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Yet Another Newbie Looking For Help

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Hi all,

Firstly thanks to everyone on this website, you provide much better knowledge, information and support than my doctor does.

I am a newbie to gluten free living and was doing pretty well but have developed secondary food intolerances and DH and am now struggling to cope. I started my gluten free life in Jan this year (was previously wheat and lactose free in 2009) but despite checking for hidden gluten I have made mistakes with painkillers, meds, handwash etc. Plus I learnt the hard way that Starbucks in Dubai uses soy milk that contains wheat and barley extract! I am VERY sensitive to gluten, both internal and external, and my reactions worsen with each glutening. Up to now I have been cooking gluten-free for myself and gluten foods for my husband but despite keeping our kitchen stuff as separate as possible I am still getting sick so hubby has now offered to be gluten free too. Luckily we are due to move soon to a brand new property so will buy all new kitchen equipment and hopefully have a safe home.

I need diet advice please as I am really underweight. I am trying to eat as fresh and natural as possible - I react badly to products made on "shared lines", and because I live in Dubai there is not much choice of foods made in dedicated gluten-free facilities. In addition to gluten I have to avoid all dairy, eggs, fish, sea salt/ionised salt. Other foods on my suspect list are peanuts, tree nuts and bananas although I perhaps need to try each of these again. I seem to be OK with organic soy milk which doesn't have a load of additives but I do limit my intake of this. So for now my lunches and dinners consist of organic chicken, beef or lamb plus veggies/beans, plus potatoes (white/sweet) or brown rice, and fruit. For breakfast and snacks I make my own buckwheat porridge or have Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, both made with soy milk and fruit. I add fresh ground flaxseed to my porridge or cereal and use lots of olive oil on my veggies, potatoes and rice. But I am struggling just to maintain my weight, let alone gain any. I have enough time and ideas to cook and eat about 2000 calories a day but in the absence of peanut butter, dairy etc cannot come up with ways to increase this. My thyroid checks out as being normal so I don't think I have additional health problems. I have yet to tackle any gluten free baking, am waiting until I have a safe kitchen but confess that I am daunted at the idea of gluten free, dairy free and egg free recipes.

So I am looking for meal and snack ideas please. And also whether you reckon that items such as nuts, dried fruit, dried beans, tinned beans in water and tinned fruit in fruit juice are safe to have. There are so many brands sold here but none that offer any advice or guarantee re: processing facilities. I am getting scared about so many foods now and don't know what to buy or try next. My doctor is of no help (she suggested I add couscous to my diet!) but I will be seeing a nutritionalist later this month.

And assuming I can eliminate trace gluten/cross contamination just how long might it be before I feel better again? Initially I seemed to do well on gluten-free diet but now I seem to be going backwards.

Apologies for the long posting, and thanks in advance for help/support

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wow, it sounds like you have to steer clear of so many foods it would be hard to offer up ideas. to gain weight maybe you could try olive oil to add good fats to your diet. avocados have healthly fats as well. (if you can eat any of this) ... i like to smash an avocado, olive oil, s & p, fresh cilantro, diced tomato, a shallot and squeeze of lime together and eat it on top of romaine lettuce or a rice cake.

good luck! :)

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Hi all,

Firstly thanks to everyone on this website, you provide much better knowledge, information and support than my doctor does.

I am a newbie to gluten free living and was doing pretty well but have developed secondary food intolerances and DH and am now struggling to cope. I started my gluten free life in Jan this year (was previously wheat and lactose free in 2009) but despite checking for hidden gluten I have made mistakes with painkillers, meds, handwash etc. Plus I learnt the hard way that Starbucks in Dubai uses soy milk that contains wheat and barley extract! I am VERY sensitive to gluten, both internal and external, and my reactions worsen with each glutening. Up to now I have been cooking gluten-free for myself and gluten foods for my husband but despite keeping our kitchen stuff as separate as possible I am still getting sick so hubby has now offered to be gluten free too. Luckily we are due to move soon to a brand new property so will buy all new kitchen equipment and hopefully have a safe home.

