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Attention Gluten-Free Vegwebbers!!!

I need a bit of advice if you don't mind. I have been having some obnoxious digestive issues for the last 5-6 months (starting shortly after finding out I would be laid off at the end of the year). My symptoms mostly consisted of dumpster farts, bloating, constipation (plus other lovely digestive issues I will spare you the details of), and weird tooth enamel issues that have been around for a while (like enamel wearing down to dentin and teeth chipping). It had been getting progressively worse over the past few months as I have become more stressed out. I suspected a gluten allergy, but don't have money to go to the doctor to get it diagnosed properly. So about three weeks ago I tried to go gluten free to see if it would help. And my digestive issues improved quite a bit, it's too early to tell with tooth enamel I suspect. I incorporated gluten into my diet over the last two days to see if my symptoms were from the gluten and low and behold my digestive issues came back with a vengeance. So it seems I will have to resign myself to a gluten free lifestyle from here on out. I guess it makes me feel a little sad and frustrated because this transition feels so much more difficult compared to making the switch to a vegan diet. I feel like I had given up enough already. Anyway, enough whining.

So that whole rant (sorry) leads me to a few questions for you:

1. Can symptoms of a gluten allergy spontaneously appear when you are under a lot of stress?

2. What are some good GF pantry staples you recommend? I have brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, chickpea flour, oat flour, tapioca starch, and milled flax seed. I've been making biscuits, pancakes, and cookies with these over the last three weeks with success. I've also discovered GF mixes for brownies and pizza crust, which has been really helpful.

3. How do you cope with going out to eat and being both GF and veg*n? I've figured out options at a few places I go to most frequently, but I'm not sure what to do about my favorite vegan restaurant as they mostly serve sandwiches with no GF bread option. It seems almost silly to me to get a salad at a vegan restaurant where I'm used to being able to eat everything there. This isn't a huge issue, as I don't go out to eat very often.

4. What are some products that have hidden gluten in them? I've switched from soy suace to Bragg's and started making GF veggie burgers and other meat analogs, but I don't know if there might be gluten hiding elsewhere in other commonly used veggie foods.

5. Since going gluten free my consumption of grains has been cut in half. I've been eating mostly legumes, nuts, veggies, and fruit. The GF grains I have on hand are popcorn, quinoa, brown rice, GF Scottish oats, and millet. Should I make an effort to eat more grains for nutrition reasons, or not worry about it as long as I feel OK?

6. Any other advice you have would be really helpful. I'm sure alot of you know way more about this than I do. Thanks in advance!

1. Yep. At least, they did for me. I guess it must be that stress messes with your immune system, and suddenly your body isn't able to mitigate an immune response that might have been going on all along.

2. What you've got sounds pretty good. I don't do much GF baking, though. I've tended to just eat foods that were gluten-free anyway rather than trying to substitute. It's a bit like giving up dairy and not trying to like cheese substitutes until you've kind of forgotten how cheese tastes, I guess.

3. Salad, pretty much. Indian food can be a good place to start - I never have too much trouble getting a veggie curry and some rice. You might try calling ahead if you go out to eat and explaining your situation. If you wind up somewhere with no warning, the word 'allergy' usually gets the waitstaff to pay attention.

4. Always always always ask about soups, sauces, and gravies! I've seen plain veggie broth which contained wheat, and anything thickened is suspect. Also, though you may not react to it, I can't eat malt vinegar. Whiskey should be alright because it's distilled, but I just tend to be paranoid and avoid it. I'm assuming you're already not drinking beer/ale. Watch out for some blends of green tea - mugicha is flavoured with roasted barley. And check your miso. Another thing - you've probably already gone through the rigamarole of finding out if 'natural flavourings' in various things are vegan... time for round two, I'm afraid.

5. If you're not starving and you feel okay, you are probably doing just fine. Legumes, nuts, veggies, and fruits is great. If you're super-concerned about B-vitamins from grains, there's always nooch!

6. Chill! Going gluten-free is stressful, but stressing yourself out isn't going to help your tummy heal. Go with the flow, don't ever be too hard on yourself, just keep playing it by ear and seeing what works for you.

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I was eating gluten free for about 6 months actually on that candidia thing. well i still ate spelt sometimes for bread.
If you can eat spelt then do.. its the best. Oat flour isnt gluten free.
Chickpea flour is great.

