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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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About joelmw

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  1. Good point on the CC. We unloaded stuff for similar reasons--questionable containers, double-dipping, etc. Crazy business this celiac.
  2. A coworker just returned from vacationing in Hawaii and brought back a box of Mauna Loa Milk Chocolate Mountains to share. Since I miss out on most of the other treats in the office, I was eager to find out if these are gluten-free. The woman I ended up talking to at Hershey customer service walked me through the process of verifying that they are. Just wanted to pass that on, since I didn't find any clear statement online. I only know for sure that this particular Mauna Loa product--the Mauna Loa Milk Chocolate Mountains--is gluten-free. I don't know either way on the others, though I suspect at least some are. The rest of the story (with information that should help with other unlisted Hershey products): [This is "old news" to some of you, but thought it might be helpful to others (and wanted to show my source).] Mauna Loa is a Hershey brand. In fact the Mauna Loa customer service number is the Hershey customer service number: 800-468-1714. As of today, none of the Mauna Loa products is on the Hershey gluten-free list (published elsewhere in these forums). As they say, not all of their gluten-free products are listed. The rep I spoke with told me that if an ingredient is sourced from a gluten-containing grain, according to Hershey policy, that grain will be listed with the ingredient. Also, if the production lines are subject to cross-contamination, the allergen will be listed--as tree nuts and peanuts are listed for this product. Since it is their policy to identify both gluten-containing grains and potential cross contamination and the ingredients for this product include neither, it's gluten-free. Score. Of course, it's got other stuff I probably shouldn't be eating, but just one or two shouldn't kill me.
  3. There are fads and ignorance associated with most things everything: not just diet, but lifestyle, spirituality, other cultural and, um, human phenomena. That's just the way it is, people. I can appreciate the catharsis in ranting (I indulge every now and then myself, mostly about politics and horrid drivers, occasionally about food manufacturers and restaurants), but there's no point in taking it personally. You're not the only one they're ignoring, lying about, endangering and exploiting. And the media, unfortunately, tend to reflect the broad and deep idiocy of the people they speak to and about. As others have noted, people's stupid responses create excellent "teachable moments." And the reality is that unless and until someone has that watershed moment--even if they have a close family member who has, or indeed they themselves have, celiac disease--they're gonna think "sorta kinda" is good enough, if they think even that is necessary. Who's to say that for them it isn't? And who are we to say that there's anything wrong in their dabbling in "gluten free" (dabbling which for us would be deadly)? On gluten-free foods being unhealthy, I appreciate the clarification regarding "gluten-free" substitutes, but I think it's misleading to say that eating gluten-free is unhealthy. Since going gluten-free, I mostly avoid breads, pastas and other substitute foods and I eat proportionally far more fresh vegetables and lean meats. Most of the substitutes still taste like crap (in addition to being that nutritionally) and, honestly, after my celiac diagnosis I quickly realized that I never really enjoyed all of the bread, pasta and beer anyway (they were just what I was expected to eat). Note I said "all," not "any." It's a little like saying giving up gin was a bad thing because it made you drink so much more vodka. It's true that I still eat some junk that I shouldn't, but generally speaking, going gluten-free has helped me--in multiple ways--to eat healthier. Thinking "gluten free" means something is necessarily healthy is a lot like thinking the same thing about "sugar free" and "fat free" and "organic" and "locally sourced." But saying that it's less healthy because gluten-free substitute foods are unhealthy assumes that we need and/or will continue to consume those substitutes and, IMO, is no more logical or intelligent. There's a hot debate (which, yes, you can find lots of uninformed opinions about online and in the other media) about whether we need to or should be eating grains at all.Should everyone on the paleo diet ("the" is a misnomer, because there are so many versions and variations of it; lotsa versions--there's some food for thought ) just return to eating a typical, over-processed, grainy diet until they're sure they fully understand it? The thing is: there's a lot that none of us fully understand. I think I benefit from eating "mostly" paleo--just like others might think they do better eating "mostly" gluten-free. So I ask again, is "kinda sorta" necessarily bad? And what about sugar? Might a diabetic think your attitude toward controlling your sugar consumption--if you don't have to take it to the extreme that he does--cavalier? And is it wrong for folks to limit their sugar intake if they don't take it to the "right" extreme? Frankly, I've always hated dealing with those folks who insist that I have to eat one way or another, or who say that if I'm not doing it the way they do it, it's somehow not "real." God help me not to be one of them.
  4. I just want to loudly second this. I was diagnosed with celiac disease almost exactly a year ago. Frankly, since I've been gluten-free, I am not sure when I specifically get "glutened" but I can tell you for sure that the cumulative impact of gluten was devastating--extreme fatigue, brain fog, cramps--and quantifiable. I showed marked improvement within a couple of weeks and wouldn't dream of taking the chance that I'd go back to how I was feeling before changing my diet--not to mention the untold consequences that I didn't notice. One of things that troubles me most on these forums is hearing folks suggest with confidence that a food isn't affecting them because they didn't have a noticeable physical reaction. I think it's kinda cool that they can sometimes be so sure, but extremely dangerous to assume that they will always know. There are just too many variables and our body's systems are too complex for me to take such claims seriously. Gluten is poison. I'd no sooner eat something with gluten in it than chew on d-con or drink a cocktail made with paint thinner. I agree that gluten-free often equals expensive, but I find that that's typically because folks are trying to eat "substitute" foods. I'm not gonna say I don't occasionally enjoy some gluten-free pizza, but for the most part I avoid grains altogether, concentrating on vegetables and meat. I know it's a personal thing, but I don't really miss the bread and can certainly live without doughy products.
