So 12 months have flown by and I’m celebrating my 1st anniversary as a Coeliac. I thought I would take a moment to reflect over that time, what I’ve learnt and how I’ve come to embrace my new gluten free lifestyle.
Let’s go back in time to June 2014 when I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease my first thoughts were OMG I can never eat any of the foods I love again i.e. Pasta, cereal, biscuits, cakes (you get my drift)…. After initially panicking I then went to the nearest supermarket to perusal the free from isle – that’s when I discovered price of gluten free food – a small loaf triple the price of normal bread and half the size!
Overtime however I realised that actually there were “normal foods” I could eat, but this took time, mistakes and research!
So, my “Top Tips” for adapting to a gluten free diet:
– Join Coeliac UK they have a wealth of information and if you have an iPhone or smartphone you can download an app where you can scan food whilst you’re in the supermarket to see if it’s gluten free, I couldn’t do without mine.
– buy a decent cookbook. I bought The Gluten Free Cookbook which was recommended by a gluten free friend. It’s useful for understanding coeliac disease, how to shop and fantastic staple food recipes.
– decontaminate your kitchen – I sold/gave away of all my “gluten” cookbooks, particularly the baking ones! I also bought separate wooden spoons/chopping boards (coloured) so there was no risk of contamination in the kitchen.
– Educate friends and family – what I mean by this is explain Coeliac disease to them – particularly around products containing gluten and how to prepare food without contamination.
– plan ahead, particularly when you are going out for dinner or a couple of hours or even the day. Assume that where you are heading won’t cater for you (unless you’ve booked a resturant that offers gluten free food of course!) Always check with the restaurant in advance (it saves time without integrating the staff to death when you arrive at the restaurant). And take snacks – so you’ll never go hungry!
– finally ALWAYS ask the waiter/waitress whether products are gluten free especially if the food contains a sauce. If they hesitate or you don’t feel they know ask to speak to the chef or see the ingredient list. I’ve had a couple of instances where I almost consumed gluten because the waitress said “I’m gluten intolerant and I can eat it” – turns out it was gluten!
Would love to hear of anyone else’s “Top Tips” – feel free to share.