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Welda Johnson

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About Welda Johnson

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    Escondido, California

  1. I joined this forum for the first time in 2000 or 2001.  Have spent the past 12 years going through the same things as all of you in the posts above, I always think it will get easier, and, certainly, at times it does seem easier, but it seems that being intolerant of all grains, all milk & dairy, egg whites, yeast, casein, whey, maltodextrin, modified food starch and msg is definitely a daily challenge.  Learning to cook almost all foods at home and to be so diligent when eating out have been two concerns.  Reading those tiny ingredient labels always makes me wish I had a magnifying glass at the store, and figuring out new and appetizing recipes keeps my brain functioning continuously, but, I think, the greatest challenge is mixing with other people socially, because just about each and every social activity centers upon food.  "Oh, you can't eat that?' or "Can't you have just a little bit?" seem to be common responses, and then the lengthy explanations begin, but I must say that more and more people are now aware of their intolerances, and are living with the same challenges we do.  Today I read about the flak Gwyneth Paltrow is taking for keeping her two kids on special diets because of gluten and milk allergies.  To those of us who are working so hard to be healthy, and to encourage others to do the same, I send special greetings this Memorial Day.  We are still here, and we are still working to be strong.  Happy Day! 

  2. Thirteen years into being gluten and milk & dairy free, I also had to stop all foods except fruits and vegetables because of asthma, gout & rheumatoid arthritis.  This morning I took my grandson to a fairly new bakery in Escondido, CA, 30 miles north of San Diego.  All the pastries contained milk, so those were out, but they offered breads that were acceptable.  It is called, "Gluten Not Included," on Centre City Parkway in Escondido.  Maybe the lady would be a resource you'd like to contact.


    I've found that if you just switch your entire household over to gluten free, it saves so much grief.  As a previous person who posted said, make sure you check them too.  I ordered tests from Enterolab on the internet.  i offer you my condolences on this "change of direction" in your life, and since I once worked at a bakery during the day, and an ice cream parlor at night, and couldn't eat any of the products, I do appreciate how satisfying it was to see the smiles on the faces of those enjoying the foods and the experience.  I know I would have a huge smile on my face if someone offered pastries and bakery items that we could eat.  I think that sometimes those "changes of direction" work out just as they're meant to.  I hope you have smooth sailing during this transition time.  Please email me at welda@att.net if I can offer brands of foods that work, or even encouragement.  Best wishes, Welda

  3. I can understand how desperate you might have felt during your times of transitioning to a gluten free diet.  I've been gluten free since 2000 and also had to eliminate all milk & dairy products, meats, etc., so am now vegan.  It used to really bother me when people were not accepting of my sometimes futile efforts to get this disease (and I also have asthma, gout & rheumatoid arthritis) under control.  I would get so angry at times that I would stay home rather than go out to social events.


    Now, 13 years later, I have learned that it is usually because most people have no idea about what celiac disease is, or food intolerances, or diseases that you can't readily see, so they simply respond without having any knowledge of what we are going through.  I used to think that if I went to a family gathering or a social event, the person putting together the party would remember that I could only eat limited items.  That didn't work!  Finally I began taking along foods I liked and could eat, even to restaurants, and that solved all those problems, and allowed me to have fun, rather than being angry.  Sometimes my food was better than what I was seeing being served. 


    I also bought tests from Enterolab for my immediate family members, since celiac is a genetic condition.  The one person who proved to have celiac hasn't made any dietary changes, and has experienced thyroid cancer and colon polyps which were thought to be cancerous, conditions which I've read can be a result of celiac disease.  Thank God it wasn't colon cancer.  BUT, now, nine years after those tests, some family members are getting tired of stomach aches, rashes, serious illnesses, and are beginning to change their diets.  Sometimes progress takes longer than we would hope for, but I am gratified to have been doing the best I could to help others.


