18 Things to Replace when Going Gluten-Free

18thingstoreplace

I’m constantly learning about new things I need to replace since going gluten-free after my celiac disease diagnosis. Just last week while gardening, I realized we probably should replace our grill since we spent many of summers putting meats covered in gluten filled marinades and sauces all over it! There probably isn’t enough cleaning I could do to risk cross contamination. So, for now I’ll stick with my George Foreman Grill and Oven!

Which led me to an ever bigger thought of what else did I replace after going gluten-free and how could I help all of you think of things to consider. Many of us don’t realize until we continue getting sick that this or that might be causing us problems!

I took a poll on my Facebook page and about 50 people responded to the question “what were you surprised you had to replace?”

Here are the answers!

  1. Toaster
  2. Plastic Tupperware
  3. Beauty products
  4. Bath products
  5. Hair color and products
  6. Waffle Maker
  7. Anything Wooden or Plastic in the kitchen
  8. Colander
  9. Bread Machine
  10. One person replaced their kitchen counters
  11. Play Dough
  12. Tea
  13. Protein Powders
  14. Nail Polish (if you bite your nails or have kids that are GF this is a good idea)
  15. Adult Toys and intimate Products – I just had a company ask me to do a giveaway on my site for some bedroom products and when I asked if they were gluten-free, she said no. Be careful with these items.
  16. Medications and Supplements
  17. Grill and other cook top items
  18. Food – Obvious!

Now I’m not suggesting you run out and replace all of these things immediately or if you are just living gluten-free for health reasons and not because of a sensitivity or celiac disease.

I’m surprised no one put “friends” or “family” down lol. That seems to be what many people struggle with the most when going through the lifestyle transition.

 

***Totally forgot about kids stuff like glue and play-doh!****

Do you have one that we missed? Please leave it in the comments below!

Managing a Family Full of Allergies – One Parent’s Super Mom Story!

I’ve been looking for an amazing guest blogger that could tell the story of living with children suffering from celiac disease and/or other allergies and I found Jen Lane! Her story amazed me and I thought it needed to be shared for everyone to hear. While I do not have children yet, I do realize the difficulties that a family must face! I have a hard enough time with just myself.
Anyway, I’ll let Jen tell you her story….
I have three children, ages 10, 7 ½, and 5 ½.  All three kids and I suffer from some form of gluten, dairy , and soy allergy or intolerance, plus many others.

Mandie

     Mandie was diagnosed with her dairy allergy at 6 weeks old, by our family doctor and IBCLC.  She’d had the symptoms since birth, however.  By age 1 she was also allergic to shellfish and mollusks, and was diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease. Age two saw the inclusion of strawberries, grass, lanolin, wool, adhesives, cats, dogs, cottonwood trees, and several weeds and trees. Age three saw the addition of severe allergies to palm and coconut (in all forms), chamomile, ragweed, sunflower, safflower, wheat, and her celiac diagnosis. She outgrew her strawberry allergy.  At age 4 she added honey, almonds, sesame, latex, lidocaine, all molds, dustmites, candida, & more weeds. At age 5 (this past July) she added a severe corn allergy, as well as chocolate, gluten free oats, olive, mustard, banana, grain dust, dandelions, even more molds and candida.  Due to the genetic nature of the disease, Mandie and her brothers are Malignant Hyperthermia Susceptible, which is an allergy to general anesthesia.
Living with allergies since her birth, Mandie has grown up knowing that she cannot eat what everyone else eats. As a toddler we’d just tell her that she was allergic to milk and it would make her sick, but I was nursing her and we brought our own food everywhere, so it was not an issue.  As she got older and added allergies, we have told her the same thing, but with more detail. Most of the allergies were discovered via reaction, and even at age 3 she’d had enough severe reactions that she would tell us she never wanted to get sick from allergies again.    At just over 5 1/2, Mandie can recite all of her allergies, explain what happens in an allergic reaction and tells people when and how to use the epi pens she carries around her waist.  She knows that she has celiac disease, and that it means that she can not eat or touch anything containing gluten.   She has been good at always asking adults (especially at church) to check package labels, often telling them what to look for. When she started school this fall, she sat in on the 504 meeting with her soon to be step-dad and I, and had many intelligent things to contribute.
Mandie is amazingly resilient as far as living with her allergies goes. She has an amazing attitude, and knows that I will always at least attempt to make whatever she is craving or missing safe for her. I think a huge part of this is the fact that I have always made sure to make our home a safe haven where she is free to eat without fear. She is also fairly matter of fact about living with allergies since she has done it since birth.    I have bought lots of books for children with allergies that we read whenever she wants, as well as the Alexander the Elephant video from www.foodallergy.org.  Sometimes she gets very down and upset about having so many allergies and not being like other kids.  I tell her that it is perfectly normal to get angry, or cry, or feel sad about her allergies and that I understand.  I also tell her that maybe someday she will outgrow some of her allergies, but if not she is very healthy and will learn how to cook amazing things! Occasionally she gets upset at wearing her epi belt when she is wearing a dress, but she got a pretty purse that she can carry in those occasions (when I am with her).

