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  1. We are planning a cruise on the Carnival Legend and I have received conflicting information from Carnival on whether they will accomodate a gluten-free diet. Initially, I was told yes, just discuss it with your waiter; then, when I checked back again, I was told a flat no that they cannot provide a gluthen free menu. I'm not sure if they think that I was asking for "special" food, rather than food preparation that was modified. (I can live without gluten-free bread/pasta for a week) Has anyone had experience with Carnival? Was the waitstaff responsive to helping with menu selections/preparation? Thanks.

    I have mixed reviews on Carnival. I ate most meals in the dining room and, as described by others, the hostess brought me the next evening's menu so we could go over it. I never got sick. However, the food was not particularly special. They were worried about sauces & such, so I ate a lot of very plain food. But they definitely had the approach of "when in doubt, leave it out." So kudos for that. On the other hand, the spiffy restaurant really blew me away,(I wasn't on the Legend, so I don't know what the equivalent would be. "Captain's Club" or something like that). It was small & cozy, and the service was fabulous. The server paid attention, the food was wonderful, and the sommalier recommended a great wine. I think the staff and chef had a lot fewer people to attend to, so they could be far more creative than "just leave the sauce off." There was even a lovely and decadent chocolate dessert.

    That was the only restaurant my sweetie & I tried, and I think it was the smallest of the options. We did have to make a reservation. If we weren't with a large family group, we would've gone back a few times. I realize that on a cruise you're already shelling out a lot of money to be there, but I'd reccommend spending the additional funds for at least one meal at the spiffy reservation-only restaurant. It was still significantly cheaper than the equivalent meal would've been at a restaurant at home. And it helped me feel less sorry for myself when everyone else in the dining room was enjoying tastier fare than plain chicken with veggies.

    As far as the buffet stuff, there was always plenty of fruit and salads (bring dressing?). For morning breakfasts, there was an omelet station, and again, plenty of fruit. Sure, I got jealous of everyone eating ice cream and pizza all the time... but I consoled myself by thinking they'd come home complaining about how much weight they gained on the cruise.

    Let us all know how your experience goes/went.

  2. I live in a small town in the south where its all biscuits and gravy...nobody understands!!!

    Oh, honey, you have my sympathy!

    Your challenge, besides trying to explain it to your family over and over and over again, may be getting gluten-free goodies. You'll probably be fine with meats & veggies (you're allowed to eat veggies in the south, right? :D ) but it's nice to have some "safe" cookies or breads or other yummies to keep you from feeling totally deprived. I suggest you order them (from the internet or suppliers) in bulk (they can be pricey!).

    It may also help to check in the Meeting room section to see if there are others in your area. Sometimes you may be surprised: I found a store with all sorts of gluten free goodies in Lincoln, Nebraska!

    This board is full of amazingly helpful folks-- ask anything, ask often!

  3. Hi Danielle,

    [okay, I'm also guilty of peeking in the teenager section. My excuse is that I have moments of being really young, though in an awkward nerdy way instead of a cool trendy way]

    When I went on my first date with my sweetie, it was going to be just for coffee.

    But then he asked "Are you hungry? We could grab some dinner."

    "Hm. We could," I said," Except I can't eat wheat, so--"

    Before I could even start to figure out how to handle it, he said "there's a place up the street that has shish-kebabs. Do you want to check out the menu?"

    Dinner was fine, I talked way too much about non-food things, and several years later, he's still my sweetie.

    I'm with Elonwy on this; it can help you get a feel for the guy in question. When people ask me what happens when I eat wheat, I just say "I'll get really sick." People who aren't close friends rarely ask me for more details.

  4. wow...

    I find this pretty interesting. If I remember correctly, the cells that form your nervous system and the cells that form your skin develop from the same part of the developing embryo. And the lining of your gut is part of your skin (it's true, we're just donuts with a very complicated "hole" in the center).

    This comes to my mind whenever people talk about something making their "skin crawl" or having "gut reactions." And I know plenty of folks who get upset or aching stomachs as a reaction to stress.


