Celiac.com Sponsor (A1):

Celiac.com Sponsor (A1-m):


Advanced Members
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About gabby

  • Rank
    Star Contributor

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Interests
    Food. Cooking. Farming/gardening. Writing. Reading. Walking. Living well.
  • Location
    Zagreb, Croatia

  1. I hope I'm not too late to add some possible helpful advice here.


    There are some people (I'm one of them too) who do not respond to the regular freezing they use at the dentist's office (Lidocaine).  I'll explain the reason below in a bit of detail, but if you just want a solution to the problem, ask your dentist to use the alternative freezing agent called Articaine (it'll have various brand names depending on your country, but the dentist should be aware of this one).


    In very recent years, researches have pinpointed a disorder called Hypokalemic Sensory Overstimulation.  I'm not sure if I can put a link here, so if you just look it up on wikipedia, you'll get  a full description.  Basically, a person with this syndrome can easily have their senses overwhelmed which can cause all sorts of difficulties (might even feel like a panic attack).  These people also do not respond well to Lidocaine during dental procedures, however they do respond to Articaine. 


    Hope this helps!


  2. I just wanted to tell you that I'm touched by your situation, and feel terrible for everything you are going through. I wish there was something I could say or do that would take the awfulness away. I do understand where you are coming from and understand the fear, loneliness and absolute exhaustion that can overpower the body and soul.

    I highly recommend getting some sort of counseling from someone who specializes in dealing with people who have chronic illnesses. Even group therapy could work wonders. Chronic illnesses don't go away and thus require a new lifestyle that can accommodate the unpredictable nature of the problems. You don't cure chronic illnesses, you learn to manage them successfully.

    If counseling isn't appealing to you, then hit the bookstores and see if you can find any self-help material for dealing with chronic illnesses. Maybe put a shout-out on this board to see if anyone can recommend anything.

    I can recommend anything by Harriet Lerner...her books got me through an extreme rough patch a few years ago. http://www.harrietlerner.com/pages/books_and_audio.htm

    I hope that helps. And I hope everything turns out the absolute best way that it can for you.

  3. Hi,

    I'm a Canadian who lives in Zagreb, Croatia. I feel for you on lots of levels. Just living in a new and different place as an expat is stressful enough sometimes, and now going gluten-free will add a new layer of stress......but it eventually does get easier (both the expat stuff and being gluten-free).

    I don't know if you are fluent in Polish, so I'm sending along the url for the celiac society of poland...this is the english bit: www.celiakia.pl.

    There's also a woman who writes about celiac in europe. you can look up her blog by googling: glutenfree globetrotter (it is in English).

    That's all I can think of for now.

    Hope that helps!

  4. Hi,

    I don't live in Ireland, but I did move to a European country a few years ago, so I know what it is like to try and get things organized in those first few weeks and months upon arrival. I moved to Croatia, and I did not speak the language at the time, so it was near impossible for me to lean on any local type of celiac support. However, you are one lucky lucky celiac, because you are moving to a place where English is the main language!

    Here's what I suggest you do now, even before you get to Ireland: contact the Irish Celiac society and lean on them for all the local resources you can. Find a local regular celiac support meeting, contact them, and ask the members for help in getting access to a gluten-free cooking facility for the first couple of months after you arrive. They ought to be able to help or at least direct you to some local resources.

    I googled Ireland Celiac and came up with their website: coeliac.ie

    Once in Ireland, check out the local health food stores and farmers markets to see if there are additional celiac groups. Food allergy groups might be another good place to look for support.

    That's all I can really suggest for now. Best of luck with your move and your life in Ireland.

  5. True story (not one word of exaggeration):

    Before going gluten-free, I was known as the queen of lists. I made lists of things I needed to remember and carried these lists and consulted them all the time. If something wasn't written down on one of my lists, then it got forgotten.

    After going completely gluten-free, my memory improved so much that now, one of my many nick-names is 'elephant brain.' Honestly. I've got a super-sharp memory. Unless I get glutened, in which case it feels like my brain is filled with cotton, and I can't remember my own phone number. It takes a good 3-4 days for the brain fog to lift after a glutening. Then I go right back to elephant brain.

  6. I second the roasted chickpeas. They are awesomely delicious and pretty easy to make

    -soak beans. Cook them until tender. Drain and cool under cold water. Then dry off with paper towels. Put on a roasting pan, add about 1 tablespoon of oil and throw in the oven at around 170F for 1 hour. Shake them once in a while. Then turn off the oven and leave them there to dry out overnight. The next morning put them in a bowl with some olive oil and salt and go crazy eating them.