Hunter

My middle child, Hunter (7 1/2), was diagnosed with celiac disease 18 months after his sister. He was also diagnosed with dairy allergy at the same time. Growing up with his sister’s allergies, it was very easy to explain to him what it meant and what he had to avoid.  At the time of diagnosis Hunter was so sick with what we at first assumed to be appendicitis that we had him in the emergency room, so he made his own decision not to eat any more gluten or dairy. Hunter carries epi pens for bee stings, diagnosed at age 2 after being stung twice, and is severely allergic to latex.
   Hunter does not care what anyone thinks about his food at lunch, and is one of those kids who make eating different seem cool.  He is very matter of fact about eating gluten and dairy free since he was so sick at diagnosis.  Hunter is the child who tells everyone how much healthier his food is and how good it tastes, and has everyone wanting to taste some!  He is also good about his bee sting allergy, and tells all of his friends about it so they help keep him safe.  He is fantastic about wearing his epi pouch at all times, and makes sure they are up to date and that he has Benadryl and bandaids with him.

Truman

    Truman is my oldest, turning 10 this month. As a toddler he had severe allergy to spider and mosquito bites, which would swell his eyes shut if he got bit anywhere from his shoulders up to the top of his head.  He finally outgrew those allergies at age 5, but proved to be very sensitive to dairy, soy, and gluten – reacting with behavior issues, bed wetting, and a deep asthma-like cough when he ate dairy.  Truman is also very very sensitive to sulfites, and is malignant hyperthermia susceptible like his siblings.  Truman also has asthma.
    Truman is often sensitive to what people at school think of his “different” lunches.  His siblings and I keep telling him how much healthier he is, and he agrees that “Mom makes the best food!” Most of the time he agrees that at least his allergies aren’t nearly as bad as his sister’s, and that he has a bunch more freedom than she does.
As a parent, the allergies can be all consuming at times.  My oldest son Truman (10 in Jan.) is intolerant to soy, gluten, and dairy. I am anaphylactic to dairy and chaomoile, likely celiac (never been tested, but my family doc and Mandie’s allergist say yes based on symptoms and two kids with the disease), allergic to soy & share many of Mandie’s other allergies.  Because of our sensitivity, we must avoid all foods made in the same facility with dairy, gluten, & corn.  The scope of Mandie’s allergies means we do not allow any gluten, dairy, shellfish, mollusks, chamomile, palm (including soaps) or soy products into our home, and only limited coconut, sunflower, safflower, olive oil, & corn.  I used to keep our entire home free of Mandie’s allergens, but the list is so insanely long now that it is not feasible.  The boys know to wash up after eating, or Mandie reminds them. She is not airborne or contact allergic to peanuts, almonds, honey, chocolate, banana, & oats, so the rest of us eat those with caution.  We make sure all soaps in the house are Mandie-safe, as well as all cleaning products. I make dinners that are safe for all of us, though everyone else can use salad dressings or Daiya cheese, or almonds on our salads.  Breakfast is usually cereal of some type – very few cold cereals are Mandie-safe, so she eats the ones that are, or I make her hot cereal using fruit, quinoa flakes, millet, cream of rice or cream of buckwheat.  I make all of our bread to be Mandie-safe, and at lunch we all eat our favorite sandwiches (Mandie eats homemade cashew butter with homemade jellies and apple, pear, or pumpkin butter) and chips (Mandie’s are homemade).  Mandie also loves to snack on toasted pumpkin seeds or chickpeas instead of chips.
      Every single decision I make has to be filtered through our allergies.  We don’t often take Mandie with us to stores, and anyplace we go we bring all of our own food, table coverings, safe wipes – plus each of our Epi bags with our epi pens, Benadryl, inhalers, latex-free bandaids, and lavender oil.  I spend several hours each day researching how to make or buy safe soaps, cleaners, toothpaste, ketchup, mayonnaise, pickles, barbecue sauce, etc.  At school, Mandie uses Avon’s Silicone Glove lotion whenever she is not in her classroom, sits at a special table at lunch, has her own snacks, lunch from home, and uses a placemat at lunch and snack time at school. All of her class washes hands upon entering the classroom, after bathroom breaks, snacks, and lunch. Every table is wiped down with Clorox wipes after lunches and snacks, and students have been taught not to touch her skin after lunch until they wash up.  Even so, every day I pray that I won’t get a call of a severe reaction while she’s at school.
    I am a member of numerous allergy groups on yahoo groups and facebook, and would like to start a local group in my town to bring other moms together.  It is VERY important to have other moms to vent to, bounce ideas off of, cry with, and curse about the difficulties and stresses of this life we live. It is too overwhelming to think of the consequences of not doing what all I do keep us all safe.
Most of the time I am on a bit of an autopilot as we go through our routine, thinking about what needs to be done and why, but not really feeling it. When I do think about all of the details, such as writing it all down or talking to the allergist, or coping with a reaction, the severity hits home and I break down and cry with my fiancé, talk to friends, and think about how blessed we truly are as I have friends who face far worse challenges than we do.  Through it all, I just pray every day that they will outgrow at least some of their allergies.  This is also why I walk in the FAAN (now FARE) WALK for Food Allergies in Chicago each year.  Connecting with other allergy parents and children, hearing the latest research, and raising money to help fund a cure is a very empowering way to deal with all of the myriad emotions that come with living this kind of life.

