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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 FREE Celiac.com email alerts   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) 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 Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Digesting Vegetables... (may Be Gross)
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32 posts in this topic

So, I've been on a gluten free diet after stumbling onto it and making my diagnosed IBS waaaaay better. Lots of medicine, down to very little. Uncontrollable D to C in a week..

Anyway, I've been eating meat and rice and bananas, plain stuff. Recently I figured this diet probably is kind of limited long term, so I tried salad and green peppers in the meat.

Salad I quit eating because I'd get sick, but the bell peppers do it too, it seems like. They are the only change I've made in about a month, and all of a sudden I'm having a lot of pain and D again. I'm fairly sure I'm not digesting these at all, just like the salad. I could be wrong, but I'm basing this assumption on the fact that it comes out how it went in, undigested.

Now, is that a motility issue only? Or is it possible that I cannot digest these plants, and they go into the colon undigested and cause some serious disruption? I'm just not sure where to go from here, avoiding gluten helps, but it could be the fact that I eat rice and meat and it makes me avoid snack foods and other refined carbs. But I wanted to add vegetables, because I think they are probably good for you, but every time I eat them, I get sick. So, I wonder if it has anything to do with gluten at all sometimes, or if that is not part of broader problem. At any rate, I can't figure out what is causing me to be sick besides the greens I've attempted to add to my diet.

If anyone has any insight, I would appreciate it very much, thank you!

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It sounds like you're not making enough digestive enzymes. The digestive process actually starts in your mouth (with saliva), continues in your stomach (with stomach acid), and then finishes in your intestines with some help from your gallbladder and liver. If any of these organs are not working correctly you can have problems with malabsorption.

It is a bad thing to have undigested food sitting in your intestines. If food is rotting in your body instead of being digested, you get bloating and bacterial imbalances. :( The rotting food also gives off toxins like "cadaverine" (which is only supposed to happen when you're dead).

Have you read about the "baking soda test" for hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)? You can easily do it at home. I've started taking Betaine HCl with protein meals and it really makes a difference. I've read that restoring the proper level of acid to your stomach can prompt your pancreas to produce more digestive enzymes... it looks like you need more of the enzymes to digest the fiber and carbohydrates in vegetables.

There are other kinds of enzyme supplements you can take (bromelain, papain, amylase, lipase, etc...). Maybe someone with more knowledge will chime in.

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I don't have celiac but I do have gastroparesis. That is delayed stomach emptying. I don't digest things very well either. The only meat I can eat is ground beef, chicken and turkey. Sometimes a small amount of bacon or sausage. Occasionally I can do some finely minced roast beef but most of the time it comes back up.

Vegetables are tough. I do love raw ones. Used to live on big salads. But now they come back up. I find I can have a small amount of salad every now and then. I do seem to be able to digest baby carrots. I eat those pretty much every day. Potatoes go down well. The skin can be a problem though. But the best vegetables to digest are canned green beans and canned peas. At least for me. I also seem to be able to eat cooked dried beans without a problem. Other people can not. Well cooked squash (winter) is easy to digest. I just don't like squash.

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The only thing that jumped out at me was the mention of peppers, which is a nightshade. Those things where doing me in something awful. Are you able to eat other nightshades without problems? If potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant are ok, then I'd guess it's not a nightshade thing, but if all of these make you feel rotten, then I suppose it could be the nightshade factor. Especially if other veggies like carrots and peas, broccoli, cauliflower, squashes, etc are ok.

Some veggies may be easier on you if cooked, while others may be better raw. I can't recommend canned veggies - yuck!

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Mother of Jibril, that might be worth looking into. I only eat once a day, for like 7 years, I wonder if that has changed how my stomach operates, of course I think it would just turn on full blast acid when I ate. I will google it and try the test, I've never taken HCl, but some enzymes off and on, didn't seem to help. But thank you!

Juliebove, Hrmm, I eat different cuts of steak like meat and rice. It is the only thing I can eat, so far, that is alright on me. Especially if it's lean. I might try the canned route, fresh is a little much for me apparently. Thanks!

RiceGuy, nice name... it would be apt for me, eat it with every meal. And I did not know that about bell peppers... very interesting. Tomatoes are not great, especially in something like salsa or spaghetti sauce, they have long bothered me. So that may be it. Celery, cucumbers, and baby carrots I have had recently with no problem. In fact, I did eat simple salads for a while, but I started getting some more complex ones that had tomatoes and bell pepper, perhaps that was the problem then. Of course, I don't know what it means to me, except throw it on the pile with the 99% of other things I can't eat, with no good reason why yet. But I do appreciate it, that might be it.