I used to make a sauce or cassarole with beans, cashews and vegetables and have spinach leafs or cut up lettuce under it. I also used to add quiona to dishes too.
Try eating sweet potatoes more then potatoes, they are better for you from what i remember.
Millet is great, i really love it so you should try it out! I used to eat orgran buckwheat pasta which is quite good but its too expensive here, if i can ever find it. Rice or corn cakes are good instead of bread.

Braggs or tamari instead of soya sauce is good to know.

From my experience i started eatting way too many tomato dishes...
I also got bored of brown and ried rice fast.
Good meal ideas.
Breakfast- i used to always eat some fruit and have rice or corn cakes with tahini, rice porriage puffed kamur or rice or millet or corn, mushrooms on spelt toast. Also avocadoes on everything in everything.. it was summer :)

Warm meals- Stuffed peppers with quiona/millet or sweet potatoes with vegies or rice.
Curry with lettuce instead of rice or with papadums
Your regular pasta dish with buckwheat pasta.
Fried eggplant with avocado
Sweet potatoe fries with vingear and salt
Soup!!!!! or Stews!!!!thicken with corn flour or arrowroot
Add nuts and beans to your dishes, you will feel full.
Ask at vegan places if they can make anything gluten free, a friend of mine does that in berlin.. she eats at all the vegan burger places but just get the gulten free pattie with the fries.. not the best but still nice to be able to eat. Indian, middle easten and japanese resturants usually have options. Watch out for janpanese places.. also suggest them to buy some tamari for there gulten free customers!

I used to make cakes, find some GF flour blend suggestions on the net I cant remember mine. When i could eat spelt again i just used that. If you like buckwheat thats a plus for you.
Here is a good site someone suggested http://www.vegiac.com/forums/main-discussion/ I think its AWESOME!!!

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Spelt is a type of wheat, and is not  GF.  Oats themselves are GF, but unless they are strictly tested they tend to get contaminated in the harvesting and milling process, Bobs Red Mill sells GF certified oats.  You can find GF soy sauces, but I have yet to find a worsteshire sauce that is GF and vegan.

I like kasha, or buckwheat, which is actually related to rhubarb and isn't wheat at all. 

I like to add brown rice pasta to meals, it can be pricey but breaks up the monotony.

I also go in streaks with GF baking.  Most of the baking I do for my family is regular, but once in a while I make myself a loaf of bread and some cookies or bars.  Of course I share them with my family.  Find good recipes for things you miss, a good bread and a pie crust are staples for me, some go to cookies for cravings and a dessert or 3 or 4!  If you don't miss it, don't bother.

I rarely bother eating out.  I refuse to pay $8 to $10 for a freakin salad, or a plain baked potato.  I will go out with friends, enjoy the company and have a glass of wine, but skip dinner, its not worth it for me.

And there are several types of GF beer widely available on the market now.

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I avoided oats all that time! and I could of eatten them...!! crazy.
But i remember now, i did have a time like now where i shouldnt eat wheat, i mainly have problems with large amount such as pasta and bread. So i must of eatten spelt them, you are right its only low in wheat or something like that.

WoW i can eat oats! Breakfast will be oats and apples :)

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Thanks for all of your great advice, everyone! I have been stressing about this too much. One big life change has been following another and I think I'm going to need some time to adjust, calm down, and get things sorted out. If any of you GF Vegwebbers think of any other helpful advice I am all ears!

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1. I believe so. Over the years, when I was more creative and low key, my psoriasis was not as obnoxious as it has been the past 3 years after my daughter was born. Not that she's my stress, everything else is. Not enough time to paint and draw, where I work is ugly and hectic, where our apartment is is very lacking in greenspace, and we're cramped in our 1bedroom place...

2. I have all the same staples as you, I think.

3.  Thai food! A lot of Asian places will have rice and rice noodles you can order.

4. I'm only avoiding wheat specifically, so I don't eat the fake meats and wheat bread, pasta, flour tortillas, etc.

5.  Buckwheat Soba noodles!

6. It takes an adjustment period, but just like going vegan, you'll get used to the things you can eat. Since you're already eating at home most of the time anyway, think of it as a cooking challenge!

