– What’s Up With This Gluten-Free Thing Everyone’s Talking About? –
Sometimes life throws us a major curve-ball and wow did it throw us a tough one recently! A few months ago my husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
– My Gorgeous Husband –
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He’s almost never sick but one day he developed a rash of blisters that we could not get rid of! We saw a few different doctors who prescribed medications that didn’t help and one that actually made it worse!
It was four months of that. Not fun! He was miserable, in pain, and frustrated, and I was miserable for him.
During the four months with no answers and still no relief for him, we searched endless medical articles for an answer. We also asked for advice from a family member who is a doctor.
Finally, we decided the rash seemed very similar to dermatitis herpetiformis which can be a sign of a few illnesses but the one his symptoms seemed to match was called celiac disease.
Read award-winning actress, Jennifer Esposito’s guide to getting a proper diagnosis for celiac disease, with practical tips and healing recipes
Celiac Disease Is A Life-Long Condition
From what we’d read we knew enough about the condition to know that we should be hoping and praying he didn’t have it, however, he needed to be tested.
So I made an appointment for my husband with a dermatologist and off we went. The doctor told us that based on his symptoms and the rash it did look like celiac disease but that there was a chance it could be something else.
The results took a week. When we received them they said – Positive – stop all gluten with immediate effect.
Positive For Celiac – Stop All Gluten With Immediate Effect – What Did That Mean?
Pasta and bread right? Oh, and anything with flour, so baked stuff, that wasn’t too bad.
Well, that’s what most people think but cutting out pasta, bread, flour, and cereals is just the tip of the iceberg when you have celiac disease.
My hubby is not the researching type but I am. So although I had already done a lot of reading. Once he was diagnosed I dug deeper.
Of course, I got completely overwhelmed as I realized just how big this was and yes, there were some tears!
So if this is you – hang in there – you can do this and there is a lot that you can eat! So here are some of the best first steps you can take to being gluten-free.
*Gluten Intolerance And Wheat Allergies Are Not The Same As Celiac Disease. Read This To Learn The Difference.*
Don’t Worry There Is So Much You Can Still Eat On A Celiac Diet!
It took us a while but we soon got used to the new diet!
Here are some tips from what we’ve learned so far.
- Change your mindset – focusing on what you can eat instead of what you can’t will help you cope. It’s hard but you can do it and you’ll learn there are many great substitutes for most of your favorite foods. Will you like all of them? Probably not, but you will find some favorites. I’m happy to tell you pizza is still an option! Try this two-ingredient gluten-free dough. It’s perfect as a pizza base!
- Do a kitchen clean, it’s scary how much you’ll be getting rid of but there is so much you can still use, so don’t freak out! Check all spices, sauces, soup packets, stock cubes, salt, pepper, herbs, milk made from nuts, (normally fine but check), jams, jellies, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, coffee, tea, Nutella, instant custard (custard powder is normally fine) and all condiments. Also, read the labels on your vitamins and medicines. You need to look at EVERYTHING and get rid of wooden spoons and chopping boards because gluten can hide in wood.
Not Sure Which Ingredients Contain Gluten? – Keep Reading For A List Of What To Look Out For
By the way, it’s not worth using up something just because you bought it and telling yourself once it’s finished you won’t buy it again. It’s that much more damage to your body.
If in doubt, throw it out! (Or give it away).
- Question everything – When shopping, read the ingredients label even when the item states that it’s gluten-free. Mistakes happen so check those labels!
- *BEST TIP* – Fill small glass bottles with your salt, pepper, tomato sauce, mayonnaise, and anything else you like on your food and then take those with you when you’re traveling so you can cook safe meals.
What On Earth Can You Eat On A Celiac Diet?
Ok, so I’ve probably scared you into thinking you can only eat lettuce. Here’s the GOOD NEWS – There’s still so much you can eat! Here’s a list –
- Fresh fruits
- Unprocessed meat – chicken, fish, beef, pork, lamb (don’t buy shop marinated meat)
- Dairy (once your stomach has healed)
- Gluten-Free Pancakes – These are so delish and the batter is freezable!