  5. So here was the big ol' email I sent to them in the first place:
  6. Mellow Mushroom Restuarant

    We first checked out their restaurant in Arlington, TX and have been to one in Carmel, IN three or four times (when we're in Indy we pretty much always go there). Theirs may be my favorite gluten-free pizza. Talking to the staff I also get the impression that they take CC seriously. And compared to many other places that offer limited varieties but will "let" you "build your own" one overpriced topping at a time, they offer a reasonable selection of "specials."
  7. Using the Find Me Gluten Free iPhone app, we discovered a regional chain called TaMolly's as we were travelling through Arkansas into Texas to our residence (my wife refuses to consider Texas "home" ) in the DFW metroplex. They have a fairly new gluten-free menu and their staff has supposedly been "GREAT Kitchens trained." Our experience was horrible. The hostess was surly. The server assured us that the chips were gluten-free. But we had some questions and asked for a manager. When he arrived he made it clear that sometimes foods containing flour are fried in the same fryers as gluten-free foods. But that's not the end. After we went across the street and ate at an Outback, I sent an email to the NFCA and CC'ed TaMolly's. The response I got was excellent. Two great emails and a phone call from the NFCA. A couple of emails from Bob Strate at TaMolly's. We won't know until we return (and it's hard to know when that will be just because we're not often in that area), but I'm convinced they are trying and we will return if we get the chance. I asked Bob if I could share the text of his email and he agreed. Here it is: As part of my response to the above email I suggested the idea of a 100% gluten-free Tex-Mex restaurant (which seems completely doable to me). His reply included the following: Time will tell, but I'm hopeful. Part of my takeaway is Always let them know how they did! Good or bad. If it was good, they need the encouragement. If it was bad, they will either confirm that they don't care or they will have the resources (your critique) they need to make changes. I would be happy to add my initial email to them, but it's long so I decided to leave it out of the primary post.
  8. Gluten Free Menus

    "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." Nice. The only place I can recall that had prices on the gluten-free menu is P. F. Changs--and that's because it's incorporated into the "regular" menu. Kudos to them for both practices. The practice of omitting prices is illogical, annoying and somewhat puzzling, especially at restaurants where the gluten-free menu is updated regularly (and should therefore be well ahead of prices changes). But the fact that servers routinely take away the regular menu is worse than annoying. We've even had a few give us confused or irritated looks when we asked to keep the regular menu in addition to the gluten-free. IMO staff at restaurants that purport to offer a gluten-free menu should be required to know whether it contains prices. If it doesn't they should be required to leave the regular menu with it. To me it's an important dimension of basic awareness and sensitivity.
  9. We'll see about that title. But you'll likely retain it, just 'cause I tend to be intermittent and, yaknow, I've been repressed and all. ("Now we see the violence inherent in the system" etc. etc.) But [ahem] back to the topic. I was in Wal-Mart yesterday and verified the source of my confusion. When we were first checking them out, the Original sauce was labeled gluten-free. The Sweet 'n Spicy was not. I found this same discrepancy last night. Even the fact that Ken's lists it as containing no gluten ingredients isn't IMO conclusive (of course I didn't know that when we first checked them out in the store anyway), since it might have been processed in a facility where cross-contamination might occur. We just ran into this with Progresso, which, to add to the confusion, declares allergens and, of course, doesn't declare them if they're by cross-contamination. I realize that my interpretations are perhaps contradictory and paranoid but just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're making things clear or that they're being consistent ('cause that they're definitely not). As it turns out, last night I found Sweet 'n Spicy SBR's that was labeled gluten-free. And it looks like the gluten-free labels are newer. Must have just caught them in the phase-in. I gots pictures but no time to load them. So, Sweet Baby Ray, I'm sorry for casting aspersions on your glutenless character. In penance I bought a big ol' bottle (of the Original). And I ate some today. And they lived saucily ever after. Nom nom nom.
  10. That would be awesome. It's long past time. It's not really my thing, but I've often wished it were. I like to think I could do beat poet (like Mike Meyers in "So I Married an Axe Murderer") or some Shatneresque pale-man-speaking-words-over-music abomination. But I have a neglected blog. I won't advertise it, 'cause I just read that's uncool (which, btw, makes sense). Not that it would be hard for someone to find if they wanted to--yaknow, anyone I haven't sufficiently offended so far. And, hey, I'm the little people (not literally--I'm 6'7"--but definitely metaphorically).
