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Advice | 8 Cheap GF & V Foods I Base my Diet on

Let me be clear about the term “diet” in the title – I mean my usual eating habits, not a “weight loss” or “fad” diet. These foods make up what I eat on a day to day basis and might help you with some inspiration for your own diet.

  1. Water water water water water!!!! No matter how obvious it might sound water is wonderful, especially if you are on a budget! A mistake lots of people make when trying to budget is to still drink fruit juice, squash, tea or alcohol with their meals or as their regular drink. Swapping even a few of your daily drinks to water will not only decrease sugar intake and improve hydration but also save you a lot of money in your weekly shop!
  2. Potatoes. The gluten free person’s best friend. They’re versatile and can be put with any flavours but most importantly they are naturally gluten free and CHEAP! We buy a big bag of cheap potatoes at the supermarket and make them last a few weeks. To maximise the amount of meals you can get out of a bag, make sure you store them in a dry, cool and dark place and in a bag made of cloth rather than plastic to prevent them from sprouting.
  3. Rice. Just like potatoes, rice is cheap and filling. A good tip is to sub it for gluten free pasta – it works just as well with pesto or vegetables but works out cheaper than most gluten free pastas.
  4. Bananas. I put them in everything – with cereal, in fruit salads, on toast. I even make a cheap pudding with a banana and nutella drizzled on top.
  5. Cheese!! Cheese is cheap and high in protein and calcium.
  6. Mushrooms. Mushrooms are a cheap substitute for the”meaty” texture in dishes such as lasagnes or burgers. They are very versatile and their taste can be tweaked to suit any cuisine. A tip for buying them cheaply is to buy them loose instead of in the packet. The savings may seem small but they add up over time and you won’t be contributing more plastic tubs to landfill!
  7. Carrots. Carrots are my go to vegetable if we’re low on money and I need something to bulk out a dish. Try them as part of this Vegan Shepherd’s Pie!
  8. Tomatoes. Tomatoes are very versatile for those on a budget because almost every form of them is very cheap! To save yourself money, don’t buy pre-made tomato sauces for pasta – buy a carton of passata (34p in ASDA) and add your own dried herbs or grow some herbs in your garden to save enough more money! Tomatoes are also very easy to to grow in your own garden in the summer and will cut your weekly shopping bill even more! Just make sure they are in a sunny part of the garden!

 

Which foods do you rely on when money is tight? Do you grow your own to save more money?

 

Advice | 6 ways to survive being a Coeliac student

It can be one of the trickiest times for a Coeliac. I had to go gluten free in my second year of university and am now a postgraduate so I’ve had several years of practice! Here are some tips for those of you starting university next month.

  1. Get your SU on side. I worked hard to campaign for more gluten free food on my campus during my undergraduate degree and it really paid off (you can read more about that here). If you aren’t finding what you need in the SU shop or cafes on campus – talk to someone! I was lucky to find someone in the SU that also had a gluten intolerance and so my campaign was an easier battle but it was important to raise my voice and get better availability at the university.
  2. Talk to your roommates about it. If you’re in a shared house with a kitchen, politely explain to them the exact reasons why CC is so dangerous for you. If they mess with your food/contaminate your cooking equipment without apologising/double dip in the butter etc. you might need to get graphic with your explanations!
  3. Your freezer is your best friend! Gluten free food can be really expensive and so batch cooking and freezing is a really good way to save pennies! Make soup from scratch, stews, pasta dishes, shepherd’s pie – anything that you can batch cook and safely store in the freezer. I do this a lot with gluten free lasagne.
  4. If your health is effecting your uni work, talk to the lecturers. I had to file an extenuating circumstances form in my second year due to really bad IBS (this was pre-diagnosis with IBS) and it’s nothing to be ashamed of! If your teachers are aware of the situation they will be able to help you.
  5. Always have GF snacks in your bag/coat. You might find you get peckish whilst on campus and you’re a 20 minute walk from home with more classes later in the day. You cannot rely on the SU shop or cafes to always have safe food so it’s a good idea to have something like a GF cereal bar or packet of crisps in your bag or pockets just in case.
  6. Talk to your university friends about it. You will inevitably feel like you will never make friends when you’re a fresher – especially with everyone going out to eat or drink (mostly drink let’s be honest) and you can’t join in with take away pizza and beer. But you will find that you will make friends easily and it’s good to help them understand. My friends at uni were so accommodating – making me pizza I could eat for parties, changing the restaurant to somewhere safe etc.

