This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.
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What are the major symptoms of celiac disease?
Celiac Disease Symptoms
What testing is available for celiac disease?
Celiac Disease Screening
Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results
Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free?
How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful?
The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free
Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested?
Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing
Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases?
Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders
Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid?
Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)
Is there a list of gluten free foods?
Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients)
Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages
Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?
Where does gluten hide?
Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet
What if my doctor won't listen to me?
An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners
I've been away from blogging and went in to check my entries today. I was surprised to see that my last blog was a year ago when I wrote about my first Thanksgiving after diagnosis. My, how time flies! Since this year's Thanksgiving has just ended, it's a good time to compare the experience a year later. It's been a crazy year of ups and downs in my personal life. Having to adapt to a new lifestyle added to the trauma. However, living with celiac has definitely gotten easier over the last year.
Thanksgiving poses special problems for celiacs because so much of the traditional menu has gluten ingredients. This year I felt like a seasoned pro and had no trouble with cooking the meal. I adapted what I could and made myself alternate items where appropriate. I had guests bring those items that I didn't want to deal with (like stuffing.) I didn't lament the loss of traditional foods, as my cravings for them have all but ceased. (I had a few instances over the past year where I accidentally ingested gluten and got very ill. The memory of that is enough to stop any urge to 'cheat' on the diet.)
I'm still sometimes making two versions of items (like gravy,) but have now starting creeping gluten-free foods into the mainstream menu. I didn't make a big deal about it, guests aren't the wiser and they loved the food. I've switched to using fresh turkey from the local butcher instead of frozen to avoid any burst gravy packets. I stuff it with onions and herbs. I've replaced certain baking dishes with new ones to avoid cross contamination. And, I use Whole Foods frozen gluten-free pie crusts for my pumpkin pies which are enjoyed by all. (I'd like to add here that I'm thankful to Whole Foods for operating their gluten-free bake house. I don't know what I'd do without it!) Overall, now that I've been gluten-free for more than a year, it just seems more natural to cook a gluten-free Thanksgiving meal and it's becoming second nature.
This year I'm even looking forward to doing some Christmas baking. Last year I was too distraught to try. Over this past summer I had success with a few gluten-free baked items and that's given me the courage to try to adapt my favorite cookie recipes to gluten-free. I use Authentic Foods featherlite rice flour blend which has a great flavor and comes out flaky. I'm still not an expert at it (it's taking me some time to figure out the right amount of xanthan gum to use,) but I think I know enough now to give full-blown holiday cookie baking a try.
The moral to my story is that learning to be gluten-free takes time. It's a complicated process that poses challenges every day. But, as time goes on, it becomes easier as you find your favorite sources for food and learn new cooking techniques. Even traditional favorites can still be enjoyed with a little creativity and adaptation. This year I'm thankful for my health and for all those businesses that produce gluten-free food!
Well, it's here. This will be my first holiday season going gluten-free. I took on cooking the thanksgiving dinner for 11 so I could control the gluten. That's really easier in some ways than going somewhere else. My family has been good about accommodating me, but it's hard to trust that someone else's cooking is not cross contaminated. My sister's OK, but my mom does not get it at all! All she keeps saying is 'you can't eat anything anymore.' Well that would be true if I ate like she does.
As far as thanksgiving goes, it's really not that bad to modify. I'm using a Food TV recipe from Giada for Turkey w/citrus & herbs de provence. The turkey's stuffed with lemons, oranges, onions & herbs. Sounds like it will be juicy. I was never a big stuffing fan anyway, so I won't really miss it. I was going to make gluten-free stuffing, but decided I'd save myself the trouble. The family's bringing Stovetop so all I have to do is make sure it doesn't touch anything on my plate! They're also bringing green bean casserole for themselves and I'll be making steamed green beans as another alternative. I have a gluten-free pie crust from Whole Foods for the pumpkin pie. I've been making my own pumpkin pie filling for years, and am glad I can still follow that recipe. It's so tasty. There are a couple of other naturally gluten-free veggies and sides on the menu. I'm sure I won't feel deprived. One of the things I'm thankful for this year is that mashed potatoes are naturally gluten-free!!