  11. I see you have a sense of humor so it is much easier for me to accept your advice. So, um, there. I love Joyce and Faulkner and have long been a Blake freak. This should come as no surprise. And I get way to caught up in words and whatnot. Anyways, point taken. KISS is good policy. I obviously need to direct more of this pent up verbal energy elsewhere. Seriously. I will work on taking it down a notch here. Thanks again.
  12. [most humbly and sheepishly, and somewhat askeered] okay [big sigh] Thank you for tracking down the source and reporting the information. And thank you for the winky. It means a lot to me. Seriously. And seriously smiling too. I might have more to say (ha, that's funny: "I might have more to say"; I kill me) later. I feel that I owe an apology or two but I want to make sure that what I say is both accurate (sheesh, that for sure ) and sincere and that any qualification is appropriate. I think I need some alone time first. {And then I almost did what I said I was going to do later. I just tripped into it without even thinking. It was a mess. You can't see it because I erased it. And I was going to attempt to reproduce the internal dialog in which I was arguing with myself about the premature, over-qualified, highly-susceptible-to-misinterpretation, etc. etc. apology.} But certainly to the extent that I contributed to misinformation, confusion, anxiety, frustration, despair, etc., I am truly sorry. At the very least I could have been clearer. And, as Karen alluded to, my initial entry into this thread reeked of anger and frustration. That one I think I would probably retract. It's probably more humbling to just leave it though; I do so in hopes that it will temper my future posts and perhaps be instructive to others. I'm willing to be the DON'T picture. Someone has to do it, right? Okay, I think I've had enough space now to say that I was inappropriately careless in not contextualizing my statements. I see that that's important here. Indeed I'd be okay if we were stricter about that or perhaps established places where information is verified (because, I don't mind telling ya, there's a lot of stuff out here that isn't verified and it's not all contextualized . . . and it's not all coming from me ). I believe that technically I did contextualize, but I might have to, in my words, get "lawyerly" to make that argument and, well, at the very least, that's not very nice and it works against usefulness. Anyway, I apologize for not contextualizing more clearly too. I'd apologize for not being wordy but I'm very sure that 1) my apology wouldn't be properly repentant and 2) it would further exacerbate its own hypocrisy.
  13. Eek. I didn't mean to be making an "allegation." But I do recognize (and what's sadder, did recognize) that I kinda was making an allegation. FWIW, my "pretty sure" isn't an understatement (that is, I don't claim certainty) and, as I think I indicated, I'm a big fan of the SBR so I don't mean to in any way disparage. I was just, uh, pretty sure that they weren't all safe and wanted to throw out that warning, 'cause, as you well know, the super market is not a safe place for folks like us. As it turns out, I did try to verify this online and was unable. In fact, what I found indicates that all of their bbq meat products (except the meatballs) are gluten-free. I'm holding out based on the fact the the FAQ cited seems to most specifically address their "barbecued meats," which "feature" their original sauce, and it does not explicitly address their other sauces. So, um, may it please the court, I submit the disclaimer that my statement is anecdotal, based merely on my recollection of a couple of trips to a couple of different Wal-Marts. At last I'm pretty sure they were Wal-Marts . . . and that they were different. I'm more sure that one of the stores was a Wal-Mart. I realize that the stores in question might be mostly irrelevant, but can't help having fun with the fuzziness of my memory of them. Anyway, yeah, what I remember is that we looked at several bottles of different SBR's sauce and some of them explicitly said they were gluten-free while others did not. I freely admit that I might be wrong about that. I also acknowledge that the absence of a claim of sweet gluten-freedom does not necessarily indicate gluteny-dom. As a direct attack on my credibility as a witness I further submit that all of my trips to the grocery store since my diagnosis are a jumbled mass of mostly frustration and confusion and a desperate grasping after some sort of certainty, sanity and gastric security--all of which are mostly elusive these days, even while my general health does seem, by some grace and good fortune, to be improving. Even now I'm wondering if I somehow attached uncertainty about gluten-free-ness to uncertainty about whether I'd like different variations (e.g., if they had jalapenos or something). I'm still thinking I at least noted the absence of a statement of gluten-free-ness on one or more of the bottles. I do intend to follow up on this though. And I hope my potentially pathetic attempts at humor aren't irritating. It's just a major coping mechanism. Trust me: you'd rather me being sarcastic and/or goofy than cranky. And, well, as for the verbosity, that's just me--whatever my mood. P.S. Eek again, I am seeing further indication that in fact all of their sauces are gluten free. I mostly retract my hasty expression of incredulity. Now I want to go to the store mostly to reconstruct the chain of events that led to my misunderstanding and try to convince myself that I haven't completely lost my mind. Sigh.
  14. I'm pretty sure that not all of them are, but several certainly are. And we prefer them to KC Masterpiece anyway. I only recently discovered that preference. So, um, thanks KC Masterpiece--for leading me to Sweet Baby Ray's.
  15. I called today and confirmed that the reason Chicken and Wild Rice was removed is because it may have been processed in a facility where it was subject to gluten contamination. Frustrating--and unfortunately lends credence to my paranoia about labeling--but at least there is some consistency (the list, their web site, the absence of explicit "gluten free" label).