doing poorly they most likely will give a bad evaluation regardless. I think that you should focus on feeling better and not the "what if's". My dad always tells me that is anticipatory anxiety - and sometimes you just have to imagine a stop sign and tell yourself that the thought isn't positive or beneficial to your overall wellbeing. Start tuning in to all of the things in this world that you CAN do or CAN have instead of what is going wrong. I know it's hard because beleive me my stomach is on the verge of an ER visit right now because I am having alot of pain. Still I think to myself...."yep it sucks that I am intolerant to about every food imagineable, but there are two little children who are counting on their mom giving it 100% to feel better". The other day my daughter comes home asking if we can give her old clothes that do not fit to a girl she knew that had been wearing the same clothes for 3 days. It's in moments like that when I am humbled and realize that there are so many people going through so much more than me at any given moment. It's OK to feel bad about what we are dealing with....but we have to just accept and move forward. You may not think your students understand, but I bet they do. We have had a number of young traditional students who have dies within the past year for many different reasons....cancer, chron's complications, accidents....etc. Those students would understand your troubles. If you think about it many of our students have friends/family/loved ones dealing with different illnesses and disabilities, so I am sure they would show sympathy. Just communicate to them well that their grades may not be posted as fast as they would like - and you may not be able to respond to e-mails ASAP....but that you are still doing everything you can to make sure you take care of their coursework/evaluation.

Just my two cents....I do empathize with your situation and am myself upset that I cannot just run somewhere and pick something up like I used too. I find that a staple for me is Wendy's Grilled Chicken....plain no bun and a plain baked potatoe. I literally go there 3-5 times during the work week and since I am regular...they all know my situation and work to the best of their ability to prevent any cross-contam. They are really the only fast food option I have since we really only have BK, McD's, Wendy's and Taco Bell.

Thank you. I appreciate your advise on anticipatory anxiety--a good label for some problems that I have!

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Yes, my addisons disease needs to be checked. I think my electrolyte levels were okay at the time I was diagnosed with celiacs . . . but since I should be healing then perhaps my dosage needs to be re-evaluated. Your food suggestions are very constructive. I find it hard to get a substitute for sandwiches that really satisfies, and my addisons makes me susceptible to low blood sugar and weakness when I am hungry.

Thank you.

Is there a whole food where you are? Look up UDI's bread.............it is so light and fluffy.........the first bread i have had that is identical to wheat bread. You can make sandwiches. You can order tons of gluten free foods online if you dont have a store near you..........start stockpiling to take off the stress of what to eat.

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You live in OAKLAND ?!

How do you manage to avoid gluten free food, specifically bread, when that's the home of Mariposa Gluten Free Bakery ? Sometimes we drive 3 hours just to stock up on the stuff !

They have a kiosk in one of the Ferry buildings.

Not too far from the original Mariposa bakery is a Whole Foods store.

Lacking bread, I would use a safe rice cake such as Lundberg, or a pure corn tortilla (Mission) or a gluten free rice tortilla, or a pre baked potato made in the microwave. Or a good size serving of cooked rice. Well rinsed, cooked canned beans also provide carbohydrate. I also make gluten free quick breads when I need some, but I don't eat much because I tend to gain weight easily on them, even though I'm making them of the higher protein, denser gluten free nuts and seed type flours. You can make gluten free bread very quickly in the micro wave, google "bun in the cup" recipes here. I also use a small cast iron skillet and start it on the stove and then finish it under the broiler.

If I were you I would also work on switching to a higher protein and fat diet with less carbohydrate, which may be much easier for you to digest. For instance, putting coconut milk in tea is a great way to get calories. Avocados, nuts, olive oil, all the good fats are slow burning fuels which help you feel full. See also the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which is grain free, for some ideas. CA is a state where one can easily buy a lot of almonds cheaply to bake with. I grind my own in a dedicated blender, just throwing in a handful, and whirring it up into baking meal in a few seconds.

Many groceries and health food stores now stock frozen gluten free breads, as well. I don't do well with a few of the ingredients in those, so I tend to bake it.

First off, many of your ongoing fatigue and depression symptoms are being caused by malnutrition. You should be not only cleaning up your diet to where you are not cross contaminating yourself, but taking B complex gluten free vitamins and mineral supplements.

If you keep getting cross contaminated, you will be extra tired ALL THE TIME. That is one of the symptoms.

You need to adjust to the fact we are all lunch packers and food planners. We do not "eat on the fly." Unless we take it out of our little lunchbox and we made it ourselves out of ingredients we know are safe. We plan food forays the way Gen. Eisenhour planned for D- day. Even when we eat at restaurants, we plan things, do internet research, and check to see what is on the menu that can be made gluten free, or we don't eat there. Some restaurants actually do gluten free menu choices now.

I would not touch a buffet unless it didn't matter if I was sick later. Simple as that.

If I socialize in a non gluten free friendly restaurant, I stick to bottled water, coffee, tea, or certain sodas I know are safe for me, and I eat before or afterwards. And of course, I always have a snack in my purse. I always carry a "go - to" bag or lunch cooler in the car which is packed with mostly non perishables, to which I add some safe fruit, cheese, meat, fresh cut up vegetables, and one of those little slow melting ice packs. You have to have a system. We end up packing for two most of the time because my husband eats mostly gluten free in my presence and likes to snack on the stuff I pack when we travel.

This is necessary so we can have "lives," instead of "illness." Other people have hobbies like knitting or crossword puzzles. We read food labels in great detail and plan what we eat.

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We plan food forays the way Gen. Eisenhour planned for D- day. Even when we eat at restaurants, we plan things, do internet research, and check to see what is on the menu that can be made gluten free, or we don't eat there.

Other people have hobbies like knitting or crossword puzzles. We read food labels in great detail and plan what we eat.

This is sooo true! And soo funny! :P:P:P

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We plan food forays the way Gen. Eisenhour planned for D- day.

Hilarious ... you almost make us sound cool.

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How long have you been a professor? I don't know how your school works, but I taught intro-level classes at a university during a time in my life when I was very ill and I did not have a diagnosis yet. I can understand what you are saying about some of the students only caring about their grades. When I finished teaching that semester I knew I had done a lousy job because of my illness. It was really stressful to think about the reviews and I was sure I would be let go. The student did give me bad reviews overall and the department head called me into his office to discuss it. Fortunately I had taught one semester prior to getting really sick and my evaluations from that semester were not as poor. I decided to be upfront with the department head and told him I was having health issues which I hoped to resolve soon. He gave me the option of continuing to teaching the next round of summer courses or taking a light summer load--focusing on research rather than teaching and coming back in the fall semester. I took the light summer load, but unfortunately my health issues only got worse (without a diagnosis) and I was not able to return to teaching. However, you have an advantage of knowing what your health issues are. I wish I had known enough to be able to go back and change my diet and lifestyle that summer. I'm five months into the gluten-free diet and feel so much better, but now I have the disadvantage of not having taught in over two years. I cannot find a job in this economy. If I had known then what I know now--as you do--I have no doubt I would have been able to come back strong in the fall semester. Some others here gave you great advice about how to plan your meals. My advice is to stick with your job and be very proactive in changing your eating habits. You will kick yourself if you start to feel better a few months after you have quit your job and you have no other prospects.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to see a counselor no matter what. Are you homesick? That could certainly contribute to your stress level. I'm from the US, but I was teaching in a place 800 miles away from most of my family and friends. Being sick in a stressful job in a new place with no support network of family and friends was one of the hardest things I ever did. If you don't have people in your life that can just be a listening ear for you, try to find a local celiac support group so you can meet some people that understand.

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