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About Offthegrid

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  1. You and I are a lot alike -- before I had to go gluten-free, I virtually never cooked, and if I did, it was junk like Hamburger Helper or something.

    Now I find cooking dinner is fun, and I do some baking and cooking on the weekends to use during the week.

    I eat healthier than any of my co-workers, and I save a TON of money overall by not grabbing lunches or breakfasts out.

    Some easy meals:

    Put olive oil in a rectangular glass dish. Add some McCormick spices for chicken. Add chicken breast. Sprinkle spices on top. Cook about 25 minutes at 375 degrees. SO EASY! And pretty quick, too.

    Gluten-free pasta.

    Hamburgers with vegetables on side

    There are many easy options, and you'll learn as you go along.

    I virtually always eat breakfast at work (so NOT a morning person), and here's what I eat -- keep in mind I also can't have dairy and right now am not eating soy.


    2 pieces of fruit (I rotate among bananas, apples, oranges and grapes most of the time)


    Rice cake with peanut butter and jelly


    Homemade banana bread (see Ener-G tapica starch box for recipe)


    Soy-free tuna on spinach with gluten-free croutons from Gluten-Free Pantry


    Prebaked chicken on spinach with croutons


    Leftovers from previous night's dinner

  2. As you may know, I've been still getting sick, seemingly at random, and have now eliminated soy. But that has not ended the problem. And I think now I know what is irritating me.

    Fried potatoes.

    See, I usually just ate them Saturday and Sunday mornings with a big breakfast. But we're moving to our first house next weekend and have been making really quick (albeit unhealthy) meals. In the past three days, it's been gluten-free fried chicken with mashed potatoes, steak sandwiches with fried potatoes and then last night fried potatoes again.

    Each day I've gotten progressively sicker, and now my face is covered in breakouts and the Big D has returned.

    So, I'm virtually certain it's from the fryer.

    It's not used to fry gluten, so I'm pretty sure it's not cross-contamination from gluten. But in the past it did have vegetable oil in it, although we switched to corn when I went soy-free and scrubbed the fryer very good before the switch.

    This could be good news, because maybe I can have soy after all. But it still leaves me SO FRUSTRATED trying to figure out exactly what the irritant is.

    What do you think is the most likely irritant is here? Lingering vegetable oil? Fried food in general? Corn oil? Potatoes? (I'm thinking it's not potatoes because I don't get this irritated from mashed potatoes.)

  3. I didn't accept it for a while. I was angry and every time I was accidentally glutened, I found myself going on a gluten binge because "I was sick already anyhow." A silly attitude, but it was very tough for me in the beginning.

    I have found now that the longer I go gluten-free, the easier it is. I actually used to leave the room and sometimes cry if co-workers had bagels out in the break room. Now I don't even crave them at all and can easily sit through business lunches without raving jealousy or self-pity.

    The hardest part in my mind is the social aspect. I still get sick virtually every time I eat at a restaurant, no matter how careful I am to explain it.

    Hang in there and stick with it. Treat yourself with something really, really yummy if you have a craving. Want pizza - go get Amy's rice crust. Want a juicy burger? Make yourself one with lettuce as a wrapper. And if you want brownies, there are delicious, delicious mixes and recipes for them.

  4. Howdy - and welcome!

    I'm not up on all the test results and what they mean, but I'm sure someone else will come along to explain.

    I personally declined to have a biopsy after having a positive blood test. It is very obvious if I accidentally (or, in the beginning, purposefully) eat some gluten. You *could* do a gluten test if you go gluten-free for about a month, and then try some gluten. It is difficult in the beginning, however, to be completely gluten-free because it's hidden in so many things.

    On the parties. If you can, I'd offer to bring a dish and then serve yourself some before anybody else touches it so it's not contaminated. Some gluten-free potato chips can be a good standby, as well as veggies, but these also can be contaminated.

    As for dinners, if you feel comfortable, approach them about cooking at least one dish gluten-free. It can be difficult for people to comprehend, however. For now, maybe you could invite some friends over, cook everything gluten-free and talk about it?

    Good luck. Don't be too hard on yourself, especially in the beginning. It takes time to figure this stuff out.

    If you still find yourself getting sick and you're positive you've elimianted all the gluten, then you may have other intolerances. For me, that's dairy (casein) and soy. I'm working on eliminating soy with good results, but once in a while I find it slips in there even when I'm pretty careful, so still a learning process for me.

  5. Welcome, welcome, welcome! I am gluten- and casein-free and working on being soy-free, but that one keeps sneaking in there on me.

    My other half oscilates between being a super understanding totally wonderful guy to sometimes being insensitive. They have to go through an adjustment, too. Try not to let anything get in your way, but also let them be OK and not have to be afraid of stepping into the kitchen. You're both learning, and you'll get this.

    It's now to the point that my hubby knows what is gluten-free and isn't. In turn for him making me gluten-free dinners, I make him some delicious desserts, sometimes with gluten, for him to keep his sanity.

  6. I didn't feel well on a gluten-free diet and assumed for a long time that I was just getting glutened from some mysterious source. There may be some other foods that she is intolerant to, such as dairy and/or soy. I eliminated lactose, and felt better but still was getting sick. I had to eliminate anything with dairy in it (casein is a protein in milk many are intolerant to), and then felt better but still not 100 percent. Now I'm trying to be soy-free, but accidentally ate some the other day. Doh! It can take time and lots of trial and error to discover what are some "safe" foods.