  5. Guhlia, what's the latest with your Dad?

    I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately... whrn I first checked out the boards here, I was sure I was just allegic to wheat. Now that I've been here for awhile, I'm not as certain, because lots of people seem to have the same sorts of symptoms... My sweetie is already convinced that I'm a celiac. The specifics don't matter much to me, since either way the answer is the same: don't eat wheat (or barley or rye...)!

    Except that a recent conversation with my mom got me wondering. She was severely underweight growing up, then overweight after her mid 30's. She's had thyroid problems and all sorts of issues, but the main thing is that she takes tons of Immodium on a regular basis. This cannot be normal. I know celiac is genetic, so now I'm thinking maybe I should get tested just because if it comes back positive, It'll be easier for me to convince her to get tested. She has just recently tried cutting out wheat (meaning she's just eliminating the obvious stuff) and has lost some weight and reports having more energy. Which is good, but I wish she were strict about it, since I know she's still eating a fair amount of hidden gluten.

    There is no way I'm going to eat gluten for a challenge test, but there seem to be other options.

    Any thoughts on getting a parent to take gluten-free as seriously for herself as she does for me?

  6. In case anyone cares, I have also had the thought of taking Ipecac in cases of getting glutened, thinking it would get it out of my system... at least mostly. I called my Doctor to see if my theory was correct. He said No. He said if you took Ipecac immediatly, it will only get rid of about 20-25% of what you ate. Also, people react to it differently. A lot of times, he said Ipecac makes people so sick they have to be hospitalized. So, in short- taking Ipicac will make you worse, not better.

    I am so glad you said this, Jana. My last exposure was so bad that I actually bought some syrup of ipecac & figured I'd take it next time it happened. Hm. Maybe not so much. :huh:

  7. Very early on in my wheatfree life, I went to a lunch place near work. They made all the sandwiches at a counter & to order, so I figured they could make me a "salad" of sandwich fixins without the bread. Seems simple enough, I thought. So I asked the woman behind the counter to just put the lettuce, tomato, meat, etc. on a plate.

    counterperson: "You don't want any bread?"

    me: "I'm allergic to wheat"

    counterperson: "Oh. I could put it on a pita..."

    One of her coworkers heard this, and gave her such a look that it made it easier for me to just say,"no thanks. The pita has wheat in it, too." Somehow it's easier for me when I have a witness.

    Another time, at a spiffy place, the waiter got hung up on what I couldn't have. "Our steak frites are fabulous! but of course, you couldn't have them... It's such a shame you can't try the fried calamari; it's our specialty!"

    Er, thanks. Lots. Really.

    On the other hand, I have had some *fabulous* servers.

    - people who checked ingredients, returned to the table, and double-checked anything they weren't sure about, so I knew they were paying attention.

    - Once I was sitting near the (partially open) kitchen and heard my server make someone prepare a new salad: "I need it *without* the bread. No, I can't take it off!" This was before it got to the table, even.

    - servers who caught things I missed, like bringing a dish on salad greens without the dressing (even though the chef thought the dressing was fine) and bringing oil & vinegar instead. Turns out one of the dressing ingredients was cranberry sauce-- which had corn syrup in it.

    - at one upscale place, after the hostess seated us, our waiter came by and went over the whole menu (about 6-8 appetizers and the same number of entrees) with me: "for X, we could prepare it this way instead," etc. He made me feel like he was just going over the menu, no big deal. It is a rare soul who can make it seem like my allergies are no more trouble than bringing over the pepper mill.

    - i went to a catered post-wedding brunch. I asked the caterer about ingredients, and she went over everything. There were lots of baked goods, but lots of fruit and breakfast potatoes and other things, too. I had known there'd be muffins, so I brought some consolation gluten-free cookies, which she suggested I stash in a cabinet so no one would accidentally serve them or eat them before I got to them. Hours later, she approached me and asked if I'd had enough to eat. I thought that was sweet of her, especially since there was plenty of stuff going on & lots of people there.

    I still don't have the guts to bring my own pasta anywhere (I'd want to follow them into the kitchen to make sure it didn't get mixed up)! But especially when I feel like I'm in good hands, I leave a good tip and make a point of thanking my server and the host/ess.

