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How do you clean/wash fruit and vegetables so they are safe for super sensitives? I get bad reactions from contaminated produce. How do you manage to eat diets rich in these things without getting contaminated.

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How do you clean/wash fruit and vegetables so they are safe for super sensitives? I get bad reactions from contaminated produce. How do you manage to eat diets rich in these things without getting contaminated.

At this point, the main way I deal with this is to find the cleanest produce I can. I almost never buy anything from a source that I haven't interviewed before hand, so I'm pretty much buying foods at farmer's markets only, plus a couple mail-ordered items. Every once in a while I'll take a chance, but 3 out of 4 times that ends up with me sick, so I do it on very rare occasions.

Typically even after interviewing the food producers, the food gets washed 1-3 times with soap and water, scrubbed, and sometimes peeled, depending on the food. This is the best I can do, at this point, to avoid the gluten cc customer's may be adding to the food. I've gotten to know my few safe farmers very well, at this point. One farmer has told me that for the things that are very hard to clean cc from, like broccoli, just call him the day before the market and he puts my stuff aside for me, so no one touches it. Nice, when you go often enough to know someone like that. :-)

I'm trying to grow more and more of my own produce, as well, especially stuff that is harder to find clean in other places. I try to use companion planting, especially with things like onions and garlic, to keep the bunnies and critters away. Sometimes use the dried grasses I let grow in my yard for covering and protection. So far, it's worked fairly well.

One thing I've had to do is a lot of research and discussion with other super sensitive celiacs, to figure out what questions I need to ask farmers in the first place. The following is a list of some of the most common questions I ask. The wrong answer for this isn't always an automatic 'don't buy,' but after doing this a while, I've noticed that the more wrong answers, the more often I get sick from their produce, and the worse the reaction tends to be. So I try my best to be extremely careful on this one.

Do you grow wheat, rye, or barley on your property? Any property nearby that grows these, that you know of?

Do you share your harvesting equipment with any other produce item on your farm, or with another farm that might be growing grains?

What do you use to control insect pests?

What do you use to add nutrients to the soil?

What do you clean your produce with? Where do you clean them?

What do you use for snail/slug control?

What do you use to fertilize the plants?

Do you add any coatings to your produce?

What do you use to prevent moisture loss? Do you add any mulch, and if so, what is in it?

Do you add any substances to prevent moisture loss from your produce?

Do you have any cover crops or companion planting, and if so, with what plants?

Do you use manure? If so, do you know the diet of the animals that made the manure?

Do you store animal feed or feed animals near or among your crops?

Do you use any techniques to help pollinate your crops? If so, what?

Do you use anything on your crops to help speed ripening?

Do you use anything on your crops to slow down ripening?

Do you use anything on your root vegetables to prevent sprouting?

Do you use any type of hay or straw to cover your crops for protection?

Do you use fish emulsion?

For meat - what anti-bacterial washes do they use? Is there any wheat, rye, or barley in the facility that processes the meat? Are their meat grinders for ground meat shared with any grinders that are used for sausage or other potentially gluten cc'd ground meats?

Some of the questions are redundant, but that's mostly because there are some items that people just don't think about with one question, but will remember when asked in a different way. For the products they use on their crops, I have to then go and figure out what the ingredients are in these, or ask them if they can find out for me. And it's amazing what you discover.

Just some examples:

Organic strawberries and mushrooms are often covered with straw, which can be gluten contaminated oat or wheat straw. These have always made me sick. When I grow strawberries myself and use regular grass to protect them, I can eat them with no issue.

Nosema Locustae is a protozoa used for grasshopper control, in both conventional and organic farms, and the method of distribution is to add it to wheat bran and spread it around and over produce in the field. Three brand names of this are Nolo bait, Semaspore bait, and Ecobran.

Manure can have undigested grains in it, although this is more likely when it's from unhealthy cows/horses, so the ruminants diets can be an issue.

Slug bait sometimes has wheat as an ingredient in it and can come into contact with produce, as well. Sluggo is one that used wheat flour as one of its main inert ingredients, although I haven't checked with them recently to see if they still do. This can be used on organic produce.

