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heather806

A Little Confused...

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I was just diagnosed this week by blood tests. I was misdiagnosed for years...the docs just thought anemia ran in my family etc. My only main effect from Celiac has been the terrible vitamin malabsorption. I started receiving iron infusions back around 2004. In 2008 the other vitamin issues were discovered.

I've never had the stomach pain/reactions others report here (which I am glad about of course) but now I don't know how far to take this gluten-free lifestyle. (been reading a lot on these forums and other sites)

Do I throw out my pots/pans/utensils?

Do I allow some gluten stuff in the house for my hubby? Just keep it separate?

And spices...I'm confused about spices.

Do I get any "gluten free" bakery type goods or just eat clean?

If it says "gluten free" am I ok? But what if it has the "processed in a facility with wheat etc" should I still chuck it?

I'm going through my pantry today and sorting, reading labels etc.

I feel like I don't have "extreme" Celiac like some, but since my calcium etc got so low years ago that I wound up in the hospital for a week clearly I've been unknowingly doing a lot of damage to my intestines over the years, and the docs just never tested me for it since I never reported any stomach problems.

I could eat a piece of whole wheat toast right now and I'd feel fine. It's so strange...anyone else have the vitamin absorption problem but not the other bowel issues?

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hi heather806, welcome to the forum! I can answer some of your questions, but first I wanted to just say relax. It's going to take time to figure it all out, so start with the 'big stuff' like ingredients.

As for whether you let gluten into the house, that's a decision you'll have to make with your husband. And that decision may affect what you do with the pots, pans and utensils. If your pots and pans are stainless steel, you should be fine to keep using them, just make sure they're well scrubbed and/or run through the dishwasher. If they're non-stick, then gluten can hide in scratches and such, so you may need to replace them.

As for baking sheets and muffin tins, I've just been using parchment paper and paper muffin holder thingies. I did get 2 new small loaf pans on sale, and I replaced my ancient toaster oven. I also got a new spatula and nonstick griddle. However, I didn't replace my toaster oven for my first 3 months or so gluten-free. My mixing bowls are glass, but if yours are plastic, again gluten can hide in scratches.

As for utensils, wood and scratched plastic are problems. Some of those may need to be replaced, if they've been used for gluten-y cooking.

Spices? Some may still be o.k., you'll have to check labels, and you'll probably at least want to wash lids and bottles of things like vanilla extract, cinnamon bottles, etc. if you used them while previously baking with gluten flour.

I avoid anything that says processed on the same equipment as wheat, and I also generally avoid anything that's processed in the same facility, but it depends on what it is. I would start off avoiding those things when possible, and as you get used to it you could test and see how it goes.

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hi heather806, welcome to the forum! I can answer some of your questions, but first I wanted to just say relax. It's going to take time to figure it all out, so start with the 'big stuff' like ingredients.

As for whether you let gluten into the house, that's a decision you'll have to make with your husband. And that decision may affect what you do with the pots, pans and utensils. If your pots and pans are stainless steel, you should be fine to keep using them, just make sure they're well scrubbed and/or run through the dishwasher. If they're non-stick, then gluten can hide in scratches and such, so you may need to replace them.

As for baking sheets and muffin tins, I've just been using parchment paper and paper muffin holder thingies. I did get 2 new small loaf pans on sale, and I replaced my ancient toaster oven. I also got a new spatula and nonstick griddle. However, I didn't replace my toaster oven for my first 3 months or so gluten-free. My mixing bowls are glass, but if yours are plastic, again gluten can hide in scratches.

As for utensils, wood and scratched plastic are problems. Some of those may need to be replaced, if they've been used for gluten-y cooking.

Spices? Some may still be o.k., you'll have to check labels, and you'll probably at least want to wash lids and bottles of things like vanilla extract, cinnamon bottles, etc. if you used them while previously baking with gluten flour.

I avoid anything that says processed on the same equipment as wheat, and I also generally avoid anything that's processed in the same facility, but it depends on what it is. I would start off avoiding those things when possible, and as you get used to it you could test and see how it goes.

I totally agree, it will take time and you'll figure it out. I tend to eat mostly whole organic foods. Fruits, veggies, raw nuts, and non processed meats. I try to avoid too many processed things lol but it's hard to be so good all the time! It really helps my system though to eat cleanly, then I'm pretty much avoiding gluten. Be sure to read labels well, I google things right in the grocery store! I don't eat out very often, but when I do I do my homework--research what is close to you and what they serve gluten free and be sure to speak up to the staff! They don't mind, and are usually very good about helping. Good luck to you! If you have an iPhone there are a few great apps to try, FindMe Gluten Free and Shopwell.