How to order gluten free and eat safe at any restaurant…

How to order gluten free at any restaurant –

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I had no clue what I was doing. It took me several months to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat and to this day, I still struggle a bit with knowing secret places of gluten.

I learned to dine out safely pretty much anywhere without getting glutened as long as I keep my guard up and ask the right questions. The rest is pretty much up to chance due to cross contamination and relying on someone else (a stranger) to keep me safe. You never have any idea what goes on behind the scenes at a restaurant.

Hopefully with these tips, you can also have successful adventures at restaurants and it will take the pressure off of social situations when your friends want to go somewhere and you are unsure of the menu!

  1. Educate yourself on gluten first before going out to eat. You really need to understand the disease and gluten before risking going out on your own. Without your own understanding and education, you can’t expect to know how to help the wait staff help you.
  2. Before ordering anything, make it very clear to the waiter that you have a gluten allergy. Now we all know that gluten allergy doesn’t really exist and celiac disease is an autoimmune response but no one else understands that so just stick to the gluten allergy. Also, if you use the word “allergy” restaurants take the request seriously versus saying a “diet” or “intolerance.”
  3. Know some options that are safe usually anywhere and stick to those if you feel uncomfortable. Some perfectly good options are naked meats (no seasoning or marinades) with veggies or potatoes. Don’t forget to ask if things are cooked together, especially in fryers.
  4. If the waiter seems unsure of anything, do not hesitate to ask for the manager or the chef to come speak with you. Your safety should be their #1 priority. It is not an inconvenience for them when you ask questions!

Here are some important things to consider before ordering at any restaurant:

  1. Be wary of fried foods – especially french fries – are foods cooked in the same fryer?
  2. Do they use filler in their meats for burgers?
  3. Do they use filler like pancake batter in their omelets?
  4. Where are the items prepared? Are they making your salad in the same bowl as the one they just used for a crouton filled salad?
  5. Do you have other allergies like soy, corn or lactose? Don’t forget to mention those.
  6. Be wary of sauces, marinades, dressings and seasonings.
  7. Do they make it in house or is it in a package?
  8. Chicken broth and other broths usually contain gluten so watch out for soups unless they are specifically shown to be gluten free.
  9. Do they have a dedicated area for gluten free cooking? How to they prevent cross contamination?

 

One big thing I learned in Las Vegas is the more expensive the menu the better chances you have of getting a safe and delicious gluten free menu. Chef’s are typically trained in food allergies and know the ingredients of their dishes inside and out versus cooks at chains or cheap restaurants. So an idea is to save going out to eat for the big events and times when you can save up to have a great dinner!

Do you have tips for dining out gluten free? Please post them below to help others stay safe!!

 

Comments

  1. Mindy says:

    Thank you for sharing! I actually use the same guidelines as you have listed and with over 4 years of trial and error when eating out I have learned a few things. If I do not get sick from eating at a certain establishment, I try to eat at the same one. Example, Chipotles. They know me very well and always always work with me. So I go to the same location. With that said though, I ate at a Bone Fish Grill restaurant while living in Washington State and got very very sick even when ordering from the gluten free menu and fully explaining with the server who seemed to understand. I never went back there to eat again. (I believe it was the mashed potato’s since I had never ordered those before and never had an issue…so….Celiac’s stay away from the mashed potato’s at BoneFish Grill!) I also try to do research before traveling to locate a safe and familiar restaurant to eat at that does have a gluten free menu. Or somewhere that serves simply eggs. Believe it or not IHop has worked with me ordering an omelet. Be wary though, you have to specify the omelet that is not made with pancake batter! It is still a risk depending on the IHOP. THe local one here I have never gotten sick eating there. Chic-Fil-A also has a wonderful salad. Croutons are not put on but packaged separately.

     

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you Mindy for all these wonderful tips, suggestions and ideas! I’m glad to know other people are using these same questions for when they travel and they work for them as well. I appreciate the comment!

       

  2. Taylor says:

    Really liked all the tips! Especially the pancake batter in omelets tip since I don’t think many people ever consider that when they eat out. I found that always asking if the thing you’re about to order is gluten-free has to be asked every time. When I ordered a salad at Max and Ermas a while back I was told that both their chicken and dressing had gluten in it! I was pretty stunned and almost didn’t ask too. That would of been terrible of course…Thanks again for the great tips!

     

    • Rebecca says:

      We always have to remember to keep our guard up at all times!

       

  3. kunzfamily says:

    Great post!! I’m realizing (by trial & error) BW-3 most sauces have gluten and the ones listed GF still bother me. So annoying! Love the tip about sticking toward more expensive places!

     

    • Rebecca says:

      BW-3 actually cooks all their food in the same fryer so it’s really not a good choice for us!