Living with celiac disease can be a real struggle in the stomach. But don’t despair, gluten-free friends – there are plenty of tips and tricks available to help you navigate this complex dietary landscape. If you have just been diagnosed or think you may have a gluten sensitivity here are a few pointers to get you started.
Let’s start by talking about education. Now, I know you might be thinking, “Ugh, more homework!” But trust me: the rewards are immense. Learning which foods contain gluten and which do not is like having a secret decoder ring; you’ll feel like an expert spy deciphering food labels and menus like a pro. Plus, you’ll have an edge over all those “gluten-tolerant” individuals who don’t realize what lurks in their food. 3 reputable sources that I would suggest you start with are Beyond Celiac, Gluten-Intolerance Group, and Celiac Disease Foundation. While educating yourself it’s prudent to have a good understanding on the difference between a gluten intolerance vs. celiac disease. The way you need to alter your lifestyle and health impacts can be very different.
The number one tip I can give you once you’ve learned more about gluten-free living or celiac disease is to educate your loved ones, friends and family members. Building advocate and taking stress out of daily living is critical to your success.
Pantry Make Over
Once you have a basic understanding of gluten-free eating, it’s time to purge your pantry and start fresh. This means removing any foods containing gluten and replacing them with their gluten-free alternatives. Additionally, investing in some kitchen appliances such as a separate toaster, cutting board, and colander will help avoid cross-contamination. Creating an area dedicated solely to gluten-free ingredients and utensils in your kitchen is recommended; keep both sets separate.
It can be difficult to consistently find a good selection of gluten free options in your local grocery store. We have used Thrive market, which is an online subscription based market that has high quality gluten free options at reduced prices. It’s worth checking them out.
Eating out can be a challenging and daunting experience for those on a gluten-free diet. However, it’s essential to remember that you have the right to ask questions and make special requests. Many restaurants now provide gluten-free menus or can modify dishes accordingly, so communicate your needs clearly and ask the appropriate questions – such as if there is a separate preparation area for gluten-free preparation, if they use gluten-free ingredients, and if they are aware of cross contamination risks.
Navigating a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging, but it also offers many rewards to those who need it. By being educated on gluten-containing foods, cleaning out your pantry, and being prepared when dining out or traveling, you can successfully manage celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Other advantages of following a gluten-free diet include improved digestive health, increased energy levels, better nutrient absorption, decreased risk of certain health conditions and possibly improved mental wellbeing too. As with any dietary change it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to make sure you are meeting all nutritional requirements while staying healthy.
Living with celiac disease of gluten sensitivity can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There is a vast community of people who understand the struggles and triumphs of gluten-free living, and they are eagar to support and encourage you. Especially when your mother-in-law cross-contaminants the entire thanksgiving dinner…yes i have a story on that… for a later date…. to soon… :).
I’d suggest reading the following book by Amy Myers MD
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Discover everything you need to know about celiac disease, its health impacts, and expert tips and tricks from a family of four who have experienced it firsthand.