We’ve lived the gluten free life in our family for a long time. We know it can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to compromise delicious food with lots of variety as well as eating out and travelling just because you can’t eat gluten.
We’ve put a list of family’s top ten tips for living a gluten free life:
When newly diagnosed, it can be a bit of shock to realise that you can no longer eat a lot of the foods you used to love. You need to accept that they are doing your body a lot more harm than good. You also need to accept that this is an exciting crossroads for you and you can now begin a new journey for your tastebuds. You will get to explore new foods, ingredients, recipes. Don’t look back. Find acceptance and look forward.
2. Make your kitchen Gluten Free
While everyone in your family might not be on board with this new gluten free way of living, you need to make your kitchen a safe place. This means, taking away all traces of gluten from your kitchen. This includes all the likely kitchen paraphernalia that that pesky gluten likes to get trapped or hide in e.g. toasters and breadboards. Clean out your oven and start a fresh new gluten free kitchen.
3. Broaden your supermarket repertoire
While a lot of us like to be loyal to one big supermarket chain, when shopping gluten free, it helps to shop around. The big chains will all have a range of gluten free staples like breads and cereals as well as meals and snacks. However, different chains stock different brands. You will need to explore the supermarkets to discover which brands you like and which foods treat your tastebuds.
4. Go on an Adventure
We don’t mean literally pack your bags and passport (although an adventure is always a great idea!). We mean start your new foodie adventure. You need to get adventurous in the kitchen with trying different substitutes with your family’s favourite recipes. There is plenty of choice when it comes to gluten free flours, pastas and other ingredients. But they can have slightly different flavours and effect on the end result. Be adventurous - you might just find you have a real passion and talent in the kitchen.
5. Learn your labels
Reading labels of foods can be one of the more tricky new life skills you have to quickly adapt to. While there is plenty of help out there, you need to learn what to look out for with ingredients and how to tell if a food is truly, safely gluten free.
6. Naturally Gluten Free
Remind yourself that many of natures best foods are gluten free. Fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese and eggs are all naturally gluten free so you can still use these in your meals and for snacks.
7. Cross contamination
Even the smallest amount of gluten can cause harm to someone with Coeliac Disease. You need to minimise the risk of cross contamination. Make sure you wash down surfaces at home and anywhere else you prepare food (e.g. office kitchen). If you are living in a house where there is still gluten in the kitchen, make sure you have your own butters and spreads to reduce risk of cross contamination.
8. Know your alcohol
Find out which of your favourite alcoholic beverages do not contain gluten. Most spirits, wines and liqueurs contain no gluten, but be sure to check before consuming. Remember that a lot of beers do contain gluten (although there are more and more popping up in the market that are gluten free) so you need to read the label carefully.
9. Do your online research
Google has some amazing resources for living a gluten free life as well as an endless supply of new and exciting gluten free recipes to try. There are also plenty of online forums and Facebook groups to join. These online resources can make a world of difference for education but also opening you up to the whole world of like-minded people on the same gluten free journey.
10. Stock up
Keep your freezer and pantry full of your favourite meals and snacks (we highly recommend The Gluten Free Meal Co. meals J). These are great for when you don’t feel like cooking but don’t trust the local take away or are invited over to a friends place for dinner. Having some of your favourite gluten free meals stashed away in the freezer gives you complete peace of mind.
Living the gluten free life doesn’t have to be daunting. You don’t have to miss out on the foods you love and this is a great opportunity to find new foods to love.
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