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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 Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

What Exactly Is Considered "processed Foods"?
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People toss this term around quite frequently and I was wondering, what exactly qualifies as processed food? Does a Lara Bar qualify as processed? What about Heinz ketchup? gluten-free cereals? I can't believe it's not butter? Just wondering what people consider processed?

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People toss this term around quite frequently and I was wondering, what exactly qualifies as processed food? Does a Lara Bar qualify as processed? What about Heinz ketchup? gluten-free cereals? I can't believe it's not butter? Just wondering what people consider processed?

Well, the way I look at it, if God didn't make it.....if you can't pull it out of the ground or off of a tree, or squeeze it out of a cow, it's processed.

But, that's just me...... :P

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I consider all of those things "processed". Any food that has been changed from it's natural state when harvested/slaughtered or had chemicals/preservatives added is processed. Some foods are more processed than others, IMO. The more ingredients (especially ingredients that you could not go out and pick/buy/grow yourself to duplicate the product in your own kitchen) the more processed the item has been (and probably the worse it is for you health-wise). Of the list you gave Lara Bars would probably be the least "processed" because they don't have added preservatives. You can buy all the ingredients in Lara Bars and play with making them in your kitchen yourself.

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Well, the way I look at it, if God didn't make it.....if you can't pull it out of the ground or off of a tree, or squeeze it out of a cow, it's processed.

But, that's just me...... :P

Well, I think Connie took it a little too far, because of course that would exclude meat since I don't think too many of us go around butchering our own animals (although we may catch and fillet our fish :) ). But she had the idea correct; it is anything that man hasn't messed with and added stuff to that nature didn't put there in the first place. If you buy a bag of rice, sure it has been "processed" into the bag, but if it hasn't been turned into "instant" rice or a rice mix, then I would consider it unprocessed.

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If anyone is super interested in learning about processed foods, I'd recommend reading Michael Pollan's books. To Connie's point, at the end of "Omnivore's Dilemma," he stages a dinner party where he serves only food he's gathered, grown, or hunted himself. Yes, you can find wild boar in Berkeley, California if you know the right people.

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. Yes, you can find wild boar in Berkeley, California if you know the right people.

Or know where to look :D Can't say as how I ever came across one, but I have come across coyotes at Anderson Dam, and bobcats and bears at Incline Village. Not to say that I am going to go hunting any of them :P I prefer someone else to catch my game for me - that's what men (except Sarah Palin) are for :rolleyes:

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That is a really interesting question -- and quite subjective! I pretty much say the fewer ingredients the better. I wouldn't consider a bag of rice or a bag of beans a "processed food" although they technically have been processed. I use dried foods (that I have dried myself or bought) a lot and I don't consider them over processed.

What about spices? Obviously the ones I pick aren't processed, but what about table salt or pepper?

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I'd even take it a little further and say that things w/ REAL foods as ingredients aren't processed. As soon as you start adding preservatives, stablizers, etc., it becomes processed.

I wouldn't consider 100% juice or bread made only w/ flour, water, salt and maybe eggs and oil or ice cream using only cream, sugar, and nuts/chocolate, etc., as processed food... like the Larabars thought.

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I think when people say try to eat "unprocessed" foods they mean simple stuff. Stuff without a lot of processing steps before you get it. The more steps needed to make it, the more likely it could be cross contaminated. Stuff without a lot of different ingredients, espcially ones you couldn't or wouldn't use. Example: Chicken broth: If the ingredients say chicken, salt, onion, carrot that's how you would make it yourself. When it starts to have "autolyzed yeast" and "artificial colors" its overprocessed. Plain spices that are just: "dried oregano" is pretty simple.

A few people go the whole way and grow and dry thier own oregano or make the chicken broth. Good for them. They have more energy or desire then I do.

So I think the moral of the story is: Eat as simply as possible and its better for you. Sometimes single ingredients you add to other single ingredients are easier to digest.

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Well, the way I look at it, if God didn't make it.....if you can't pull it out of the ground or off of a tree, or squeeze it out of a cow, it's processed.

But, that's just me...... :P

When I consider CC, it is Connie's definition I use. Once man gets involved...

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I eat only "unprocessed" foods - meaning, I do eat some packaged foods like Coconut milk, protein powders, etc., but I only buy it if it has natural ingredients. If it has a chemical, was packaged in a foreign country, etc, it goes back on the shelf. Mostly I try to eat organic veggies and meat, but I still makes smoothies, etc, where the former items I mentioned come in handy. In a perfect world, I would only eat things I could find at my local farmer's market.

