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Gluten-free tips

First steps on a gluten-free diet

Since I was diagnosed, I’ve browsed round a lot of gluten-free/coeliac forums on the web, and it seems like a lot of people find the transition to a strict gluten-free diet really difficult.

I don’t blame them. It is hard.

However, for me the transition has been relatively easy, at least apart from when eating out – I hate having to make a fuss in front of everyone.

I’ve come to the conclusion that making most of my food from scratch put me at a distinct advantage when it comes to switching to a gluten-free diet. While I still struggle with bread and pizza (more on them in future posts), I’ve managed to satisfy almost every other gluten-based craving.

So the other day, I thought about what it would be like if I was used to eating bread everyday. Or if I ate a lot of convenience food. Or if I ate out regularly. I’m not sure I would know where to start. Having given it some considerable thought, here are my top tips for starting out gluten-free:

1. Don’t panic. If you’ve been eating gluten for years, a few more days won’t make much of a difference, so give yourself time to work out how things are going to work within your household before you panic buy gluten-free junk food at the supermarket (like I did).

2. Formulate a plan. I am lucky enough to have an extremely supportive and tolerant boyfriend, and we decided together that our household would be gluten-free. This includes people bringing round food e.g. for bbqs! This way, I will never be tempted, or accidentally eat something I wasn’t supposed to. And I will never have to sit in my own house while people nom pizza or bread. It also educates my friends and family about what I can and can’t eat. The only exception to this rule is the tortilla wraps (made from wheat flour, not corn) that my boyfriend eats for lunch at work, and a few beers. They are kept above the kitchen cupboards so I can’t reach them! 😉

You should decide what the rest of the household will do, and whether you’ll have a special “gluten” area or a special “gluten-free” area. You should decide what you’ll do when guests bring food round.

3. You will have to learn basic cooking. I honestly do not know how people survive on a GF diet without cooking skills. In general, processed GF foods are pretty bland, and the baked goods tend to be full of sugar. You will eat much more nutritious and tasty food if you learn how to cook from scratch. Also, buying everything premade is SO expensive. The two of us have a food bill that averages about £25-35 per week. Completely gluten-free (I may write a post on this later if anyone is interested in the details).

4. Learn the stealth gluten foods and the menus from your favourite restaurants. Examples of stealth gluten includes normal soy sauce and barley malt flavourings (although some are processed in a way that removes all the gluten, see Coeliac UK for more information on malt extracts). Chain restaurants will usually have a special “allergy” menu – TGI Fridays even has their gluten/lactose-free menu online!

5. Don’t get disheartened. I had a few wobbly moments when I realised that certain foods (mostly brand names) were now and forever off-limits. But I try to make it better by thinking about fruitcake. Seriously. I have hated fruitcake all my life. It’s disgusting. Now, when, I think about anything yummy and delicious and filled with gluten, I think about fruitcake. Works like a charm. Pick any food you hate that contains gluten and give it a go!

For more information about specific foods, I really recommend How to Go Gluten-Free from the Gluten Free Goddess blog (incidentally, one of my favourite GF blogs). It’s a pretty comprehensive list of which foods can be used as alternatives, but be aware it is American and certain things are harder to get hold of in the UK (corn tortillas anyone??).

About Yo Samdy Sam

Sam is an autistic advocate, renewable energy and EV enthusiast, mother to a toddler, living in the Netherlands but originally British. She makes YouTube videos as Yo Samdy Sam. Tip Jar ---> https://ko-fi.com/yosamdysam

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About me

I'm Samantha, a freelance writer from London, UK. Since being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in March 2011 I have embraced the gluten-free lifestyle, and am committed to finding delicious alternatives to my favourite foods!

I also have a personal blog.

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