Harvesters are often shared between small farms, and can spread contamination from wheat/rye/barley to the other crops harvested with them. Or they can be shared between products within a farm, like one of our local ones that uses the same harvester for their legumes and their grains (including wheat).

Hand pollinated produce sometimes has a powder added to make the pollen easier to deliver (I believe that's the reason why). I know of one date grower, as an example, that adds wheat flour to their pollen for this purpose.

Some farms may wash their vegetables only with water, but in a gluten contaminated area. Like, say, use a hose outside, but right next to where the gluten cc'd hay is being stored.

Fish are fed gluten containing food, which is poured into the water they live in and can contaminate the outside of their skin and therefore the fish emulsion when it is made.

Obviously, most of these things are tiny amounts of gluten cc. Most wouldn't bother the vast majority of celiacs, even probably a large portion of sensitive celiacs. But the only reason my list has grown so long is that the more questions I ask, the more 'right' answers I get, the less often I react. So it's worth it to me, in the end.

Also, on the positive side, all produce that I had trouble with from stores and farms where there were possible gluten cc risks, I have been able to consume without a problem when I grew it myself. The list of these foods that I've tried isn't extremely long yet, I'll admit, because I'm really just starting on the gardening and I'm rather crap at it, to boot. ;) But we're getting there, and I'm hopeful.

Very nice to realize that all these foods I thought I was reacting to don't cause me any problems if I find a safe source, you know?

Oh, and one other thing I've been doing is foraging. I found a few folks who have done this for years and have been learning what to harvest and when and how. Turns out I even had a form of wild amaranth growing in my yard that I thought was a weed and have been pulling up for years, LOL.

...Uh...just realized that was a REALLY long answer to the short question, LOL. Guess it boils down to me trying to do a lot more work before I buy the produce, rather than more work trying to clean cc'd produce, ya know? Often, I just can't seem to get the produce clean enough, otherwise. :D

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Wow that's a lot of helpful information, thank you! I find being super sensitive is very overwhelming, especially trying to find all of these hidden things. What were the hardest things to find and eliminate for you? In fact, I was just glutened at the dentist last week, I can't even imagine what got me there because I am so careful and always ask questions. I'm a little new at this super sensitive thing, so any tips to keep from getting glutened are welcome. :)

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...Uh...just realized that was a REALLY long answer to the short question, LOL. Guess it boils down to me trying to do a lot more work before I buy the produce, rather than more work trying to clean cc'd produce, ya know? Often, I just can't seem to get the produce clean enough, otherwise. :D

PLEASE don't apologise. It is good for us to read and learn from your experience.

Do you also avoid any/all processed foods?

I still have lots to learn and hadn't thought much about fruit / veg until the past week or two!

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Wow that's a lot of helpful information, thank you! I find being super sensitive is very overwhelming, especially trying to find all of these hidden things. What were the hardest things to find and eliminate for you? In fact, I was just glutened at the dentist last week, I can't even imagine what got me there because I am so careful and always ask questions. I'm a little new at this super sensitive thing, so any tips to keep from getting glutened are welcome. :)

What makes you thing you are super sensitive?

I thoroughly understand that some people can have adverse reaction to minimum gluten exposure. Most diagnosed people have no issues with fresh produce, in fact, it's encouraged.

A good rinse under the faucet would eliminate any forms of gluten if it ever was present. Or a little soapy wash on a cuc or an apple...if for nothing else get some germies off. This should be a normal practice for anyone, gluten free or not.

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I am very sensitive but all I have ever needed to do is to wash with running water and then I wipe dry with a rough towel. But I did that even before I went gluten free.

One thing I don't do is buy cut up fruit. I kept getting glutened and couldn't figure out why until one day I walked into the back room at my favorite small family owned grocery and saw the employees eating their gluteny lunches at the same big cutting board they used for the produce.