    One more chickpea flour recipe: farinata! It is like a flatbread that is made just from chickpea flour, water and olive oil. I heard about a company that makes a gluten-free mix that you just have to add water to. The company is called Lucini. And the product is called 'cinque & cinque' (that means 5 & 5 in Italian) just google Lucini Cinque and it should come up. I haven't tried this product myself, but I've heard it is good. There are lots of recipes on how to make your own farinata on the internet....maybe give it a try.

    Oh, and homemade potato chips are pretty awesome too. Just peel potatoes. And use a veggie peeler to make really thin slices. Dry the slices, and pop into really hot oil, and fry for 30 seconds. Yum.

    good luck!

  7. Hi,

    I bring a lightweight crochet project, like a zigzag scarf or a light summer shawl project in baby alpaca or very light cotton/silk (so it doesn't weigh too much) along with a bamboo or plastic hook. I pull out my crochet project at the airport waiting area, during the flight, and during the evenings while on vacation.

    Word-search puzzles are a great time-passer for the flight. Not cross-word puzzles, because those take brain power. Word-search puzzles are usually easy, entertaining, and each puzzle can take 20 minutes! Get them in large print so your eyes don't get tired.

    I second the talking book idea. I highly recommend something that is fun and lively.

    For the inability to sleep on the plane: sleeping pills, like Nytol or something.

    For the joint and muscle pain: get your hands on several tiny jars of Tiger Balm in Canada, and slather yourself with it every night. In Croatia, they sell a type of over-the-counter pain killer called Voltaran. It is powerful stuff...but weirdly doesn't make you drowsy. Maybe pop into a pharmacist shop in Porec and get some...and use it if your pain is really bad.

    My first 2 years of going gluten-free was a roller-coaster ride. I had new pains, old pains, weird pains. I never figured out what was causing any of it. I think the body just needs to detox, heal, detox some more, heal up, go into denial, fight, then finally make peace with the 'new normal'.

    Try to enjoy yourself. The weather in Istria has been beautiful: 18-22C temps, sunshine, all fruit trees already setting fruit, and cherries expected to ripen in just 3 weeks. Oh, and the salty sea air..can't forget that.

    On a completely different note: maybe make your european gluten-free experience work for you. Keep track of your difficulties and your successes in detail, and when you get back to Canada you can write up an article and contact your local newspaper to see if they want to run it. I'm betting they will seriously consider it.

    Hope that helps a wee bit...

  8. Check the gloves and see if they are powder-free, or at least if they are using ones powdered with cornstarch.

    Also, ask if the dentist or hygenist wouldn't mind washing their hands thoroughly before putting on the gloves (if they've just eaten some gluteny potato chips or just a bite of a muffin or took a sip from their paper cup of coffee covered in muffin crumbs, then the gluten can transfer onto the gloves).

    And get them to put on a new mask. Often they pull the mask on and off, and go out to grab xrays or files from the secretary or grab the telephone handset...and then put the mask back on with their hands that may have come into contact with gluten.

    Works for me!

    Best of luck

  9. Hi,

    how cool that you are moving to Croatia....when??? Your house in Istria sounds lovely. You'll have to let me know what part of Istria you are in (we're looking for land in Istria..sort of between Tinjan and Brtonigla).

    As for places where you can possibly get a gluten-free meal in Zagreb...I'm not sure. I've found that places where they cook things on an open grill can sometimes be accomodating. My husband speaks Croatian, so I've had him explain everything to the chef, and even go into the kitchen to see if my food is being prepared separately. We only attempted this if it was not busy. If the place is busy, then forget it because the kitchen will be a whirlwind of activity.

    How's your Croatian? If it is fluent, you might just be able to get by with lots of explanation. Again, lots of people think that celiac means you can't eat bread. So they'll serve a dish and say it is gluten-free...but they mean 'bread-free' and it'll have some flour mixed in the sauce, or the meat will be breaded, or it'll come served over gnocchi (made with potato AND flour). I used to tell people to prepare my food NAKED. NUDE. With nothing. Except olive oil and salt.

    I won't risk it anymore...but again, I'm supercalifragilistically sensitive.

    Um, if you are not living in your Istrian home in August...I'd be more than happy to take care of any figs that need picking :) (and/or hazelnuts).

    If you'd like to meet for a coffee either in Zagreb or in Istria when you are here, PM me (or leave a comment on my blog and I'll contact you).