I need diet advice please as I am really underweight. I am trying to eat as fresh and natural as possible - I react badly to products made on "shared lines", and because I live in Dubai there is not much choice of foods made in dedicated gluten-free facilities. In addition to gluten I have to avoid all dairy, eggs, fish, sea salt/ionised salt. Other foods on my suspect list are peanuts, tree nuts and bananas although I perhaps need to try each of these again. I seem to be OK with organic soy milk which doesn't have a load of additives but I do limit my intake of this. So for now my lunches and dinners consist of organic chicken, beef or lamb plus veggies/beans, plus potatoes (white/sweet) or brown rice, and fruit. For breakfast and snacks I make my own buckwheat porridge or have Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, both made with soy milk and fruit. I add fresh ground flaxseed to my porridge or cereal and use lots of olive oil on my veggies, potatoes and rice. But I am struggling just to maintain my weight, let alone gain any. I have enough time and ideas to cook and eat about 2000 calories a day but in the absence of peanut butter, dairy etc cannot come up with ways to increase this. My thyroid checks out as being normal so I don't think I have additional health problems. I have yet to tackle any gluten free baking, am waiting until I have a safe kitchen but confess that I am daunted at the idea of gluten free, dairy free and egg free recipes.

So I am looking for meal and snack ideas please. And also whether you reckon that items such as nuts, dried fruit, dried beans, tinned beans in water and tinned fruit in fruit juice are safe to have. There are so many brands sold here but none that offer any advice or guarantee re: processing facilities. I am getting scared about so many foods now and don't know what to buy or try next. My doctor is of no help (she suggested I add couscous to my diet!) but I will be seeing a nutritionalist later this month.

And assuming I can eliminate trace gluten/cross contamination just how long might it be before I feel better again? Initially I seemed to do well on gluten-free diet but now I seem to be going backwards.

Apologies for the long posting, and thanks in advance for help/support

well for a start I'd start eating someting like hummus. If you're in dubai it should be readily available.

A year ago I was in the same boat as you. It took six months to get things figured out. The way I recovered was to start eating a mediterranean diet. I amke my own gluten-free crackers and bake my own bread. But mostly I eat italian style, with rice pasta(which you must cook al dente)lots of fresh veggies and fruit meat and olive oil

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Hi all,

Firstly thanks to everyone on this website, you provide much better knowledge, information and support than my doctor does.

I am a newbie to gluten free living and was doing pretty well but have developed secondary food intolerances and DH and am now struggling to cope. I started my gluten free life in Jan this year (was previously wheat and lactose free in 2009) but despite checking for hidden gluten I have made mistakes with painkillers, meds, handwash etc. Plus I learnt the hard way that Starbucks in Dubai uses soy milk that contains wheat and barley extract! I am VERY sensitive to gluten, both internal and external, and my reactions worsen with each glutening. Up to now I have been cooking gluten-free for myself and gluten foods for my husband but despite keeping our kitchen stuff as separate as possible I am still getting sick so hubby has now offered to be gluten free too. Luckily we are due to move soon to a brand new property so will buy all new kitchen equipment and hopefully have a safe home.

I need diet advice please as I am really underweight. I am trying to eat as fresh and natural as possible - I react badly to products made on "shared lines", and because I live in Dubai there is not much choice of foods made in dedicated gluten-free facilities. In addition to gluten I have to avoid all dairy, eggs, fish, sea salt/ionised salt. Other foods on my suspect list are peanuts, tree nuts and bananas although I perhaps need to try each of these again. I seem to be OK with organic soy milk which doesn't have a load of additives but I do limit my intake of this. So for now my lunches and dinners consist of organic chicken, beef or lamb plus veggies/beans, plus potatoes (white/sweet) or brown rice, and fruit. For breakfast and snacks I make my own buckwheat porridge or have Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, both made with soy milk and fruit. I add fresh ground flaxseed to my porridge or cereal and use lots of olive oil on my veggies, potatoes and rice. But I am struggling just to maintain my weight, let alone gain any. I have enough time and ideas to cook and eat about 2000 calories a day but in the absence of peanut butter, dairy etc cannot come up with ways to increase this. My thyroid checks out as being normal so I don't think I have additional health problems. I have yet to tackle any gluten free baking, am waiting until I have a safe kitchen but confess that I am daunted at the idea of gluten free, dairy free and egg free recipes.

