The Beginner’s Guide to your Loved One’s gluten free lifestyle
I remember clearly about 15 years ago when a good friend of mine was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. No one could wrap their head around it. How could the delicious things we ate everyday day like bread, cereal, pizza and more, be bad for you? As the years wore on, we realized my poor friend was in fact not a rarity at all. According to the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness, one in 133 people suffer from Celiac Disease, while another 83% of the American population is either wrongly diagnosed with another medical condition or undiagnosed.
Oddly enough, years later and after much denial, I find myself living with a Celiac diagnosis after all every ailment I had been suffering from for years disappeared when I did the Whole30. It is important to keep in mind that many people do not have a full blown Celiac diagnosis. They may have a Gluten Intolerance or a wheat allergy. Regardless of which diagnosis your loved one has, it’s important to take them seriously.
So what is Gluten? The Celiac Disease Foundation defines gluten as the proteins found in wheat products like rye, barley, as well as any type of food that uses these ingredients.
If a loved one or someone you live with has a Gluten Allergy, it is important for you to work with them to ensure that you are keeping them healthy. The medicine for Celiac Disease is living a 100% gluten free lifestyle. For myself, even a crumb of gluten will have me in pain. Symptoms include stomach cramping, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, brain fog, mouth sores, headaches, joint pain and more. It can take days, maybe even weeks to remove these symptoms.
How can you help your loved one living a gluten free lifestyle?
- When cooking, check every label on your ingredients. Always check to ensure the manufacturer did not change ingredients. My key piece of advice to those new to living the gluten-free life is, if you cannot pronounce it, do not eat it.
- If it is absolutely necessary to cook two separate meals, cook your gluten-free meal first, cover it and then remove it from the cooking area.
- Always use separate utensils while cooking. Be careful not to contaminate dips, condiments and similar items with a spoon you have used.
- Store your gluten-free ingredients on the highest shelf in your kitchen. This will prevent the chance of crumbs cross-contaminating your food when traveling in and out of your pantry.
- Review menus before hand when visiting new restaurants. Many restaurants are catching on to the need to offer gluten-free options, but there are still many that do not.
- Don’t offer your loved one with a Gluten Allergy anything with gluten in it. Yes, one little bite will hurt!
- You’re loved one is not a eating gluten free lifestyle because it is trendy or a fad. They are eating the gluten free lifestyle because they have a disease.
Take your loved one seriously! Do not make them feel like a burden! I can assure you, they are missing their old favorite foods and this is not easy for them either.