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  1. Anything in particular you need a substitute for? The first month is very hard, but soon you'll have a repertoire of safe foods you enjoy, and gluten-free will be second nature to you.

    One tip I'd add to the excellent advice above: keep snacks on hand! When you're out, you don't want to be stuck somewhere, hungry & not knowing where you can eat. Bring an energy bar (I like Larabars & Kind Bars), trail mix, chips, whatever works for you. Eventually you'll know what chains and local places are safe, but for now, hunger can be a bewildering feeling! It also helps to have treats at home for when the munchies hit - it just makes it so much easier not to cheat or get frustrated if you have things you like to eat on hand. Don't rely entirely on junk food of course - gluten-free cookies are still cookies! - but having some yummy stuff on hand sure makes you feel better. =)

    As for the taste being different, well, yes and no. There are honestly a lot of awful gluten-free products out there, especially the older brands likely to show up in supermarkets, but there are really great ones, too. New products are coming out all the time.

    Not sure about the dizzyness - did you cut back on calories, or make any major changes from your usual protein/carb balance? I have heard some people have a sort of withdrawal reaction from gluten. If that's it, your body will adjust, but you may want to check with your doctor if you're not sure.

    Just remember, this will be so worth it when the gluten-free lifestyle gives you your health back! It won't be instant - you've got years of damage to heal - but with luck you'll notice changes within the next few weeks. I was lucky, and it was only a few days, but don't be discouraged if it takes longer. It's so empowering to be able to "fix" yourself, just by eating differently. Best of luck to you!

  2. What are you favorite clueless quotes from gluten-eaters?

    Here was my day:

    Relative: "What can't you eat in the lasagna?"

    Me: "The cheese, and the pasta."

    Relative: "Oh... But I made it with whole wheat pasta, I thought maybe you could eat that."

    I wish I could say that was the first person who thought whole wheat was okay after I explain "I can't eat even the slightest trace of wheat." I don't get people!! Oh, I'm patient with them, and I resist the urge to scream and/or bust out laughing before explaining that whole wheat is wheat. Who'da thunkit? ;)

    Oh, and then there's "Huh. This gluten-free stuff you made isn't actually that bad." Lol, thanks for the high praise of my culinary skill! Nevermind that it was basically beans & veg sauteed with garlic, which shouldn't have gluten in the first place... Call it gluten-free and it must be disgusting. Ah, if only they knew how well I eat :D

    After a nutty afternoon with the family, I needed to vent among people who know better!!

  3. Took a quick weekend trip to the Bethlehem Pennsylvania area. I didn't find many gluten-free places looking online, but found a few on Urban Spoon. We chose Relish and Sagra and liked both.

    Relish is in Allentown PA. It's an upscale lunch counter type place, very sunny and pleasant. We both had salads with chicken, great fresh ingredients and perfectly cooked, juicy grilled chicken. I had the Thai and loved it - sweet, but not too sweet. The highlight was the sweet potato fries! They confirmed the fries are cooked in dedicated oil & gluten-free. YAY! Haven't had sweet potato fries in a year and a half, and these were really good - crispy and tasty. They seemed pretty knowledgeable about the ingredients.

    Sagra is in Hellertown (very short drive from Bethlehem). They only serve dinner, somewhat to our surprise when we tried to get in at 1:30. The food was delicious and the cocktails I loved - the cucumber martini was top-notch, and the grapefruit was good as well. Nice-looking wine list. The BBQ duck was really good and Gluten-free Casein-free by default (I think). I didn't ask aabout other gluten-free options since the duck was what I wanted, but it seemed like a place that would happily accommodate special requests (the chef came out to talk with the guests and seemed very eager to please).

    Since we're used to Manhattan prices both places seemed like bargains, but I'm not sure if locals would feel the same.

  4. I've had good luck with Red Robin, but I always go to the same location (Clifton NJ) - maybe it varies from place to place. I ask for the allergy book when I walk in, but then I always order the exact same thing ;) The book has a section for gluten, which I have to cross-reference with the section for dairy (better than flying blind, like I have to do with most gluten-free menus). I know the gluten-free menu says to order everything without the seasoning - I wouldn't want it anyway, it's so full of MSG. I don't order the fries bc I don't think they're in a dedicated fryer - not sure - besides, the steamed veg they sub are really tasty & colorful. I love the lettuce wrapped burgers and my glutenous fiance orders them that way too now. My order is always: guac burger with bacon, no cheese, no seasoning, lettuce wrap, no fries, sub steamed vegetables. Complicated, but I've never had an order come out wrong. (Oddly, I think the guac is awful on its own, too, but it's good on the burger).