Good luck to all Coeliac freshers starting September! You’re going to love it! Do you have any Coeliac student stories? Get in touch: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See the previous Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

Tumblr: glutenfreeveggie.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

Advice | Balanced Diet and IBS

Whilst everyone’s triggers for IBS are different, it often involves cutting out a few fruit and veggies. It can be really difficult to make sure you’re getting your 5 a day when you have IBS so here’s some ways to make sure you’re still getting the nutrients you need even during a flare up.

  1. Find fruits and vegetables that don’t trigger a flare up. I consider these my “safe” foods and for me it’s carrots, tomatoes, runner beans, strawberries and raspberries. This may vary from person to person but you need to test your own IBS to find safe foods.
  2. Learn about FODMAP diets and which foods are low FODMAP. Being on a low FODMAP diet doesn’t work for everyone but using it as a guide can help you to work out which fruits and vegetables could be safe for you.
  3. Try to cook dishes containing vegetables from scratch rather than ready meals. This way you have better control over which vegetables are in your meals and can avoid causing an accidental flare ups. For example, I can’t eat onions or garlic because of my IBS – even a tiny amount will trigger a flare up. Cooking pasta sauce, ratatouille or soup from scratch means that I can leave them out and still add other vegetables to the dish that are safe for me.
  4. Find a protein source that works for you. This especially applies if you are vegetarian like me. Since being diagnosed with IBS I’ve struggled with soya – small amounts seem to be fine (such as soya lecithin) but tofu or soya flour are a big no for me. That eliminated a big protein source for me. Luckily, unlike some people with IBS, I can tolerate nuts and use cashew butter and raw cashews a lot in my cooking to add protein to my meals. Others with IBS struggle with dairy. Again, luckily I am fine with these. Find a protein source that works for you.
  5. Remember that what others may consider “healthy” isn’t necessarily healthy for you. A good example of this is fibre. The general word on fibre is to eat as much of it as you can – it’s pushed into our collective minds throughout school and from relatives. For someone with IBS-D like me, fibre is a big issue. My stomach can tolerate a certain amount of fibre but eating any high fibre foods such as lentils, beans, psyllium husk etc. will guarantee a flare up. Just because those foods are healthy for those with normal gut health, it’s not healthy for someone with IBS to stick to a high fibre diet if it’s going to result in constant pain and flare ups.

There are many ways to be healthy and I hope some of this advice is useful to those of you still figuring out how to live with IBS. Don’t forget you can always e-mail me if you need specific dietary advise but remember that I am not a qualified dietitian or doctor and can only speak from my own experiences.

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See the previous Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

Tumblr: glutenfreeveggie.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

 

Advice | 8 tips for Coeliacs on a budget

My family has always had to be very careful with money, but even more so since I had to go gluten free. Here are some tips for those of you who also have to watch the pennies!

 

  1. Opt for naturally gluten free meals as often as possible! Rice, potatoes, vegetables, dairy products etc. are all naturally gluten free and cheap compared to pre-made gluten free products.
  2. Cook and bake from scratch. Gluten free bread, crackers and cakes can be really expensive but anything you can make from scratch for yourself will work out a lot cheaper than paying £3 in store.
  3. Your freezer is your new best friend! Cooking in batches is often a lot cheaper than cooking every night and will encourage you to use and freeze food that is going out of date. If you have some potatoes that need using why not make a veggie shepherd’s pie and freeze it in portions? You can also blitz your stale/broken gluten free loaves and freeze the breadcrumbs to use at a later date.
  4. Grow your own fruit and vegetables. I have a slight bias on this one – my mother is a gardener by profession and so we’ve always had a small vegetable patch. It may take a little more work and planning than buying vegetables at the supermarket but it will save you a lot of money in the long run.
  5. Look out for deals. Often, newly introduced gluten free products will have a marked down price or sometimes existing products have special offers on them. It is very prudent to take advantage of this – buy products on special offer that you know you will use and already like and freeze them for later use. This is especially good for bread products. Always check that the product is not labelled “do not freeze” before doing this.
  6. Avoid buying lunch out. There are lots of gluten free lunch options in high street shops now, and whilst that’s fantastic for awareness and availability it can be tough for your bank balance. A pre-prepared sandwich or meal deal from Boots may look appealing at the time but those few pounds a day add up very quickly. Try to pack a lunch box and have snacks in your bag/pockets when out of the house for more than a few hours.
  7. Look out for coupons or giveaways. Lots of gluten free companies put money off coupons in gluten free magazines (sign up to Coeliac UK for a small annual fee and you will receive lots of benefits including coupons) and they do giveaways on their social media platforms.
  8. Learn to love supermarket own brand Free From products. Some of them are revolting, I know, but buying big brands like Genius and Schar every week soon adds up. Where possible try to stick to supermarket own brand Free From bread, pizza and snacks. Even if you only save 10p on each item, it will soon add up.