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Hey Coldnight,

Well, I have gastroparesis (as well as Celiac) so I have the opposite problem in some ways and the same in others. Food doesn't get digested (same), but it sits in my stomach (opposite). I can't have raw veggies (same), because they'll cause a bezoar (like a hairball for a cat) in my stomach and get stuck there (opposite), but I also can't to meat because it sits there for hours (opposite). I don't think gastroparesis is your problem, but make sure with talking to your doctor.

I have to agree with two lines of thoughts here that I saw though. One, look at the stomach acid issue. You sound as though you aren't digesting your food in your stomach or intestines and it's just going right through you. That's an enzyme issue (I know because I also have that problem...bummer). I was put on HCI by my doctor to help out the pancreas.

Also the nightshade issue is something to look at. I can't do nightshades without problems. This is either because I can't do nightshades, my gastroparesis and veggies, or my enzyme problem.

If peppers and salad make you feel bad....tell your doctor. Mine is wanting me to try and get more veggies in. I have to eat it as baby mush (there's a reason those little ones make faces and spit it back out). You need the nutrients from them, but if they aren't even being digested there is a problem going on that needs to be looked at.

I hope you get better and they can figure it out. It's frustrating when you don't know why things are the way they are and easier to deal with them when you can have an explanation.

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Some people have sensitive stomachs and can not digest raw vegetables, may be that is your case too? I can not eat pretty much anything raw, I have to cook it first. As for the problem with bell peppers, I can not tolerate peppers with their skin on, they give me digestive issues. I have to roast them in the oven on 425F for 15 minutes, then put them in a ziplock bag and then in about 15 minutes it is very easy to peel peppers and you can use them for anything. I usually roast and deskin the whole bunch of peppers at once and freeze them so that I would have them on hand when needed.

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Cook your vegetables. It saved me.

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I used to have to put all my veggies in the blender, turn them into puree, then cook them. Thankfully, things have improved, but it did take awhile.

Betaine HCL might help you, as might raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar. Both are claimed to help digestion quite a bit.

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Thanks for all the ideas, I think I will try to cook them and perhaps take this baking soda test, I can't find details online, is it just seeing how you react when taking baking soda? We used to take it as kids for heart burn, nothing works quite as well. But the taste is pretty weird.

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Here's the baking soda test...

Do this right away in the morning before you eat or drink anything!

Put 1/8 tsp. of baking soda in a cup of water (about six ounces). Drink and start keeping track of the time. If you burp in the first 2-3 minutes you have plenty of stomach acid. If five minutes go by and you still haven't burped then you don't have enough stomach acid. (It took about 20 minutes for me to build up enough gas for a burp <_< ). Hypochlorhydria is very common as people get older, but it can happen at any age.

If you're going to try Betaine HCl, you want to start with a low dose (like 250mg) and build up to as much as you can tolerate without getting any heartburn or reflux. If you do get heartburn you can always take a little baking soda to neutralize the acid. I've taken as much as 1200mg at one meal, but I change the amount based on how much protein I'm eating. After a while you might notice that your body is producing more acid on its own and you don't need to supplement :)

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Here's the baking soda test...

Do this right away in the morning before you eat or drink anything!

Put 1/8 tsp. of baking soda in a cup of water (about six ounces). Drink and start keeping track of the time. If you burp in the first 2-3 minutes you have plenty of stomach acid. If five minutes go by and you still haven't burped then you don't have enough stomach acid. (It took about 20 minutes for me to build up enough gas for a burp <_< ). Hypochlorhydria is very common as people get older, but it can happen at any age.

Could you please reference a site wherein they have actually tested this, not just told you that it works?

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Thanks for the info. I'm not sure there will be a site to reference it... probably because most sites shy away from home testing medical advice for legal reasons.

But, it makes some sense, before I was ill, as a child, we would do this for heart burn, and there was definitely immediate reaction, gas build up. As long as HCl doesn't cause any harmful side effects, probably cannot hurt to do a short trial. God knows I've tried worse. =)

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Thanks for the info. I'm not sure there will be a site to reference it...

then how do you know if it works or not? It could be something that someone made up.

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Here's a general article about hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria with some links to peer-reviewed medical literature...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achlorhydria

Here's a description of the baking soda test...

http://www.drdebe.com/stomachacidtest.html

There's also another, more scientific way to test the level of acid in your stomach. It's called the Heidelberg capsule test.

http://www.phcapsule.com/nutinfo.htm

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then how do you know if it works or not? It could be something that someone made up.

But, it makes some sense, before I was ill, as a child, we would do this for heart burn, and there was definitely immediate reaction, gas build up. As long as HCl doesn't cause any harmful side effects, probably cannot hurt to do a short trial. God knows I've tried worse. =)

Don't know that it does, could be made up... but I don't know why certain foods make me ill either, so I guess it's trial and error. I don't especially need to do the test to try HCl. If it works, it will be self-evident.

