When you First Find Out
Discovering you have an allergy to gluten can be one of two things. It can be a relief to find out after many years of worry, discomfort and pain that there is a reason for all of the symptoms you have been experiencing. Or it can be a shock, knowing that you have to give up favourite foods, learn new ways of cooking and basically start living a new way of life. Not only do you have to understand the fundamentals of what you can and can’t eat, you have to explain it to friends and family when they invite you for a meal. You can feel awkward and self conscious that they have to make a special effort for you. You may also feel uncomfortable whilst eating the food they have prepared for you. Did they get it right, did they fully understands the ingredients you have to avoid and will this meal you are eating make you ill when you get home. It can be a stressful time but like all things a bit of effort goes a long way. Become an expert of your own condition. It’s your body so it should be your mission to know as much as possible about eating gluten free and how to live a safe and healthy life.
Look at what you can Eat – Shopping
These days the shops are full of gluten free food. Most supermarkets stock a range of items from gluten free pasta to bread and cakes. It’s fair to say, you can buy almost anything you would normally need but you have to expect despite the choice and high standard of the alternatives, they will taste different to what you are used to. What you will find though, is that as the gluten disappears from your system, you will start to feel so much better and missing your favourite cakes or cookies will not seem such a problem. You may find that looking at what you can have instead of what you can’t eat, is a more positive stance to take. Preparing your own meals will ensure you know exactly what you are eating and will ensure you eat a balanced diet. Get in control and don’t depend on the supermarket shelves. Buy good fresh ingredients and get cooking. There is a wide range of gluten free cookery books and lots of information on line, it’s just a matter of re-educating yourself.
Going out for a meal with any allergy can be difficult. Either you play it safe and choose a few local restaurants that know you and understand the type of exclusion diet you are on or go online where you will find ‘free from’ websites that will search for gluten free restaurants in your area that can cater to your diet. If you are on the road and travelling it can hit or miss and you certainly don’t want to be playing a game of Russian roulette with your health so it’s best to either travel with food you have prepared or to choose something you are certain will be safe such as grilled fish or chicken without a sauce. Bear in mind there are lots of food stuffs with hidden gluten in sauces, dressings, marinades and on potatoes for example – often restaurants will coat potatoes or chips in flour to ensure their crispiness when roasting or frying so remember to ask and don’t feel afraid or embarrassed.
Live your Life
The best advice overall is just live your life. It’s your life, your body and your condition. Don’t rely on others to understand your condition, get to grips with it yourself, be that expert and take control. Finding out you have an allergy is the first step on the road to recovery and being able to live your life to the full so don’t see it as a problem, see it as the key to unlocking your full potential once again!