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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      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.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   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 Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes


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  1. I bought some of this today from a liquor store that just opened up next to my workplace. I had actually known this was going to show up soon, but waited to buy it because I figured that it would be horrible, watery stuff that cost $20 a sixpack, and if I was going to live with only a memory of beer for the rest of my life I wanted it to be a good memory. I've just drunk my first one. It isn't watery, it only cost me $7.50, and it tastes pretty good. It's been a few years, but I think it tastes like some variety of Samuel Adams -- which is good. Sam Adams was always my favorite American beer. Hail, Sorghum! And thank you, Anheiser-Busch! MY GOD, I'M DRINKING BEER!!
  2. We had a discussion about grits a few weeks ago. Quaker Instant Grits Long story short - Quaker don't guarantee their sterility, and some people don't trust them. There are other brands that are guaranteed gluten-free. Personally, I've never had a problem with Quaker grits, and I think they're safe. If anybody has had a reaction, please let me know. - Jeremiah
  3. I kind of like the Mi-Del chocolate chip cookies for instant gratification. Gourmet cookies they aren't, but they could definitely pass for non-gluten-free "cookies-in-a-bag". They are slightly cheaper than the Glutino, but I haven't tried the Glutino - they might be worth the extra cost. I used to sneer at store-bought cookies, but I haven't been able to make decent gluten-free cookies yet. My old favourite chocolate chip recipe, from the Joy of Cooking, comes out far too flat and squishy with a gluten-free flour (mix of rice, potato starch and tapioca flours, plus xanthan gum). I tinkered with it some, using more flour and less butter, and got some dry crumbly thing that wasn't fit to feed pigeons. Maybe the third time will be the charm. Or maybe I should just give in and buy the Red Mill mixed flour. But that stuff is expensive.
  4. The plain Stonyfield Farms yoghurts are okay. The flavoured ones may not be. I checked out their website and found this in their FAQ: Plain Brown Cow yoghurts are also safe. I went to their website, too, and found an even better answer: I love that answer, and I hope they will update it with their results in the near future. Also, both of these brands are all natural. SF is all organic. Brown Cow used to have an all organic line but discontinued it because people weren't buying the organics - but they are still all natural. Both are also certified kosher and contain a minimum of what I call "stuff that is in my yoghurt, but isn't yoghurt" (corn starch, corn syrup, gelatin, etc.) Very good brands in my opinion.
  5. Mcdonalds Fries

    To add to what ajlauer said: In the wake of the McLibel trial in Britain and the publication of Fast Food Nation, McD's had enormous public image difficulties. The nonvegetarian fries scandal mentioned above came about because one throwaway line in Fast Food Nation revealed that McD's used animal products in their fries. When they admitted they used "miniscule amounts of beef flavouring in the raw product" they were very quickly attacked by Jainists, vegetarians and Hindus worldwide, because they had always claimed that the fries were a good option for vegetarians. Their plans to expand operations in India were seriously threatened, and they had to clean up their whole act pretty quickly. I don't know how the enormous class-action suits played out in the end, but it was probably the most serious PR crisis McDonald's has ever had. I think they've reformed quite a bit since then, and become much more careful about little things like lying to their customers. I think they would be afraid to, these days.
  6. I eat the Quaker quick grits pretty regularly and have not noticed a problem so far. And calico jo is right, grits are completely separate from oats and wheat products, and would not be made in the same machinery. As far as I understand it, corn can't be processed in the same machinery as wheat because the grains are totally distinct in weight, shape and the nature of the plants on which they grow. The problem with oats, from what I've read, is that their processing is pretty much the same as that of wheat, so it is done on the same lines. Of course, this doesn't guarantee that the grits are safe. After all, even if the stuff is only processed in the same facilities as the wheat and oats, there may be airborne contamination from all the fine particles drifting around - which could be why Quaker won't absolutely guarantee that any of their products are gluten-free. I'm still in the process of eliminating hidden gluten sources, and have problems from time to time, but as far as I can remember none of my episodes have directly followed my eating Quaker grits. Also, it's worth pointing out that there is no company on Earth that can guarantee the sterility of the harvesting machinery and trucks and trains that raw grains are shipped to them in unless they actually own all of the fields, machinery and rolling stock (I don't think any food manufacturer does own their own grain cars), or unless they are a small farmer-owned company that make the product right where it is grown (Albers might be such a company, I don't know one way or the other). That, I think, is what Quaker meant by "contamination in shipping to them before cooking". Quaker do not control every step in the life cycle of the corn used to make the grits, or the oats or anything else. There is always a danger in this, and Quaker are just being honest about it. But any levels of contamination from this source should be well within safe limits for almost all of us. One more thing that I just remembered - the quick grits that I eat are not exactly the same as the instant grits. I would assume the difference is just an extra step in the manufacturing, but is there any chance the instant grits are made in different plants or have other ingredients added to them? That might explain why Chrissy had a problem and I haven't. I know a lot of times the "instant" versions of things are very much adulterated. Just a thought.
  7. Gluten Free Restaurant

