Have you just been diagnosed coeliac? When I first was I read up on everything and thought I had it sorted, but along the way there were still some things that popped up where I thought ‘Oh, I never thought of that’. From my experience, here are my 5 tips on what to watch out for in this coeliac world….
- Read the back of everything. It seems like a hassle and yes sometimes it is, like the time I was in a coffee shop and wondered if a certain flavoured coffee was ok for me. At first I was like ‘oh no it doesn’t matter’ but my friend was insistent that I should check if I wanted it and so we were handed the container to look at ourselves! TBH reading the ingredients was enough to put you off anyway! You soon get into the hang of it, knowing what you can and can’t have but at first its definitely an essential. It will shock you sometimes when you discover the wheat word on the back of a bottle or packet you thought was perfectly innocent.
- Always tell the restaurant you’re coeliac, even if they have gluten free items marked on the menu. Just because the food is gluten free it might still have been prepared beside gluten containing dishes and depending on how sensitive you are this can be an issue. Restaurants these days are usually clued up and have a separate prep area for GF dishes but it’s best to be safe. Chips can often be the problem as they are cooked in the same fryer as other food, so check and don’t feel embarrassed. The consequences are far worse!
- Just because you buy something that says gluten free don’t think its necessarily healthier. A couple of years ago when gluten free became the fash as a lifestyle choice more GF products became available. Great! However, many, including some of your gluten free breads, have added sugar in them as a way to replace taste. It’s something to bare in mind and check.
- The chance of getting a medication that contains gluten is extremely small, but as a protector you should look at the ingredients in your medications. The same goes for make up and skincare products, whether or not you can be affected by gluten in make up and skincare is an ongoing debate. Personally I know I’ve had effects after using a moisturiser and shampoo, blissfully unaware at the time. Lipsticks are the main culprit with some big brands, so double check.
- Oats, something I never thought of at first until I had oat milk and wondered why I felt so ill! Technically oats are gluten free, the problem is oats contain avenin which is a protein similar to gluten. Also, oats are often produced in the same place as wheat, barley and rye, so the oats can become contaminated with these other grains. There are lots of gluten free oats available now and you would never know the difference, so if you’re porridge person there is no need to miss out.
It can seem daunting at first, it did for me but knowing how much better I was going to be is what got me through the first few months. Checking before you eat or buy anything soon becomes second nature and coeliac life really isn’t that bad after a while.