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Gluten free diet - is it really that bad?

(90 Posts)
cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 12:50:12

Hoping for some positivity here. I'm likely to be advised to go on a gluten free diet for the rest of my life. I've been upset, then done some research and just had a browse round Asda. I have a generally healthy diet, I cook from scratch most of the time and don't have a sweet tooth. Am I being madly optimistic to think that this is not going to be too bad? An average day would seem to only involve me replacing the odd slice of toast, crackers or pasta. I see I can buy gf pitta, naan and garlic bread all of which I probably have once a week or so.
Additionally we're a family of four and would it be unreasonable of me to cook gf for everyone? I suspect the kids may have some mild issues anyway.
Any experiences / advice gratefully received!

Purplebluebird Tue 12-Apr-16 12:55:19

If you are celiak (unsure of spelling) you must avoid all gluten, which is found also in a lot of ready meals etc, but you prob won't use that. There is no such thing as mild intolerance to gluten, you are either celiak and cant have any whatsoever, or you are fine. Ask a gp. Gluten is a protein smile

dementedpixie Tue 12-Apr-16 13:00:03

I thought you could be intolerant or allergic so there are degrees of tolerance.

Spandexpants007 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:00:16

If we were to go back 100 years, our meals would involve much less gluten. These days everything seems wheat based probably because it's cheap and easy to process.

Going gluten free is easy but it might take a few weeks to get in the swing. If you are after exact replacements for bread you might be a bit disappointed. It's better to widen your diet and use alternatives like quinoa, rice, sweet potato.

Spandexpants007 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:01:33

You can be intolerant and not celiac. My mother and myself aren't celiac but wheat gives us both IBS

dementedpixie Tue 12-Apr-16 13:02:53

www.allergyuk.org/common-food-intolerances/wheat-and-gluten-intolerance - you can have wheat intolerance which differs from coeliac disease

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:05:50

I am thought to have dermatitis herpetiformis which means I have asymptomaic celiac disease. I only have the skin symptoms.

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:06:31

Or rather I will have the digestive problems but haven't noticed them before. I'm concerned I've had this for 20 years and never known.

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:08:36

Spandexpants - that's helpful, I've bought some different rices to try and rice noodles to have with veg but then stumbled over the soy sauce!

IdealWeather Tue 12-Apr-16 13:09:55

I've done the full switch not that long ago and TBH yes it does require some thinking abut to start with but then it can be quite easy.
What I've learnt is that trying to stay with exactely the same diet but replacing foods with gluten with the gluten free option is a nightmare AND very expensive.

Eg I found the rice pasta a really good alternative compare to the 'gluten free' version in supermarket.
But I would not touch the gluten free version of bread.

So, I've replaced other stuff like this with equivalent but mainly I've developed a new 'cooking book' with meals I love that happen not to have an gluten in.
All the family now eats 'gluten free' (I can't be bothered to make two different meals each time!) and there has been no grumbles. I think mainly because it has never been presented as something restrictive (we can't have xx now so we will have YY) but just as a new dish to try.

I also wouldn't worry about the dcs and not having gluten in their diet. Gluten is nowhere near essential. They will be getting carbs from a lot of other sources (eg rice) anyway

dementedpixie Tue 12-Apr-16 13:10:02

You get gluten free soy sauce

JellyTeapot Tue 12-Apr-16 13:12:41

I think tamari (Japanese soy sauce) is gluten free.

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:15:04

Idealweather that's exactly the kind of thing I need to hear! I feel that a lot of what I cook - curries, chili, shepherds pie, will be fine but it's mainly past and general bread consumption that's going to have to change.

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:15:58

Ah good news on the soy sauce. I feared I couldn't have fried rice again!

IdealWeather Tue 12-Apr-16 13:19:44

The best pasta I've found are these from Dove.
All made with rice flour so no gluten.

Bread is more of an issue.
I use corn tortillas rather than 'normal' wheat one. I avoid meals with pitta bread etc... I make my own rye bread (but I know this has some gluten in so probably not suitable for you)

Abraid2 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:20:27

My son is caeliac and when he is home from university it has been very easy to adapt our diets. He has a bit of gf bread, and we cook gf pasta, too, but try to use more rice, polenta and potatoes and we make puddings such as mousses, cakes with ground almonds, etc. I also had some success making cornbread, which is naturally gf.