    For now, she should try eating bland foods and then gradually add in other foods. But I'd avoid dairy altogether for at least 6 months to see how she feels. It's really tough at first but gets easier in time.

  7. I recently eliminated soy. I'm completley casein free, and challenged the soy idea a couple of times (both on purpose and by accident) and it's clearly the culprit. I was having some pretty sharp intestinal pain and that's completely gone. I'm very rarely gasey. And I've had more normal BMs this week than in 6 months. But still some symptoms now and then, so there might be a bit of soy slipping in.

    It's in a lot of stuff, but at least it has to be on the label. So far luckily only one of my McCormick spices has soy (hamburger seasoning).

  8. When I eat dairy, my symptoms were very much like when I ate gluten. For a long time, I simply assumed I was getting glutened somewhere.

    Try eliminating ALL dairy. Quite a few people on this board did that and then were able to reintroduce dairy after 6 months. I've only eliminated casein (the protein in dairy -- not talking about lactose here) a few months ago but then also had to eliminate soy.

  9. I was like that, too. After going gluten-free and lactose free, I found myself asking what the heck is going on here. I was so angry because I wasn't eating gluten, but I was still getting sick. Very, very, very frustrating.

    Casein was the No. 1 culprit for me, not lactose. That means no butter, either, and gotta watch all margarines for any dairy.

    Now I've gone off soy, and there has been a dramatic, dramatic improvement. I've had 3 days of normal bathroom trips, but one relapse but I believe was a soy CC. I'm not bloated. No headaches. My face has exploded in acne, but the same thing happened when I initially went casein-free.

    Try eliminating ALL dairy and see what happens. If that doesn't do it, try eliminating ALL soy. I've read that 40% of people who are casein-intolerant are also soy-intolerant (not sure what that research is based on, though). Soy is hidden in a *lot* of things -- salad dressings, sauces, spices, margarines, vegetable oil -- just like gluten, so it took me a good two weeks just to identify every food that I routinely ate that had soy in it.

    I have then heard of people who could reintroduce soy or dairy after 6 months to a year of abstaining. I'm certainly hoping that is the case with me -- I miss ice cream.

  10. Two lactose ingredients in Seasonique, which I'm currently taking:

    anhydrous lactose, yellow no. 10 aluminum lake, FD&C blue no. 1 aluminum lake, FD&C yellow no. 6/Sunset yellow aluminum lake, hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate,

    microcrystalline cellulose, titanium dioxide and triacetin.

    I'm guessing those two lactose ingredients aren't good, but I couldn't get anyone from the company on the phone.

    When I first went gluten-free, I tried to research it and it was impossible because none of these dimwits easily post allergy information on the Web.

    Does anyone know of a GFCFSF birth control pill? I originally tried the ring when I first went gluten-free, but I *hated* it and I don't want to go back to that.

  11. I got slightly sick yesterday, but was better by this morning. There are only two culprits I can think of, and one of them would be the Spice Islands pumpkin pie spice. I'm going to kick myself if after all this time it contains gluten. I have to buy more and will likely look for McCormick to be safe, but the Spice Islands was so good.

    Anyone know if this one is gluten-free? The ingredients just say "spices" and that's it, but I bought it before the new FDA rules took effect.

  12. I'm sure it's impossible to believe this now, but soon you won't even crave bread. In the beginning I was dying for it, or a good bagel, but now I don't even care. What I do enjoy is muffins (although haven't tried that since going soy-free) and yummy banana bread.

    Breakfast was definitely the hardest meal for me. These days I usually eat fruit.

    But to give you a glimpse of how much easier it gets, today I had to attend a business breakfast and watch everyone eat muffins, donuts and bagels. Didn't even bother me. I just had some orange juice and delicious grapes. yeah, sounds far-fetched to hear it now, but hang in there.

    Also, gluten-free brown rice pasta is YUMMY! You won't even notice a difference. I'd avoid the corn pasta.

  13. This is thinking waaaay ahead, but anyhow. I am dx'd gluten intolerant based on blood test but elected not to have the endoscopy. My brother has it. My aunt has it. I believe my mother (not related to aunt) has it along with other food intolerances but she refuses to be tested.

    I am certain my hubby has it, but he had a negative blood test so he refuses to give up gluten even for 2 weeks. So there is a high likelihood that if we have children, they would also be gluten intolerant.

    Has anyone just purposely kept their kids off gluten as infants and toddlers? When *would* you do a test of gluten? (By test, I mean giving the kid food with gluten in it and seeing if there is a reaction.)

  14. It is *really* overwhelming at first, and no one seems to understand. I know I felt that way for a long time, and still I meet terribly insensitive and stupid people -- but it doesn't bother me as much now.

    You can subscribe to a gluten-free list -- I forget the name of the Web site, though.

    I'd recommend writing down a list of basic products you want to buy, and then looking them up on the manufacturer's Web site. Many of the big companies now will state on the Web site if a product is gluten-free. Kraft does not hide gluten. And McCormick will clearly label the spices if any gluten is present.

    I'd also go dairy-free immediately, too.

    Like other posters said, your best bet in the beginning is to stick with plain meats, veggies, fruits and nuts. If you seem to react to fruit, maybe try eliminating citrus?

    Keeping a food diary will help. For me, it sometimes takes 2 or more days to react to something, so you may have to look back a while. I know for others it can take longer to react.

    I react to soy, also, but just assumed I was still getting glutened.