Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I was just diagnosed with Celiac disease 2 weeks ago. I also am allergic to milk. But I read that lactose intolerance can be a symptom of celiac, so maybe I will be able to have dairy products when I become gluten free???!!

I am happy to find this blog and have found many useful things on it.
It scares me that I can read ingredients and think that something is gluten free, when it may not be.

Am I supposed to research every single product I eat by contacting manufacturers?
Does this mean I really should not eat at restaurants?
Is tofu safe?
Anyone with any insight would be very much appreciated!
Rita :)


Anonymous said...

Take a deep breath and know that living gluten free is something you can get used to - it just takes time.

I was lactose intolerant when diagnosed Celiac and now I am not lactose intolerant.

The easiest way to start being gluten free is to eat the purest food possible with the fewest ingredients. For example, eat full fat mayo rather than low fat mayo until you figure out if the low fat with more ingredients is gluten free. Second you have to cook and get inspired to try new things. Read Gluten Free Girl by Shauna James Adhern for inspiration about eating gluten free.

Get to know what stores and markets carry good/great gluten free products. In the five years since I was diagnosed this has exploded. Spend time at Whole Foods, Planet Organic or even your local organic green grocer. Molly B gluten free gourmet is a great local resource with products available at stores throughout the GTA.

Finally, take a day off work and wander the grocery store cell phone in hand and call the manufacturers of your favourite foods as needed to find out if they are GF.

Use this blog and others to decide which restaurants to try. In general the more sophisticated the restaurant the more likely they are to be able to accomodate your needs. There is an Ontario Celiac blog which lists restaurants. You will find restaurants who will accommodate and you will go back to them.

I find the hardest part is getting friends and family to understand your needs and how sensitive you are. Things like family gatherings and weddings can be horrible if you can't eat anything and everyone thinks that eating a little won't hurt you - it likely will.

Don't worry it will get easier over time and most important you will feel much better!

Anonymous said...

I second absolutely everything in this comment. It really does get easier, and choosing the right products becomes second nature. You also forget the taste of "real" bread, etc., over time -- I have been diagnosed for 12 years, and now when I eat gf bread I compare to other gf bread and not to wheat bread in terms of taste and texture.

Gluten Free Girl has great recipes, and while she seems a bit too happy to be celiac for my taste sometimes (to be honest it can be a real drag, particularly for picking up quick breakfasts and lunches), the recipes on the blog and in her book are definitely worth reading.

The Hospital for Sick Children has a really good selection of gluten free products (including Quejos cheesebuns from Vancouver -- very tasty and chewy!). Most regular grocery stores carry gluten free products, often in a "natural foods" section -- Loblaws seems to have a good selection just about everywhere, and you will find many of the same products as at Whole Foods for quite a bit less. Longo's stocks the phenomenal La Veneziane corn pasta in the same aisle as the regular pasta.

With restaurants, it is definitely easier in higher-end places but there are many excellent less expensive place, such as Sweet Lulu's, that are happy to make meals gluten free. If you are ever out in Oakville, stop by the Colborne Street Cafe. I recently had an excellent experience there; went in to get a sandwich for my husband and expected not to eat, but to my delight found that they have GF bread and will make the sandwiches for you using fresh ingredients (using lettuce, etc., from a different bag to ensure that there are no crumbs), with freshly-washed knives, cleaned grill, etc. They also give you two sandwiches for the price because "the gluten free bread is so tiny". They did not make it seem like a chore or at all unusual to take precautions -- reminded me of eating in Italy (where the attitude overwhelmingly seems to be "so, you can't eat regular pasta -- no problem, there are lots of things we can make for you").

You can get some good resources from the Canadian Celiac Association, as well. Another helpful thing is to see a celiac-aware dietician (I think the CCA may have a list on its website). The diet can be challenging at times, and particularly for the first couple of years, but you get to know which products you like, where to get them, etc. pretty quickly.

Annick said...

I was just diagnosed with Celiac disease a week ago and I have to admit feeling quite overwhelmed. I was also told I may be lactose intolerant but I was also told that after the lining of my stomach repairs itself I may be able to go back to eating dairy products. I have found a few stores and restaurants that sell and serve GF products which is reassuring. I have been reading and reading and reading and I guess I'm starting to feel a bit more comfortable with this new diet of mine and my husband has been great in doing research and reading every single label in the grocery stores.
I really have to thank the bloggers on this site for posting all this information and helping newly diagnosed people who may not know what to do after being diagnosed.
I bought myself a little red notebook and write down everything from what I can eat and what I cannot eat so that when I go to the stores I can refer to my notes. Sometimes remembering what's good and not for you is quite complicated.
I hope that in the future I will be able to help someone out there who is feeling as overwelmed as I do some days.
Thank you to all you bloggers.