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Silvane

New At This, And A Little Frightened To Eat

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So, recently I learned it's very, very likely that I have gluten intolerance, if not celiac disease. Yesterday, in fact. I'm in college, and was getting tested for learning disabilities by a developmental psychologist, who went over the common symptoms list. I had most of them (constipation/diarrhea, Keratosis Pilaris, stomach aches and intestinal pain, joint pain, lactose intolerance, headaches, etc) on top of high correlation between gluten intolerance and ADD, which I apparently have. I was advised to get off gluten posthaste, which I'm all too happy to do, since as I'm sure you know, the symptoms are god awful.

That leaves me with the question: what do I eat? I've got a box of gluten free cereal and bag of gluten free bagels, and the cafeteria has some gluten free options, but that's it. I'm not sure what I can eat, and I'm a little afraid to try processed food for fear of missing gluten. I've got access to two grocery stores, but no health food stores unless I make a day of it and drive over to the next town. Please advise. I appreciate any help I can get on this.

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Hi, and welcome Silvane. Is there any chance, whilst you are still eating gluten, that you can get a doctor to order the celiac blood testing panel for you? I guess if you have insurance through the school they won't do this. Do you have insurance that would cover such testing or parents who might pay for it? I ask this because to be tested for celiac you do need to still be eating gluten, otherwise your body will stop making the antibodies that the testing measures. Most people find it is good to know whether or not they actually have celiac disease rather than gluten intolerance. If you wanted to be tested later you would have to go back on gluten for a minimum of two months, and most people don't make it through the two month gluten challenge, it is just too painful. So let us know. If you are going to go gluten free we will help you now, or after the testing if that's what you decide.

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Hi, and welcome Silvane. Is there any chance, whilst you are still eating gluten, that you can get a doctor to order the celiac blood testing panel for you? I guess if you have insurance through the school they won't do this. Do you have insurance that would cover such testing or parents who might pay for it? I ask this because to be tested for celiac you do need to still be eating gluten, otherwise your body will stop making the antibodies that the testing measures. Most people find it is good to know whether or not they actually have celiac disease rather than gluten intolerance. If you wanted to be tested later you would have to go back on gluten for a minimum of two months, and most people don't make it through the two month gluten challenge, it is just too painful. So let us know. If you are going to go gluten free we will help you now, or after the testing if that's what you decide.

Possibly. It's more a matter of when and where than cost. How quick does your body stop producing antibodies, do you know? If I get tested in the next two weeks, even if I quit eating gluten, would I still have antibodies in my system? I'm clinging to passing grades by the skin of my teeth, due to a combination of factors (Depression, Irilan's syndrome, ADD) and going off gluten is suppose to help with the depression and ADD. I really need that help. I'd like to start immediately, if that's possible, but on the other hand, the gluten challenge sounds godawful. I'd rather take a bad semester than permanent damage to my intestines.

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here are some ideas of basic gluten free items (and anyone correct me if I'm wrong):

Chex & Kix Cereal. i've heard that Pebbles cereal either is or will be soon. Envirokids Cereal (I've started seeing them in Walmart)

eggs

fresh produce

dried fruit, except dates

Most canned or frozen fruits & vegetables (as long as nothing else is added!)

meats that don't have added fillers

milk

most cheese, excluding blue cheese

plain cream cheese

cottage cheese

some yogurts, like Yoplait or Light & Fit, are labeled gluten free.

most plain or only salt added nuts & beans should be okay (although I'd be wary of bulk bins due to risk of cross contamination)

most puddings & Jellos (name brands are pretty good about labelling)

Kozy Shak rice puddings/ tapioca

Hope that helps a little bit.

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Possibly. It's more a matter of when and where than cost. How quick does your body stop producing antibodies, do you know? If I get tested in the next two weeks, even if I quit eating gluten, would I still have antibodies in my system? I'm clinging to passing grades by the skin of my teeth, due to a combination of factors (Depression, Irilan's syndrome, ADD) and going off gluten is suppose to help with the depression and ADD. I really need that help. I'd like to start immediately, if that's possible, but on the other hand, the gluten challenge sounds godawful. I'd rather take a bad semester than permanent damage to my intestines.

You would probably be able to get by with one week but two weeks is really iffy :( I know you want to do well in your finals and make that passing grade, but... are you in some place where you can't get it done? And can you get some prescription help with the depression in the meantime?

On the other hand, if it doesn't matter to you (and it didn't to me - I am self-diagnosed) you can go gluten free right away and feel better, hopefully. :) I am not twisting your arm, just letting you know your options. It is possible even with the testing that it could be negative, and that you are a gluten intolerant rather than a celiac, and then that two weeks would have been wasted weeks when you could have been feeling better. It is your life and you have to decide for yourself what you need.

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Possibly. It's more a matter of when and where than cost. How quick does your body stop producing antibodies, do you know? If I get tested in the next two weeks, even if I quit eating gluten, would I still have antibodies in my system? I'm clinging to passing grades by the skin of my teeth, due to a combination of factors (Depression, Irilan's syndrome, ADD) and going off gluten is suppose to help with the depression and ADD. I really need that help. I'd like to start immediately, if that's possible, but on the other hand, the gluten challenge sounds godawful. I'd rather take a bad semester than permanent damage to my intestines.

I have adult ADD. Going gluten-free definitely did relieve some level of brain fog and distractibility after just a few days, although I definitely, 100%, still have ADD. The greater energy throughout the day and reduced caffeine intake also had a positive cognitive effect. I'm in the process of working w/ a psychiatrist on medication to help me out...I've known since my teens that I've had this issue my whole life, I am very happy (and a little regretful) to be doing something about it now in my 30's.

You know, you can always take a semester off, depending on your university's policies and financial aid situation. Back when I was doing some college-level teaching I had two students do just that to deal with major life issues (like the death of a parent in one case, a cancer diagnosis in another), and they came back the following semester and picked up where they left off. Well to be clear I met them as they were making up for that missed semester via summer class. There were no grade consequences since the "incompletes" were just replaced by the classes they re-took.

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Your schooling is important, Silvane, as is your health. You're really in between a rock and a hard place.

Do you go "home" to your parents in the summer? You might want to consider going off the gluten until your finals are over. Then, if it doesn't cause too much distress, tank up for a few weeks at home before being tested. Remember, though, that even with all that you could still get a false negative.

However, there is still plenty that you can eat in the mean time, but it all depends on your taste. Thinking of things that can be made in a dorm room microwave: Bean dip and corn chips are popular choices at our house. Tacos or tosadas w/ corn tortillas are also big hits here. Read the lables on the corn chips or tortillas. Some contain hidden glutens. The fewer ingredients, the better. I believe Fritos (plain) and Tostitos brands are safe. If your college town has an Asian food mart, rice noodles (and, often, rice crackers) are great options. Apple slices dipped in peanut butter. Blue Diamond almond-based crackers w/ peanut butter, tuna salad, chicken salad or egg salad. Salad, just a regular old salad, is a good lunch. Add a boiled egg, some sliced, poached chicken and sliced ham and you have a great chef's salad. I make tomato soup w/ an 8 oz can of tomato sauce, some onion powder, a tiny dash of sugar, salt and milk.

Original Pebbles cereal is gluten-free, as is (I believe) the chocolate version. But read the boxes, as some are not listed as such. Rice and Corn chex are also gluten free.

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