So I am looking for meal and snack ideas please. And also whether you reckon that items such as nuts, dried fruit, dried beans, tinned beans in water and tinned fruit in fruit juice are safe to have. There are so many brands sold here but none that offer any advice or guarantee re: processing facilities. I am getting scared about so many foods now and don't know what to buy or try next. My doctor is of no help (she suggested I add couscous to my diet!) but I will be seeing a nutritionalist later this month.

And assuming I can eliminate trace gluten/cross contamination just how long might it be before I feel better again? Initially I seemed to do well on gluten-free diet but now I seem to be going backwards.

Apologies for the long posting, and thanks in advance for help/support

Dried and tinned beans should be fine. I'm not sure about tinned fruit...it should be ok I think, but read the label carefully. Where I live some roasted nuts have wheat starch listed on the ingredients--I got glutened by that before I even thought to check the label of nuts. I think they use it to stop the nuts from clumping together. So be careful with nuts. I think dried fruit could have the same issue. Nut butters are fine.

Can you get other grains like quinoa where you live? It would help you with some variety and also has a lot of vitamins, fibre and protein. Same with teff--I make it like porridge in the morning and it's super healthy.

I have somewhat the same problem with weight, and I am dairy free as well. I'm trying to make sure I get enough fats through nuts, avocado, fish, and coconut. I saw that you can't eat fish or nuts--how about coconut? I use coconut oil instead of butter in baking, and it works great. Coconut milk is good too--lots of calories and healthy fats. Once you get your kitceh straightened out don't be too intimidated by baking--it's a bit more trial and error than regular baking, but I've had lots of successes. There are lots of vegan recipes online for baking.

And for the weight loss issue--make sure you are getting enough carbs. Adding other grains in addition to rice might help with that.

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Oh, goodnes, hon, I sympathize!!!

I have had to drop so many foods, and reacting to things that were just processed in the same facility as others, etc... I've been dropping weight and only sometimes can I maintain, and then it can start dropping so quickly it's frustrating as heck!

So, I know where you're coming from, except I'm in the mainland USA, so it's likely easier to get things shipped here! If it weren't for that, things would be much, much harder. so...okay, I am gonna start spewing here, to see if this may help. Lots of random information, but it sounds like you have a lot of trouble, so I hope some may help!

Are you doing a lot of heavy labor during the day? If not, the 2000 calories diet should be keeping you at a good weight, and since it's not, it's probably a good sign that your gut is not healing. Which means that either you are still getting a bad food for you, or that it is something else that you need to get taken care of. I'm so sorry that your doctor is useless. I hope that maybe you can get to somewhere new, soon, and see if you can get some better help! Krohn's disease is an issue that comes to mind with your symptoms that I think it would very much be worth your while to check out. A parasitic infection like giardia might be worth checking out, too.

But re: the food and eating and avoiding.

1. For myself, when I started having problems, I started having huge issues with INHALING food, even if I didn't eat it. I don't know that I would have realized it was such an issue, except that it made my throat swell up as well. That reaction has slowed, but now, if I am inhaling steam from cooking certain foods, I get a reaction from the particles that have been released into the air. Since you were saying that even touching wheat was an issue for you, it's a good chance this might be a problem for you too, yeah? If I wear a little paper mask, like a dental hygeinist wears, then that tends to take care of it fairly well.

2. Have you looked at makeup yet? I'm assuming so, considering how sensitive you are. Is there still a lot of construction in Dubai? Some construction materials, like drywall, contain gluten, so if there is drywall dust around where you work/live, that could still be giving you trouble.

3. I would seriously, seriously advise that you drop the oil. All of it, every last one. So far, after much calling, I have yet to find one single oil that was not processed on lines shared with other nuts, seeds, or other oil producing substances, or made in the same room with the same. I'm sure some exist somewhere, but I've yet to find them. When I get really sensitive (during hayfever allergy season, I seem to react even more to my food intolerances and allergies), I cannot have one single oil, because I'll always react. I put about a 1/2 inch of water in the pan instead. Not as tasty, but I don't react, at least. If you're using oil, it may be preventing some healing,IF you are really sensitive to stuff like that.