    This disease makes one less of a "people pleaser," and a stronger, more vocal individual.  As you're sitting eating the delectable meal you brought along, in a group, someone always notices and makes a comment.  Now I can smile and be happy with what I've brought.  One of my challenges for myself is to find as many new products as possible, each and every day.  I read every ingredient on every label that I think might be a "new find."  I float on air as I'm leaving the store, satisfied that my search has been fruitful and successful. 


    Be kind to yourself.  Experts say that one out of every 133 Americans has gluten intolerance, and, believe me, there are tons more gluten free products on the market now than in 2000.  We ARE making progress.  Watch for the changes and you will certainly see, and most likely, you "went the extra mile" to make those changes happen.  Best wishes.  Welda 

  4. Hmm, some of my replies aren't showing up.....

    I was telling my grandson yesterday that I had had the Playmate Ice Chest I carry with me for 20 years, and it really makes life easier.  I can only eat fruits and vegetables because of serious food allergies, so it is a challenge.  I take orange juice in small containers with a twist-off lid, and even eat frozen orange juice with a spoon.  Pickles are good to take.  I take green salad mixed with a topping of sauteed garlic, green onions & mushrooms, and some Walden Farm's mayonnaise.  Walden Farms products have no calories, carbs or protein, and there are syrups; jams; marshmallow, chocolate & caramel toppings; salad dressings and dips.  You can see the selection on the internet at Walden Farms.  Corn tortillas work and any soy product that doesn't contain wheat.  So many of the "vegetarian" replacement products have "vital wheat gluten."  Rice or soy ice cream is a possibility if you keep the ice chest really cold.  I also eat Vegan Gourmet soy cheese, but only the mozarella.  The others have someting in them that bothers me.  At Trader Joe's you can get "This is not a tub of sour cream, this is a tub of non-dairy spread."  Food for Life makes gluten free English Muffins.  Purely Decadent makes vanilla soy ice cream bars covered with chocolate.  And I found the best veggie burger the other day at Jimbo's Market--called "Hilary's Veggie Burger."

    So good.   I make meatless enchiladas, tacos or tamales, and sometimes have a small serving of rice or beans.  Fresh fruits & vegetables with dip and cooked vegetables that were leftover from other meals also work.   I've been eating gluten free & milk and dairy free since 2000.   Best wishes to you!


  5. Looks like the Jumbo have a different set of ingredients & that must be what Welda gets.

    These are the regular dogs


    Water, soy protein isolate, vital wheat gluten, evaporated cane syrup, salt, potassium chloride, yeast extract, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, wheat), carrageenan, dried garlic, natural smoke flavor, natural flavor (from plant sources), xanthan gum, fermented rice flour, guar gum, oleoresin paprika (color).

    Contains: Soy, wheat.

    No, I also get the regular, and I thought maybe it was the Jumbo that had the wheat.  I live in Escondido, CA, and get them at Trader Joe's.  I live 30 miles north of Escondido.  Hope you all can find the ones with soy--they are great!

  6. Welda, I just checked and they are not gluten free...made with wheat...

    My Lightlife Smart Dogs show the following ingredients:  water, soy protein isolate, soybean oil, evaporated cane syrup, pea protein isolate, tapioca starch, salt, potassium chloride, Baker's Yeast Estract, carageenan, dried garlic, natural flavor (from plant sources), natural smoke flavor, xanthan gum, fermented rice flour, guar gum, oleoresin, paprika (color).  Contains: SOY

  7. I'm from San Diego County, California, and I, too, shop each day, but today broccoli was $1.49 a pound, and lettuce was $1.69 each. Since I can only eat fruits and vegetables, I have an orange juice with fresh pineapple smoothie each day, using one whole pineapple & one can of frozen orange juice. That's $5.00 for one person, right there. Mushrooms are $3.00 or more per pound, and I agree with you, by looking around you will discover cheaper prices the more aware you become. Today I found an extra large jar of minced garlic at $4.99, which would have much costlier elsewhere. What a challenge this is, but what a wonderful way to live, because this morning, since strictly adhering to this diet, I laughed and thought, "I feel as though I could do gymnastics today!" And I'm 68. I'm still stretching every food in every way I can. Good luck and best wishes.