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Try and see if you do. I can confirm that you will feel gas build up, this used to be our remedy for heartburn as kids, learned by watching our father do it on many occasion. I'm not sure about doing it first thing in the AM or any of the science behind that, but I can assure you that it usually does make you belch, if memory serves. But how do you know I'm telling the truth? =)

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How do you know that the length of time it takes you to burp is related only to stomach acid and not also to:

how much oil you've consumed recently

how much protein you've consumed recently

the size of your stomach

your tendency to burp and not retain gasses

how old your baking soda is

and so on and so forth

I don't doubt that it makes people burp, for the most part. I question it's use as a diagnostic test.

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How do you know that the length of time it takes you to burp is related only to stomach acid and not also to:

how much oil you've consumed recently

how much protein you've consumed recently

the size of your stomach

your tendency to burp and not retain gasses

how old your baking soda is

and so on and so forth

I don't doubt that it makes people burp, for the most part. I question it's use as a diagnostic test.

I agree that the "baking soda" test is rather crude ;) But let's think about chemistry for a second...

Sodium bicarbonate shouldn't get "old." It's not an organic substance. When it reacts with acid it gives off water and carbon dioxide gas (which is what causes the burping)... so it is possible that results could vary based on physiology (such as the size of your stomach). Unless you do a lot of midnight snacking there shouldn't be food left in your stomach in the morning. Even if there was, what kind of effect do you think proteins or oils would have? (I ask this in a friendly way). These are pretty complex molecules... I don't think there would be much of an interaction with baking soda.

Getting back to the issue of supplemental HCL... my personal experience is that it helps. I no longer have the feeling that food is sitting in my stomach like a rock, I don't have reflux or heartburn, my rosacea looks MUCH better, and I stopped having rectal itching :ph34r:... but I'll probably experiment in the future and see what happens if I stop taking it. The only supplements I feel committed to taking on a long-term basis are a multivitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D. Everything else is up for experimentation.

With most food intolerances you're really on your own trying to figure out what works for YOU. So... I guess I'm not that bothered by the somewhat crude and murky nature of the baking soda test.

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Figuring out is fine. Assuming something is a definitive test, not so much.

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I agree that the "baking soda" test is rather crude ;) But let's think about chemistry for a second...

Sodium bicarbonate shouldn't get "old." It's not an organic substance. When it reacts with acid it gives off water and carbon dioxide gas (which is what causes the burping)... so it is possible that results could vary based on physiology (such as the size of your stomach). Unless you do a lot of midnight snacking there shouldn't be food left in your stomach in the morning. Even if there was, what kind of effect do you think proteins or oils would have? (I ask this in a friendly way). These are pretty complex molecules... I don't think there would be much of an interaction with baking soda.

I would expect proteins to decrease the availability of acid, and oils to slow down the process by interfering with bubble formation.

Sodium bicarbonate is hygroscopic - it absorbs water over time - which would decrease its effectiveness.

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Sodium bicarbonate is hygroscopic - it absorbs water over time - which would decrease its effectiveness.

That's why I keep my baking soda sealed in plastic.

But you're right. I could picture someone taking the baking soda out of their fridge... smelling like old leftovers... and using a bit of that for the test :blink: Ew!!!

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Well, the CO2 gas will be generated regardless of any water, but if there's enough to dilute the acid, it will slow the reaction. Stomach acid should naturally increase when you consume food, so I'd think doing the test in the morning helps insure a relatively low acid level. The presence of the bicarbonate itself may cause a rise in acid, just because the stomach is supposed to be poised and ready for whatever food might come along.

I recall a science experiment, where you take a jar, fill it with water, add some baking soda, mix it up, then add some vinegar, and drop in a few pieces of macaroni. The bubbles collect on the macaroni, and they float up to the top. The bubbles then pop, and the macaroni falls back down. This can continue for a surprisingly long time.

All in all, I'd expect the baking soda to give anybody a burp or two, just like a really fizzy drink. The only difference is when the bubbles are formed. So if it doesn't make you burp, that sure sounds like LOW acid to me. I mean, just put a tsp of soda in about 1/4 cup of water, and add a squirt of lemon juice or vinegar. You'l see it don't take strong acid to get the bubbles. I heard someplace that stomach acid is strong enough to dissolve the flesh off a human hand in about three minutes. That's more than a bit stronger than lemon juice.

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Well, I ate some brussel sprouts, as a test. They were baked in the oven for quite some time at about 400f, that seemed to work. I saw some betaine HCl, and the pills were about 600mg, so I broke about a quarter off, and it felt like a little too much acid. I'm thinking the nightshade theory seems to fit pretty well. Quick question, some nightshades are native to europe and some are not, is this a possible genetic thing? I'm pretty interesting in the whole evolutionary diet thing.

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