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    • Hey Matt  thanks for your reply fellow Brit! I this is very interesting... I am very sensitive to cross contamination... e.g. A sieve wasn't washed properly when I lived at my mums so when I had drained my gluten-free pasta .. I hadn't even eaten the dish before I started to pass out and go dizzy and hot .. calling for my bf and mum ( they had a great team going when I would have an episode) it's horrendous!  The fatigue is something I imagine every coeliac suffers with! I have to nap a lot.  Ok so the booze I drink most of is -processo -amaretto -vodka, wine, cider (very rarely)  when I drink at home I'm fine!!!  I wonder if it's cross contamination from the bar or the level of alcohol?!  I also had a jäger bomb shot on Friday (looked it up and a lot of people say it's gluten-free)  it's a hard live but someone's got to do it!!  Thanks for the reply!  When you get poorly from gluten (and the other evil candidates) are you so bad you can't function and feel your body is about to snap?  Kind regards  steph 
    • Hi Steph and welcome I'm yet another Brit, funny how the alcohol threads flush us out I don't drink now but after a big night I used to get truly savage all day hangovers, much worse than those of my friends. They could include splitting headaches, vomiting, nausea, a 'fuzziness' in my head, sweats etc.  After I put the pieces together and went gluten free I had a 'big night' on cider only and the next day was a revelation. What I'd thought was a 'normal' hangover was, for me at least, anything but. With gluten out of the equation hangovers were a breeze! The difference was mind blowing and just one more example of how gluten had been messing with me over the years. So when I read your post my first thought was that there was some trace gluten contamination going on. However: Obviously you've been at the diet for some considerable time now and know the score. I know Coeliac UK are firmly of the opinion that all spirits are safe but some (note some this a contentious one :D) members here will tell you they react to gluten based grain spirits for instance which distillation should render safe.  Then there's the dangers of shared lines if you're drinking say Strongbow in a pub as alluded to above. Lastly it its wine, there's the often cited but maybe apocryphal these days 'flour to seal the casks' possibility. Finally there's bar snacks, maybe a brand of nuts etc that you snack on that may have changed their production process? I'm sure you've thought of these already, but it may be useful if you post your alcoholic drink choices / bar snack of choice up here maybe someone will have some input?.   The second thing which leapt out was: Would you class yourself as super sensitive to cross contamination etc? Firstly that would make the cross contamination theory more compelling. You could test that out by having a drink at home under controlled circumstances to see whether the same issue arises? That could also answer the quantity question. Does one safe drink trigger it, two, three etc? Finally, and this is one that I find difficult, knowing you have the gluten issue may lead you to assume it's that when it could be something else. I tend to attribute EVERYTHING in the world to gluten these days due to it being able to affect me in so many different ways. Crisis in Korea? Gluten. Russian tanks massing on the Ukrainian border? Check their wheat intake. Global warming? etc. So it may make sense to pursue some other ideas at the same time. Try:  http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/suddenly-drinking-alcohol-makes-me-sick http://www.steadyhealth.com/topics/very-abnormal-hangovers-thinking-it-could-be-allergy-to-alcohol and a doctor's answer: http://www.steadyhealth.com/medical-answers/abnormal-reactions-to-alcohol Cheers Sorry, best of luck! Matt  
    • Similarly, I've been vegetarian for 25+ years.  A 2015 Nature study connecting emulsifiers with microbiome changes has me wondering about the processed foods that I ate in the past, and I wonder about the wisdom of eating as much seitan as I did.  I mostly prefer my post-diagnosis diet since it forces me to consider every ingredient and to cook from scratch more.
    • LOL, that might put it into perspective if I explain it that way. 
    • I am very interested in this too. My daughter tested negative for celiac, but has terrible primarily neurological symptoms. Because she tested positive for SIBO at the time and was having some GI symptoms, I was told it was just a Fodmap issue.  I knew better and we have been gluten free for 2 years.  Fast forward to this February. She had a SIBO recurrence that I treated at home with diet and herbal antibiotics because I couldn't get the insurance referral. She was doing great. Then stupid me brought in gluten containing chick feed for the new baby chicks we got.   Feed dust everywhere. Total mess.  Really, no GI symptoms (she was SIBO free by then)...but the neurological symptoms! my daughter couldn't walk for three days. Burning down one leg, nerve pain in the foot. Also heaviness of limbs, headache and fatigue. Better after three days. But unfortunately she had a TINY gluten exposure at that three day mark and had another severe reaction: loss of balance, loss of feeling in her back and arms, couldn't see for a few seconds, and three days of hand numbness, fatigue, concentration problems.  Well, I actually contacted Dr. Hadjivassilou by email and he confirmed that the symptoms are consistent with gluten ataxia but any testing would require a gluten challenge. Even with these exposures, antibodies would not be high enough.  His suggestion was maintain vigilance gluten free.  I just saw my daughter's GI at U of C and she really only recognizes celiac disease and neurological complications of that. But my impression is that gluten ataxia is another branch in the autoimmune side of things (with celiac and DH being the other two).   At this point, I know a diagnosis is important. But I don't know how to get there. We homeschool right now so I can give her time to heal when she is accidentally glutened, I can keep my home safe for her (ugh, that I didn't think of the chicken feed!)  But at some point, she is going to be in college, needing to take exams, and totally incapacitated because of an exposure.  And doctors state side that are worth seeing?  Who is looking at gluten ataxia in the US?
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