I have celiac disease, so gluten-free living is not optional for me. I embrace ALL of you, regardless of why you are gluten-free, and these tips are going to be useful to you even if your gluten-free lifestyle isn’t a medical necessity.
However, if you must live gluten-free due to a medical reason like I do, I want you to pay special attention to these tips. It has been so important in my celiac journey to keep going back to these basic points, reminding myself to be ever-diligent about products I choose, remembering how it felt (overwhelming!!) when I first went gluten-free and so much more. I hope these reminders help you, too!
1 – Always read labels.
I went gluten-free due to celiac disease in October 2007. I still read every food label every single time. I encourage you to do the same. Whether you’ve been gluten-free for a long time or are just beginning your gluten-free lifestyle, remember manufacturers can (and do!) change formulations and manufacturing practices without our knowing. And while a gluten-free labeling ruling is in effect, that is no iron-clad guarantee that a product is 100% gluten-free, as evidenced by multiple, persistent violations to the law (as of 2017).
Check each ingredient, read the allergen warning (if any) and if you still have questions, call the manufacturer for clarification.
2 – Always remember you were new at this once, too.
Regardless of where we are on our gluten-free path, we were new at this once, too. I tell a story in my book and when speaking to groups about how I called my celiac friend on my first post-diagnosis shopping trip. I asked if ketchup was gluten-free. I laugh now, but at that time, I had no clue. I always remind myself of this when helping others.
3 – Always share what you know to help others.
Keeping in mind point two, above, As you’re reading, someone is receiving their diagnosis. With each new diagnosis comes those same questions we all had when we learned we must live a gluten-free life. Share what you know to help raise awareness about the best information, products, methods, etc. so that someone else has an easier journey than you did.
4 – Always remember this when you’re tempted to cheat on your gluten-free diet.
Cheating on your gluten-free diet if you have celiac disease (or another gluten-related medical issue) is a recipe for disaster when it comes to achieving your wellness goals. Even if you have no outward symptoms when you eat gluten (that’s called “silent” celiac and it is not as rare as you might think!), consuming gluten for a person with celiac disease is serious business.
Even if you are completely free from those nasty overt symptoms of CD, you still suffer small intestine damage when you consume gluten. Even a little gluten!
That means, even if you can’t detect it, your body is launching an auto-immune response, nutrients in foods you eat are not being properly absorbed and you’re left more susceptible to diseases like certain types of cancer. You are, in effect, shortening your life.
With so many uncontrollable factors that challenge our health (i.e., environmental toxins), it makes sense to maximize the benefit of what we can control. That means the foods we put in our bodies. Say no to temptation by choosing health.
5 – Always ask!
Whether it’s help to keep from cheating on your gluten-free diet or have any question at all about living gluten-free, do not hesitate to ask a trusted resource. Someone will help you.
You are always welcome to ask me! That’s why I’m here. My passion is to help everyone I can make the most of their gluten-free experience in a positive, balanced way that suits their lifestyle and helps them reach their health goals. You can email me, reach out in social media or if you see me in person, just ask!
I love answering your questions and helping you move forward in a positive and fun way in your gluten-free journey so much that I even wrote a book about it! This was my way to help you keep all those answers handy in one place. If you’re new to gluten-free, THIS is the book for you! It’s filled with loads of fact-based info plus contains about two dozen gluten-free recipes you won’t find anywhere else. Learn more and get your copy here.
If you have great tips to share about gluten-free living, add them in the comments!