Being on the move takes a bit more planning as you don't want to get stuck on a journey feeling hungry, with nowhere to buy a gf sandwich.

But if a student can do it, I am sure you can, too! Good luck. You will be fine.

2madboys Tue 12-Apr-16 13:20:53

DH is coeliac so he is fully gluten free. It was a bit tricky to start with, but not that bad now. I cook a lot from scratch too, and most of that is naturally gluten free. Like other posters said, it's better to not try and do a direct replacement, so he doesn't eat a lot of bread these days, and not much breakfast cereal (although he finds he can tolerate supermarket own brands of most things without having to buy the special gluten free versions). He usually eats porridge (GF) for breakfast and has either salad, soup (home made) or an omelette for lunch. He has a special thing from Lakeland that allows him to make an omelette in the microwave at work.

I don't do two versions of many things for the family. If I'm doing pasta, I do his separately as I prefer the wholewheat for the rest of us, and he does have the gf fish fingers.

2madboys Tue 12-Apr-16 13:22:19

Just saw what you said about the kids - if you are coeliac they should be tested too. It often runs in families. My MIL has it, we think her Dad did too (undiagnosed) and our niece (BIL's daughter).

Utini Tue 12-Apr-16 13:28:25

M&S gluten free bread is pretty good, and they have a wide range of other gluten free products, e.g. all their sausages are gluten free.

I bake with Dove gluten free flour and no one notices the difference. Their pasta is good too. Knorr stock cubes are gluten free, tamari instead of soy sauce.

If you're used to cooking from scratch you shouldn't find it too hard.

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:33:10

Thanks 2madboys, my three year old has never slept through and seems to have discomfort at night keeping her awake. The older one has always had bouts of diarrhea (GP said was as she ate lots of fruit...) I'm now wondering if we've all got a problem. Feel terribly guilty for not picking up on this sooner.

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:35:21

Oh thanks for the recommendations, that's brilliant. Time for an ocado shop I think.

2madboys Tue 12-Apr-16 13:36:35

I think my DH had it for years before he was diagnosed. He used to eat spicy pizza or curry and then have a bad stomach. He can eat a GF pizza now and a curry as spicy as he likes (no naan bread!) and he's absolutely fine. He was diagnosed with mild depression a few years before the coeliac diagnosis and although he got through that with some counselling and looking after himself a bit better, in retrospect, we're sure that it's down to the coeliac disease. He only got a test to prove his Mum wrong when she was diagnosed and she said he should test just in case! I'd get the kids tested sooner rather than later if you're thinking of all going gluten free as they need to be eating gluten to get an accurate result. Depending on your area, if they have a proper diagnosis, they may be able to get gf food on prescription and other specialist help they may need.

cauliflowercheese14 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:39:14

I've a GP appointment later so I'll ask them then.

Quickchangeup Tue 12-Apr-16 13:44:31

Ocado do Garofalo gluten free pasta, it's by far the nicest of all I've tried. They actually have a free from shop, you can narrow down choice by selecting gluten free. I haven't found it difficult going gluten free, you can still have potatoes and rice, rice noodles are readily available and some pastas as very good. If you cook from scratch it is very easy to adapt recipes slightly. I use doves farm flour to make cakes, brownies and pancakes which the whole family happily eats.

Toria2014 Tue 12-Apr-16 13:48:50

In order to get a diagnosis of celiac there has to be quite a lot of damage done already to show up in bloods. Its not an exact science and GP's can be very dismissive of gluten intolerance.

I am GF due to thyroid disease. My mother cannot tolerate gluten, her stomach swells up like she is 8 months pregnant, and she has suffered thyroid problems for the majority of her life. My Grandma had bad thyroid problems and a massive swollen belly, but it was never picked up on back then.

It does seem to run in families, so avoiding gluten would probably be a good idea. If you eat pretty cleanly anyway, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Most wheat/gluten containing foods is junk/processed anyway. A lot of restaurants are offering GF menus now and supermarkets offer a much bigger range of foods.

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