    Monica, I know I'm jumping in a bit late here, but I wanted to add my encouragement and a few thoughts. I think this is a completely viable concept, and a town like Denver ought to be just right for it - not so small that you don't have a market, and not so big that the competition gets too intense. Also, from what I've heard from a few different friends, Denver and the area are a bit more health-conscious in general than some areas, so with the right marketing strategy (and execution, of course) I think you could have a big hit. What you want to avoid is branding the place as a restaurant for celiacs. There is such a thing as targetting your market too tightly, and if you emphasize gluten-free over everything else you risk making yourself unattractive to "regular" clientele. By all means make the place completely gluten-free -- but don't make that your primary hook. Instead, I would emphasize the wholesomeness and healthiness of your food. Make everything in the place gluten-free. Have some vegan options. Some lactose-free options. Find as many special needs diets as you can and offer something for everyone (within reason, don't go completely bonkers trying to attract every group!) But above all, emphasize that these things are not just for special groups, but healthy for everyone! This is what most of the successful vegetarian restaurants that I know do. They make a point of having at least a few things for lots of different dietary restrictions, so they don't only get dedicated vegetarian customers. They end up getting a wide variety of customers with special needs, and every one of those people who is satisfied ends up raving about them to their friends who have similar needs. Then they'll happen to meet other people who have different needs, and tell them "you know what? I know a restaurant that has great food for that kind of diet..." In the best cases they eventually get a very wide customer base that also includes a lot of people who don't follow any special diets at all, but have heard from one friend or another that the food is good. I also think that in general, an image of environmental and social consciousness is a natural fit for this sort of operation, so if you are of that kind of mindset you should promote that as well. Are there universities in that area? College students could give you a big boost. Artists, musicians and the like tend to support that kind of place, too. These are all communities that you want to market to -- not just with advertising, but by connecting to the communities and making your place a comfortable home for them. I'm probably telling you things you already understand, in which case I apologize. But a lot of people who think about setting up businesses don't think about things like this. If you only market to celiacs and the like, you will miss most of your market and may make it too difficult for yourself. Good luck with everything, and keep us all posted! -- Jeremiah
  8. Most people don't really understand gluten or why it should be labelled. I think the average person, if s/he has heard of celiac, thinks of it as a wheat allergy. Big food companies have learned through experience that they have to protect themselves against suits from allergic customers. But they only do this for the most common allergies, which makes sense. But people are learning about celiac lately, and I think we'll see much better labelling in the near future, especially as more and more celiacs are being diagnosed and the medical establishment starts to recognise this as a serious problem.
  9. You are not alone, Michael (and Laura!). It can be very depressing, always planning your diet so strictly, not being able to buy impuse foods like all your friends, and especially the business of having to put every waiter through something like the Spanish Inquisition over simple things like soups and salad dressings. It really gets me down sometimes. In fact, the thing that eventually convinced me that I really was celiac and not just imagining it happened because I was tired of being "the weird one". I went to visit some old friends, and was having a great time when they decided they had to have some hamburgers. I hadn't had a regular sandwich in months, and I didn't want to start explaining celiac disease to the guys, and thought "how bad could one sandwich be?" because I had never had severe celiac disease symptoms before. Needless to say, I found out pretty quickly how bad one sandwich can be after not eating gluten for a few months. I spent most of the night on the toilet with vicious pains, felt utterly terrible for a few days afterwards, and you could hear my stomach rumbling a block away. I was miserable, and realised for the first time that celiac disease could be an honest-to-god, full-blown, dangerous disease and not just an odd feeling in the stomach. That was when I knew that I had to start taking my gluten-free policy seriously. All this is just to illustrate that, yes, I fully understand your feelings. This life often seems weird and tediously abnormal. It can be a chore, and it continually makes you feel like a freak. My daughter, who is three, constantly asks me why I can't eat bread and other things. She "gets it", and I know she doesn't really think I am weird in a bad way, but at this age everything that is out of the ordinary gets thorough investigation and repeated quizzing, just to make sure I'm not making it up. Still, she is a lot easier to deal with than the adults who constantly ask me can you eat this? Can you eat that? What's wrong with this stuff? What happens if you eat it? For some reason, they always think they want to know what my symptoms are, and when I finally break down and tell them my symptoms (you know the things I'm talking about) they make faces and tell me how disgusting I am for "sharing". (Tell me I'm not the only one this happens to, please!) On the other hand, what Kaiti said is very true. The eating habits of our society as a whole are not exactly healthy, and arguably "abnormal". I don't mean to get all preachy here, but if "the celiac experience" has taught me one thing, it's that a lot of very weird, and often sickening, things hide in the food we eat. For about five years before I discovered I was celiac, I was "mostly" vegetarian (didn't eat red meat or poultry, for a bunch of reasons, including ethical, ecological and psychological ones). Even then, I did a lot of label reading, and tried to eat relatively healthy things. I often broke down because junk food is just so tempting, but the thought of all those processed ingredients and unhealthy additives always disgusted me and kept me "clean" for the most part. My friends and family thought that was abnormal, too, but to me it was a logical and informed choice. Now that I am gluten free (mostly - I'm still learning the ins and outs of a gluten-free lifestyle), I frequently get the chance to surprise those same friends with interesting facts about the things they eat, and I like to think they've sometimes had their doubts about exactly who is normal and who isn't. Most people don't realise, for example, just how much corn syrup they drink and eat in their processed foods, or how much we use wheat as filler in things that really have no need for it whatsoever, or what kinds of things can hide in processed meat. When I point these things out to them, they are almost always shocked. Hopefully I've caused a few people to think twice about the junky drinks and foods that they buy on impulse, and maybe try for a slightly healthier, "purer" lifestyle. I like to think about that when I'm feeling especially depressed about always having to plan ahead, check the labels, and ask servers detailed questions about the food they give me. There's nothing wrong with eating a banana instead of a candy bar, or a salad instead of a hamburger. It's better for me and it just might be better for our society and our planet. (Yes, that was me being not preachy... . I'm terrible at it, aren't I?) -- Jeremiah
  10. I like the Koala Krunch, but it's a little too junky for an everyday cereal - not to mention too expensive. Barbara's Rice Puffins are fantastic, but you hardly ever see them in the regular supermarkets. You can find the Envirokids cereals at A&P, Shaw's and other supermarkets, along with Barbara's regular Puffins which contain oats. I miss oatmeal a lot. I've been having grits as an oatmeal substitute, and I like them but it really isn't the same thing. GRRR!
  11. Mcdonalds Fries