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See the previous Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

Tumblr: glutenfreeveggie.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

 

National Vegetarian Week | Bacon

Some of you may know that I’ve been vegetarian since birth – that means I’ve never eaten meat. And frankly, I very rarely think about it. My Dad is not vegetarian and my Mum is and so they gave me two different approaches to the lifestyle. My Dad made it clear that I could try meat or fish if I wanted to and my Mum never judged my Dad for his diet. I subsequently grew up without hating meat eaters but also seeing that meat eaters could respect vegetarianism. My Dad eats vegetarian food 99% of the time, purely because he enjoys it.

You may wonder why I’ve called this blog post “Bacon”. Some of you probably clicked on it hoping for controversy or for me to say that I’ve never been able to resist the smell. In fact I’ve used this title to convey what the word “bacon” represents to a vegetarian – the scorn of some meat eaters.

I wrote this blog post recently asking meat eating Coeliacs to respect the fact that I am able to be vegetarian and a Coeliac – one through choice but not the other. I ask for this respect again. I am not a preachy vegetarian, nor do I look down my nose at meat eaters. This is my lifestyle choice and I do not deserve your scorn.

Any vegetarians reading this will know what I mean. We’ve all been sat at a party with new acquaintances or chatted to work colleagues about being vegetarian and heard the trusty, trotted out phrase “But what about bacon?”. They look at you with dumbfounded yet smug expressions, thinking “I’ve got her now, how could she possibly not want to eat bacon?”. I’ve had 22 years of that. It has never becomes less annoying but my responses have become better, quicker, more direct. When I was a child I would just shrug, embarrassed, unable to voice my viewpoint to the (usually) grown adults that would ask me this.

Now, a nearly adult woman, I can fire off my reply with an amused and not an embarrassed mindset. After all this time the phrase has just become a parody of itself.

So then, in case you’re still wondering, what about bacon?

The answer, from my point of view, is simple. Vegetarians, especially those who have been vegetarian all of their lives like myself, don’t sit around thinking about meat. We don’t block it out or learn to fear and hate it like a brain washed cultist, we just don’t find ourselves daydreaming about it. We understand that nearly everyone in Western culture raves about bacon, but quite frankly we’re not that interested. We find joy in our food just the same as you do.

All I ask for is respect for each other’s choice goes both ways. Eating meat is just as much a choice as being vegetarian, and that choice is up to the individual. Next time you ask a vegetarian, “what about bacon?” perhaps you’ll consider that.

Advice | 8 tips and ideas for dating a non-Coeliac

I’ve dated two non-Coeliacs since I was diagnosed and I’ve been really lucky that both of them have been supportive and understanding. It can be a difficult thing to cope with if you’ve never come across a Coeliac before and so here are some tips for helping your partner understand your diet and illness.

  1. If you’re in the process of becoming diagnosed or are recently diagnosed, take them to doctor’s appointments so that they can hear it from the experts. Hearing a doctor talk about the facts will help them understand the complexities.
  2. Cook for them! This may seem obvious, but if you cook for them you will help them see that gluten free food is not disgusting, dry or unexciting (as the media likes to depict it!) My boyfriend has started recreating my recipes at home and happily eats gluten free when he’s with me.
  3. Plan dates to gluten free restaurants. This is our favourite thing to do – my boyfriend and I love to go to 100% gluten free restaurants and enjoy worry free eating together. These dates are so much more special because we are both eating gluten free and making an effort to travel to these places.
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My boyfriend and I in Oscar and Bentley’s, 100% GF restaurant in Canterbury, Kent.

