A celiac disease diagnosis can be very overwhelming for your family, friend or loved one but here are a few great ways to support them.
1. Educate Yourself- Learning as much as possible about celiac disease is one of the most helpful ways to support your loved one. Knowing they do not need to face this alone and there is another knowledgeable and supportive party is more helpful than you can imagine.
2. Make Changes Together– When you live with the individual suffering from the disease ensuring there are always gluten-free foods and snacks available may be a given. However the same goes for friends and others. Having gluten-free options around the house when your friend is a frequent visitor is a good idea too. While unnecessary, the most devoted individuals often go gluten-free as well.
3. Don’t Be Controlling- At times in our anxiousness to be supportive and protective of our loved ones we may go overboard, which only irritates the sufferer. Remember that these are adults whom must make their own decisions when it comes to healthy living and avoiding gluten. Try not to be overbearing when warning of the presence or possibility of gluten content in food. Support is always welcome, demands may not be.
4. Embrace, Don’t Alienate- Sometimes the diagnosis causes others to stop inviting them out to dinner, hangout or pizza night. There is no need to do this. Simply calling ahead to potential restaurants to ensure they have gluten-free options or ordering from chains like Pizza Hut whom does offer gluten free pizza are all simple ways to keep your friends and family enjoying the same things you always have.
5. Set Up Gluten-free Zones- What may at first sound silly, is actually just being safe. Communicating areas of the kitchen that will only be used to store or prepare gluten free foods is a good start. Remember even the tiniest amount of gluten, such as leftover crumbs in a toaster, can cause big problems. As such, having separate cooking areas, utensils and appliances is not uncommon nor unwarranted.
Be sure to check out our available resources for additional information:
- Talking to Your Doctor About Celiac Disease
- Tips for College Students with Celiac Disease
- Celiac Disease 101
- So You Found Out You Have Celiac Disease
- Finding Support: Complete List of Gluten Free Support Groups
What tips would you add for supporting friends and family with Celiac disease?