    Don't McDonald's make onion rings any more? Because I know those would fry next to the fries, and probably be served with the same baskets and scoops as the fries. That's how you always end up with onion rings in your fries at BK, as far as I can tell. On a related note, do we know for sure that McD's don't add glutenous flavorings or whatnot to their fries? I'm guessing they don't, since nobody here seems to have any problem eating them, but would like to know for sure. I'm cautious about fries these days, after eating some curly fries that I didn't realise were breaded at a local theater. (Dumb mistake, I realise. But I'm still new to this stuff. I am quickly becoming more and more suspicious of everything that I eat, no matter how simple it seems.)
  12. Panera Bread, Gf Menu Items

    You're right. Oh, well, there goes another dining option. My wife really likes that place, too.
  13. I guess a "we won't hide the stuff" policy is better than no policy at all. But I really wish the big companies would just come out and put a "contains gluten" note somewhere in there, just like the "may contain peanuts/milk/tree nuts" warnings that are found everywhere these days. It would make things a whole lot easier. It sounds like that is exactly what General Mills are doing. I never noticed them doing that before. Good job, GM!
  14. Interestingly enough, Kraft have violated their own stated policy in the body of this document. Supposedly they will declare all gluten-containing ingredients with the plain-English name of the gluten-bearing grain, right? But if you look at the Graham crackers label that is one of their examples, it says "Graham flour". That's it. Maybe it's made from Graham grains? In fact, I don't even know what Graham flour is made from, but I suspect it's something that can hurt me, because Kraft themselves bolded it as a gluten-containing ingredient in this press release! (Of course, the gluteny ingredients won't be bolded in the actual food labels. That would be WAY too helpful. I would say, if Kraft really wanted to be helpful it wouldn't kill them to just print "contains no gluten" or a big "gluten-free" somewhere on the package. But their idea of helpful is to basically release a statement that says "we care about our celiac customers, so read the labels just as carefully as you ever did before." This isn't the first time I've heard of Kraft pretending they care about their customers and doing something that indicates the exact opposite, by the way. Back in the day, they told more than one concerned Jewish customer that Jell-O was kosher, and to this day they declare it kosher. But Jell-O has been denied kosher certification several times, most likely because it's made out of pig skin. You can make kosher gelatin. You can even make kosher gelatin out of the dry bones of unkosher animals. But you cannot, in any way, turn pig skin into something kosher. So, after a lot of noise about the subject and scandalized reports in all the Jewish communities, Kraft went and found the only two rabbis in the world who would state that the basic ingredients of the Jell-O were so radically transformed in the manufacturing process that it was magically turned kosher, and they put their own little K on the label, blithely burying the whole issue and continuing to tell people how deeply they respect the Jewish faith and people. (Note - the company's explanation of pigskin transformation may make perfect scientific sense - I'm not blasting them on that count. But in religious terms, it's complete nonsense. Jewish sages of various traditions disagree on a lot of things, but there has never been any debate about this. Pig skins are treyf, and always will be treyf. How much you transform them is a total non-issue. They aren't kosher, period. Imagine if the same company told you, regarding bread crumbs, "these aren't bread, they've been magically transformed. We just call them crumbly particles now. Not bread. Go on, eat it!" Wouldn't fly, would it?) BTW, "Graham flour" is just whole wheat flour.
  15. Panera Bread, Gf Menu Items

    Panera do have some decent gluten-free options, but they also have a tendency to throw a bread crust into the middle of your salad even after you ask for "no bread". In addition, some of their salads come standard with croutons. Finally, the guys on the counters don't actually know what ingredients are in the food. It is, after all, a "dressed up" fast food place. So stick to the list posted here, be extra firm about that "no bread and no croutons" order and make sure the counter staff get the message. On the plus side, they have really good soup and their salads are nice and fresh. I especially like their black bean soup.