    I definitely run into the problem of well-meaning relatives. Somehow my dad thinks he can "pre-screen" the menu for me and pick out what I can have (um, thanks dad, I think I have it down). One of my favorite stories comes from my sweetie's sister, who was checking out the ingredients of a snack:

    "It looked fine, pretty basic, just added canola oil and salt. AJ could have this! Then I realized-- oh wait. It's popCORN. Duh!" :P

  8. I was diagnosed with DH in April of this year. I went to a regular doctor in Oct. of last year, he gave me a steroid cream, and off I went. Four tubes later and no relief I went to a dermatologist who took a biopsy from each arm and was diagnosed four days later. I took Dapsone for 1 month and everything cleared right up. I took my last pill May 13 and have the worst rash to date already. I thought I was gluten free but obviously I was mistaken. I have severly changed my diet again and done alot more reading about what are intolerable ingredients. Is there a way that gluten can come into our bodies through shampoo, lotion, deodorant, soaps etc? I have been gluten free as far as I know for only 1 day and am in severly bad shape with the rash and would like to know if anyone has an idea of how long it takes once gluten free for DH symptoms to begin to subside.

    Thank you in advance for any help.

    This may be really obvious, but have you checked your soaps & shampoos? I have found that a lot of soaps (especially the ones that are mild, like aveeno) have wheat germ oil or other "wheaty" things in them. I know you don't eat them (well, okay, I'm assuming you don't eat your soap :) ) but I've found that those things can really bother me if I use them on my skin. Also, it is tough to catch all those hidden glutens, and if you've been pretty strict for a few days, you may have a lot more time to go before it really clears your system. Hang in there and stay gluten-free.

  9. Hey "Powderprincess". I'm from Leominster. Just a heads up, we are trying to plan a dinner for the Celiacs in the area. It'll probably be mid June or so. Keep an eye on the new posts. We should start talking about it next week some time.

    OK, this cracks me up, because my first thought was "oh, it's a restaurant outing. Rats."

    Glad to know there's a lot of folks in the area! I'm in Watertown, work in Boston.

  10. I react really badly to honey, but I read somewhere that you aren't supposed to give honey to infants because they haven't developed enough enzymes to break it down or something, so I'm thinking maybe it's temporary until we're further along on the healing spectrum?

    Hi Calicat,

    From what I've been reading in other corn forums, a lot of folks who react to corn can't eat honey. As far as I can figure, it has to do with the nature of honey. It's not super-refined, which in a way is good, but in this case, that means honey also has pollen, dirt,etc., in it. And apparently corn pollen travels pretty well. And you can't exactly tell the bees not to go near the corn plants. :)

    You can't give honey to infants *or* to immunocompromised individuals because it often has bacterial spores in it... the bacterial infection leads to botulism. For most people it's not a problem, because the immune system takes care of those spores before anything happens. But for infants and people without a healthy immune system, the bacteria can grow and produce the botulism toxin. Interestingly, the spores can't grow in the honey itself because it's so thick that it's not a great environment for them.

    So... it seems plausible to me that honey could contain all sorts of bits of dirt and pollen and things that just might be a little tough on a 99% angel's system. :(

    Just remember not to directly sniff your bananas and avocados. Waft, people, WAFT!! :lol:

    This completely cracked me up.

    Probably because I've done some really stupid things in the lab that remind me:"waft, you dummy"

    Thanks so much for the laugh!

  11. I didn't know teas were fermented? Is it all teas, or just some herbal teas? I know that green tea is made by just steaming the leaves, and balck tea is made by pan frying them, but I never read anything about a fermenting process, but I don't drink a lot of herbal teas. I know I bought this black tea with berry flavoring (by lipton) and I got home and looked at the ingredients and it said "malt" and dextrin. I thought it was weird that they would put that in teas.

    Okay, nit-picky tea drinker here! Here's how I understand the tea process:

    - black tea is from tea leaves that are dried/fermented.

