TIPS ON HOW TO SURVIVE GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
1. Before going to restaurants look up menus online to see if they offer gluten free options or call ahead of time.
2. Sneak in gluten free sandwich bread and order items sans bread.
3. Avoid beers, but ask if they have any gluten free beers. Most ciders and hard liquor is gluten free.
4. When in doubt order salad with vinaigrette dressing, hold the croutons.
5. If you have Celiac Disease avoid eating at gluten heavy food establishments, festivals, parties, etc. because cross contamination can be a serious issue.
6. If possible, eat at restaurants during their slow times, chances of cross contamination might be less.
7. Ask how they prepare their gluten free choices and make sure they make things like GF pizza on its own tray or boil GF noodles in its own separate water.
8. For a party, if possible, call the host of the event and ask if you can bring a dish, gluten free of course. That way you won’t have to explain why you’re not eating anything.
9. Hold on tight to the friends that remember you’re gluten intolerant and go out of their way to accommodate you at holidays and parties (I have some in mind that are always thoughtful when they throw a party, you’re my heroes) Don’t expect people to always accommodate you though, not everyone knows what gluten is and that’s okay.
10. If you have to eat out with friends and family make sure you repeat this phrase when looking at your menu “Yay! At least I can still eat a baked potato”…Trust me, if you don’t brainwash them of this fact early you will be repeatedly annoyed when they give you a look of pity and ask if you can still eat potatoes. (note: be weary of french fry seasoning)
11. Keep explanations short and to the point like…I have an allergy….my blood work showed I can’t eat gluten anymore….I get really sick when eating it. Boom. Done. People initially just need to understand that what you’re going though is diagnosed and serious. If they want to know more they will ask.
12. Resist the urge to murder the next person who says, “hey, come on, just have one small piece of cake, it won’t kill you.” I put a smile on and say unless you want me to destroy your toilet on the way out you better get that cake outta my face. Most people shut up when the threat of explosive poop is imminent.
13. Avoid people in your life that get hostile when you refuse to eat food with gluten. I once had someone tell me that their friend actually got angry at them when they couldn’t eat the cupcakes she had made for her baby shower reveal.
14. Resist the urge to punch the waitstaff in the face when they roll their eyes, look at you like you’re an alien, or ask you if you’re gluten intolerant by choice. Keep your cool, look them straight in the eye and tell them you have an allergy.
15. You can try to make them understand, but the majority of people, unless they are going through the same thing, just don’t want to hear you preach about how gluten is bad for you. Don’t be ashamed of your intolerance, but also don’t be a fanatic, anti-gluten activist. However, if you’re a parent of a kid with Celiac disease, then you have the green light to be whatever kind of anti-gluten crazy you need to be to protect your child while in school.
16. If it’s possible and you have the time, consider homeschooling your gluten intolerant kids to protect them.
17. If your children have celiac disease and they have to attend public school you will need to ensure your kids, every teacher and other parents they are around fully understands the severity of the gluten intolerance. Create a list of foods that can’t be eaten and a list of acceptable gluten free foods and give them to the babysitters, teachers, etc.
18. Make sure to always pack lunches and cook your meals instead of eating out. If you don’t know how to cook, now is the time to start learning. There’s a ton of gluten free cookbooks on Amazon and many neighborhood coops and community colleges have started offering gluten free cooking classes.
19. Choose healthier snacks. Eat more things that are naturally gluten free, like fruits and vegetables.
20. If you’re trying to watch what you eat or maintain a diabetic diet make sure to look at ingredients and nutrition facts on the back of gluten free products. Just because it’s gluten free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Example, rice flour, in many GF products, has a high glycemic index.
21. Once you find a gluten free product you love try to shop for it in bulk online or at stores when it’s on sale.
22. Take time to learn which stores carry the best products. Learn their locations in the store so you can swiftly bypass old favorites with gluten.
23. When the cravings for certain foods gets overwhelming, place it on a napkin, hold it in your hand, bring close to your nose and sniff very deeply. Don’t snort it. Smelling up close is almost as good as tasting it. Yes I’ve done this. Yes I look like a crazy person. No I don’t care.
24. When you want to eat gluten make sure you have some sort of chant or mantra you say to yourself that will help keep you strong.
25. Take a deep breath cause it’s common to start feeling abnormal after going through all this change. You’re not alone.
26. Most important, don’t forget your sense of humor. Being a smart-ass with a smile helps me get through most embarrassing social situations.