GroupTrack Challenge: We're Going Gluten Free! Community
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1666434 tn?1325265950

Very Clueless Still About Gluten Free

When I think of gluten I think of wheat, so does this mean stay away from whole grains?  How can I tell if I am intolerant or not?  My husband gets severe heartburn and gastric acid when he eats it.  So I have been looking into this diet as a solution but really don't know where to begin at all.  Definitely looking forward to the posts so I can learn from everyone :D
5 Responses
681148 tn?1437665191
I get migraines, my IBS acts worse, my GERD flares up, I get nauseous, my gut cramps up, I get the worst eczema flare-ups, my mood darkens and I get extreme fatigue if I eat gluten.

I have ER doctors who still act like this is all in my head.  You will run across this, too.  Ignore the doubters, because it's your body.

My PCP has seen the difference between the eczema flares before and after eliminating gluten, so she knows that gluten intolerance is confirmed with this one condition alone--even though those fancy blood tests that the ER doctors at a local hospital want to doubt.  She knows that test done for Celiac is not infallible and is not especially accurate, so she doesn't choose to rely on the silly useless blood test.

I had to go in recently for migraine treatment because someone sprayed perfume in the hallway in my apartment building.  I made sure to have the people update my file by adding Tyramine Intolerance to my medical issues.  This was partly to shut up the doctors who still doubt the gluten intolerance issues, as gluten intolerance is a part of Tyramine Intolerance.  The neurologist I see works on the same campus as the hospital, and he knows for sure I have this Tyramine Intolerance, as it is common for people with migraines to have this issue.  There is more than gluten involved with Tyramine Intolerance, but adding this to my file should actually help--at least some.  The young nurse knew what I was talking about.  This Tyramine Intolerance can't be measured, but this young nurse knew what it was and knows the neurologist I'm referring to.  I didn't know what Tyramine Intolerance was when I first saw this neurologist, but I knew which foods were problems for me, so actually the neurologist and I were already on the same page.  The list of foods I knew to be problems for me are all Tyramine Foods.  Anyway, the short answer is that gluten intolerance is part of Tyramine Intolerance, so this is why the neurologist believes me about gluten intolerance.

The allergist also believes me, because he is aware that while he can test for true allergies, his tests don't show food sensitivities, which are sometimes referred to as hidden food allergies.  Even he talked about how an anonymous patient who tested negative for milk allergy can still drink a glass of milk in front of him and have a reaction in front of him.  So, he doesn't have some weird notion that the patient can't know his or her own body.

Nope, so far, only some of these ER doctors at the same hospital campus that the neurologist works for, want to hold to some silly notion that going gluten free is a fad diet.  Don't ask me why they believe that if their silly blood test is negative that they want to believe it's all in the patient's head when it comes to gluten sensitivity or intolerance.  I wouldn't have such doctors as my PCP, that's for sure.  They're great and fine for treating acute migraines or finding renal failure, but this belief about gluten intolerance being all in a person's head just because some blood test comes back negative is ridiculous.  I guess they also believe that all Celiacs have chronic diarrhea, even though it's totally possible to have the opposite problem.

I still don't know if I have actual Celiac or not.  But, I still go gluten free, because I definitely feel better without eating all that gluten.  I know that I am still sensitive or intolerant to gluten.
681148 tn?1437665191
Gluten is found primarily in wheat and the heirloom varieties of wheat:  kamut, spelt and emir.

It is also in barley and rye.  

Oats are a special problem, even if they don't necessarily contain gluten.  They are prone to be cross-contaminated with gluten if the oats are grown anywhere near grains that contain gluten.  Celiacs also have to be concerned with oats that are not certified as gluten free.  They do have to be certified, because even if everything else is great with growing conditions, concern has to do with the equipment the oats are processed on or the grain trucks that the oats are carried in.  Even minute particles of gluten are a serious health threat for Celiacs.