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I do the same as Lisa and Raven...a good rinse under the faucet is something I've always done forever and I've been cooking over 50 years. I've never thought I was super-sensitive but was still reacting to something until the last couple of weeks (I'm 19-months into eating gluten-free). We are always very quick to blame gluten for everything. I've changed nothing in my diet. I did, however, start religiously taking a probiotic and L-Glutamine and that seemed to turn things around in a very positive way.

I swore I was reacting to certified gluten-free oats as I had problems last Sun. after eating oatmeal for breakfast. Of course, I blamed the oats. So I tried it again yesterday...and nothing. No reaction whatsoever. I'll probably never know what caused my problem last Sun. I live alone, cook from scratch, use very few gluten-free processed products, have a gluten-free kitchen (as much as that's possible), replaced a lot of kitchen equipment, checked personal care products, etc.

Most of us do not have to go to the extreme measures that T.H. (Shauna) does to stay safe.

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What makes you thing you are super sensitive?

I thoroughly understand that some people can have adverse reaction to minimum gluten exposure. Most diagnosed people have no issues with fresh produce, in fact, it's encouraged.

A good rinse under the faucet would eliminate any forms of gluten if it ever was present. Or a little soapy wash on a cuc or an apple...if for nothing else get some germies off. This should be a normal practice for anyone, gluten free or not.

I respectively disagree and appear to be super sensitive, water doesn't always get rid of it for me but I live in a gluten warzone in that my flatmate eats tons of it and isn't great at de-glutening, no in fact apart from hoover up the crumbs he doesn't do anything. And for me a glutening means 2.5 weeks of complete and utter misery not 2-3 days so it's especially important for me to be 100% sure something is gluten free, if I have any doubts, I chuck it. To me it's not worth it, not one iota, however if your reaction is not as severe as mine then I appreciate this may be over the top, I guess it wholly depends on that really.

So I suppose if you live in a gluten free household rinsing should be fine but if you do then you may need to be a bit more wary and careful about every surface or touch the food takes from it's packaging to your plate...i.e. hands-washing-preparation-cooking(if applicable)-plate. Every stage a danger in my book.

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I respectively disagree and appear to be super sensitive, water doesn't always get rid of it for me but I live in a gluten warzone in that my flatmate eats tons of it and isn't great at de-glutening, no in fact apart from hoover up the crumbs he doesn't do anything. And for me a glutening means 2.5 weeks of complete and utter misery not 2-3 days so it's especially important for me to be 100% sure something is gluten free, if I have any doubts, I chuck it. To me it's not worth it, not one iota, however if your reaction is not as severe as mine then I appreciate this may be over the top, I guess it wholly depends on that really.

So I suppose if you live in a gluten free household rinsing should be fine but if you do then you may need to be a bit more wary and careful about every surface or touch the food takes from it's packaging to your plate...i.e. hands-washing-preparation-cooking(if applicable)-plate. Every stage a danger in my book.

I'm sure that is very challenging for you. You must be super-super sensitive. :unsure:

Do you eat fresh vegetables or fruit? I would be crushed if I couldn't bite in to an apple, peach or pear.

For the general population of people with Celiac, a common sense approach is adequate.

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I respectively disagree and appear to be super sensitive, water doesn't always get rid of it for me

So... What do you do? How do you wash them? Or do you not eat fresh produce?

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Do you grow wheat, rye, or barley on your property? Any property nearby that grows these, that you know of?

Do you share your harvesting equipment with any other produce item on your farm, or with another farm that might be growing grains?

What do you use to control insect pests?

What do you use to add nutrients to the soil?

What do you clean your produce with? Where do you clean them?

What do you use for snail/slug control?

What do you use to fertilize the plants?

Do you add any coatings to your produce?

What do you use to prevent moisture loss? Do you add any mulch, and if so, what is in it?

Do you add any substances to prevent moisture loss from your produce?

Do you have any cover crops or companion planting, and if so, with what plants?

Do you use manure? If so, do you know the diet of the animals that made the manure?

Do you store animal feed or feed animals near or among your crops?

Do you use any techniques to help pollinate your crops? If so, what?

Do you use anything on your crops to help speed ripening?

Do you use anything on your crops to slow down ripening?

Do you use anything on your root vegetables to prevent sprouting?