  8. Having struggled with these issues since the late 1970s, let me tell you, I have had to become numb to being called "weird," "eccentric," and who knows what else? But by rigidly sticking to my diet, I am no longer frequently in the hospital, as I used to be. No grains, milk & dairy, egg whites, yeast, maltodextrin, msg, casein, whey, and now no meats either. I am officially vegan because of food intolerances, but I am able to breathe, walk every day, work, and sleep well. Oh yes, digestion is often a dilemma, and a few other things, but I can live with those. You'll never know how many years it took me to become immune to what other people were saying and doing because of my food intolerances. Now, however, they don't even have to be concerned with what I am eating, because I've taken the complete responsibility for my well-being onto my own shoulders, and I always take my own food, my own containers, my own plastic-lined purse in case of spills, and my own cheerful attitude, knowing that I have chosen foods which will benefit my health, which are allowed on my regimen, and which are guaranteed to taste great and leave me better off than before I ate.

    At Christmas, while the whole family was having prime rib and cheesy potatoes, I was eating chinese vegetables and a yam, which I had prepared at home and brought along. No problem! I still think of how good that prime rib looked and smelled, and how luscious those cheesy potatoes appeared, but my mind is now in tune with my body, and I enjoyed my dinner to the fullest. Oh, "...to the fullest!" Ha. That's for sure, because I was so full I wasn't even tempted to look longingly at the cheesecake they served for dessert, just took a glance and walked away.

    The way to solve the problems we've discussed is to make sure they are not a problem at all. You have the power to do just that! Make the best, most mouth-watering foods you can imagine, and, soon, those issues will seem to have just dissolved. I'll be waiting to hear how you're doing.

  9. I have Celiac Disease, Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and gout, which IS Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am female, 68, but mostly men suffer from gout, so I was surprised when that diagnosis came in. I've had Asthma since the age of 8 and probably Celiac always, but the gout and arthritis came in 2002 after I went vegan. I am now strictly fruits and vegetables, because when I touch chicken, fish, turkey or meat, within one day I have pain in my right leg from rheumatoid arthritis so bad that I have a hard time walking. If I continue eating those, the pain extends to my whole body and I also get so congested that I have a hard time breathing. Yes, nightshade vegetables also aggravate the arthritis (tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant). So, no grains, milk & dairy, egg whites, yeast, maltodextrin, msg, casein, whey, and, recently, asparagus, cauliflower and spinach, which experts say aggravate gout, which is evidenced by a throbbing, inflamed, painful big toe.

    Here's the good news--if I walk an hour each day, stay on this strict diet, and drink a lot of liquids, I feel good. I also sleep well. There IS hope. The arthritis CAN go away, in my opinion. Our bodies will tell us what we need. It is probably different for each person, but I hope that your daughter learns what she can tolerate, and ends up healthy and happy!

  10. I've been gluten-free, milk & dairy free, egg white and yeast free, maltodextrin, msg, casein & whey free since 2000, though the casein dilemma threw me for a loop until I learned that is what was causing some of my problems! There is ONE cheese that I know of that has no casein or whey, and it even melts. That is VEGAN GOURMET mozarella. But, any other cheese made by VEGAN GOURMET is not safe. Good luck with this journey!

  11. Our family is going through this right now. There are 3 health food stores in our town, and we are able to find everything we need. I've been gluten-free, milk & dairy free, and no egg whites, yeast, maltodextrin or msg since 2000. What I've found is to S-T-R-E-T-C-H whatever you're making in any way you can. Adding bits of water to things like mustard, salad dressing, ketchup, sauces, etc. helps. Eating fruits and vegetables used to be the solution, but today broccoli is $2.99 a lb., asparagus is $4.99 a lb., and even spinach is $1.79 a bunch, which is amazing, so we've got to be more creative than ever.