- Bliss Balls – Only Three-Ingredients – An awesome healthy snack and easy to make! They’re great to take to work or put in a kiddies lunch box.
- Rice – Check the label as it can be cross-contaminated during packaging and production
For more on what to eat or avoid plus what vitamins to take, read everydayhealth.com’s article – The Foods to Eat and Avoid if You’re Going Gluten Free for Celiac Disease
What To Do When Friends Or Family Invite You Over And Tell You They Can Cook.
When friends or family invite you over and tell you not to bring your own food don’t be afraid to go into serious detail about what they can and can’t use. Also, give them some of your salt and spices to use in the meal.
Your condition is serious and people are great, many make a sincere effort to understand even when they can’t relate. However, don’t go into detail. Your diet is normal for you but it’s ALL new to them so don’t overwhelm them.
Instead, ask if they had a meal in mind and give clear instructions as to how you would make it or mention a couple of easy meals they could make that follow your strict gluten-free diet.
If you think cooking for you will put pressure on them then it’s ok to offer to take food. It’s about the time you’re spending together not what you’re eating and you can even make the same meal they plan to serve so your food doesn’t look different.
Sometimes you won’t have to but planning ahead helps to keep a positive mindset. So ALWAYS plan ahead! – For every event you go to expect to take your own food.
Remember, it's not as complicated as it sounds and you can do it!
Also, check salt! I know it’s crazy, but it can be contaminated too!
What To Cook And Freeze To Be Prepared For Any Occasion!
- Tomato Pastes
- Pizza Bases – Try This Delicious, Two-Ingredient Gluten-Free Recipe
- Gluten-Free Pancake Batter
- Naan Bread
Safe And Delicious Snacks For Celiacs
- Banana Chips
- Bliss Balls – Try this yummy three-ingredient recipe
- Simple Mills Almond Crackers – Fine Ground Sea Salt
- Cashews – but check the label and don’t buy flavored
- Fresh Fruit
While I may write posts on the topic of “health” or “healing”, I am not a doctor and do not claim to be giving health or medical advice and any health or medically related articles found on this site are documentation of my personal experiences and not medical advice for you to follow.
Ingredients On Food Labels To Avoid
Gluten isn’t always obvious when reading a food label because they use “fancy” words you probably haven’t heard before. You can always check on Google and if you’re still not sure DON’T RISK IT!
So here are some to look out for –
- Malt (Extract, Flavor, or Syrup)
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Khorasan wheat
- Wheat – berries/starch/Khorasan/Einkorn
For a more in-depth guide Google, “Gluten-Free Diet Food Label Reading Guide – Celiac Disease” It’s a great resource!
The 4 Best Gluten-Free Cookbooks For The Celiac Lifestyle
When you’re stuck for ideas on what to cook it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing you can eat. That’s when it’s a good idea to have a recipe book on hand for inspiration! So here’s a list of gluten-free recipe books by best selling authors to get you started!
Jennifer’s Way Kitchen
You’ll recognize Jennifer Esposito as one of the main cast members from NCIS. Behind this award-winning actress’s success was an extremely difficult journey before and after being diagnosed with celiac disease.
After collapsing on set her character was written out of the series as her condition would limit her availability to work. The following year she launched Jennifer’s Way Bakery, in Manhattan’s West Village which only serves celiac-safe food.
The following year her first book was published. Her book, Jennifer’s Way, details her personal struggle with celiac disease before and after she was diagnosed and the things she did to survive.
So if you’re looking for recipes from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through Jennifer’s recipe book would be perfect for you!
The Easy Gluten-Free Cookbook
Some of the recipes in this book only need five main ingredients or take only thirty minutes to make. This gluten-free cookbook is time-saving, convenient, and the ultimate solution to making your gluten-free meals easy!
The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook
Lastly, Something To Remember
You can’t hide under a rock because of celiac and you don’t need to. Sometimes a mistake will happen and you might somehow eat gluten but remember it’s not the end of the world and you can bounce back!
Also, there are so many great recipes out there so look at your condition as an opportunity that helped you change your lifestyle for the better!