The ups, downs, and runarounds of Celiac Disease and food sensitivities

Archive for the tag “food intolerance”

Travel… oh boy

Let’s just start with this little fact: I bought baby food. Not for a baby. For me. While this might sound super depressing, I am LOOKING FORWARD to eating vegetables on the go that I didn’t have to peel, slice, and cook until soft (or puree) myself (as I do on most days). I was alarmed to see the fruitlessness of a Google search for “Celiac baby food” and “certified gluten-free baby food,” so I’ve got my fingers and villi crossed that cross-contamination won’t be a factor. Ingredients are typically “carrots, water,” so can’t go wrong there. So, why did I buy baby food? Well, when you’re traveling as a tourist with food restrictions, there really aren’t a whole lot of options for on-the-go meals. Most granola bars are out due to dried fruit and nuts. Can’t do raw vegetables. I will be floored if I can eat 25% of the gluten-free meal on the plane (did you know that you can only place one dietary preference request on airplanes? So it’s either gluten-free or vegan, and with the utterly random list of foods I avoid I am keeping expectations low). However. Some fresh fruits can be purchased and peeled! I’m packing packets of sardines, salmon and tuna in water. Rice cakes, of course. Seaweed snacks made with olive oil. I’m getting used to eating steamed vegetables cold, but I’d rather do baby food than carry mushy cooked vegetables in my backpack while sight-seeing. I may even pack a loaf of gluten- (et al.) free bread and veggie latkes in my carry-on luggage to throw in the freezer for the week. I’m a bit paranoid about fixing food in a shared kitchen, so my spatula, cutting board, and colander get to cross the ocean blue, too. Packing Herbamare (lovely salt/seasoning blend) and a few other dried herbs/spice blends. I’ve asked my host to purchase foil, parchment paper, plastic wrap, and disinfecting wipes. Oh and I invested in some Gluten Defense digestive enzymes (BTW be very careful with digestive enzymes- lots have barley!), which I will take at every meal. A member of the Celiac ranks gave me some Alka Seltzer and charcoal tablets for relief in the case of glutening. Trying not to think of pots and pans… How to avoid making oneself sick by freaking out about getting sick?? I may eat out while overseas, which is a bit of an oddity since I categorically do not eat out on the home turf anymore. I found an exclusively paleo restaurant at my destination, so no gluten would even enter the premises; my only concerns are eggs/nuts/raw veg, but it seems like the appropriate place to ask for a plain slab of meat and a side of cooked spinach. There’s also a little chain that makes onigiri, or Japanese triangular rice packs stuffed in seaweed; they are certified gluten-free by the German equivalent of GIG. I believe I may be able to avoid other food allergens with this chain as well, as the ingredient lists seem very succinct and made up of whole foods. Traveling in Germany with Celiac Disease sans other food issues looks to be pretty doable, as many stores carry brands like Schar. I don’t mean to be all my-fate-is-so-much-worse-than-yours, so I’ve strapped on my big girl panties and… bought baby food. DO WHAT ONE’S GOTTA DO, AMIRIGHT?

Clarification: If you have Celiac Disease and plan to travel, you do NOT need to resort to eating baby food. I have intolerances to corn, soy, casein, eggs, nuts, tomatoes, beans, etc…. as well as major digestive issues with any food that is not soft.


Cooking to Live

The Healthy Apple’s struggle with food sensitivities while traveling, in social settings, exploring alternative medicine, and moving on

One Grain More

Thank goodness my flops have been balanced with delectable successes! Alas, I couldn’t go for the finale food if I wanted to…

Narrowing the elimination pool, and CROCKPOTS ROCKPOTS!!!

Well, I have become more “regular” and less bloated on this elimination diet (1 week, 2 days), though I developed new symptoms of severe heartburn and rib pain. I was also noticing bits of carrot (though overcooked to prescribed mushiness) on the other end, so I’m 2 days carrot-free and feeling MUCH better. Food intolerance #2 (I guess it goes without saying that gluten is #1): identified. It is pretty hard to get up to 1200 calories on this diet, despite consuming a few cups of rice every day (so weird after being paleo!). The vegetables are getting ridiculously repetitive, so I think I’ll talk with my nutritionist about adding more of those in first cuz I love ’em! Overcooked, not so much…

I put both of my crock pots (one large, one small, makes/models pictured below) to work today, with pear sauce and butternut squash soup.