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Hi Heather, welcome. First, you should know there is no such thing as "extreme" case of celiacs really....there are certainly degrees of damage done, and degrees of sensitivity before having a reaction, and degrees of reaction...but celiac disease is just as serious for those like yourself who have no visible reaction to major gluten, and those like me, who start puking from items that are simply cross-contaminated.

The reason I say there is no difference in seriousness, is because if you have celiac disease, your immune system is attacking your body. Period. You may have noticeable symptoms, or not. You may have years of damage, or it may be a very new development and you don't have much damage yet. But, either way, the goal has to be to stop the auto-immune response completely, lest worse problems occur.

So, whether you are very sensitive or not, you need to be equally vigilant. Trace amounts of wheat aren't going to make you physically feel ill (at this point-that will likely change down the road) but those trace amounts are going to put your immune system on "high alert"- which is what you do NOT want. As long as the autoimmune process is being triggered, you run a much higher risk of developing other autoimmune disorders. Once the body decides it should start attacking itself, it kind of likes to keep that ball rolling.

So, you will have to decide what lengths are necessary for you to prevent any exposure to gluten. For some, vigorous cleaning up after others eat is sufficient- others find that it is easier to have a gluten-free house. Since you do not have a noticeable reaction yet, it will be tough for you. Most people who have been gluten-free for a few months discover that they react violently to gluten later. I was happily eating whole wheat everything a year and 1/2 ago without noticeable bowel issues. This week a protein bar that was processed on equipment with wheat made me sick for 2 days!

The fact that you have been having absorption issues for sometime is a clue that celiac has done significant damage to your intestines. Your best chance of healing is going to come from extreme vigilance on your part right now- even when it feels like you are being silly. Be prepared for eye rolling from others. But remember, it is YOUR body, and they can't see what is happening inside it!

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Thank you for all the input, everyone!

Ciamarie: I hadn't thought of the type of utensil making a difference (plastic or stainless etc) so that is a great point. And to start of with the big stuff. Easy to get overwhelmed with all the info that is online!

Caselynn: I do have an iphone, great tip! I will look for the apps. And yeah, seems easier to just get whole foods that don't require a label. I cleaned out my pantry a bit yesterday and had to look up some items. There is a Fresh Market store near my office that I will check out this week.

MitziG: thank you -- I have to remind myself that my case is just as serious as other people's, even though I don't *feel* sick unless my numbers are really low. I didn't realize I might become more sensitive to gluten later on after going gluten-free...interesting. I haven't knowingly had any gluten since the day I found out last weeek and so far I feel good with my food choices. I had been by-and-large avoiding crackers, bread, cereal bars etc during June for a 30-day health challenge anyhow, so I think that has helped make the transition easier. :-)

I saw the Bob's Red Mill oats at Publix the other day and got it. Made a batch of it just now, cooked some apple and cinnamon into it --- delicious!! Sounds like some ppl don't have a problem with Quaker but I figured I'd try these and now I have no desire to go back to the Quaker instant packets! I have enough of these oats to reheat at work tomorrow morning. :) They are really filling.

I am very glad these forums exist - a wealth of info for someone new to all of this! Many thanks.

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Thank you for all the input, everyone!

Ciamarie: I hadn't thought of the type of utensil making a difference (plastic or stainless etc) so that is a great point. And to start of with the big stuff. Easy to get overwhelmed with all the info that is online!

Caselynn: I do have an iphone, great tip! I will look for the apps. And yeah, seems easier to just get whole foods that don't require a label. I cleaned out my pantry a bit yesterday and had to look up some items. There is a Fresh Market store near my office that I will check out this week.

MitziG: thank you -- I have to remind myself that my case is just as serious as other people's, even though I don't *feel* sick unless my numbers are really low. I didn't realize I might become more sensitive to gluten later on after going gluten-free...interesting. I haven't knowingly had any gluten since the day I found out last weeek and so far I feel good with my food choices. I had been by-and-large avoiding crackers, bread, cereal bars etc during June for a 30-day health challenge anyhow, so I think that has helped make the transition easier. :-)

I saw the Bob's Red Mill oats at Publix the other day and got it. Made a batch of it just now, cooked some apple and cinnamon into it --- delicious!! Sounds like some ppl don't have a problem with Quaker but I figured I'd try these and now I have no desire to go back to the Quaker instant packets! I have enough of these oats to reheat at work tomorrow morning. :) They are really filling.

I am very glad these forums exist - a wealth of info for someone new to all of this! Many thanks.

You're definitely on the right track! It just takes a little time to get your feet under you, good luck! ?

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