Christmas cookie baking is a tradition that I'm sorry to have to give up. That was one of my favorite things about the holidays. I haven't even tried making any gluten-free bakery yet, and I doubt if I'll try this year. I have my son recruited to mix dough for the regular cookies that I'll bake. I will use them for our open house and my family. I'm the only gluten-free one in my entire extended family. I get sad when I think of all the traditional cookie favorites that I can't eat anymore. I know I can try to adapt them, but I'm just not up for it.
So it's like having a first holiday after someone dies. You are sad that it can't be the way it was and miss them. I'm trying to stay positive, but I have my down moments. I'll have to start building new traditions. I wish I could have chosen to change my traditions instead of doing it because I have a disease. Oh well, that's life. The trick is to roll with the punches and adapt to change.
Here's to another new stage in learning to live with "little c."
It's been a while since I've written. I live in a land where seasons change and summer's way too short. I've been busy enjoying life outside and away from a computer (at least at home.) Work's another story.
I've been diagnosed for five months now. In some ways it feels like yesterday and in others like lifetimes ago. It's still a day-to-day adjustment. Challenging situations present themselves each day. I realize that this will never end and sometimes it gets me down.
The worst thing is that I really don't like to eat at restaurants anymore. That used to be something I enjoyed and did a lot. This summer I got glutened a few times and it's so daunting. The other bad thing is that my at-work lunch partners have given up on me. We used to eat at restaurants near work almost every day. Now they go without me. I bring a lunch. I know it's up to me to be more outgoing, but there's so few places I can eat spontaneously anymore, I just don't feel like giving the waitress the third degree. It's like being left out of the old boys club.
Things will change in time because I'm determined not to ostracize myself. In the meantime it's a struggle. I know a little research ahead of time goes a long way, but I'm angry and wallowing in self pity!
This disease has taken away a lot of my self confidence. Not to mention energy. It's difficult to build myself back up when I don't feel well! Damn!
I had my first dentist visit since going gluten-free. It went well. All I had done was a cleaning and I informed the hygienist when I got there that I was dx'd with celiac which meant that I can't tolerate gluten. After she got the puzzled look off her face she checked the ingredients on her supplies. There were a few suspect ones on the mouthwash and no ingredients listed on the floss. After consulting with the dentist it was decided that they wouldn't use floss and would polish my teeth with pure pumice instead of their usual flavored paste. It worked just as well and hardly had any flavor at all, which was fine with me. They made notes in my file, so presumably the next time I go I won't have to go through the speil, I can just sit and get my teeth cleaned as usual.
I've only been at this gluten-free 'diet' (or rather 'lifestyle') since April 7th. That's about three weeks. Last week was a challenge. I had extra appointments and evening events and skipped dinner a few nights because of them. There was food at a couple of the events, but I couldn't eat any of it. I was in too much of a rush to pack my own, so I just went without.
What a mistake. By the time the weekend came, I was ravenous for a square meal. All I could think about was eating meat. On top of that, the cupboards were nearly bare. There wasn't anything to grab to snack on. Everything I had that was gluten-free needed to be cooked and I wasn't in the mood to cook it! I'm still dealing with anemia and a lack of energy. A vicious circle.
So, I went grocery shopping on Saturday [i]and[/i] Sunday and stocked up! I'm going to try to stay ahead of the game (assuming my pocketbook cooperates) so that I have quick meals on hand. I know there will be times when I run out of food again, but I'm just going to have to suck it up and spend more time preparing food and freezing it if i want to stay on top of this.
I really don't want to be obsessed with food, but what a desperate feeling when there's food in the house and I can't eat any of it!
Another milestone in the journey into celiac world...
Last week I visited the dietician as part of my post-diagnosis follow-up. (I was diagnosed on 4/6 of this year.)