4. Be honest about your symptoms. If you get glutened or your other half asks you about your symptoms, try not to under exaggerate them to avoid the disgusting bits. They need to know exactly how awful it is to understand how you’re feeling and why you need to be so careful eating out or cooking. This also applies for IBS sufferers like myself.
5.  Show them your favourite gluten free brands so that they have a few more options when it comes to gift giving. This will help to avoid that awkward situation of opening a birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s/anniversary gift from your significant other to discover it’s a box of chocolates that contain gluten/aren’t safe for Coeliacs. If you show them the brands you like that are safe (I recommend Cadbury’s Milk Tray, yum yum!) then you will be pleasantly surprised on these occasions and they will feel like they have done well!
6. Get them involved in your food. Plan dates or events with your partner that allow them to get involved with gluten free cooking. We’ve had several completely gluten free family BBQs and some gluten free film nights together.

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Eating gluten free junk food and watching a film together in our PJs. Schar pizza and M and S nachos!

7. Show them your excitement at new gluten free products being released and your disappointment when products become discontinued. My boyfriend has seen the ups and downs of trying to shop for gluten free favourites and has helped me track down new products. It can be really exciting to share that together and also helps them see how difficult it can be to actually get hold of food when you are Coeliac!
8. Show them there is more to a Coeliac than just their eating habits! We’re all diverse and interesting people, so if you’re just starting a relationship with a non- Coeliac, don’t feel like you have to mention it continuously. It will obviously effect your relationship, but not necessarily in a bad way, so you don’t have to feel like you have worry about it, or that you need to make your new partner worry about it either. You should find that your other half is very understanding, and if they’re not, they are not the right person for you!

I hope these tips are helpful but remember that this is from my own experience and that there is no right or wrong way to be in a relationship with someone so long as you are both happy.

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Recipes every Monday, blog posts every Friday! See Monday’s recipe here.

Social Media:

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

Tumblr: glutenfreeveggie.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

Advice | An honest guide to coping with IBS

IBS is a fairly undefined and idiopathic ailment. I’ve been diagnosed for just over a year and I’m lucky to have relatively minor symptoms – stomach pains that range from bent-over-in-tears at worst or mild on most flare days, acid reflux that can be very uncomfortable but controllable with Gaviscon, and lastly the “stomach symptoms” that no one wants to talk about and that I control with Loperamide (this is prescription ONLY and you must must talk to a doctor before considering this as an option). Loperamide is the only prescription medicine I’ve tried for my IBS that has worked so I’m very grateful to have it!

This post is dedicated to giving advice based on my experiences with coping with IBS (your experiences will probably vary but you may find bits and pieces that work for you). Here’s some tips that might help!

  1. Find “safe” foods for flare days. If my IBS is ever so that my stomach is sensitive to food I would usually be able to tolerate, I go to my “safe” foods. It takes a lot of trial and error to find what these are for you, but for me potatoes, carrots, pasta, bananas, gluten free bread and salted potato crisps are on the list. When I was first diagnosed I would try to eat “normally” during flare-ups and found myself making it worse, so discovering that I can use “safe” foods to control my symptoms during flare-ups was a big help.
  2. Find ways to destress if possible. I know, I know, easier said than done, but IBS is often triggered by stress rather than food. I like to read in the bath or go for a walk. I also find that light exercise eases stomach pains.
  3. Make the most of your IBS free days. Take notice when you feel well and use to get things done because you don’t know how many hours you may have to write off when the next flare-up hits.
  4. Drink lots of water. It may seem obvious but if you have bad pains or IBS-D you may find that substituting other drinks for water makes all the difference. I personally I only drink water just due to preference – I don’t really like anything else!
  5. Figure out your trigger foods and avoid them. Again, it might seem obvious but it can take a lot of trial and error to find your trigger foods. Once you know what they are (FODMAP lists might help you to narrow down what to try) DON’T cheat! It’s never worth it to say “oh well, a little bit won’t hurt” and then spend the evening in agony. I can’t describe how much I miss garlic but remembering the pain helps me to resist!
  6. Find other people in your situation. Whilst everyone with IBS has a different experience, speaking to other people can help you to find solutions for you own issues. Online is really good place to start – Facebook groups or finding people to follow on Twitter, for example.
  7.  Make sure your friends and family know what you are dealing with, and ask for their help if you need it. I’m lucky to have a supportive boyfriend and my immediate family and friends know what I need when I have issues. Help them to understand what you go through.
  8. Remember that there is always someone worse off. There are far worse conditions than IBS out there and whilst I understand the hardships, just remember that there is someone out there who is struggling worse than you.
  9. Try to be positive. Learning to cope does get easier, and the more positive you are about helping yourself with this, the better you will learn to cope and the more willing people around you will be to help.
  10. Allow yourself the occasional duvet day during a flare-up. Stress is a big trigger for IBS and so writing off productivity for one day can be a big help. Perhaps spend one of your days off watching TV and relaxing instead of trying to make yourself go out. Sometimes we all need a chill out day.

