The festive season can be a real challenge for coeliac’s and those who cannot tolerate wheat or gluten. For some reason we seem to allow ourselves at Christmas to eat double the amount of food than we normally would and is a great excuse to have lots of treats (because it is Christmas!) Of course most of these treats seem to involve gluten!
So with this in mind, I thought I would share my top 10 challenges of living with coeliac disease, here goes…….
- Being glutened – had to be top of the list! Vomiting and being confined to the bathroom isn’t great.
- Eating out and having to intensely question and interrogate the waiter/waitress, chef or both – that the food they are preparing for you is free of gluten – and that includes cross contamination!
- Becoming a food labelling expert- your supermarket shopping takes a lot longer as you spend most of the time analysing labels. What does help is my Coeliac UK App which allows me to scan products (so saves a bit of time)
- Having to plan where you’re going to eat every time you go out. I always carry emergency food (dry crackers never let me go hungry!) To be honest it can drive you crazy sometimes!
- Chinese takeaways, KFC, Subway, and most fish and chips shops are off the menu – they are what I call “gluten zones.”
- I can go into a high street bakery or cafe and pretty much guarantee that 99% of the beautiful, mouth watering cakes contain gluten (seems to be even worse at Christmas time) and that I will have no more than two choices of gluten free cakes – one would most definitely be a chocolate brownie!
- Peoples reaction when you try to explain the effects of being glutened and cross contamination, it’s like your communicating in some kind of alien language – Recently at my gym cafe, on three separate occasions I ordered a gluten free breakfast for me and some jam on toast (normal bread) for my daughter. On all of these occasions they served her toast on the same plate as my gluten free breakfast! When I complained to the manager (as this was the 3rd time) his answer – just speak directly to the chef next time! Really?
- Items displayed as gluten free yet are cross contaminated – I know I go on about this, but as you can see from the picture at the top of this post – this is a gluten free brownie that’s touching other wheat products so for me as a coeliac I can’t eat it. When I asked the staff why can’t they display them in their wrappers – their answer was “head office said we are not allowed too”. Madness me thinks!
- Educating people that it is a diesease and not some kind of fad diet/ or trying to cut it out to lose weight!
- Miniature, holey gluten free bread – gone are the days of gorgeous, thick big slices of bread – oh no – quite often I’ve had a whole loaf which resembles a one eyed face with a huge mouth smiling at me before I consume it! See pic below!
Hopefully this gives an insight to some of the challenges I face as a Coeliac. I’ve embraced gluten free living, my diet is healthier as a result – so that’s got to be a good thing right?
Please share your challenges of living with coeliac diesease, interolences, IBS etc, would love to hear them.