4. I'd look at corn allergy sites like this one: corn allergy site If you are allergic to this, or intolerant, it's very easy to get zapped with it without knowing. Corn is one that I react to, and it took me a while to figure out how many things it was in, including salt, contamination with white rice, and if you are really sensitive, anything derived from corn may get you, like xanthan gum, dextrose, citric acid, baking powder, etc... (they say these have no detectable levels of corn left, but the best tests for corn detect about 50 ppm, and some of us are more sensitive than that) It's even in some water softeners. So if this is a problem, you may still be getting some corn somehow and it's preventing you from healing up.

5. Bob's Red Mill frequently processes its stuff in facilities with peanuts and soy, so your breakfast cereal might be getting you a bit, still, if you are sensitive to peanuts at the moment. They have the warning, usually, in the lower right hand corner, in the back, if their label in Dubai follows the same pattern as the one in the states.

6. Carbs should, hopefully, help you maintain weight a little. Quinoa from Ancient Harvest (they sell on-line, but I don't know if they ship to Dubai) is a good company for this, as they only process Quinoa and no other grains. I haven't had any contamination problems with them. Amaranth is another one that would help. Both of these are not, in the literal sense, grains. They have carbs, but they are also full proteins, and very high in iron. However, since neither of these are in the grass family, yo may be less likely to have a problem with them.

7.Do you have any grass hay fever allergies? If you are really sensitive right now, it is likely that you are actually slightly reacting to everything in the grass family (Yes, that's me right now, too). It may just be inflaming your stomach and you don't even notice, but it would keep you from healing fully and that means keep you from digesting your food and maintaining weight as well. Might not hurt to drop everything in the grass family for a few days and see what happens. That would be: bamboo shoots, corn, rice, the big 3 gluten guys, teff, and sugar cane. Buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa are not in the grass family. And to note: if you ARE reacting more to grass family foods? Gluten free foods will make you sicker, typically, because they tend to add in MORE sugar cane, and they tend to add it in less processed (evaporated sugar canjuice, for ex), so that it has a higher allergy content.

8. You need iodine, big time. With your current diet, with no fish, and no iodized salt, you aren't getting any unless you have a supplement. This will start to effect your thyroid, and that in turn can affect your vitamin D levels. Thyroid issues seem to be able to interfere with our body's ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. There are some liquid concentrate iodine drops you may be able to get, I get mine from ionic minerals. IT's the mineral and water, and that's it. Maybe get it online? But you'll start running into trouble if you can't get any iodine. If you take Vitamin D supplements, I'd work on D3 rather than D2 vitamins, so that your body can use them and doesn't have to fiddle with it before it can use it.

9. In re: to tinned beans and fruit - I'd be very careful. It's likely contaminated, and if you're sensitive, you'll probably react. I would go with everything fresh and make it from scratch. Which is a pain in the butt - I can verify that! - but it works.

10 - oh, for a high fat snack! Try Sunbutter, if you can get it delivered to Dubai. It is a sunflower butter, it sells on-line, and it is made in a peanut free, nut free facility. They sell 5 pound tubs of it, even!

11. Gluten free, egg free, and dairy free bread trials do, I'll be honest, suck. I have to do it, and we haven't made any bread, because it's just so bad when we have to that it's not worth it. We eat quinoa and rice and amaranth mostly, now. Just had to totally change my diet.

12. Look up injera bread - teff flour, if you can have it. (gluten free) It's an ethiopian bread, and the traditional recipes are gluten free - the modern ones tend to add wheat flour, so you have to hunt around a bit.

And one last note - my GI said that this hypersensitization to other foods is actually not unheard of for celiacs. But that typically, it lasts less than 2 years and then starts calming down again, so there's hope!

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Many thanks for all advice/suggestions, gives me lots to think about and try - feel much more positive for your cyber support. Am looking forward to moving to my new gluten free kitchen, think that will make a huge difference as our current kitchen is tiny and I only have one small workspace to prepare all foods. Hubby is being a total star about going gluten free (I am so lucky to have him!), and I am starting to work on menu ideas and gather recipes for that.

Just have one more question for now - if you operate a gluten free household do you avoid serving products made on "shared" lines to your non-celiac family? I am certainly not eating such items and plan that we will eat as "fresh" as possible, but am hoping that using such to feed hubby will not contaminate the kitchen.

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