Going gluten free one step at a time? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-31-2012, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD has eczema, that seems to be getting worse.  Another mom told me cutting gluten from her daughter's diet corrected her eczema, so I'm willing to do that if that's what it takes.  I know that there's no way I'll be able to do it all at once, though.  What are the biggest culprits?  Bread, I know, but I'm wondering about hidden sources.  Any ideas for what I should start cutting first?


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Old 08-31-2012, 09:28 PM
 
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Well I've found it easier to just do it all at once, because you can see an effect much more quickly which is motivating when you're trying to stick to it -- even small traces of gluten can aggravate issues so you might not see much effect if she's still consuming some gluten. I've gone GF I think twice now, and I've just helped DS transition back to GF after a trial of gluten. Both times we ate as much gluten as we wanted for a couple days -- kind of a last hurrah, I guess -- and then went cold turkey. I usually feel better after just a couple of days but DS took almost 2 weeks this past time to feel better.

When you first go off gluten, you crave it like crazy (at least, DS & I both did!) So I stock up on GF alternatives that I normally wouldn't buy -- GF bread, pasta, crackers, etc. -- just to use during the transition. I tend to feel GF stuff is overly processed & too expensive so we avoid it for the most part but it is a huge help when you're just starting out and desperately want something bready! After a few days the cravings wear off and it's not all that hard to stick with it. Just make sure since it's your DD that you have some yummy alternatives for things like cake at birthday parties so she doesn't feel left out or tempted.

The most obvious sources are bread, pasta, pizza, baked goods, crackers, etc. Less obvious are soups and sauces (you have to check the ingredients, soy sauce, creamy soups, soups with pasta are some examples). Anything with breadcrumbs (salad, meatballs...) It seems to me that at least 80% of packaged/processed foods have some amount of gluten in them... so if you aren't familiar with how gluten shows up on ingredient lists, you'll have to be extra careful. I'm sure someone will chime in with a link to an ingredient list... I don't have one on hand, I've been GF for most of the past 5 years so I don't have to think about it much these days...

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Old 09-05-2012, 02:42 PM
 
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I would agree with what's said above. Go all or nothing up front, it's much easier that way to keep track and you'll see the results much quicker. If you start cutting a little here and there, it won't make any difference on you or your DD's system.

 

I have gone GF twice. The first 2 times was to clear up a skin problem too and it worked the 2nd time as I did some other things along with the diet. But both times my energy skyrocketed as the gluten left my system, I felt much better. I'm on my 3rd GF cleanse right now as my DD has thrush, ugh. I definitely crave bready stuff for the first couple weeks. I rely heavily on (organic) corn products (cornbread, muffins, tortillas, chips, grits/polenta, etc.) and nuts. And there are some really great GF pastas out there now too! I would highly recommend finding a couple GF recipe blogs to read, if you're into that.

 

Good luck and hope the eczema clears up!

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Old 09-05-2012, 03:36 PM
 
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I don't think you will see much or any improvement with just a reduction, but do whatever you need to do. If doing it slowly is how you can manage it, so be it - but do not expect to see significant (or maybe any) results from a slow reduction. You may find motivation difficult without the results.

 

When I went gluten free, I had made the decision to do it but then took a few months before I actually took the leap. I had the luxury of being able to take my time, since I am gluten-sensitive but not allergic. It honestly is a big change of paradigm, and it took me a while to mull over my approach. When I started, I had a hard time figuring out what to eat. In my particular case, I didn't crave it (not at all, actually!) but did struggle at first to find alternatives and not keep eating literally the same food day after day.

 

Now it's easy for me, because I no longer need to rely on wheat. The only problems I come up against are eating socially (visiting extended family for example) and whipping up a quick dinner on nights that I just don't have the energy (that's when pasta or a frozen pizza really become tempting to me, not for taste but for sheer convenience).

 

I did not use gluten-free products at all, and agree with the above poster that they should be used more as a transition food or maybe a rare special occasion food, but not for daily nourishment. They are highly processed and expensive, and don't really nourish the body anyway.

