Tips For Newbies
First of all - RELAX! Life goes on and you'll be able to do just about everything you did before you were diagnosed, but you'll have to do it Gluten-free.
Hey - that means there are now three things in this whole world that you can't eat - wheat, barley and rye. And be careful of the oats. I know it's not quite that easy, but I'm just trying to put things in their proper perspective. There is no denying that things are going to be a lot less convenient than they were before.
Take a deep breath - let it out - NOW get to work. The sooner you do, the sooner you'll feel more comfortable with the whole situation. No one can do this for you - you are going to have to work to make your life get back to some semblance of normalcy. If you have Celiac Disease, it is a Medically Required Diet and NOT a Diet Of Choice for the rest of your life.
The following are just a few of the things we suggest you do to get on the right track. They are in no specific order. If you have other tips you think we should add to this list, please let us know. We're all in this together:
- Learn how to read labels and know how to look for hidden gluten. Wheat will be listed as one of eight allergens, which is probably better than 95% of our problem, but we still need to look for the other three – barley, rye and even oats – to be sure they are not contaminated.
- Join a local support group -- if you can find one. Talk with as many others on the Gluten-free Diet as you can.
- Attend any of the National conferences or Gluten-free Expos around the country.
- Subscribe to some of the quality national publications that are available.
- Subscribe to the Celiac List Serve and other internet discussion groups.
- Don't be embarrassed to ask questions. There's an enormous amount of information for you to absorb at one time. It's not going to happen overnight.
- Learn how and who to ask for help.
- ONLY speak with the cook, chef, owner or manager at restaurants, when asking for the ingredients or methods of preparation of the food you want to order.
Even if a manager or a chef in a restaurant says that you don't have to worry about getting Gluten-free food "they'll take care of it" - still respectfully ask all necessary questions.
a restaurant has a “Gluten-free” menu – always ask for the manager and
as you would if it were a regular menu.
The Gluten-free Diet is for Life. DO NOT CHEAT – you’re only hurting yourself. In some cases irrevocably.
Never trust a travel agent that says "don't worry you'll get all the Gluten-free food you want on this trip or cruise, etc. -- I'll take care of it"
Whenever flying domestic or international - always ask for Gluten-free meals, but take back-up food - just in case you don't get it or what you get is questionable.
WHEN IN DOUBT - DON'T ! This credo applies to packaged food; food served at restaurants or parties; or just about anywhere.