Thank you for reading and good health to you all!

 

 

Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA

Twitter: @theGFveggie

Tumblr: glutenfreeveggie.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theGFveggie

E-mail your questions or suggestions to: glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com

Coeliac Awareness Week | A Guide to Coeliac Disease

It’s Coeliac Awareness Week this week (9th-15th May 2016) and so I thought the best thing I could do to help raise awareness was to compile a simple guide to the disease, to help give people all of the information I can from one place. If you are looking for a guide to starting a gluten free diet, see my post from last year here for advice.

This post is the padded out and edited version of this Tumblr post that I made last year for awareness week. I was astounded by the amount of reblogs and messages of support that I received from people who had experiences with the disease, or just wanted to help.

Alas, Tumblr is not the best medium for creating a serious post with all of the relevant information (as you can see I created it on my fan page for Red Dwarf – not exactly the ideal place for a post about an auto-immune disease!) and so I have decided to extend it here.

All information I have used from other websites has been sourced and linked and is given in quotation marks. Any parts not sourced are from my own knowledge of the disease or my own experiences.

 

 

Coeliac Disease – the facts

(Source: Coeliac UK Website)

“What is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac and spelled celiac in other countries) is a lifelong autoimmune disease. It is caused by the immune system reacting to gluten.

How common is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is common and affects one in 100 people. However only 24% who have the condition have been diagnosed which means there are currently nearly half a million people who have coeliac disease but don’t yet know. If a first degree family member (such as mother, father, sister or brother) has the condition then the chances of having it increase to one in 10.

What causes coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction of the immune system to gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When someone with coeliac disease eats gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine.

What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?

Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can include bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness, mouth ulcers, sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases), hair loss and anaemia.

What is the treatment for coeliac disease?

Once diagnosed, the only treatment for coeliac disease is a gluten-free diet. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. Some people are also sensitive to oats. Once gluten is removed from the diet, you should start to feel much better.”

(The following information is from the NHS website):

“Complications

Complications of coeliac disease only tend to affect people who continue to eat gluten or who have yet to be diagnosed with the condition, which can be a common problem in milder cases.

Potential long-term complications include:

Less common and more serious complications include those affecting pregnancy, such as having a low-birth weight baby, and some types of cancers, such as bowel cancer.”

 

Coeliac disease can affect anyone. Some Coeliacs do not have symptoms (known in the community as “silent coeliacs”), or have very mild symptoms and only find out about the condition due to family members being diagnosed. Symptoms can often be confused with other conditions – see Coeliacs UK’s page about symptoms here for more information on this.

The only way to stop the effects of Coeliac Disease is to go onto a gluten free diet. This essentially means that those of us living with the disease have to cut out foods such as pasta, bread, pizza, cakes, some breakfast cereals, ready made foods and do a lot of research before eating out. Gluten is hidden in lots of foods that you wouldn’t even know about – soy sauce, mustard, cous cous, some sweets, some chocolate, even chips sometimes have a wheat coating!

To top it off, even a single gluten-containing breadcrumb/flour/bit of food falling into our food by accident can make us ill. This is called cross contamination of gluten, and is a great fear for Coeliacs and those with other gluten related illnesses, so special preparation areas are often needed, at home and in eateries.

As you can see living gluten free is far from easy. Gluten free alternatives are becoming more and more available all the time but we need the help of non-coeliacs.