 

What do I eat? Here are some ideas:

 

Breakfast - bacon, eggs (omelets, scrambled, etc), or a fruit and cheese plate (I like slicing some Swiss cheese and a pear, for example). Much more nourishing than cereal or a bagel anyway, and my daughter likes the fruit and cheese a lot. Cottage cheese is also easy for kids and a good source of protein for the morning, plus yogurt (I like plain, no sugar, whole milk) with fruit, flax seeds and buckwheat groats (contrary to the name, buckwheat is not wheat and is naturally gluten-free - they make for great crunch in yogurt similar to Grape Nuts). My daughter LOVES yogurt like this.

 

Lunch - Homemade soups and salads. Commercial salad dressing sometimes has gluten, so check the bottle. Also leftovers from dinner make a really good lunch. Deli salads like tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad, bean salad, etc. are good and filling, and can be packed in a lunchbox along with fruit and cheese. Soups include chili (check label if store-bought) and many other obvious ones (again, check label if storebought - a lot have pasta or flour thickening in them). I've also made lunches for my daughter that include a hard boiled egg, some veggie sticks and peanut butter dips and some fruit.

 

Dinner - Meat/Starch/Veggie is a great, traditional formula. Meat (or poultry or fish) can be as simple as throwing some chicken breasts in the oven (not breaded, obviously) or putting some pork chops in a skillet. Starch might be potatoes, squash, cauliflower, quinoa (this is a naturally gluten-free grain) etc. Vegetable could be green beans, broccoli, salad, southern greens, carrots, etc. I like this formula because it makes meal planning and shopping so easy, and it always makes for a good, filling and nourishing dinner. There should be plenty of GF gravy recipes out there, I haven't bothered to look because I enjoy thin gravy, but I do add some corn starch.

 

Desserts might include baked apples, puddings (I make my own, you'd have to check labels to make sure those are gluten-free), ice cream (definitely check the label since many, such as cookies and cream, obviously aren't gluten free), etc.

 

I personally found the results of GF pretty marked and very quick. I did not expect much, if any, results, and figured it would take weeks and probably would not notice it much. Honestly, I was feeling the results in 24 hours, far contrary to my expectations.

 

Oh, last note - the most surprising "hidden" gluten I've come across is soy sauce. Great news: you can buy tamari sauce instead. It tastes exactly like soy sauce, only better (it's high quality soy sauce, basically - soy sauce is "watered down" with a wheat mixture to make it cheaper). I dunno if any Chinese restaurants can offer gluten-free meals, but they are easy to make at home with a bottle of tamari.

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Old 09-05-2012, 06:45 PM
 
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all the posts above are amazing and great!

 

i had to go gluten-free in 2001, and have never looked back.  i agree that phasing it out slowly tends to make the whole thing seem ineffective.  figuring out how sensitive your daughter is only happens when you completely eliminate an item for a while.  a 1 week, very strict trial is usually enough for a dramatic result in most kids, though if there's any cheating, it won't work.  another thing to keep in mind is that many eczema babies have multiple food allergies.  i could give you lists for 6 different kids i know, but the general consensus was WHEAT/GLUTEN first and foremost, and over all, then dairy, and then eggs/corn/nuts.  

 

from my own experience, many foods caused flare-ups and allergic responses until i had cleared the wheat out of my system and healed up.  and using gluten-free foods to transition can be useful, but i don't buy any gluten-free products anymore.  i buy food, that happens to be gluten-free, and is usually in such an unprocessed state that it doesn't have any chance of cross-contamination.

 

i've heard the cravings are horrible, and when dealing with people coming off of wheat with a true and deep allergy, have seen some uglies come up.  with a child, i would find gluten-free versions of favorite foods and provide them for a season as the body is clearing up.  

 

Bread, crackers, pasta, cookies and cereal are the first biggest offenders that need to be removed.  hidden sources of gluten can be found in almost every other food item out there.  thank goodness they have labels now!  and so many options!  

 

blessings and peace with this journey and i hope you find a solution for this soon!


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Old 09-05-2012, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all of the replies!  Only one of my kids is dealing with this, so we went ahead and took her completely off gluten. She has her own stuff, and we have gotten some gluten-free stuff for the whole family (like pasta).  It's really not as difficult as I thought it was.  I haven't seen any improvement yet, I need to double check and see she's not getting any hidden sources, but I really don't think she is.  I'm going to start a food journal for her if I don't see improvement soon, and see what we can figure out. 
 