Do you use any type of hay or straw to cover your crops for protection?

Do you use fish emulsion?

For meat - what anti-bacterial washes do they use? Is there any wheat, rye, or barley in the facility that processes the meat? Are their meat grinders for ground meat shared with any grinders that are used for sausage or other potentially gluten cc'd ground meats?

Got one more..."Do you allow your farm workers to eat bologna sandwiches while they are harvesting broccoli?"

I don't mean to be flippant, but surely Shauna you don't go to this extreme, do you? We live in an imperfect world and every reasonable precaution should be made to insure our health. But, I find this to be beyond extreme, super duper sensitive or not. B)

And I am certain that a newbie visiting the forum for the first time would be absolutely terrified. While knowing those with super sensitivity need to take an extra level of caution, this is not reasonable.

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Shauna, thanks for sharing your experiences with produce. I've learned so much from you and other super-sensitives posting on this board. It helps me trust that what I'm experiencing is also real.

I bought new pots and pans based on what I read here a while back, reluctantly, figuring it wouldn't make any difference, and I feel so much better!

Now I'm going to check the Sluggo ingredients! I hope I haven't been contaminating my own raised beds! :blink:

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Wow that's a lot of helpful information, thank you!

Well, it certainly is a lot of "information." :blink:

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I have been participating here for almost seven years, and lurked for months before actually joining.

Shauna, the level of hyper-sensitivity to gluten that you describe is not just unusual. In all my time here, it is UNIQUE. For most of us, it is way over the top.

I don't dispute that these are true stories of your life, and I feel sorry that you have to live this way. But these experiences just do not reasonably transfer to the lives of the rest of us.

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Shauna, the level of hyper-sensitivity to gluten that you describe is not just unusual. In all my time here, it is UNIQUE. For most of us, it is way over the top.

I don't dispute that these are true stories of your life, and I feel sorry that you have to live this way. But these experiences just do not reasonably transfer to the lives of the rest of us.

You certainly didn't mean *all* of us when speaking on behalf of "the rest of us". I am still here, even though I often feel a grudging tolerance for our gluten hypersensitivity that seems to put us into a unique classification for which you feel sorry.

Other people for whom this information applies so well may not even bother to speak up or share their stories anymore . . . if they ever even ventured beyond lurking.

Shauna - thank you for putting together a very informative post that can help people that want to better understand the food that they eat!

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Weluvgators, I recognize that you and a few others are super-sensitive to gluten. We have set up this area on the board for your benefit.

I stand by my statement that Shauna (T.H.) reports a level of sensitivity that is far beyond anything we have seen in the time I have been here. Worrying about the diet of animals whose manure was used as fertilizer to grow crops is unique. Your view may differ, but for the vast majority of us here, it does not matter where the manure came from. It is all just fertilizer.

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Got one more..."Do you allow your farm workers to eat bologna sandwiches while they are harvesting broccoli?"

um, actually, *cough*...I do ask questions like that, too. :D The questions I listed above are actually on my basic list. I have more questions after that, depending on the answers I get. For example, any produce that has to be picked within a matter of days, on larger farms, is likely to have the pickers need to eat their food out in the fields while picking the produce. Power bars and granola bars seem to be the most popular choice. It's one of the reasons I tend to have better luck with very small farms rather than big ones.

Who knew I'd be curious about the feeding habits of the average farm hand? :P

I don't mean to be flippant, but surely Shauna you don't go to this extreme, do you?

I really, really do. And trust me, I'd be the first to say that this is freaking crazy sounding, 'cause it is. I mean, me, as a person? I'm lazy, really. Housecleaning challenged, cooking challenged, you name it. Heck, fast food of any kind was one of my favorite meals, before this started! I really dislike having to go through ANY trouble in getting and making food. But I hate feeling miserable every day more than that, and this depth of questioning is the only thing that seems to keep me healthy.

I am visiting family right now, and I prepared every last bit of food I was going to eat while I was here, froze it, and took it with me in a big honkin' cooler. We have been trying to find safe food here, but hadn't found any that was 100% safe yet, so that's the only way I have been able to travel without getting ill.