The more people who are aware, the more companies will cater for us, so please share this, share it with friends and family, on other sites, print it out and stick it up somewhere, and not only could you be helping to diagnose someone, you could be making a difficult illness slightly easier to live with.

It is also important to know that some people can have gluten intolerance, or sensitivities. This means their illness is not auto-immune like Coeliac disease but often has similar symptoms. People with these illnesses may not have to remove gluten all together as they may be able to tolerate small amounts without damaging the gut. Gluten intolerance is still a difficult condition to live with, and in a lot of cases it is not taken seriously because it is confused with the fad diet – some people use gluten free as a way to try to lose weight (p.s this has not been proven, and often doesn’t work, this video from Unnatural Vegan on youtube gives a lot of information about this). Gluten intolerance is often diagnosed in a similar way to Coeliac disease, except that endoscopy results for CD will be negative. Many with gluten intolerance live the same lifestyle as someone with CD, removing gluten completely, and cross contamination can lead to “glutening” for them too.

If you have any of the above symptoms please go to your doctor. If you would like to donate to Coeliac UK please do so here. If you have questions about the illness feel free to e-mail me (glutenfreeveggieblog@gmail.com), but I would recommend going to Coeliac UK or the NHS website for more details, as I can only use my own experience, I’m not a doctor. Coeliac UK also have Twitter and Facebook if you would prefer informal advice.

 

Advice | New to the gluten free diet

Recently I replied to someone on Tumblr who is newly diagnosed and was seeking advice or tips for a Coeliac lifestyle. I replied as best I can and it inspired me to compile my thoughts into a blog post so that everyone can see it!

I know how difficult it is when you’re first diagnosed. I didn’t understand what gluten was before I became ill, let alone how to live gluten free and battle the stigma that goes with it.

So here is my advice for when you are first starting out with a gluten free lifestyle.

  1. See a doctor. This one is very important. Do not self diagnose at the first instance of being ill. Only a medical professional can help you get to the bottom of it. They will most likely want you to keep a food diary, have blood tests and eventually cut out gluten if this is found to be a trigger. Be aware that if they send you for a biopsy for Coeliac Disease, you need to have been eating gluten for six weeks before the biopsy. For more info on this see Coeliac UK here.
  2.  You need to avoid cross contamination. If you have a gluten filled kitchen you will need a new toaster ONLY for GF bread, I also got a new chopping board, new oven gloves etc. Even if you are not visibly ill from cross contamination, it can still do damage to your gut.
  3.  Don’t expect to feel 100% better straight away. It can take weeks and months to get there. It’s often said that it can take up to a year for the gut to heal completely, and so you may not feel back to normal for a while. If your symptoms get worse, however, even whilst eating GF, go and see your doctor straight away. It is not uncommon to have more than one food intolerance and so if your symptoms persist, you may need to go onto an elimination diet again.
  4.  Keep your meals simple, and only use gf alternatives (e.g pizza, chicken nuggets etc) as part of your diet. Try to base your meals on things that are naturally GF like potatoes, meat (if you’re not a veggie like me), vegetables, rice etc.
  5. Join Facebook support groups such as Coeliacs in the UK, Coeliacs Eat Out Too. They are really helpful.
  6.  Join Coeliac UK. They have an app for scanning barcodes, a book full of brands that are GF and lots of other helpful support.
  7.  Don’t listen to anyone who says you’re “being awkward”, “making it up” or “a tiny bit of gluten won’t hurt you”. You will encounter quite a few people who think they know what’s best for you, and they do not. Only you and your doctor can decide this. Just try to keep calm and explain it to them the best you can. Their ignorance comes from a lack of understanding, and so the more facts you can arm yourself with, the easier it will be to help people understand.
  8. Talk to your family and close friends about it. In most cases they will want to help you in any way they can. Help them to understand by taking your parents/other half/siblings with you to doctor’s appointments. Cook gluten free food for them to show them it’s no different from normal food. Don’t be scared to ask for their support – 99% of the time they will give you all the support they can.
  9. Follow gluten free bloggers. Many have been GF for a long time, and so can give recipes, tips and product reviews.
  10. Enjoy your food! Gluten free food can and should taste good! Experiment with new recipes and adapt your own. If you’re not enjoying your food, find some new recipes and try again.

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