    - oolongs are somewhat less fermented

    - green teas even less so, and I think white teas are the least fermented

    "Herbal Tea" does not usually have any tea leaves at all in it-- usually some combination of herbs, fruits, whatever.

    maltodextrin and cornstarch are used a lot for flavor delivery & distribution. It helps keep powdery or granular flavorings from clumping, so they're more evenly distributed in the processing of, say, potato chips, or apparently flavored tea. Generally speaking, I'm wary of "flavorings" for this reason.

    I'm a black tea addict. I haven't (to my knowledge) had problems with PG Tips, Twining's black teas, or loose black tea from the local purveyor. I'm not really into flavored black teas, but I would definitely check ingredients carefully. As for herbal teas, I don't remember having any problems with Celestial Seasonings teas, but still, always always always read the ingredients.

    armetta, you *do* sound active! What are you using to make your iced tea?

    Luchare, your doctor said it would be *easy* to avoid corn?!? I can't decide whether I should be really angry or just laugh really hard.

    I am terribly proud that about 75% percent of the time when someone offers me a tasty treat, I can smile and say "Oh, no thanks." A lot of people assume I'm on a diet and have amazing will power. B) Unless it's a good friend, I just let 'em go on thinking that. It helps keep me from feeling too sorry for myself when someone is really just trying to be nice.

  12. ajay, thank you for all the advice. I am going to email Pepsi tomorrow and ask about their carmel color. I know it is not wheat as it is on the gluten free list. I wrote down the Whole Foods soda. But what is a Cosmo and annatto? At least here I can ask dumb questions :blink: .

    Wow, you are proactive! I haven't e-mailed too many people, I usually just give up. Go armetta!

    a Cosmo = a cosmopolitan = A tasty drink with Vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and cranberry juice. I don't get them because most places use Rose's Lime juice and cranberry juice "cocktail", neither of which are safe (corn syrup). Grenadine and sour mix are dangerous, too. I don't go to bars much. :)

    annato is a natural ingredient used to give food a nice yellow/orange color. It's often in "orange" colored cheeses and such. I think it actually comes from the annato plant, so I have no idea why it bugs me. I haven't researched how closely it may be related to wheat or corn. Or it may be a cross-contamination issue.

    Where did you find the gluten-free tollhouse cookie recipe?! I've been trying to make chocolate chip cookies off and on for years. The results are usually edible to me, but that perception is probably out of desperation...

    Xanthan Gum itself is fine, but they usually use dextrose, etc, to feed the bacterial that make it. It's been discussed in other places on the board, and it sounds wise to avoid it. Rats.

  13. Hi SuperBeck,

    It's going to be really difficult for awhile, and I see a lot of reading in your future! But hopefully you will also start to feel *so* much better. There are a ton of helpful folks in this forum (and a lot of useful books out there)-- you're not alone! It will get much easier as you learn what to watch out for.

    Good Luck and take very good care of yourself.

  14. It's curious as to why people are such idiots like this woman whom you work for. For instance, no one urges Hindus to eat meat when they say they abstain from it, nor do I chide my kosher friends about why they won't eat non kosher food. I respect their wishes to maintain their special diets and actually help them find a restaurant (where we should go) where they can get foods to conform to their needs. Imagine saying to them "You're not really ________!" They would be insulted and rightly so. So why are celiacs so abused? I don't get it.

    Well, religious beliefs are different, people can respect that it's a choice. It's often (but not always) the same with vegetarians...

    I dunno why people don't get it-- would you bake a sugar-laden cake for a diabetic?! Though I think your hubby's relatives sound totally clueless, not malevolent (like mmc's party planner).

    I got a pretty dramatic case of hives & edema after my last accidental wheat exposure. My sweetie wanted to take pictures... I refused, but maybe I should have let him...

    I'm very lucky. Everyone in my family understands the gluten/wheat free concept. My dad misses the corn issue, though, so I get lots of gluten-free cookies and such.. Which usually have corn starch or corn flour in them. But it's so sweet of him to try.

  15. When I used to go to Starbucks, they were very nice about letting me read the labels on their syrups & such. I used to keep it simple & get lattes most of the time... then I got an espresso maker & now I make my own. It's not quite as tasty, true, but I haven't made myself sick yet!

