Making the adjustment to a gluten free lifestyle can be confusing and overwhelming at first. You will be relieved that you have found out the underlying cause for your poor health and as you start to eliminate gluten from your diet, you will start to feel much better. Initially, the lifestyle change can appear to be more complicated than it is. It’s fairly simple to go shopping with a list of food and ingredients to avoid and with careful planning you can ensure you prepare food that you can take with you when you are travelling or at work. However, if you are time poor and are juggling work and family life, you may not have time to be so organised and could find yourself with few choices that are healthy for you. You may even decide that missing out on a meal is far better than taking the risk of eating something that might make you ill.
Understanding that it takes time to make the adjustment from the life you have led for decades, to another, will help pave the way for a smoother transition to a life free from gluten. Reorganising your cupboards and perhaps having a gluten free space for all your specialist foods will help you stay safe and will prevent items such as your ‘free from’ pasta being muddled up with the wheat version. Very soon you will realise that learning about your condition, being organised together with a bit of planning, your change of life will become second nature.
Making changes to the way you shop, cook and eat at home can be fairly straightforward but when it comes to eating out, you have to exercise a little caution. There is no reason why you can’t eat out when you are following a gluten free diet but communication is key. Make sure you speak to the restaurant staff so they fully understand your requirements. Help is on your side as all caterers by law now have to be able to provide you with information on any allergens in all the meals they prepare and serve. So all this information should be readily available in a written format or there should be a sign saying just ask the staff for guidance. So if you are in a restaurant and can’t see specific information anywhere, just ask.
Now although restaurants are now required to offer this information, they don’t have to offer a gluten free alternative so it is essential that you check their websites or give them a ring to see what they can offer you. Highlighting the foods that you need to avoid such as wheat flour is sauces, breadcrumbs and stocks will help guide them. You may also have to explain about contamination of food for example if they are cooking fish with breadcrumbs in a pan that they may cook fish without breadcrumbs in the same pan so ensure they don’t do this.
There is an abundance of information online, whether you use Google and then check the restaurant’s websites or to save time why not use a ‘free from’ search facility when searching for gluten free restaurants. You simply type in what you need to avoid and the location where you would like to eat and it will list the restaurants that can meet your requirements. You can then make your choice knowing that regardless of where you decide to go, they will understand your needs and can offer a safe alternative. As with eating at home, a little bit of advance planning will go a long way to making your new gluten free lifestyle as straightforward and healthy for you as possible.