    Since those 3 health food stores are within walking distance from my home, I keep track of which products are the cheapest where, and still it's a real challenge. Mushrooms are healthy but somewhat expensive, so I stretch them by sauteeing them with garlic, green onions and scallions, water chestnuts, peeled cucumbers, celery, red bell peppers, green chiles, or sometimes whatever is the cheapest. Yesterday, big red bell peppers were 3 for $1.00, which I also thought was amazing, in the opposite way. Rice is pretty inexpensive, and adding green onions, cheaper green vegetables, zucchini, corn, etc. to it works well. I bought vegetable broth once for $4.00 but now I make my own by boiling any vegetables I have in a large pan of water, and adding Kitchen Bouguet, which is a soup extender that my mother taught me about years ago. It's so much cheaper and gives a good beef flavor (I am vegan, so don't eat meat).

    There is only one cheese that I can use, and it's Vegan Gourmet Mozarella, at $4.49 a package. The yeast-free bread is $7.49. Soy hot dogs cost $2.99 so that's reasonable, and they're good on corn tortillas. Hey, that's how I stretch some things, is to roll them in a slightly sauteed corn tortilla or a cold piece of romaine lettuce instead of a gluten-free bread, which doesn't agree with me because of the potato flours they so often use. Reading labels to avoid casein & whey in cheese and other products is essential, along with whatever intolerances you have. Sure wish I had a magnifying glass at all times though, because some of the print is so small. I do a lot of cooking at home, and that seems to help. I'm very leery of eating out because you never know what is going on.

    Soy Delicious ice cream is great, and I also cut up corn tortillas and make my own corn chips. I add spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce to crushed nuts and use that as a dip with the chips. Walden Farms makes a broad array of salad dressings, pancake syrups, jams, toppings, etc. with no carbs, no calories, no protein. Check them out if you have a chance. Also, Mexican markets and Asian markets sometimes have much cheaper produce because they sell in volume. Seaweed wraps are about $2.99 a package and taste great with vegetables inside. La Choy makes gluten-free soy sauce.

    I suggest taking several large boxes and filling them with everything gluten-free and milk & dairy free you can find in your cupboards first. Then purchase whatever is missing to round out a couple of weeks of eating, or at least one week, because success is all in the planning. When you have the foods there you will be more and more likely to stick to the diet and really enjoy eating. Write out all the foods you like that are gluten free and milk and dairy free, then plan your breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Put the foods where they're convenient to reach. Limit your utensils and pans to as few as possible. Cook as many foods at once as you can, cross-referencing the ingredients for use in more than one dish. Sample as you go along. Eat every couple of hours. Drink lots of water. Play music as you're cooking. Talk to your family and get them involved. Keep a routine schedule of preparing, serving and eating. Ask for feedback. Try new foods. Check as often as possible to see what the prices are. Good luck!

  12. I remember standing in the grocery aisle reading the Orville Redenbacher packages and determining that I couldn't have them, though now I don't remember what was in it. Instead, I buy bulk popcorn at the Health Food Store. It's much cheaper and I do fine with it every time. I also never eat anything with casein, whey, or any kind of milk product. Hope this helps.

  13. Hi,

    In answer to what intolerances others have, and what others eat, I will add my information. I eat meat, fruits & vegetables, and sometimes I only eat fruits & vegetables. I'm 65, have had Celiac symptoms since age 8, and have been on a strict diet for the past 8 years or so.

    I am intolerant of all grains, all milk & dairy, egg whites, yeast, casein, whey, msg, etc. Being diligent about reading labels is so important. Here's how I eat:

    Breakfast until lunch: pineapple or papaya or strawberries or kiwi or oranges or any fruit or berry; one fruit at a time, as much as I want, waiting 2 hours between fruits (the high-enzyme fruits cause your food from the day before to digest quickly--it really works).

    Lunch and Dinner: green salad or vegetables of any kind (cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, etc.); refried beans, rice, corn tortillas. NO PROTEINS WITH THIS COMBINATION OF FOODS, ALL DAY!


    Lunch and Dinner: green salad and any LOW-CARB vegetables (asparagus, lettuce, green onions, tomatoes, etc.) and ANY PROTEINS OF CHOICE (chicken, fish, turkey, etc.) NO HIGH-CARB VEGETABLES, RICE OR BEANS WITH THIS COMBINATION OF FOODS, ALL DAY.