I was lucky. The dietician didn't know a thing about celiac. I knew more than she did just by doing research on this site and others and by shopping a couple of times for gluten-free food. The reason I was lucky was that she had a student dietician who just happened to be working with her today who was also a celiac! Dumb luck, but how great! It would have been a totally wasted trip otherwise. The student was obviously 'green' but she gave good advice and shared her experiences as a celiac. I'm not sure how long it's been since she was diagnosed, but she said it took 7 years for them to figure out what was wrong with her. She offered to email me information that they didn't have available at the clinic. I'm so glad she was there.
My advice to the newly diagnosed...if you have a dietician appointment, make sure it's with someone who specializes in celiac diets (or is at least familiar with them.) And, call your insurance co. ahead of time to see if they'll cover the visit. Not all companies do.
If you've read my previous blog, you know that I'm newly diagnosed.
I'd like to hear from others on how you handled telling co-workers about your condition. Or, did you choose not to tell them because it's none of their business.
I chose to tell mine because I've been at the same job for 12+ years and know them very well. I had a birthday coming up and our office tradition is to bring food for the birthday person and everyone to share throughout the day. Knowing what foods we tend to bring, I knew that I probably wouldn't be able to eat any of it. So I chose to tell folks. I had already told my boss because I've been missing a lot of work for doctor appointments in the last few months while I've been going through various blood tests, etc. And I figured that she would have told a few people anyway. So much for confidentiality...
I'm still undecided if telling everyone was a good decision or not. I think in the long run it will help me remain gluten-free, but I'm not used to telling people about my medical issues.
I chalk it up to just another new territory that I'm forced to explore now that I'm a celiac. It's taking me kicking and screaming into my future. I found out I had celiac 11 days before my 50th birthday, which I wasn't looking forward to in the first place. Now I'm fighting the tendency to categorize my life in the 'before old' and 'after old' and also in the 'before celiac' and 'after celiac' eras which have coincidentally coincided. I feel like I don't know my body anymore and that's whats the scariest. I'm hoping that time will blend these things together and I'll just be focused on living my life and not on this stupid disease.
This is my first post in the gluten-free forum. Please bear with me while I get familiar with the controls. (in case it posts twice or something.)
I was diagnosed with celiac disease ten days ago. I was completely blindsided by the diagnosis. It was discovered during a series of tests I had for a routine physical. I also have hypothyroidism (underactive) and took a blood test to check my thyroid levels. My doctor also tested my iron levels and discovered that I was severely anemic. That led to some more tests, an upper GI biopsy and voila! here I am. I was one of those celiacs who had little or no symptoms. Don't know if that means I was diagnosed early in the process or what. Thinking back now, I did have very minor symptoms that I attributed to other things.
I immediately started thinking about the reality of living with this disease and what it means for me and my family. I'm married and the mother of two young adult boys. Obviously the family will be affected just as much as I will. My first reaction besides the shock was fear. Fear that I would reach for foods that I couldn't eat without thinking about it and, inadvertently, eat the poison that used to be sustenance. I looked through the foods in my cupboard. "Can eat" and "can't eat" became their labels. Then it was more fear because I had very little left in the "can eat" category. It being a holiday weekend, party plans were made and grocery shopping would have to be postponed for a day or two.
It was also an immediate challenge that family get-togethers will pose indefinitely to inform my extended family of my condition and hope that the meal would be something I could eat. I was lucky that it was a positive experience and I could eat the food.
My first gluten-free shopping experience came next. Encouraging that there's food out there, but shocking when looking at the prices of the food. About an average of 3x the price of 'regular' food. I always knew I had expensive taste...
Then the realization that if I want to eat truly gluten-free, I'll need to spend a lot more time on meal planning and preparation. Luckily I love to cook, but I don't make a lifestyle out of it. That will now change.
I haven't had my visit to the dietician yet. I've been searching the internet and reading the info my doc gave me for ways to try to cope. This forum is a great tool that I've stumbled across.
I'm still reeling from the news, but slowly getting my bearings. Next on the agenda is to get my kids tested, join a support group and continue to seek out gluten-free food bargains wherever I can. I also plan to learn to bake/cook great tasting gluten-free foods that even my family will eat.
Last night I went out and mistakenly got 'glutenized.' A setback just when I was starting to feel a little better.
I'm glad to have this forum to be able to vent to people who understand.