    On cakes:

    I'm very fond of flourless chocolate cake. Most recipes have a token 2tbs. of flour that you can just leave out altogether. And you can dust the pan with cocoa instead of flour. I also love the traditional Spanish Almond Cake, which is made without flour. Of course, none of these have that wonderful, fluffy "birthday cake" texture, but they are the cakes I've managed to cook successfully. I'm still trying to get the hang of baking with alternative flours...


  16. I just went corn free a week or 2 ago so I don't know too much about what to look out for...

    I got an email back from a company stating "There is no corn kernel in the xylitol, so those with allergies to corn have no reaction to it."

    However, on their website, it states that "Xylitol is a natural sugar. It is derived from sources such as fruits, vegetables, corn stalks/husks/cobs, birch wood, nutshells, etc. Xylitol is classified as a sugar alcohol and small amounts are produced in the human body."

    Would those of you who have tested intolerant or are just avoiding corn on your own consume this product or no? I don't know if the corn kernel reference is just for those with allergies as opposed to intolerances.

    Hmm. I have to admit, I'm all for minimally processed foods. Definitely one of the problems seems to be that either the allergenic protein in corn is very stable/hard to get rid of, or it's not just the protein that causes a reaction. A lot of folks react to things that come from corn but supposedly "the corn has been processed out of it." I react to dextrose, which is pretty refined corn sugar. I can understand that there's probably minimal corn kernels in the process of making xylitol, but I'm not sure that the cob itself is free of whatever the corn allergen is. In other words, I pesonally wouldn't try it. I've given up on trying to eat anything "sugar free."

    Corn has far too many forms, but there's a lot of info out there (and even on this site) about what to avoid. I've gotten to the point where if it has more than about 5-6 ingredients, I don't bother reading 'em-- I just put it back on the shelf. I spend way too much time in grocery stores...

  17. My problem is that I use more margarine in mashed potatoes instead of a lot of milk. I also might have figured out why I reacted so bad on Friday. Besides putting margerine on my baked potato (ate out), I also had a Jack Daniels and coke. Does anyone know if rum has corn in it? I can't live on prednizone and have to figure this out quickly.

    Thank you Tarnelberry for the advice, but I already cook with Canola and Olive oil. But, I can't eat a plain baked potato as I hate them. I also like sandwiches every so often, which I suppose I can leave the marg. off.

    Hi Armetta,

    Even diet soda (alas!) usually has caramel coloring in it. Caramel coloring is often grain derived (wheat or corn-- choose your poison). I don't know what your sugar tolerances are, but I don't react to Whole Foods 365 Cola [ingredients: filtered carbonated water, pure cane sugar, caramel color (from cane sugar) tartaric acid, natural cola nut flavor and citric acid] I think others have reacted to citric acid & cream of tartar, though. I'm sure you could bring your own cola to the bartender, especially if you go to the same places when you go out. I have found that my dining out options vary. I have no trouble at expensive restaurants, mixed results at places where the food is cooked to order, and I don't even bother with chain restaurants. I usually try to go just a bit earlier than the dinner hour, in hopes that the waitstaff isn't totally fried yet & can take the time to check on eveything. Strangely, even when I'm not getting drinks, I usually have very good luck when I order dinner at the bar. Could be that since bartenders don't deal with as many dinner orders?

    Generally speaking though, when someone says "let's just order lunch" or "why don't we go out to eat?" I have to stifle a moment of panic.

    I'm dreaming of the day when I can have a cosmo. I may end up just bringing my own cranberry juice (sans corn syrup) to a bar sometime when I'm feeling particularly gutsy.

    Oh, and for reasons I don't understand, I have trouble with annatto. I don't know why, but I figured I'd pass that along.

    Potatoes...I really like chives on potatoes. and fresh ground pepper & kosher salt. And I heartily second the homemade chili option!

    Good luck with everything. I find it very challenging to avoid corn BUT not impossible. There's a few other threads on the board about corn allergies, too.