    So I make my choice of foods for the day, then stick with that choice until the next day. It is EASY to go out to restaurants eating this way, because I know exactly what I want and how I want it fixed. It's either a restaurant with Mexican food & salad, or a restaurant with proteins & salad. I just have to remember to say, "No cheese or croutons on anything please."

    I take my own Walden Farms Salad Dressing along (no calories, carbs or protein--kind of like eating water, only it tastes just like good salad dressing--they also make a chocolate syrup and a strawberry syrup with no calories, carbs or proteins--amazingly good).

    So, hope you have good luck with your new way of eating, and that you feel lots better. Best wishes, Welda P.S. If you let me know, I will put on a chocolate pudding recipe made with eggplant or squash, that tastes just like normal pudding!

  14. I feel your pain! At age 65 Ive been on a diet of meat, fruits & vegetables, or just fruits & vegetables for about 8 years, but have had Celiac symptoms since age 8. Sticking to this diet WILL get easier, and your likes & dislikes in food may change drastically, as you begin to feel better. Checking ingredients on labels, and becoming aware that you might be intolerant of other foods, such as milk & dairy, egg whites, yeast, casein/whey, msg, etc. will be beneficial. Here are the foods I eat regularly:

    Breakfast until 11:00: pineapple, papaya, strawberries, oranges, etc. Fruit only.

    Lunch: green salad with tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, etc. Walden Farms no calories, no carbs, no protein Salad Dressing from Henry's Markets; cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, refried beans, rice.


    Green salad as above or low-carb green vegetables, and protein (tuna, chicken, fish, etc.). I never mix high-carb foods with proteins.

    Dinner: Same as lunches = no mixing of high carb foods & proteins.

    From your comments, I take it that your food stays with you awhile. The strategy of eating high-enzyme fruits all morning (one variety at a time, as much as you want, waiting 2 hours to start a new fruit) really changes your body's ability to use the nutrients and get rid of the non-essential parts of the food. It is amazing how such small changes make such large differences. Likewise, never mixing high-carb foods with proteins helps the food to move through your system so much more quickly.

    Best wishes for success as you begin your new, healthier way of life. Welda

  15. It's good to see so many new people here--Welcome! I've been gluten free for quite a long time, and one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that our own health MUST come first. I usually take my own food wherever I go, and, finally, hardly anyone ever says anything anymore. They have just become accustomed to the fact that I can only eat meat, fruits & vegetables, and even then I have to be very careful about how things are prepared. I'm actually thinking that they are pretty glad that the pressure is now taken off of them. No one wants to make another person sick with their cooking, or even when taking someone out for a nice meal. Chicken & salad with tomatoes or salad with refried beans & rice have proven to work for me at restaurants lately, so that is a relief. I just have to be diligent in remembering to say, "No cheese, croutons, etc. on anything!" I take along my own salad dressing or seasoning salt, so that is another precaution. It does become much easier as time goes by, and as you realize that you can feel good again. It's up to you to be persistent, and by taking your own health seriously, other people will take you seriously too. Best wishes for excellent health and a new life filled with joy. Welda

  16. Lucky you. On Easter I ate ham with nothing else. Couldn't even eat the potatos au graten. I wish I could just do the cooking. <_<


    I'm so proud of you for taking care of your own health first. After being on this diet for several years, I can honestly say that taking our own food along is really the only way we can be sure that we will be safe. I noticed last week as I tried to explain to a friend that I would bring my own lunch when I come to her house next week for a group luncheon, that she was highly resistant, until I just kept pressing the point that these food intolerances are serious. Up to then she apparently hadn't even known I had food intolerances, but now she does, and I will tell her more as time goes by, even though I've known her for years and years. It takes patience, persistence, and the belief that we are worth the fight that it takes to convince people that our own health must come before anything else if we are to truly survive and thrive. Good work! Welda

  17. Hi,hope you're doing well today. I can relate to so many of the things you said. After quite a few years of being on a diet similar to yours (no grains, milk, dairy, egg whites, yeast, msg, casein, whey, etc. etc. etc.) I am finally accustomed to eating this way. But, I got glutened last week, on a bottle of shrimp sauce I thought was safe. Not so.