  5. Ugh, I get so riled up when I hear that a gluten-free diet is somehow inadequate. I just have a hard time believing it. But then, I've been focusing on the naturally gluten-free foods, and avoiding white rice as much as possible, so my diet is meats, fish, beans, vegetables, nuts... Of course if you continue to eat white bread and refined starches, you're not eating well... But who doesn't know that already, gluten-free or not?

    I do agree though that I eat more baked goodies now, because I figure I "deserve" my treats. hehehe Plus, since I always liked doing things the hard way, I find baking to be a fun challenge now. But hey, I use pretty nutrient-rich flours at least...

  6. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced loss of appetite as a result of being glutened. I'm not nauseous and my digestive symptoms have been pretty mild, but for the past several days I just feel disinterested/vaguely turned off by food. Sometimes I will feel hungry, but at the same time want nothing to do with food.

    It's been several days... don't know whether to blame this on the evil G or if I'm coming down with something. I could've been hit over the weekend - I ate out several times.

  7. this is what i got from the company. I didn't realize the same company made so many different products (arrowhead mills, deboles, celestial). I'll be taking everything they say with a grain of salt now:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our Rice Dream Beverage. We strive to maintain the highest quality products and appreciate your patronage.

    Analytical testing methods and detection limits have improved over the years. Recent testing shows that the Rice Dream Beverages, as well as the barley protein used to make the product, meet gluten free requirements. We have always maintained a conservative stance regarding gluten in the beverages. The same rigorous standards now allow us to declare them gluten free.

    Thank you for your continued support. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us at 1-800-434-4246, Monday through Friday from 7AM - 5PM Mountain Time.


    Consumer Relations Representative


    I don't care how little they think is safe. It should be disclosed. I'm so disgusted. People may say "Oh, I don't feel a reaction" but that does NOT mean that low-level damage is not occurring.

  8. Had a chance to check out LaPiazza in Nutley on Monday night. I had the linguine w red clam sauce made with the gluten-free penne. It was delicious, and the texture of the pasta was perfect. I was pleased to see the clams were served in their shells, not canned. It's not a dish I usually order so i can't compare it to other places, but I just couldn't get enough of the sauce. I actually cleaned my plate for once!

    The service was a little... laid-back. It was a monday night, so I don't know if maybe the usual waitstaff wasn't around - seemed like the manager was the waiter. Honestly, I didn't grill him extensively (as I should have) about the food's gluten-free-ness, and I can't really comment on whether I reacted to it, because I was already reacting to something I'd eaten on the weekend. :P But I will be back again at some point, and hope to hear from anyone else who's eaten there.

  9. I stumbled across a listing for La Piazza on NJ.com - "gluten-free" was one of its "cuisine types" listed! That restaurant is right by my house (I'm in Clifton) so I called and was told they offer a gluten-free penne pasta. The guy on the phone didn't sound like he knew much about it (and I was calling from work) so I didn't grill him for details.

    Has anyone eaten at La Piazza? Are they well-trained ?? :) Apparently they have two branches - if you have eaten there, which one did you go to?

    I'm excited, bc in my pre-Gluten-free Casein-free days we liked Casa Turano, which is the casual "pizza joint" branch of the restaurant right next door. It'd be awesome to have one or both of those as a quick-dinner option near home.

  10. I am a 21 year old female who has been gluten free for a little over a year. After still having symptoms I had a thyroid sonogram and found several nodules too. I was convinced I had hypothyroidism because I had all the symptoms too, but my endocrinologist said the blood work was normal. He didn't seem too concerned about the nodules and said to come back in a year.

    I think the nodules could be caused by Celiac but I don't know either.

    Alibell - Do you know what your actual numbers were for the thyroid testing? Did they test free T3 and T4? There have been changes in what's considered the "normal" range, and unfortunately a lot of doctors and labs are out of touch with the new range. I believe for TSH it's now 0.5-3.0, but you can be symptomatic even in the mid-to-low 2's. Yet, when i had my TSH tested in December the lab still showed normal to be up to 4.0. Some will even tell you up to 5 is normal (and the newer range came out several years ago!). But *IF* I recall my numbers right, 92% of the population is below 2.5, and some argue that THAT should be upper limit. My test was 2.56, and I think I'm symptomatic (runs in my family).

    I just started Gluten-free Casein-free a month ago, so I'm wondering if htat will help.... ??