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Found 5 results

  1. So I just wanted to put this information out here for anyone diagnosed while in the military. (Specifically the navy) You wont automatically get kicked out. I assumed this to be true because it’s all there was for me to read online... a bunch of people saying they were getting kicked out. (Which makes sense since you aren’t allowed to join if you are already diagnosed) if you are already on a ship and experiencing problems, I feel like you would have to get kicked out. I was at a shore command when diagnosed, and was able to switch my diet easily and contamination free because I lived alone off base. I got orders to a ship that just entered the shipyard and doesn’t have an operational galley so I can bring my own food that isn’t contaminated. Idk if since being gluten free you feel better already, but it’s been 6 months since diagnosis and I still feel like garbage and have bathroom troubles. I personally don’t think I’m suited to be on the ship. I still suffer abdominal pain frequently and it’s often debilitating. If you are reading this and wish to join. You cannot and would not want to. In boot camp pretty much everything to eat is gluten. And anything that isn’t... is probably heavily contaminated. You will likely be screwed when it comes time to go to an operational billet, as you will get sick eating the galley food there as well. When you bring your own food people make fun of you for being gluten free even though you have a disease. It’s not a good environment for a celiac, unless you don’t eat gluten free. This information is elsewhere but : if you are deemed not fit for full duty you will be placed on light duty (maybe) or the will go straight to LIMDU. With limdu you will receive orders to a non operational command. You will be assessed every 6 months and after 3 limdu periods will go to a medical evaluation board. You can request a medical evaluation board at any time and the doctor can send you straight there as well if they don’t think your condition will improve. If you are deemed unfit by the med board you will be medically separated. You will unlikely receive disability payments (from what I’ve heard from others ) because celiacs is a hereditary condition. But you will receive a separation package ($) . My experience : 6 years active duty, 2 limdu cycles (for knee problems), worked at an MTF, had a friend that went through the entire med board/ separatation process. If anyone else ***THAT SERVED IN THE MILITARY*** has anything else useful/additional to add. That would be cool too ! If anyone has any questions I can answer also here is cool.
  2. backstory: I was diagnosed via biopsy and blood test 9/25 is when I was told by the GI doctor (civilian). I went to navy medical for sea duty screening and was told “bring your own food on deployments” which honestly isn’t possible for a 9 month carrier deployment nor do I WANT to live off gluten free snacks, while working such long hours. ( I feel like I will become malnourished) I was also told by the navy doctor “not everything on the ship has gluten in it” yes I agree but you’re referring to the salad bar and I can’t live off iceberg lettuce and carrots. Also there’s a serious concern for cross contamination. Then he told me “ I mean you can have a little gluten just don’t eat bread” I’m convinced this dude is a flaming idiot. So he’s sending me to sea and I’m terribly scared I’m going to get those HORRIBLE stomach pains again (which I’m still having less intense versions of) which is what got me into the ER which is how I got a referral to the civilian GI. I have been in for 5 years and my job is primarily an at sea job as I am a nuke. I have already done my time at shore, plus some due to knee surgery. I don’t know what to do, I really don’t want to be super sick again.
  3. Celiac.com 07/29/2017 - "So what did you eat over there?" I had only been back for a few days from a year-long deployment overseas and it seemed to me my friends and family were all fascinated that I went to war on a gluten free (gluten-free) diet. They all knew I was gluten-free. I had been strictly adhering to the diet for well over a decade, and many of them had worried about my health in addition to my safety and well-being. In truth, it had been overwhelming at times. The military complex was not set up to cater to food allergies (or auto-immune responses) and I frequently had to order food to maintain a gluten-free existence. Besides the extra cost, the logistics of getting gluten-free food into Afghanistan were mind boggling. Yet, I was often seen around Kandahar with a gluten-free roll in my cargo pocket, trying my best not to crush it to pieces with the barrel of my loaded M16. As a Captain in the United States Army I had the resources to make this happen. I would demand meetings with dining facility mangers, and would pay out of pocket the high shipping cost of getting gluten-free food to Kandahar (a process that took so long the food often arrived moldy or destroyed). I would contact home and was sent additional gluten-free foods from family, friends, and co-workers. My diet, which became primarily salad and packaged gluten-free food, turned out to be sustainable over the course of the deployment. Of course, it was not without its struggles, and in retrospect a lot of the hardship could have been avoided if the military would recognize a need to cater to special diets, in the same way it does for Kosher or Vegetarian meals. So why doesn't the military provide a gluten-free alternative? In my opinion it is because no one is asking for it. While overseas I attempted to find other gluten-free dieters, and celiacs, to reach out to them and document their struggles. I found over fifteen others simply by asking around Kandahar. Yet, even if I could prove that hundreds of people needed a gluten-free diet, it would be fruitless since many of them are too afraid of a discharge to bring up the dietary requirement. Part of this fear is unfounded since celiac disease is not specifically listed in AR 40-501 (The Standards of Medical Fitness); but, part of it is founded since "Nutritional Deficiencies" are listed and can be cause for rejection from service. Not wanting to risk their careers, these soldiers simply sacrifice their health. This risk that the military may ban celiacs is simply acceptance of the quiet suffering of these service members. It is naïve to think otherwise. Should a hot shot superior read my story, throw me out and ban other celiacs (which, albeit unlikely, is possible) all they would be doing is sending a message to others with special diets to keep their mouths shut (pun intended). A more logical approach would be to take simple steps such as listing allergens from the 2004 Food Allergen Labeling and Protection Act on dining facility food. This would go a long way toward improving the lives and health of service members worldwide. Yet, if no one complains then the Army can easily determine it does not need to change. While a few of us may make waves from time to time it may very well take a literal act of congress before a gluten-free- MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) or gluten-free foods are a viable option for service members. Since my memoir, Gluten Free in Afghanistan, was published. many service members have contacted me to share their experiences. Only one has said she was discharged due to celiac disease. Most are still serving after being diagnosed by the Army. Many of them reported similar experiences to my own; which is being sent to a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB), being asked if we could figure out what to eat at the dining facility, and (after answering yes) being sent on our way to rejoin the ranks. In this light, being able to serve is certainly a possibility and one that has been done many times; but, if you are considering military service or know a celiac who is, understanding what you are getting into should be a far greater concern than whether you can or cannot get into the service. If you are not in the service, you may want to consider writing your Senators or Congressman to encourage including gluten-free options for our brave men and women overseas (much in the same way the military offers both Kosher and Vegetarian alternatives). While I have returned from my tour and am once again comfortably eating gluten-free, many of our service members will continue to serve abroad for years to come and could use a gluten-free source of food. As for my year long deployment, I chronicled my gluten-free adventure for three main reasons. First, my overall mission was to increase awareness and promote acceptance of the gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Second, to provide an inspirational guide to all of those who feel they have struggled with their special diet, gluten-free or otherwise. And, finally, to draw attention to our service members who need these accommodations to thrive. Being at war and on a gluten free diet is a distinct hardship, and if you know what you are getting into you understand there's no easy meal.
