Getting a diagnosis of celiac or gluten sensitivities can leave people feeling like they have so much to learn. It implies a change in lifestyle. Many assume that that means there is nothing to eat that they will actually enjoy. The beautiful thing is, the world has come so far for people with gluten-related sensitivities. We have some tips for what to do when you’ve been diagnosed with celiac or gluten sensitivities.
What to do if you've been diagnosed with celiac or gluten sensitivities
Moving into a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With a variety of recipes, resources, and options at your fingertips, you can smoothly transition to a new lifestyle filled with some of your favorites as well as some new favorites!
Accept that you have celiac disease (or non-celiac gluten sensitivity) and schedule an appointment with a dietician.
The first thing you need to do when receiving a diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is to take some time to process and accept the diagnosis. Things will change for you and that won’t go away. Take some time to accept that that is your new normal to protect your long-term health. After you have taken the time to work through the diagnosis, take some time to get a referral to a quality dietician. It can help to ask if the dietician you are meeting with knows a good deal about gluten intolerance.
* Bonus tip - Ask your dietician if they have samples of different celiac friendly/gluten-free options. Some will have samples so you can try things and make sure it is an item you want to purchase. Ask them for samples of some of the foods you normally love to try them risk-free.
Learn more about which foods contain gluten.
Many people don’t have a complete understanding of which foods contain gluten. In fact, some confuse gluten with carbohydrates. There are many food items that are safe for people with a gluten intolerance that contain carbohydrates. While items like bread and baked goods are common sources of gluten, there are quite a few foods that you might never suspect. Items like soy sauce, some oats, some processed lunch meats, soups, and even french fries. Take some time to get familiar with some of your favorite brands and make sure that they are still safe for you to consume.
* Bonus tip - Make sure to read the packaging. Some items may be gluten-free when you purchase them one time but may change manufacturing processes and have gluten in the future. It is important to check items each time you shop if it is not made by a brand that is known for gluten-free food options.
Research Gluten-Free Manufacturers
In prior generations finding gluten-free foods was more difficult. Now there are many locations that understand gluten-free lifestyles and manufacture high-quality foods at a reasonable price. This means that a move to gluten-free eating doesn’t have to be as stressful. Spending some time researching safe gluten-free manufacturers will give you food options you can purchase without thinking as much about it. Starting a gluten-free lifestyle can be less foreboding when you know that there are consistently items you can safely purchase.
*Bonus tip - Research stores that have a gluten-free store brand if you are trying to save on your weekly grocery bill. There are some safe options that are in a store brand.
Take advantage of gluten-free cookbooks and websites.
There are quite a few gluten-free cookbooks on the market. These cookbooks offer recipes using alternative flours and helping you to make some of your favorite foods. Take some time to look at cookbooks and websites that have some of your favorite foods. While you may have to give up some favorites, there are many substitutions and alternatives that can help you to still enjoy the delicious food you don’t want to go without. Spending some time in research can help you to transition easily to a gluten-free lifestyle.
*Bonus tip - Pinterest has a large selection of gluten-free bloggers with a multitude of recipes. This is a free way to find an old favorite or a new one.
Learn about cross-contamination.
When starting a gluten-free lifestyle, cross-contamination can be your hidden nemesis. Whether you are eating out, eating with friends, or eating in a house where you are the only person who is gluten-free, cross-contamination can be a sneaky problem. Cross-contamination happens when gluten-free food comes into contact with non-gluten-free food. The gluten from that food item will transfer to the gluten-free item and can cause problems. When you are eating out or sharing kitchen space it is important to research ways to avoid cross-contamination.
*Bonus tip - At home, it is always important to wash items like air fryers, crock pots, and kitchen surfaces before using. Do not assume that they were used in a way that is safe for your gluten-free lifestyle.
Make friends with a gluten-free eater.
One of the best things you can do is to make friends with someone else who is gluten-free. Not only will they be able to encourage you as you start this new lifestyle, but they will also be able to help you learn new things and adjust. It can be such a big help to have a friend who is gluten-free to share with you which food items are good and which ones aren’t. Having a friend in your life who is gluten-free will also help you to discover new foods you might not have known were safe for you. Having someone to go to on the harder days can also be helpful as they can help you to navigate your new lifestyle.
*Bonus tip - If you have a favorite food, ask your gluten-free friend which brands they recommend. You can save money on less appetizing options by enjoying things your friend endorses.
Looking for a delicious recipe to try at home?
Here’s one for a Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Sandwich.