We just got in a car accident last week, though, and are stuck here until the darn thing's fixed, and I ran out of food. I've been going to farmer's markets here, buying what I can that seems safe, and after almost a week of this, I'm so dizzy and sick I can't safely drive a car. I've lost 4 pounds in the last 6 days. I can barely walk without running into a wall.

Honestly, I suspect some of this is gluten ataxia rather than celiac disease, but I don't think that's the only thing or I wouldn't lose weight like this when it gets bad. It's so, so frustrating.

I couldn't agree more that this isn't reasonable. I think it's ridiculous. I don't want to do it. I want to just go buy some dang produce at the grocery store and wash it and eat it like I used to be able to (if I even washed it, which was, honestly, pretty much never. Like I said, total slob). Doesn't work for me, though. I've tried so many times to find some other way to do this, avoiding certain pesticides, or companies, or food groups. Or following salicylate free diets or FODMAP diets, jeesh, just anything that might make it easier.

The only thing that has worked completely is asking questions like these and choosing foods that seem to be safe based on the answers. I might someday figure out it's something else that happens to coincide with avoiding gluten, perhaps, but so far, no luck.

And honestly? It's crummy in a way I never could have even visualized before this. There are days when I feel like if I have to interview another farmer, or cook one more meal from scratch, I'm gonna lose my mind and have a big ole crying fit right then and there. But... what can ya do? All I really want is to just stop feeling bad, you know?

So sometimes I just go into the bedroom and have a nice cry and then go back out and make some more food. And really, really hope that some day, maybe I won't have to be this careful. Or I can make enough money that I'm gonna freaking HIRE a farmer AND a chef to do it all for me. :D

What were the hardest things to find and eliminate for you?

I think the most difficult were things that were fine at first, and then either the processing changed or my sensitivity level got worse. That's the sort of thing that's been very frustrating, because my brain feels like I've already investigated this food and so I don't think of it when I'm trying to figure out why I'm sick, ya know?

My plain meat, salt, and oil were things which were unexpected, in the beginning. I'm lucky that my Dietician first suggested changing salt in the beginning. And then another super-sensitive suggested salt again when my 'safe' company changed their packaging and I was getting sick every time I used it.

Do you also avoid any/all processed foods?

Almost all, yeah. I have a salt and an olive oil that I use right now, but that's really it for major processing. I have a rancher for grass fed beef, and one for pastured pork, although the latter is only available a few months every year. There's also one local fisherman who fillets his own fish on the boat with knives rather than major equipment, and I seem to do okay with his fish, too. For a bit there, there was whole grain sorghum from one farm that I special ordered, and chickpeas from another farm, but those have both been eliminated now.

I know how to make sweet potato starch from scratch now, though, woo hoo. And apple cider vinegar without needing added yeast and sugar. I'm like the hi-tech little house on the prairie gal, eh? All I need is my covered wagon (RV) and I'm all set, LOL.

Oh well, you do what you've gotta do, right? I think the biggest challenge is to try to make it part of daily life so I don't have to think about it all the time. Seems less intimidating when 'processing peppers to use next spring' is just another chore, like 'do the laundry.' And I'm very, very grateful that I'm a stay-at-home mom and have extra time, because the few other folks I know who have to do it like this but have a full time job outside the home? I have NO idea how ya'll do it - you must have organization to spare! I'm like a little disorganized grub compared to you, seriously!

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I've had a few comments made on this forum that ever so nearly sent me away from it. I hope for my sake that you don't leave the forum.

I'm a long way from getting where you are but the longer gluten-free goes on the more I have to avoid more and more product of many kind.

DH has been on the heal but I still itch from head to knee (.. ankle today). I haven't had anything other than labelled "gluten-free" product (and only basics, rice/rice noodles and little else) for weeks (probably now about 7weeks).

Please stick with us and don't be discouraged by others who don't need you.