Pear sauce:

4 pears

small crock pot

Peel and core pears. Add 1 cup H2O, and set on low for 5-6 hours. Drain and throw in food processor once cooled. Measure out 1/2 a cup (a normal serving) to keep from eating all the goodness in one go!

Butternut squash soup (elimination version):

1 butternut squash

2 apples

3 cloves garlic

fresh tarragon & mint



2 cups homemade rice milk (1 cup cooked rice with 3-4 cups water in food processor yields 4 cups)

1 cup water

1 cup pumpkin

Peel, core, and slice as appropriate. Throw in crock pot for 6 hours. Cool and pulse in food processor.

Whole Foods of Charlottesville will hosting a gluten-free day (well, 4 hours, really) on Saturday, October 6. I would really like to go, even if I can’t eat the samples! Here’s a description from a Whole Foods nutrition specialist via the Charlottesvilli support group:

“I wanted to make you aware of our Gluten-free Day that we’ll be holding on Saturday, October 6th from 10am-2pm.  We will have a local vendor as well as demonstrations throughout the day sampling various foods that are gluten-free.  We will also have a speaker giving a presentation at 10am and 11am.  If you are interested in making a presentation, or having a table, we would love to have you or someone here representing your group. Regardless, I just wanted to extend the invitation to you and members of the group to come experience this event. ”

Still haven’t been to a support group meeting (they’ve just gotten back together after a hiatus), but the next one is October 20 and I plan to attend!

Elimination Games

So… it’s been a while, because I don’t have any exciting recipes to share. I went back to a nutritionist with my continuing problems, and she put me on the dreaded elimination diet.

White/jasmine rice
very lean/low fat chicken, white fish
overcooked mashed vegetables: carrots, green beans, greens, pumpkin, squash with no seeds e.g butternut
canned or very ripe mashed peeled fruit: peach, pear, melon
basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro, aromatic herbs
onion, garlic
milk substitute

Yeah, this is gonna get old in 2 weeks when I go back to see her (and, if I’m finally “balanced”, begin to add 1 food/consistency at a time per 48 hour period). She wanted me to eat some sort of gluten-free bread product as well, but I don’t see the point- most contain a food that she told me to avoid (egg, sugar, fat, grains other than rice). If I’m going to do this elimination diet, then I might as well do it right. I definitely feel funky after eating rice and canned fruit, but it could be because I haven’t eaten either of these in a long, long time. Trying to somehow dismiss the latest on arsenic in rice…  I think I’ll want to add back more variety in terms of veggies first. I am a bit paranoid that I won’t feel better after 2 weeks on this diet (what if one of the foods on the allowed list is not sitting well???), but trying to push through regardless. I’ve been making a sort of spin-off of pathiri for breakfast, but I make mine thicker to get a gooey inside. I read on several sites that it’s pretty darn easy to make rice milk from 1 cup cooked rice and 4 (or however many you prefer) cups of water in a food processor. I think fruit sauce in the crockpot is in order- fruit from a can is just nasty (even the kind in fruit juice/no added sugar, which is what I’m eating). I’m guessing spaghetti squash would be ok (easy to scoop out seeds and cook to a soft consistency), so that might jazz up my meal. If I get desperate, I may try out an apple “pie” sans lemon juice, plum, and cinnamon (maybe sub ginger).

If I don’t feel better on this plan, then it’s back to a gastroenterologist. If my weight doesn’t normalize (135 guh- my “norm” is 115-120, and I exercise 5-6 days a week and eat 1200-1500 calories per day) then it’s to an edocrinologist. I’m hoping that the reduction of fat (nuts, coconut products) will help. Even more than weight loss, I’d love to not feel uncomfortable while exercising. Of course I’m still tracking calories/protein/fat/carbs online, and supplementing with a potty journal (my bowels, let me tell you about them). The nutritionist strongly recommended counseling for a “socially unacceptable, chronic digestive health issue.” I was hesitant, because my problem is not general malaise or social inadquacy (though let me tell you, potty issues/restrictive diet/no alcohol/digestive exhaustion take a toll on overall mindset and social life), but the nutritionist assured me that she could refer me to someone who had some experience with this sort of thing. It would be a good outlet for ranting (in addition to this yer blarg) with minimal emotional involvement required from the listener. Celiac Disease is a weird thing to “get”, and I know I can’t expect friends/family to abosorb all of the information. Yeah, it’s not deadly, but it causes me grief on a daily basis. I just hope I can get to the point that all of the books end with, of being gluten-free and feeling great.

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