    My grandson and I spent last week laughing about a lady on tv's blooper when she said, "Did you get up on the wrong side of the bread?" Thought you might appreciate a little humor. As I watched Boston Legal today I noticed that all the characters on that show who are in my age range (I'm 65) carry more weight than I do. I am less than five feet tall, so it is easy to gain a few pounds here and there, something I did this week and was chastising myself for. Seeing those Hollywood stars heavier than I am gave me a new perspective, and reminded me that I am often very hard on myself.

    So here's a pat on the back for you, for me, and for each and every person who spent today, Easter Sunday, trying to stick to their diets and live a happy life. How many non-Celiacs could find the stamina to stick to this diet? Even those who think they may be genetically at-risk for Celiac often don't want to even discuss the diet, or, Heaven forbid, think of imposing all these restrictions upon themselves. I think we're pretty good for sticking to this for one day, much less a lifetime. Hurray for all us Celiacs.

  18. Hi Clint,

    Welcome to a new life! I'm 65 and have only known for a few years, though, of course, I had the symptoms since age 8. Meats, fruits, and vegetables. They work. No casein, whey, egg whites, milk or dairy, msg, and the list goes on. Be aware of all those other items which could bother you. I'm happy for you that you have learned fairly early on what you have. I substitute corn flour for anything which calls for wheat or grains. Best wishes as you recover and face your new and challenging lifestyle.

  19. Hi,

    I have been gluten free for YEARS, so I was so surprised last week to be feeling really lousy after lunch a couple of days in a row. Come to find out, the shrimp sauce I thought was okay was not--it listed WHEAT as an ingredient! I think now I must go back to square one and really be diligent about reading the ingredients in everything. Hope you are doing great today and that you are getting over being glutened. Good ending to my story was that I slept like a baby last night, once that was all out of my system. Best wishes.

  20. I learned of my casein & whey intolerances the hard way. I ate soy cheese that I thought was safe because it was labeled "dairy-free." Then I endured the consequences, which in my case meant severe asthma. I had already eliminated all grains, all milk & dairy, egg whites, yeast, msg, and modified food starch from grain. Later I found Vegesoy non-dairy cheese, with no casein or whey, and the problem was solved. Now I search labels diligently for casein or whey or any of the above items. Hope you are able to learn what is causing your discomfort. Best wishes. Welda

  21. I have antibodies to Caesin, I've been tested. I can tell you my symptoms are within 15 minutes of consumption, and it is intense joint pain. It is never "sometimes". It doesn't matter if it is a tiny bit of dairy or a moderate amount, the symptoms are always the same. So it's really hard to say either way, you just have to listen to your body. Lactose free or not, I still have intense joint pain. It's almost harder for me to give up the dairy than it is the gluten. I know the gluten is going to kill me, but the dairy just makes me miserable. Even dairy free cheese (still has caesin) sends me in agony. That is my reaction, so you might stay away for a while and then try one more time and see if you get the same reaction.

  22. Kayo,

    Welcome to the site! Life will get easier now. I'm 65 and have Celiac symptoms since age 8 but, of course, no doctors ever came up with a diagnosis of Celiac. Just as with you, I had to do research and come to the conclusion myself what I could and couldn't eat. Then in 2000 a nurse read my chart, saw my list of food intolerances, and said, "Oh you have Celiac." I had heard that term before, but after that I got on this site and learned more, then really began being serious about the fact that I could only tolerate meats, fruits & vegetables. Sometimes I stick with fruits & vegetables only. I think when that anger arises, you might try getting in touch with your inner pain about the whole thing, because I heard yesterday that anger is unresolved pain. Flow with the sadness--those tears are ever so healing. This journey with Celiac eventually becomes an adventure, and it is so nice that we are all in this together. Best wishes to you! Welda