  18. JerseyAngel

    by all means get that out and use it!!!! It took a few weeks before I noticed a difference. Do you have the neutralizer ? I love that as I drink that , add it to the soap when I wash my hair and so on. When I feel a stuffy nose coming on I snuff it up my nose and the stuffiness goes away. I use the gel for my hair and use it like a styling gel. My skin doesn't feel like leather anymore. Most of all no chemicals I think is the most important.....

    good luck


    OK, not to be a cynic or anything, but I found this on the FDA site:

    "Use of Products Could lead to Severe Infections

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to use Miracle II Neutralizer and Miracle II Neutralizer Gel products manufactured by Tedco, Inc., in West Monroe, Louisiana because the products are bacterially contaminated and have not been proven to be safe and effective. Use of these products could pose a risk of serious adverse events such as infections, particularly in children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems who are particularly susceptible to illness. "

    I couldn't find out which bacteria they referred to, and I think that makes a difference.

    My only other concern is that I also can't find an ingredient list for the stuff, which always makes me nervous. Anyone know what's in it?


  19. I find that anytime I eat something I'm not supposed to I get really gassy and the next day I wake up with a pimple! Anyone else get this? I seem to get more acne if I accidentally ingest gluten. And it's not the surface kind--it's the burrowing painful bump kind.

    Just curious!

    I used to get those obnoxious lesions, too. I swear I'd get them in the exact same places, too-- I called them "wheat zits." If I remember right, they were on my face, neck, and scalp. I'd love to hear a scientific explanation, but it's always comforting to hear (read) someone describe the same symptom.

  20. Hi ajay,

    If I understand correctly it is grown on corn?? I always get this confused, the others know it better and it is well talked about on the 'Avoiding Corn' board at Delphi. But, recently some of us 'avoiding corn' people have been investigating MSG allergies/sensitivities because it turns out MSG is in a lot of corn derived products and what I read on the MSG boards is that xanthan gum is actually fermented corn starch.

    Hm... well, in its original form, it's produced by a bacteria, so I doubt Xanthan Gum is fermented corn starch. The workhorse of the biotech idustry is genetically engineered bacteria, which are used to produce vitamins, drugs... and probably MSG. It seems entirely likely, however, that the bacteria itself is grown on/in a media that includes corn. So the question may be: "In the purification process, is all of the corn-derived media removed?" And I would guess the answer is "doubtful." So I think that may well explain the MSG issues as well.

    I'm always frustrated when yet another ingredient is crossed off my list. @%*!!

  21. Wow, this is a great topic!

    Unfortunately, the corn crop is heavily subsidized in the US, ergo it's cheap, ergo it's everywhere.

    OK, overall notes/replies from someone who's been avoiding corn for ages:

    1) Salt: iodized/table salt often has dextrose in it to keep it free flowing. Kosher or Sea Salt is OK.

    2) baking powder: also has cornstarch to keep it from caking. You can get some made with potato starch instead, or make your own with baking soda & cream of tartar. NOTE that if something lists "baking powder" on the ingredient list w/o specifying further, you can't consider it safe.

    3) Vanilla extract: one option is to make your own. slice two vanilla beans in half, place in a small (say, 4oz or less) dark-colored bottle, and fill the bottle up with potato vodka like Chopin (from potatoes, but $$). Put it in a dark, cool place for 6 weeks or so, and viola!

    4) Xanthan gum: OK, I'm *really* confused now. I'm a biologist, and I was pretty sure this was derived from a bacteria (Xanthomonas). Could someone tell me where the corn connection comes in? I'd been considering it safe...

    Thanks so much for the hints on supplies/sources and such!

  22. The food diary sounds like a good idea, so will try and start on that after the tests, is there any where I can get more info on the best way to do that? Like which foods should I eat when I start? should i eliminate nearly everything and then add them back in on by one? or should i eliminate one at a time?


    I read & used "Allergy-Free Cooking" by Eileen Rhude Yoder. She discusses keeping a food diary and going on a low-allergen diet. Then you slowly reintroduce foods one at a time. Her focus is on allergies, but I think if you're concerned about gluten, it'd be better to go on a completely gluten-free diet for at least a few months and see how you feel. If you feel lots better, great! And if you want to try something you haven't had in awhile, make sure that's the only thing you eat that's new and make a note of when you ate it. Then if you get symptoms, you can usually figure out what the problem food is.

    Good Luck!