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- Diarrhea: -
If youíre still having diarrhea, perhaps try a softer diet of mashed potatoes, bananas, well-cooked soft vegetables, apple sauce, GF bread (warmed in microwave or toasted), soft cooked chicken or fish, eggs, etc., for a couple of weeks. Avoid fatty foods like bacon or ham. Avoid milk products and ingredients.
A short course of the over-the-counter medication Imodium may be helpful. If symptoms persist, consult your GI specialist.
- Constipation: -
If youíre suffering with constipation, gradually add more "al dente" vegetables and fruits that contain fiber. If possible, begin a walking plan. Exercise will help digestion. You may find Metamucil will balance out the system, as needed.
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis: -
Skin eruptions for celiacs with DH usually take longer to disappear than the digestive symptoms. Work with your dermatologist to ensure you use the smallest amount of dapsone possible to provide relief from symptoms. Remember that the GF diet must be strictly followed to achieve remission. Iodine (in salt, some fish, etc.) may exacerbate symptoms.
- Plan meals before you get to the grocery store. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store to find fresh produce, meats, poultry and fish. The first couple of months will be frustrating when going grocery shopping because you are new at reading labels. Yes, gluten-free specialty products are more expensive; thatís just a fact.
- To save time and trouble, plan to make as much of the meal gluten free as possible. The celiac will appreciate not feeling different, and the cook will not have to make two meals. The "civilians" in the family can add gluten-containing bread or dessert items as they want.
- Start out with simple meals, rather than combination dishes.
- Pay attention to all food sensitivities of your family.
- Make a rough draft of your meals for the next week, taking into consideration the familyís schedule. Plan for the main entree, veggies, fruit & salad. Plan one new interesting GF dessert per week.
- Use the CSA Gluten-Free Product Listing and our "Cooking for Celiacs" paper to evaluate brand names of products. Then draw up a brand-name grocery list based on the recipes you plan to use. Working on a weekly basis helps you eliminate extra trips to the grocery store, which will in turn cut down on the frustration of looking at labels again and may save money.
- Be sure to plan for the familyís snacks, both gluten free and non-GF. When you have GF items readily available (like nuts, popcorn, fruit, raw cut-up vegetables, etc.), you will be less tempted to "cheat" when you are starving.
- Try at least one new gluten-free recipe a week. Mark your cookbooks with comments, or develop a list of your favorites with the cookbook page noted. Include the family in meal planning. What kind of meals do they like? Try to find good gluten-free substitutes.
- Make good use of your freezer. Freeze single portions of dinner dishes to use as lunch items. Freeze dessert items for snacks.
- There are many companies that manufacture gluten-free specialty products. These products are more expensive than the comparable; thatís just a fact. However, many of the mixes, frozen meals, and already-baked goods are quite good and make your life easier. See the CSA Products booklet for a listing of some of the specialty food manufacturers. In Houston, there are a variety of specialty products available at Whole Foods Markets and Krogerís Signature Stores (Nature Market corner). On the Web there are several on-line grocery stores with extensive GF product lists. You may want to consult support group members to get their opinion of some of the products before you invest in a big order.
- Make gluten-free food first, whether it is toast, sandwiches or baking.
- Use a secondary dedicated toaster for gluten-free items, or use a toaster oven that can be cleaned readily.
- You do not have to have a complete second set of dishes, pot & pans, or implements dedicated for gluten free. Wash dishes, countertops, and your hands with hot soapy water and make sure all food residue is removed before using it for gluten-free food.
- Pay special attention to any place you see crumbs in your kitchen! Those are potential places for cross-contamination.
- Put food on a plate, in a bowl, or on a paper towel before you cook it in a microwave. (If this is common practice for you, you are ahead of the game - a lot of people just cook on the glass plate).
- Consider containing the gluten in your kitchen to one cupboard and one section of counter top. This is a flip of the usual advice of setting aside a section of the kitchen for gluten-free food, but it makes good sense.
- ALWAYS READ ALL LABELS!!!
- Find a gluten-free multivitamin; for example, Freeda brand, Nature Made, Theragran or others.
- Have a bone density test (DEXA) as a base line right after CD diagnosis, then subsequent tests every couple of years, unless more often suggested by your own doctor.
Continue your education about Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet. Attend a national celiac conference. Former Surgeon General Dr. C Everett Koop has said, "The best prescription is knowledge." Your success in going gluten free will ultimately get you back to good health. Donít cheat. Every single bit of gluten is doing some damage in your small intestine and promoting inflammation.
Never give up. You can do it. Foster a support system within your family and local celiac support group. Donít forget to utilize your sense of humor; some day a guest will really ask for your recipe (GF)! Stem depression by thinking of, reaching out to, and helping others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.