  4. Celiac.com 06/02/2017 - Though I tried to avoid eating with locals, it seemed to come up over and over again. Military duties frequently required me to work and meet with the locals to facilitate contracts we had in place and ensure work was done properly. At various times and locations, I traveled with a small group of other soldiers among a larger population of Afghans. Many of the Afghans carried weapons, such as the AK-47, and had them slung over their shoulders. We were able to strike a chord with the locals, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie. The U.S. government was paying them to do a job; they were collecting a wage, and everyone left satisfied. At times, this relationship felt like any manager/employee relationship, and at other times it felt like we were paying the mafia to keep them from doing harm. The situation could be tough and would get tougher as our relationship with the locals became strained due to regional politics. An example of this strain occurred in February 2012, when a group of Afghan workers near Kabul (a few hundred miles away) were angered by the sight of Korans in a burn pile. The Koran is the religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the word of God. An Arabic Koran is cared for in a special manner, and the sight of these sacred texts in a burn pit was enough to incite violence and riots throughout the country. Unlike the United States, where news travels instantly, news in Afghanistan travels slowly, mostly by word of mouth, and it took several days before Afghans in Kandahar heard about the incident. They began to protest, and we were all instructed to be on high alert with loaded weapons. Meanwhile, in Kabul, the riots took the lives of American soldiers. This included a friend of mine, a fellow Maryland Guardsmen and Army officer. He had been working with the Afghan National Army (ANA) in the Kabul region. Bob was a good man, and I will remember him fondly. Work did not stop, even with the angry protests. Along with a small group of soldiers, I found myself at the local Kandahar Transshipment Yard, roughly two miles from the main post of KAF. The group of about twelve U.S. soldiers was there, mixed with over one hundred local Afghans and Pakistanis, most of whom were working as truck drivers delivering supplies. The atmosphere was abnormally quiet as we went about our business and talked with the Afghans. They stared at us but made no ill gestures as we walked up to them. Someone nearby started yelling. There was a scuffle. Silence followed. One of the locals stepped out from his group and walked over to me. He spoke no English but reached out his hand and offered me food. This seemed intended as a gesture of friendship. I could eat it and risk a variety of potential side effects to include a gluten reaction, or I could turn it down, which may have been considered an insult in what was already shaping up to be a tense situation. What do you do? I did what any leader would do, and made the best of the situation in spite of my diet. I imagine anyone would. Why risk violence just to avoid eating gluten? Yet the ramifications are clear for anyone considering joining military service. They may be putting themselves in a compromising position. Those of us out there make the best of it and do not mind the selfless service when required. Yet even at home in our day-to-day lives, where violence is not a factor, I see celiacs and gluten-free dieters compromising their dietary standards due to social pressures. Maybe they do it to fit in, or rub elbows with a supervisor at work, or maybe just to avoid seeming difficult. We may be given a salad with croutons and quietly brush them out of the way rather than be an inconvenience. And when we do this we are not only harming ourselves but each other. The more vocal celiacs are about their diet, the easier it will be for the next celiac who will follow in their footsteps, or are seated in the same restaurant later on. While it may seem curt, or perhaps crass, I politely reject any food that I am not confident is gluten-free, while ensuring that the server knows I am concerned about gluten. It does not matter to me if it is at a social event, a work event, or just casual dining. While I do know some gluten-free dieters who will only eat food from their own kitchen, I am not quite so stringent and am willing to go out to eat. However, I am also known for bombarding servers and cooks with a host of questions until I'm reasonably assured that my meal will not be cross contaminated or contain gluten. Several of the vignettes I include in Gluten Free in Afghanistan tell my story of difficult times eating gluten-free, both at home and abroad. While war-time scenarios do not unfold too often, and are probably far from your mind while eating at a restaurant, you may want to remember the above story when your gluten-free meal comes with wheat toast on top of it, or the crouton crumbs are scattered on top of your salad. Is it likely that the person who handed it to you is heavily armed and going to be offended? If they are, I would recommend you leave the area immediately for your safety and the safety of those around you. If they are likely not armed, politely explaining why this food is not healthy for gluten-free dieters will not only benefit you, it will benefit any celiac who is there after you. Stay safe out there. An excerpt from his book Gluten Free in Afghanistan.
  5. I know this question has been asked before, but I couldn't find a recent thread (like from the past 5 years). Are you unfit for military service in the United States if you have Celiac disease? Does this also include the NOAA Corps? Thank you!
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