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instead of dwelling on all the stuff i couldnt have anymore, i wanted 2 kno what i could have and if i cud hav any fun making things myself! i recently purchased a cookbook called 'babycakes' its by the woman who started the vegan, gf, sugar free bakery called 'babycakes nyc.' she does explain the dif btwn spelt and other gf grains because spelt does contain a form of gluten unfortunately, and some of her recipes call for spelt flour. however, i just replace those recipes w gf all purpose flour from bobs redmill. anyway, the recipes are absolutely delicious. ive never been a baker persay, but now every1 wants my cookies and brownies and cakes! my only complaint i think is that ther isnt a plain sandwich bread recipe, however, the internet has a multitude of recipes to experiment with. try 2 b positive and think about all the new grains u may have never tried b4 but now u get 2. dont think of it as something u have 2 give up, but more like so many other things u get 2 try, and experiment with. not that u wana live off baked goods or anything, but every1 whos tried the things i make from my cookbook say, 'omg these r better than the regular kind!' and honestly, when ur feeling down about not eating ur fav breads or pizza anymore, it feels really good 2 whip up ur own gf version, and call it vegan, and have it taste amazing even 2 meat eaters all at the same time. stay positive and go try something new! :)

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I am trying to go gluten free too. I have had a few tests, but have not heard back about them. I decided to go gluten free after a suggestion from my GYN. doctor.
I am trying to stay away from carbs. At first I was eating carbs and more carbs. I think when we are not eating certain foods like bread we over do it with the carbs.

So it has been just a week this time gluten free and I am learning as much as I can about it.

It makes it difficult to eat out being vegan and now gluten free, but I dont' want to go back to eating meat again.

Good luck. Hope you are feeling better and getting along with being gluten free.

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A few things I noticed in this thread (didn't read the whole thing so they may or may not have been corrected already)

-Spelt is NOT gluten-free. 

-Oats are likely to be contaminated during harvesting and processing; some gluten-intolerant or Celiacs will react to "GF" oats, as their protein structures are similar

Celiac disease can indeed be brought on by stress:  somebody would have a diathesis or predisposition towards it, but something like a stressful time, a pregnancy, an illness, etc could push you over the threshold. 

Cooking is fun!  In any recipe pretty much I use half brown rice flour, half white rice flour to sub the wheat flour, plus one teaspoon of Xanthan gum.  As you get better at it you can start experimenting with buckwheat (which IS gluten-free) and chickpea flour (good in muffins!)

BEAR IN MIND If you ever do want to get tested, you need to be eating a large amount of gluten three times a day for six months to get an accurate diagnosis.  If you're okay being self-diagnosed, then go for it! 

Going gluten free is actually really easy if you are vegan already;  you are already used to the lack of convenience of fast food.  Restaurants can be tricky though..if you are just going GF to see if you feel better then great, but if you are STRICTLY gluten-free (or have Celiac disease) as in a crumb will have you writhing in pain for days on the bathroom floor, restaurants are not advisable.  I cannot eat in most places because the contamination is just too risky.  Sometimes a garden salad with no dressing is okay, other times I've found croutons in them.  Indian or Thai food has potential to be safe, but go at a quiet time and speak to the manager.

I am in Canada so have not tried it, but PF Chang's has a completely GF menu that looks delicious.

I highly recommend Celiac.com..both the articles and forums are extremely informative.  It got me through my diagnosis, and everybody is so welcoming and helpful. 

Lastly...smile!  It's going to be okay!  Cooking GF is fun, and grocery shopping is easy-peasy once you get the hang of reading labels.  Any questions feel free to PM me, I'm an extremely sensitive Celiac and know a lot about the gluten free diet. 

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I don't know much about gluten intolerance but I haven't ever heard of it causing tooth enamel problems. I suppose it's possible that if your body is not absorbing enough nutrients it would impact your teeth but just to be sure I'd really encourage you to consider other possibilities as well.

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tooth-enamel-erosion-restoration

This webmd link mentions medications, stress, acid reflux and other possibilities as well as gastrointestinal issues.

I've run into problems where I couldn't afford the doctor too and it really sucks so I empathize with that. Is there a free clinic you could visit?
Take care  :)

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I don't know much about gluten intolerance but I haven't ever heard of it causing tooth enamel problems. I suppose it's possible that if your body is not absorbing enough nutrients it would impact your teeth but just to be sure I'd really encourage you to consider other possibilities as well.

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tooth-enamel-erosion-restoration

This webmd link mentions medications, stress, acid reflux and other possibilities as well as gastrointestinal issues.

I've run into problems where I couldn't afford the doctor too and it really sucks so I empathize with that. Is there a free clinic you could visit?
Take care  :)

I've definitely heard of people with Celiac Disease having enamel loss.  Check out Celiac.com, it's a fantastic website that really helped me a lot when I went through my diagnosis 2 years ago. 

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