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Old 09-05-2012, 07:39 PM
 
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I know that there are those who must go gluten-free immediately, and those who choose to go cold turkey.  But I wanted to offfer our experience in slowly reducing the amount of gluten in our lives.  I started with just going gluten-free for dinner.  I found the substitutes for pasta as a side dish that others have mentioned - quinoi, rice, potatoes, etc.  Then after tackling dinner, I moved to gluten-free snacks and gluten-free breakfast.  I'm still finishing working on those, and the next step is gluten-free lunches.  Thanks for the poster who mentioned the deli salads - I think that will help us with lunch!   I also now choose more consciously at restaurants.  I found that I had a small amount of cravings, but satisfied them with nuts, carrots, potatoes and other "hearty" foods that are gluten-free.  And I think with kids that what others have said about offering more treats during the transition time is a great plan. 

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Old 01-01-2013, 07:21 AM
 
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Pardon my ignorance, but what is gluten and what's the big fuss over it?

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Old 01-01-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Laney1983 View Post

Pardon my ignorance, but what is gluten and what's the big fuss over it?

gluten is the protein found in wheat, similar components that aggravate those sensitive to it are also found in rye and barley.  oats have long been suspected of containing it, but there are some 'gluten-free' oats out there.  some people react to them, some don't, and cross-contamination due to processing is a huge risk.

 

gluten is a complex protein that some people lack the enzyme to digest.  when they consume it, it causes severe damage to the small intestine's lining.  this, over time, leads to many chronic health problems as it actually can cause holes in the intestine, crush the villi in the intestine so that nutrients are not absorbed, lead to an autoimmune response and inflammation of the body, the gluten can actually escape and cause damage to the brain in some individuals (some people are diagnosed by MRI's and certain markers in the brain, but then verified through gut tests), and many other issues.  

 

for some reason, there has been a huge jump in this once rare disorder- from one in every 100,000 when my grandmother was diagnosed in the 70's, to about one in ever 133 people these days.  for simple gluten intolerance, some estimate that 1 in every 33 people have it.   if you are related to someone with it, your chances are 1 in 3 of having it.  


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Old 01-01-2013, 02:29 PM
 
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Seashells,

 

I'm so glad I opened this thread and saw your post. I've been trying to go wheat/gluten free with my 3 children for a few weeks now but it's been hard because I couldn't figure out what to give them for meals. I've been doing a lot of what you do, cheese, fruit and eggs for breakfast, and for suppers usually meat, potatoes, veggies. I like to eat this way and they don't complain, but I worry about what friends and family may think. I'm glad to see that someone else feeds their children this way!

 

Lunch has been hard though. They're not big salad eaters unless I give them croutons and yummy dressings which defeats the purpose.  And I really don't have any soup recipes or ideas. Soup without noodles? My kids will gag! Can you share some ideas or recipes for salads and soups for us? They will eat tuna salad and chicken salad, but they're tired of both. 

 

What do you do when you go out? It's really hard to eat anywhere but home when you want to avoid wheat/gluten.

 

Laney1983, 

 

If you read the new book Wheat Belly, it will help you understand why gluten and wheat are so bad. Basically it's because wheat has been genetically altered so much over the years that it's not really fit for human consumption anymore. Have you ever heard the term, "Frankenfood?" Well, wheat has become "Frankenwheat" due thanks to modern day farming practices. If wheat was still in then form nature intended we wouldn't see so many people suffering from gluten intolerance and wheat induced ailments.

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Old 01-02-2013, 12:04 PM
 
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Hi there! 

 

I went cold turkey back in 2009. I had spent two years in agony - so much pain and sickness!

 

Turns out I have Celiac Disease, so for me it's even the smallest amount that makes me sick.  It can be found in Worcestershire Sauce (if they used Soy in it), Soy Sauce, Salad Dressings, Soups, - basically if it comes in a bottle or package, you need to read it.  Barley, Oats (some can handle strict GF oats, others cant), Malt, Spelt, Wheat - there's a long list.  Also - Most of your companies now choose to explicitly state on the package ingredient list contains:wheat or gluten

 

In my case - it wasn't just about the food, it was also a matter of using separate pans, cutting boards, utensils (like plastic spatulas, etc), - basically anything porous can retain the gluten in the material.   I also cannot use any body or bath products that contain gluten.  It's in all of Bath & Body Works lotions, soaps, sanitizers. Also in Victoria's Secret items. Shampoos like Redken, Aveeno - several have gluten within the product. Most people say that doesn't matter, that it only hurts if you ingest the product, but I'm living proof that when you bathe with it, something DOES get into your bloodstream through your skin. It's the biggest organ. 

