- BY Susan Tucker
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This holiday season is upon us! Do you have all the tools you need for a merry season? We have gathered up our best blog posts to help you fill your arsenal with tips, tidbits and resources for enjoying the holidays while living gluten free.
Find them here.
Gluten-Free Guide to Family Gatherings
Despite being diagnosed with celiac disease for over 10 years, certain family members still feel the need to be vocal about their disdain for my gluten-free lifestyle. Most of my family is pretty supportive. Some of my family members have celiac disease and other dietary issues, and we do a pretty good job taking care of each other. Still, if I dare say anything about my diagnosis, a new recipe, or even the family business, I run the risk of hearing, “There she goes again preachin’ the celiac!”
But you can’t blame them for not fully comprehending something as misunderstood and misdiagnosed as celiac disease.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Not judging the ignorance of others does not mean caving and politely “taking the bread crumbs off” when your Auntie insists on serving you a helping of homemade mac’n’cheese. It doesn’t mean compromising your health in the name of ‘going with the flow’.
I repeat, don’t risk your health in the name of ‘being polite’ or ‘keeping the peace’. Momentary awkwardness is a small price to pay to keep yourself out of the bathroom for the rest of the evening.
Here are some ways I’ve learned to stay safe and play it cool at family gatherings. May this gluten-free guide to family gatherings help you deal with the well-meaning clueless, the ones in the know, those who won’t give you a break and everyone in between.
Recovering From Gluten Contamination
Anyone who has been ‘glutened’ knows it only takes a teeny tiny bit of the stuff to make you feel absolutely miserable. I experienced my first ‘glutening’ on a family vacationing to Disney World.
Our waiter seemed receptive to the explanation of my disease – please use all gluten-free ingredients and prepare my food in a separate space with separate utensils. Check and check.
He brought out a basket of “gluten-free” rolls and I took a bite. With one taste I knew something was up. I spit the roll into my napkin and dashed for the bathroom. Within an hour, I was sick to my stomach. It took me a full two months to recover.
Most celiacs I know have had several similar experiences during their lifetime. Having to fortify yourself against accidentally ingesting gluten goes hand in hand with developing self-care practices for the occasional accident.
During my time with celiac disease, I’ve found these eight tips to be particularly helpful towards gluten-recovery. I hope this help you, but remember – everyone is different. When recovering from a glutening, the absolute best thing to do is listen to your own body and do what makes you feel better.
Tips for College Students with Celiac Disease
College can make parents a nervous wreck. It’s terrifying sending your baby out into an unknown environment to transition into living on their own.
They’re done relying on you for food, shelter, and transportation. Unfortunately they’re also done relying on others to take care of their health. This transition from being driven to doctors appointments and forced to go to bed early to taking a proactive role in their own health is difficult for many college students.
Being a college student with celiac disease exacerbates the problem. Not only do they need to keep themselves accountable for their dietary needs, they also have to watch out for how others handle their food.
Here are some strategies for parents with college-age children who are gluten-free. I hope these help keep your adult children safe and healthy as college celiacs!
Making Your Kitchen Gluten Free – Our Guide to Preparing Your Gluten-Free Kitchen
Note: For this resource, we are assuming that you have chosen to make your household 100% gluten-free. Scroll to the bottom of this post for posts on creating a safe household while living with gluten eaters.
If you hate cleaning normally, you’re going to loathe the deep cleaning required to rid your kitchen of gluten.
It’s not fun – cleaning never is – but it’s something that you need to do if you want to heal your intestines.
Plus, you don’t have to do everything at once. Block out 3 – 4 hours this weekend to get started with the basics. Once you’ve created a small space that you can use safely, you can continue to clean over time until your whole kitchen is a gluten-free safe haven.
8 Tips for Easy Gluten-Free Baking
Gluten-free baking can pose some special problems in the kitchen, if you’re not accustomed to this style of cooking. However, once you understand how to make substitutions in recipes to make a favorite recipe gluten free, it opens up an entire world of healthy baking. Here are 8 tips to follow if you’re making the transition from regular baking to baking without gluten.
Finding Support: Complete List of Gluten Free Support Groups
It can feel isolating dealing with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or a gluten allergy. The good news is you don’t have to go it alone.
The internet makes it easier than ever to track down and join a gluten-free support group near you. These gluten-free groups are indespesible for the newly diagnosed celiac.
I have a special place in my heart for GF support groups. When Dan and I started experimenting with gluten-free recipes, their meetings were the first place we began selling our gluten-free foods. Three Bakers started with Dan and I travelling to different support groups, selling breads, muffins, and the famous cheddar snackers.
“You should go into business. Your stuff is so good!” members told us. So we did. The rest is history!
Whether you decide to start a gluten-free business (no pressure) or just need a hug when your doctor brushes off your concerns as ‘hypocondria’, you can’t beat an offline, flesh and blood support group.
Here are some lists to help kickstart your search.