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Old 01-09-2010, 09:53 PM
Seeker Seeker is offline
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Default Questions about starting a GF trial

Happy New Year to everyone here!

I've decided to try a GF trial to see if it helps my neurological symptoms (which I believe is evolving into ALS). Dr. Fasano wrote (in answer to my query) that gluten sensitivity can mimic ALS). This would be for gluten sensitivity or intolerance as Celiac has been ruled out by genetic testing, blood testing and biopsy (though Dr. Fasano told me that as a first degree relative there is some chance I could still develop it). I'm still not sure whether I need to, or will try to, go TOTALLY off gluten or try to reduce it to a very minimal, trace amount. I know you need to go entirely off gluten if you have Celiac. I've been on a very low gluten diet for a week now and not sure I see any difference, though not progressing if I do have ALS would be a positive outcome.

Can anyone recommend one, simple book to help try to be on a GF diet? I am confused about a lot of things related to it and find the prices for some GF products quite exorbitant. Here are some specific questions if anyone would be kind enough to answer them:

1) how much gluten contamination are you getting or likely getting if you eat oats? I did buy some gluten free oat cereal but it is expensive.

2) None of the GF cereals I've seen seem very nutritious (high fiber, low fat or high protein) like the cereals I've been eating. Are there any GF cereals that are also nutritious in other ways? If so, where can you get them? Guessing they will be expensive.

3) Thought I was eating a GF lime chicken burger from Trader Joes, but a friend pointed out that it had "natural flavoring" as an ingredient. One source I have said you have to check with the manufacturer to find out if this has gluten. To do this for every questionable ingredient would seem to be quite a hassle. Is there any other way to know if it has gluten?

I'm using a stepwise, gradual approach suggested in a book I've been reading, so not too concerned at the moment for those hidden sources of gluten, as step I is to eliminate the main and usual sources of gluten, such as bread and pasta, which I've done for a week. Tomorrow will be a challenge, though, as supposed to meet some people at a pub after a meeting. Usually order burgers there. If I order the burger without the bun, would that be okay? Guess I won't be able to get the fries that come with it, right? (:

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Old 01-10-2010, 12:56 AM
jcc jcc is offline
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Hi Seeker,

A burger without the bun should be ok. You should verify that the cooking surface is used only for meat, and not shared with grilled buns, etc. Fries are alright if they use a dedicated fryer for french fries... meaning they don't share the oil for chicken nuggets, onion rings, etc. We actually just avoid fries when out because I don't like jumping through all the hoops of quizzing the staff about their fryers. A baked potato is a safer choice.

Starting by removing the big sources is a fine way to start because it takes some time for the gluten to all clear your system anyway. It can takes months to even a year for the antibody production to completely stop. But, you should start working on clearing out even those little sources soon, because even trace amounts can be enough to keep those antibodies in production and working against you.

The very simplest way to go is to keep it simple! I recently added a page to the gluten file about getting started on the diet... it might be of some help....

If you are going to have oats, they should be certified gluten free... which ensures the end product has been tested. I use Bob's Red Mill GF Oats, although there are several other brands. They are more expensive... we don't eat them often.

I think Perky's Nutty Flax (apparently renamed Crunchy Flax) has a fair amount of fiber.

The Gluten File
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:44 PM
Zonulin Zonulin is offline
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Yes - and keep in mind if you're searching (Seeker!) for the ONE MAGIC BOOK which will provide everything you need that one size does not fit all. I have found some GREAT recipes in books like The Paleo Diet or The South Beach Diet (low/no carb) and in books with Asian-style recipes (emphasis more on rice). MY slow cooker chili might make YOU gag! A food you might be crazy about might make ME gag! When I find a recipe I like (and my family likes!), I'll copy it onto a 4 x 6 card and stash it in my recipe file. I find recipes in cook books I get at the library or from online sources, plus I have a lot of old recipes which I have "tweaked" to fit our new GF lives, such as my great-grandmother's recipe for macaroni and cheese. What do you like to eat? What were your favorite foods as a child? What delicious smells do you want emanating from your kitchen?

I don't even eat cereal for breakfast any more, so I cannot advise or recommend. I'll have an organic Greek-style yogurt with Craisins, some maple syrup and sunflower seeds with a piece of fruit (also organic) and maybe some homemade GF toast. Or a piece of leftover chicken with a piece of fruit. I want to get back into making congee, which is one cup of rice cooked in 10 cups of water over several hours, which makes a gruel-type of cereal to which you can add sweet or salty items (green onions, leftover meat, fruit, etc.). It's more of a winter meal since it tastes better hot, but it's easy and CHEAP! And you only have to make it once a week since you can get a whole week's worth of breakfasts from it. I'll admit we have an unopened package of Van's Gluten-Free Waffles in our freezer, which no one has touched simply because there's so much GREAT stuff to eat which is not processed and frozen. So there it sits, sort of a GF security blanket, I guess...

A GF life does involve rethinking what you have done probably for your entire life - the pancakes and waffles with bacon (nitrites - type of breakfast is not something I want anymore.

Maybe you can imagine you are back in high school and you are a foreign exchange student and are now being exposed to foods you never imagined you'd be eating and enjoying.

Regarding the "lime chicken burger" - those foods with "natural flavoring" are foods to avoid, although I do know people who will actually call a manufacturer while they're shopping to ask (using a cell phone). I would complain to Trader Joe's about "coy" manufacturers, and explain that you would get really sick if the item contained hidden gluten and that you don't appreciate this type of dilemma when you shop at their store. I would stick with really good hamburger made from a really healthy animal (beef or bison) and enjoy its own wonderful flavors. Right now I am roasting a chicken, which we'll have for several meals, including broth. Is it a bit of a pain to give up part of a Sunday for a CHICKEN? Heck, yes. But we will enjoy it and feel healthy after eating it, and there are no mysteries in consuming an organic, free range chicken. Do you know about Karina's site? Seldom is heard a discouraging word on her site...

Karen "...and the skies are not cloudy all day..."
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:00 PM
Seeker Seeker is offline
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Posts: 156

Thanks Cara and Karen,

Very helpful advice. Was able to eat at the pub Sunday - had Thai chicken salad and they didn't add the noodles they usually add. Think I've been basically gf since Jan 2 though discovered today that one (just one) of my supplements has gluten so will stop that). Finding that I'm "treating" myself to things like gf cookies and gf rolls since on this gf trial - things I normally don't buy or eat much. Also not going to worry about getting enough fiber, low fat, low carb, enough protein and other nutritional concerns too much while I try to adjust, as think I'll just drive myself crazy trying to meet all theses criteria, especially since I don't know that much about cooking. Going to try that Congee. Found out that Trader Joes has a list of GF foods and the lime burgers are okay, as well as their mayonnaise and ketchup, thankgoodness.

This should be interesting. Hope the willpower remains when out and hungry and confronted with tempting breads, rolls, and other gluten-laden foods!
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:19 PM
can can is offline
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Posts: 487

It's always a good idea to bring some snacks along with you, like seeds, nuts, and fruit. Less tempting to eat THE UNKNOWN OR JUNK.
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