I was the second person in my family to be diagnosed with celiac disease, and I thought I was on top of everything. I figured I knew just how to handle it, and it would be no big deal. I was wrong.
I was finally diagnosed after years of “it’s just stress.” I cut out gluten and carried on as usual. Then I got sicker and sicker, then better for a bit, and sicker again. It’s been a roller coaster, but I’ve learned a lot along the way. A lot of mistakes I made could very well have been prevented with a knowledgeable doctor and some outside help.
A few days ago I was reminiscing about the things I did when I was first diagnosed, and it made me wish I had a celiac friend to teach me helpful ways to manage chronic illness. I can only hope to be that friend for you, fellow celiac!
So to stop my ramble, here are five tips I wish I had heard when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease.
1. Focus on real whole food.
Instead of replacing all of your food with gluten-free versions, try to replace your packaged snacks and meals with whole foods. Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, and they can save your wallet and stomach. An easy meal can be made with a clean source of protein like chicken or fish, cooked veggies and steamed rice. Fruit is an easy snack and it can easily be paired with a gluten-free nut butter to keep you full longer.
Gluten free packaged snacks are usually filled with preservatives and other fillers that can easily irritate your gut just as much as gluten! Your mind and body will thank you for the switch.
2. Season foods yourself.
Spices and seasoning are an easy place for gluten to hide, so be sure to buy things that are unseasoned. Find fresh herbs or specific gluten-free prepared spices to season foods yourself and eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. This is especially important with frozen vegetables, frozen meals, ready made broth and packaged foods.