Corn is not a gluten grain, but it does cause many with gut issues already to have problems.  Technically it is fine for Celiacs, but in general no one should be eating corn.  The majority of corn on the market is GMO as well.  Even if it's organic it is still a problem grain.  It is for sure a grain that is a high allergenic grain and it is not part of the elimination diet, meaning that when one is on the elimination diet, corn is eliminated while getting the body to a neutral state to help one determine if one is sensitive to corn.  I definitely am.  Corn is not very digestible to begin with.  It is also high glycemic, so folks needing to avoid the high glycemic grains, this is one of the worst offenders.  Not the only one, but one of the worst of the worst

Rice will become your new best friend.  Not all rice is created equal.  Forget about Minute Rice and other "quick" rices.  Forget about white rice all together.  Go for whole grain rice varieties.  FYI:  Wild rice is not a true rice.  It is called "rice" because we cook and eat it like rice.  It is not even related.  However, it is a friend for people going gluten free.  Definitely add this to your list of gluten free grains.

Other gluten free grains:  Buckwheat, Kasha (toasted buckwheat--not the commercial cereal with the name--forget about the cereal with the name, because it is not Celiac friendly), quinoa, millet and amaranth.

DO NOT BE FOOLED:  Couscous is NOT a grain.  Couscous is simply a form of pasta made from the same stuff as other pastas.  Usually, it is semolina flour.  This semolina is simply a form of wheat flour.  Something to do with the processing makes it semolina.  You'll have to ask the Italians what makes it semolina.  Or, you can nevermind that technicality and just realize that semolina and durham are forms of wheat and you need to stay far away from the stuff.

If a recipe calls for couscous, like a salad or something, simply cook some millet or quinoa.  You may enjoy the millet more as a couscous substitute.  Cooked right, the human grade millet, sold without the hulls we can't digest, millet has a very light and nutty flavor that is also reminiscent to couscous.  A perfect substitute.  Quinoa will work, too, but the flavor is different.  Millet has a similar size and shape to couscous and has the perfect flavor, which is why I recommend millet as the substitute first.

Quinoa is great by itself.  Cooked right, quinoa can be sweet and delicious all on its own.  For folks with the cassein cross reaction that many Celiacs also have, quinoa is great all on its own for breakfast.  So, if you don't have or don't like rice or almond milk or have an allergy to one of the components in these milk substitutes, quinoa actually has plenty of safe and healthy protein on its own.

All of these gluten free substitutes can be just as versitile as the wheat that is so prominent in western diets.  They can be used for sweet or savory foods and are great for baking.  Gluten free breads you buy--well, I'm not too impressed, but from what I understand, gluten free baked goods you make yourself should turn out far superior to that.  Just something to keep in mind.  Save your money.  There are those gluten free breads that are few and far between, but without the gluten, such breads just fall apart and crumble.  It's great, though, if you're making gluten free stuffings.  Just be sure to add whole grains or crunchy textured veggies or something to give them substance.  Add nuts, if you're not allergic, but be aware of others who are when making food for a group.  Sure, they will taste different from what you're used to, but you'll like it, and after a while you'll find you like it far more than the unhealthy gluten laden foods everyone else is still eating.

When cooking amaranth, be sure to use a larger pan than you think you need, even when cooking a little bit.  It tends to splatter all over the place.  Save yourself a lot of frustration and just use an oversized pan when cooking it, and all will be fine.  It's a great grain.  It's actually something ancient people ate plenty of.  Some of the Hebrew scriptures in the bible mention amaranth, so we know that the people of this time period were eating grains such as amaranth.  It is a very yummy grain.  It has sort of a slippery texture when cooked that tends to firm up after it cools to room temperature.  Just so you know.  You won't mind a bit.  It really is a wonderful grain to eat.  A very nice change from rice.  

Your family will appreciate it if you mix it up a bit with the grains when you're cooking.  These grains are all yummy.  Make them all a regular part of meal planning.  Don't worry if the kids balk at it at first.  That's what kids do when mommy changes the family's regular menu to healthier food choices.  If you don't stress over it, the kids will adapt to it.  Several of the grains can be added to other foods without the kids ever even knowing it.  Just so you know.  Several of the grains are already ground into flour.  Use these as thickeners for your gravy.  I find rice flour to actually be so much easier to use for gravies and sauces and less prone to lumps than the stuff we were taught to use.
1666434 tn?1325265950
Oh you are so perfect with your information, I love it!!!

