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Of course, the most difficult thing we have to deal with is eating! This section of the site was designed to help living a gluten-free life easier. It's probably my favorite because I just love to eat!

The Never-Always Rule
We all start out complaining about what we can no longer eat, but we have to get through that initial shock. I've come up with the "Never-Always Rule."

"NEVER focus on the foods you can no longer eat. ALWAYS focus on what you CAN eat!"

This is so important! Don't ever forget this. This may be hard, but don't worry, we can get through this together. Whenever my bad side tries to take over and get me all down and gloomy about the foods I can't eat, I like to say, "Gosh, at least I can eat…" and I fill in the blank with something I CAN eat. For example, I'd whine, "I can't have cake anymore!" And then I'd come back and say, "But hey, at least I can still eat french fries or peanut butter!" And then I start thinking about eating french fries and how much I love them. So that's all you've got to do. Think of your favorite Gluten-free food, and think of that next time you're down about certain other foods! You'll be through it in no time.

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Talking to Your Food-Service Director
I found out I had CD after school had started. I had paid for 21 meals per week so I was afraid that my money would go to waste. Fortunately, my school was helpful and understanding. I first talked to the school nurse, and I had my doctor send over documented proof that I was diagnosed with CD… calling for a strict diet. I immediately got in touch with the food-service director at my school. She has been great! Here is the solution that we came up with. If you think any of these things will help you out, I encourage you to take some action.

Each week, we go over the menu to see what I can and can't eat. I decide how many days I will be unable to eat in the cafeteria and have to eat on my own. The cafeteria supplies me with a GF loaf of bread and GF salad dressing that is kept in a fridge in the kitchen. This way, if I want a sandwich and a salad in the cafeteria one day, I can have it. Each Friday, I give, to the director, a list of foods that I think I will need throughout the week. They supply me with these foods, (my 'pack-out') that I pick up from the kitchen each Monday. Every two weeks, the box consists of a loaf of GF bread, yogurt, juice, milk, applesauce, eggs, Thai noodles, rice, GF cookies, and pancake/waffle mix. This usually holds me over for a few weeks. But weekly, I pick up juice, milk, and yogurt. All these foods I keep in my room and prepare myself. (Due to health regulations, cafeterias can not specially prepare a meal for one student.) This whole situation works out wonderfully. I know my school is great, but many schools won't be. Please be patient with your food-service department. They will do the best that they can (I hope). I've helped several people who were able to get this done at their schools too so it's not impossible. If your school is unable to have a box of food for you to take home, ask if you can be reimbursed if you buy the food. If you've already paid for your meal plan, ask for a refund in your money. They are there for you, and you deserve their time and attention. Good luck! And don't be shy about it. It's your health and your body, and it's the only one you get. Take care of it with all you've got!

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Reading Food Labels
When you go out shopping for gluten-free products, it's difficult to find the products you need because it won't say 'Contains Gluten' on the label. (Although sometimes it will.) Here is a list of things that contain gluten. So if the label has one of these things, don't eat it!

Wheat
Wheat Starch
Bleached Flour
Unbleached Flour
Vinegars (unless you know it's a fruit vinegar, like apple vinegar)
Bulgar
Soy Sauce
Teriyaki Sauce
Semolina
Spelt
Millet
Kamut
Triticale
CousCous
Malt (or anything else containing the word Malt)
Malt Flavoring
Dextrin
Rye
Oats
Oat Flour
Barley
Barley-Malt
Modified Food Starch or Food Starch (if this is the only thing on the label that you're questioning, you should call the company and ask. Modified Food Starch won't always contain gluten. Most times, the source is wheat starch, but it could also be corn, tapioca, or potato starches, which are all gluten-free.)

Some people have questions about many foods. Here is a list of foods that are gluten-free. I'm only listing the most common ones.

Cannola Oil
Cornmeal
Cornstarch
Dextrose
Maltodextrin (this contains neither malt or dextrin)
Olive Oil
Potato Flour
Potato Starch
Rice Flour (both white and brown)
Soybean Flour
Tapioca Flour
Tapioca Starch
Vegetable Oils
Xanthum Gum
Whey

*If you're looking for more foods that are safe or unsafe, www.celiac.com has a great list! I printed that one out, and I keep it on hand when I go to the store.

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Foods You Wouldn't Think to Contain Gluten
Here is a list of items that sometimes contain gluten. You can always call the companies to ask for sure. Just look out for these products.

Chewing gum (I'll try to post a GF list soon.)
Gravy Mixes
Lip Conditioners/Lip glosses
Medications
Shampoos/Conditioners
Soaps
Soups (almost all soup you buy at the store, is not GF)
Toothpastes (Crest, Colgate, and Aqua-Fresh are okay)

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