 

It did help in tremendous ways - until this past January I was pretty healthy. Then I went through much of the same health problems only to find that in addition to Gluten I'm also sensitive/allergic to beef, chicken, pork, okra, corn, dairy and eggs. 

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Old 01-02-2013, 02:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sahmmie View Post

Seashells,

 

I'm so glad I opened this thread and saw your post. I've been trying to go wheat/gluten free with my 3 children for a few weeks now but it's been hard because I couldn't figure out what to give them for meals. I've been doing a lot of what you do, cheese, fruit and eggs for breakfast, and for suppers usually meat, potatoes, veggies. I like to eat this way and they don't complain, but I worry about what friends and family may think. I'm glad to see that someone else feeds their children this way!

 

Lunch has been hard though. They're not big salad eaters unless I give them croutons and yummy dressings which defeats the purpose.  And I really don't have any soup recipes or ideas. Soup without noodles? My kids will gag! Can you share some ideas or recipes for salads and soups for us? They will eat tuna salad and chicken salad, but they're tired of both. 

 

What do you do when you go out? It's really hard to eat anywhere but home when you want to avoid wheat/gluten.

 

Yeah, lunch is hard. Yeah.

 

Yummy salad dressings are not forbidden, though - you'll have to read labels but there are some (maybe not Ken's or the other cheaper ones) that are GF. Or you can make your own. I love salad dressings with a yogurt base. I don't remember the recipe offhand, but I've done plain whole milk yogurt, feta cheese, mustard, and I don't remember what else, and actually it sounded a little weird but when I mixed it all together it was a wonderful creamy dressing.

 

I don't know how flexible your kids are on soup - honestly, mine doesn't like soup in any form (but she's not GF) - but some soups I make include chili, a blended sweet potato soup, or you can use rice instead of noodles for a nice comforting carb punch in a typical chicken and veggie soup. I don't use GF products but if I had a kid who needed to be GF and liked chicken noodle soup, I'd give a GF pasta a try, sure.

 

Corn tortillas are something to consider trying. Honestly, I don't care for them, but if your kids like them, you can make them quesedillas or burritos or even a more typical sandwich wrap maybe. (ETA: As always, check labels. I can't swear offhand that most corn tortillas you can buy in the grocery store are wheat-free... but I do think they might be).

 

Dinner leftovers are a consideration for lunch as well. Or breakfast foods can be put into the lunch menu.

 

You could roll up a slice of deli meat (ham or turkey) and push a pretty toothpick through it and frame it with a tomato and a slice of cheese. Kids might like the presentation. I'd be happy to send a little container of mustard or GF mayo to dip the rollups into as well, so it's basically a sandwich without the bread, and kind of fun. You know, the toothpicks with the little colored bit at the top?

 

Hummus is something else you might be able to work with somehow - dip a variety of veggies, fruits, meats and cheeses into it?

 

Tabouli is another idea. Or chick pea salad. Both are good cold.

 

OK, I think I'm all out of ideas for now :lol:

 

As for restaurants, I pretty much don't eat out, but this is what I've noticed: Steak places are a pretty good bet. You can get your steak and mashed potatoes and veggie and you're all set. Another option for gluten-sensitive but not gluten-allergic (Celiac) would be the kind of cafeteria places where you can get your own food at the buffet? You can assemble a salad as a first course, then get a meat/veggie/starch to fill it out, like you would at home, then pick a pudding or an ice cream to top it off. But cross-contamination would be absolutely through the roof at those places, so it would work for me but not for others. Other than that, I'd say Indian restaurants probably have potential. Also, sushi. But NOT Chinese; I don't think there is a single GF thing on a typical Chinese menu (maybe some in the big city have some GF options, I don't know).

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