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Hi, New To All Of This

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Hey all

Ooooh where to start :blink:

I've suffered depression/anxiety issues all of my adult life, to the point of hospitalisation on numerous occasions.

I've also had 'issues' with food, shall we say, for most of my young teen/adult life.

Things got really bad in March of 2010 though, when my grandmother passed away and I had a bout of shingles at the same time.

I've always had cravings and stomach problems, since I can remember. My mum said I had them even as a child. Over the years I rationalised it as comfort eating I guess.

Last march though was a whole different ball game. I'd been feeling drained of energy for a while... I put this down to the depression issues, and the indigestion was due to anxiety and stress or so I thought.

Crunch time came when I got so achey, my skin started flaring up worse with eczema patches (some of which had been there since a teen) and I felt so weak that I remember just sitting on the floor and crying because I felt unable to get back to bed after a nighttime bathroom trip.

The doctor put this down to post viral fatigue after the shingles, and said it could take some time to pass. Blood count came back normal etc. Feeling so bad though, I decided to do a little research of my own. One thing that had a lot of similarities to what I was feeling was Coeliacs. At the time I thought, ok I'll cut out gluten and see how it goes.

It took a while but I began to feel better. Not brilliant, but nowhere near as bad as I had previously.

I have a family, all of whom still eat gluten, so I think that cc may be an issue for me.

So, I decided to go and get tested for coeliacs. After a year of being off the gluten, in so far as a novice like myself can, I went back to eating normal bread, pasta etc. Two weeks the doctor said, long enough to get the antibodies going if I did have coeliacs (it was my request that I be tested for it)

Well, they were the longest, most horrible two weeks of my life. I looked like I was due to give birth, felt sick, exhausted, constipated, and so horribly depressed I felt suicidal. Much much worse than anything that had happened previously. For the first two days I had awful diarrhoea, and then it went to the opposite, so much so I ended up taking laxatives to solve the problem.

My skin got really sensitive, I itched like crazy, I developed a wheeze, runny nose, sore eyes etc.

Aaaand.....the blood tests came back negative.

It's not rocket science here, gluten obviously does not agree with me for whatever reason, and I should eliminate it completely, and cut out any chance of cc that I can. I know this, but I crave chinese food so badly it's not funny. Bread I can live without......I don't have a sweet tooth either, but the thought of spring rolls or sweet and sour is enough to send me into a spin.

Over the last few days it's really hit me how difficult this is going to be. I'm on a small budget, with a family to feed, and from what I've read on various websites it's really difficult to keep everything gluten free if there are family members that do not require a gluten free diet.

My first step was to get rid of the flour. I figured when I bake with that stuff, it ends up in the air and dust settles over surfaces etc. After baking a pie for the family a few days ago i noticed the gurgling tummy, the gas, bloated feeling, and sure enough cravings for the gluten loaded stuff creeping back in again. I'm also feeling not so good emotionally, and I'm really wondering how on earth I can do this. It all just looks so huuuge at the moment.

Despite what the blood tests came back as, I am convinced there is some issue there with gluten. My question is how to eradicate it, when I have a family that love my baking, and I can't afford all of these fancy gluten free foods.

I thought about using the freezer and batch cooking for myself as a starting point, but as I said it's just really hit home these last couple of weeks about how my physical/mental health is when I have gluten, and how to completely switch it about so I don't get any at all.

I have never felt completely right since the major symptoms started......better, but not fit and well totally. I am 99% sure this is because I am still taking in gluten, even in minute amounts. Just because I'm not eating bread and blowing up like a balloon, doesn't mean it doesn't affect me I suppose. Smaller amounts seem to equal smaller effects, but I have noticed that the reaction seems to get more severe as time goes on.

So yeah, feeling totally overwhelmed and wondering what on earth to do now at the moment. Well, not what to do now I guess, but how to do it would be more appropriate.

I looked into gluten free ready meals as a short time option, but boy are they ever expensive :(

So can anyone recommend starting points for me about how to de-glutenise (is that even a word?) my home, without depriving my family of the things they enjoy.

How to get past the cravings? After reading a few posts here, it seems that it's something that I need to go through in order to get to the other, healthier side, but daaang it's difficult.

All of this probably sounds really negative, and I'm sorry for that, it's just a little overwhelming at the moment.

I do feel quite positive in the sense that finally after years of medication and living like a zombie there might just be some light at the end of a tunnel and I don't have to live with this constant brain fog and depression, and neverending medication to keep my mood stable. I think if I can nail this, I might be well enough to work again and that's a huge positive for me too. I just need a little help in getting there. Suggestions with how to keep myself gluten-free without making it a chore for my family too, positive words, anything is appreciated.

As for diagnosis, I cannot and will not put myself (or my family bless 'em) through eating gluten daily again so I guess that is out of the question. Diagnosis isn't as important to me as end results and a normal life.

So, these are the things I have come up with so far, any further suggestions much appreciated.

Wooden spoons - bin.

buy a glass cutting board or seperates for myself and the family.

Is cutlery important to keep seperate? not sure how stainless steel items hold gluten, if at all.

Same question for pans.

I have set aside a cupboard for storing gluten free foods in, and my plates/cups/glasses etc.

Kids have been warned not to drink out of the milk carton :P

I keep some foods seperate (my own butter etc) but due to tight budget it's not always possible to buy two of everything, and keeping forever hungry teens from raiding things that are set aside is proving kind of difficult :rolleyes:

It's also a minefield with labels on produce. On some things it's labelled may contain wheat etc, on others gluten free, and on others still nothing at all.

It's mind boggling.

So enough of my rambling on, and questions........help? :P

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