    Vidimo se,

    bok bok

  10. I moved to Croatia for my health, and am in the process of trying to build my own farm. I am Canadian and don't speak Croatian (yet). In addition to celiac, I have some other not-too-pleasant health issues. In Toronto I was walking with a cane at one point, and in Croatia I was able to climb stairs. Why? Don't know. Never figured it out. But I'm here, walking around, climbing stairs, etc. But it isn't easy. And not a magic bullet either. On a scale of 1-10 (10being the best), I was able to operate at a 2 in Canada, and in Croatia I'm at a 6 most days. I keep a journal online, if you're interested in reading just google ZagrebDiaries.

    As for being gluten-free over here...I have to cook everything I eat from scratch because of a myriad of food and chemical sensitivities I have. I did try to eat at carefully chosen restaurants early on, but I kept getting glutened from things like: gluteny spoons being used to stir my food, gluteny towels used to wipe the edge of my plate, bread being grilled next to my fish, bread being sliced on a shelf above where my food is being prepared, pizza being eaten by the person shelling my walnuts :blink: etc, etc, etc. After about 18 months, I just gave up on eating out. My experience with restaurants has been the same in various other restaurants in Italy, the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland. I'm a super sensitive celiac though..so even a smidge is enough to send me over the edge. Also note that lots of people/cooks/chefs think that gluten-free means wheat-free, and will try to serve barley soup with rye bread as a gluten-free meal!

    If you can tolerate gluten-free processed foods (I can't) like cookies, crackers, soups, nut butters, etc, then there are a host of organic/health food stores (organic is known as 'Bio' in most parts of Europe) that carry gluten-free items. Lots of gluten-free items come from Austria and are shipped all over Europe.

    Spain ought to be nice for you as there are lots of British expats there, in addition to sunshine, warm weather, lots of fresh foods, and a relaxed pace of life. And it is just a 2 hour flight to the UK when you get homesick!

    Hope this helps!

  11. There's an easy way to deal with this that doesn't offend anyone and yet keeps everyone informed about what's going on.

    As soon as someone gives you something containing gluten, just say: Oh, I can't eat/use these because they contain gluten and I can't eat gluten, but thank you for thinking of me. I will make sure these go to someone who LOVES these things!

    And then put the package away.

    Hope that helps!

  12. Is it possible to buy a fresh, unopened package of the type of milk you use at work (like buy it from another store). Then take it home, and use it. If you get sick from the milk, then there's something in the milk that doesn't agree with you. If you don't get sick when you use it at home...then the culprit is likely cross-contamination from people at work possibly having gluten on their hands and then touching the milk carton.

    Hope this helps. Good luck in figuring out your mystery...

  13. I'm in Croatia, so trying to access libraries outside of the country doesn't work because those sites usually block access. It is the same reason I also can't watch any US tv shows, or access things like videos on lots of newspapers and websites. But thanks for the idea. I'm also waiting to hear back from the publisher if they will have a digital version of the book coming out. I'll post their answer when I get it.


  14. I checked out the website and it looks good...I'm just wondering if the book is useful to justify the cost (I moved to Croatia and getting books delivered here is $$$$$$$...cost of book + delivery+duty+extra taxes= about $100 for a $30 book). The library here definitely won't have the book, well, if they have it, it won't be in English ;)

    I'll write to the author and see if maybe there is an electronic version coming out anytime soon, and then I'll wait and order that one. (e-book = no shipping, no duty, no taxes).

    thanks for your help!

  15. Hi,

    I've been hearing about a book written by an RN who has celiac disease, and the book is meant to help patients and doctors to know how to recognize celiac disease and its symptoms. I can't find much info on the book except that it is available on various book websites. There's no date on the book listing though, so I'm not sure when it was published. Before I order the book, I thought I'd ask if anyone else has seen it, read it, heard of it, and if it is helpful.

    Recognizing Celiac Disease, by Cleo J. Libonati


  16. Hi,

    I've been gluten-free for several years now, but over the last few months, I haven't been feeling that great, and I think I've been getting small amounts of gluten in my diet. I'm going to get a full workup done at the doctor's office and wanted to know what tests I can request to see if I've been getting gluten in my system. And what tests would show things like malabsorption, inflammation, etc.

    Thanks for your help!

  17. Have you checked non-food items? I noticed that whenever it rained I would feel slightly glutened. Then one day I realized that someone in our household was eating gobs of gluteny foods and then using my UMBRELLA, which I would use later, holding the handle with my bare hands, and then happily eating my snacks with my bare hands. (note: it took me about 4 years to figure this one out).