Gluten Free Living - Who, What, Where, When, Why and How!
- Who requires being gluten free?
- What is gluten free?
- Where to shop for gluten free foods?
- When to go gluten free?
- Why remain gluten free?
- How to live gluten free happy, healthy and cost effectively?
> Shop in just a few stores to begin with and get to know the products they have available; we are creatures of habit so think about what your regular grocery items would include and then find the gluten free replacement for it (and I can vouch that there is a replacement for everything - including beer!)
> For products not “marked” gluten free, read every label every time (in no time at all you will learn how to do this quickly and accurately by looking for key ingredients such as xanthan gum)
> Experiment with cooking gluten free at home. It's fresh, enjoyable to eat and less expensive!
> Find a selection of restaurants that you enjoy and limit yourself to those restaurants for the time being. Note: Restaurants will be the key source of contamination so use discretion as to where you eat out. Calling ahead will help you to know if they offer gluten free options. You can ask questions at that time to see if they are knowledgeable enough for you to feel safe. A question could be: How do you cook the gluten free pasta? Correct answer: In a separate pot. Another valuable tip is to avoid restaurants in the busy, peak times. The chef will be grateful if he does not have to think about the special requirements for cooking gluten free safely while he is busy. You will be grateful when you don't get sick!
> Traveling to another country, especially where language is a barrier, could prove difficult. Visit www.celiactravel.com This website offers restaurant cards in 51 languages! There is also a lot of other helpful information regarding travel.
To maintain optimum health, I personally using the following rules when shopping for my gluten free food:
> When the product’s primary ingredient is grain, the label must say gluten free on it or I will not buy it. These products include bread, cookies, crackers, pizza, cereals, etc.
> When choosing other food items such as soups, sauces, salad dressings and prepared meats, I read the ingredient label to determine if the ingredients appear to be all gluten free. If they are, I will use it.
> If the packaging says “may contain traces of wheat” - I avoid it.
> If the packaging says “made in a facility that uses wheat” - I will use it but with careful monitoring. If I feel any kind of reaction, I will not use that product again.
Worth Sharing: I had my second endoscopy (biopsy) 10 years after starting the gluten free diet. My gastroenterologist said that, despite having reviewed my original biopsy results and seeing the extensive damage, at the time of this second biopsy he would not even know I had celiac disease by looking at my small intestine. He was impressed that someone could eliminate gluten from their diet so completely. With celiac disease, even a small speck of wheat is enough for the small intestine to recognize it and react by causing damage. There was none! This gives me confidence in sharing my experiences with you!!