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The top of this thread says it is for the REALLY super sensitive. Shauna, you are not alone, I am there too. I made the mistake of using wheat containing slug bait in my garden this year. I noticed it!! A quick rinse just doesn't do the trick for some of us. Even careful washing and peeling doesn't do it. I need to watch where in my garden things come from. Some stuff goes straight to my husband, the non super sensitive celiac in the family. Fortunately I know where I used the slug bait.

It is wonderful that so many of you don't need to worry about these things to the point of thinking that those of us who do must be crazy. Don't you know non celiacs who have the same attitude about you? Why pass that along to us? We didn't ask to be this way. We would just like to share information with each other so that we can be healthy, just like you less sensitive celiacs. Different information is helpful to celiacs with different levels of sensitivity.

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The top of this thread says it is for the REALLY super sensitive. Shauna, you are not alone, I am there too. I made the mistake of using wheat containing slug bait in my garden this year. I noticed it!! A quick rinse just doesn't do the trick for some of us. Even careful washing and peeling doesn't do it. I need to watch where in my garden things come from. Some stuff goes straight to my husband, the non super sensitive celiac in the family. Fortunately I know where I used the slug bait.

It is wonderful that so many of you don't need to worry about these things to the point of thinking that those of us who do must be crazy. Don't you know non celiacs who have the same attitude about you? Why pass that along to us? We didn't ask to be this way. We would just like to share information with each other so that we can be healthy, just like you less sensitive celiacs. Different information is helpful to celiacs with different levels of sensitivity.

No they don't, because I don't walk around with "Celiac" stamped on my forehead. ;)

I thoroughly understand super sensitives. But, I would like to know scientifically, how your wheat based slugg bait transferred gluten to the bearing fruit. Can you explain that to me, please?

All threads are open to all members.

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I would like to know scientifically, how your wheat based slug bait transferred gluten to the bearing fruit.

I can't help you with that. It wasn't transferred to any bearing fruit. I didn't say it did. It contaminated root vegetables. Hopefully you can scientifically understand how that might happen without any explanation.

I have personally found Shauna's ideas helpful.

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The top of this thread says it is for the REALLY super sensitive.

I added that warning label about 12 hours ago.

That was several hours after I moved it to the SUPER SENSITIVE forum from the general COPING area.

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I added that warning label about 12 hours ago.

O.K. I didn't see any of this until this morning. I was unhappy about all the negativity.

Shauna seems to have helped a lot of people with her comments. Her reputation was excellent at 301 when I checked just now. I think that people are intelligent enough to temper her advice based on their own personal level of sensitivity.

I can still understand you moderators concerns about newbies. Maybe you can make warning lights flash when people look at the super sensitivity section.

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When I first started this topic I did not expect it to he such a controversial subject. I know for myself washng with just water doesn't seem to be enough, and it's really nice to see that some people have to deal with the same thing. I am sure people have different levels of sensitivity, but respect from everyonel is all any celiac wants. I can promiss anyone who questions super sensitives that we do not want to have to be so careful, but if you were still having symptoms after years on the diet like myself, then it is worthit to be careful. I appreciate any more tips, so I can try them and see if it helps.

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I added that warning label about 12 hours ago.

Was that because a newcomer to the board posted as everyone else does, but didn't undertand the unstated caveats needed to ask a question for which she needed a super sensitive perspective?

And who would have guessed the tension that would ensue by having super sensitive people discuss their issues? I don't think it is fair to say

I stand by my statement that Shauna (T.H.) reports a level of sensitivity that is far beyond anything we have seen in the time I have been here.

without also disclosing that many super sensitives tire of the tone of the comments when they do share the precautions that work well for them. I have met several other super sensitives here that also take the level of precautions needed by T.H. and others with her unique gluten hypersensitivity. Many of them no longer actively post.

I admire the way that Shauna has supported others here, and I appreciate hearing how she copes with the necessary lifestyle changes. It certainly makes me feel better to know that she can understand the precautions that our family also needs to take in maintaining health and wellness in our gluten filled world.

I have one dire regret in my gluten free journey so far, and it was listening to others that felt our necessary precautions were too extreme. The consequences of that were devastating for our family, and I hope to never repeat that mistake.

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