You hit the nail right on the head with oats--- I often cook oatmeal and my husband gets heartburn right after he eats it :(  We at first thought maybe it's the honey, maybe it's the butter he puts in it.  Then he just had it plain and it still affected him.

I do love brown rice and my family does too, is that ok?  And I couldn't be more pleased about what you said about staying away from corn and the GMOs.  Even soy is being oppressed by GMOs.  I watched a documentary on farming and was just appalled how GMOs are taking over and farmers are literally being forced due to contamination to start growing the same thing.  There used to be an abundance of seed cleaners, to help farmers use the seeds from their crops for the following year and now they are slowly but surely being run out and shut down.

A couple of months ago we pulled our animals off of the food we were feeding them and now use Taste of the Wild, it does not contain corn or soy fillers.  What a huge change we encountered with them.  They are actually getting full and eating less.

Red Quinoa is my favorite.  I usually cook this in vegetable stock and saute some garlic in olive oil then add it to the mixture.  I also add about a 1/2 c. parmesan cheese and some Brewer's Yeast Flakes to add some vitamins to it.

amaranth is something I tried to cook once and it was horrible.  Not because of the grain but because of how I cooked it--- I am curious how you prepare yours.  It is a complete protein so it is no wonder how our ancestors used it.  

Chi-chi bean flour is another interesting flour to use too, although I have not done too much with it.

I am loving this group already, thanks for writing all this down, this was so helpful!
681148 tn?1437665191
Brown rice is your friend.  :-)  All I would add is that since it has all that natural fiber in it to just be sure to drink plenty of fluids that are not additionally dehydrating or diuretic.  So, definitely plenty of plain old water.  Not a lot more, but definitely more water.

Amaranth is tricky to cook.  This is why I mentioned using a huge pan for cooking it.  Even for cooking a smaller amount.  You probably noticed that it splattered all over your stovetop.  I noticed this, too.  What a pain to clean up, right?  Well, I decided that I was definitely going to use a much bigger pan the next time I cook it, in order to contain the splattering.  It's also good to lower the cooking temperature.  I did do that the last time and it turned out to be good and tasty.  So, next time try cooking this grain at a much lower temperature.  It does really taste good once it is cooked properly.

Is chi-chi bean flour a brand name?  I'm thinking you are talking about chickpea flour?  Just so people here all know:  If you see a recipe that calls for besan, this is the flour that the recipe is calling for.  If you can't find it at the co-op stores or other natural food stores, go to an Indian grocery store and ask for besan.  This is their word for chickpea flour.  It is pronounced:  bee--sawn.  It is good to know the word, so that there is no confusion about what you are buying.  Since it is made from ground up chickpeas (garbanzo beans), then you know that it has quite a bit of protein in it as well.  I haven't actually cooked with it yet either, but I do know this is the correct teminology.  I have come across a recipe written in English using the word besan in reference to gluten free flour.  It is simply important for people to know the correct Indian word and where to buy it if it's not in the natural food stores and co-op stores.  I honestly don't know which Indian language the word comes from, but besan is the Indian word.
1666434 tn?1325265950
I actually did not know the name besan as reference to garbanzo beans, thanks so much!  And yes that was exactly what I was referring to chickpea flour.  I love chick peas, they have so much calcium in them.  The flour can be hard to come by depending on your area.  Further west you go it is easier to come across Indian stores which are my favorite to browse.

Brown rice I absolutely love in fact I am cooking some now.  I like making a breakfast rice on occasion too.  We cook about 3 cups in a rice steamer, then add a little bit of butter, salt, shredded coconut, pecans, and raisins.  You can easily omit the butter.  I use Earth Balance with Omega 3s just to add a little bit of flavor and it's a great treat.
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