This is a step by step guide to help you during your first few weeks going gluten-free!
So you’ve just been diagnosed with coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, maybe you have just decided to be done with gluten because that celebrity you like follows a GF diet. Whatever your reason may be I have created my step by step guide on what to do during your first few weeks going gluten-free!
- First things first, make an appointment with a dietician! I would advise getting in contact with your GP or doctor and ask them to direct you to a dietician. Dieticians are trained professionals so should be able to give you the best advice about how gluten affects your personal body, living gluten-free in your area and how to balance your nutritional values. A dietician will also be able to help you if you have other allergies/dietary requirements that may make the change even more difficult and how to manage the two. Depending on where you live it may take a while until you can get an appointment. My next step tells you what you can do in the meantime.
- Secondly, I would suggest that you ask your GP or doctor to be tested for vitamin deficiencies, especially if you have Coeliac Disease. I was deficient in B12 and vitamin D from eating gluten so I was prescribed a course of tablets to rectify this. You can also buy different vitamins and multivitamin tablets from most supermarkets, this may be a good idea because as you begin to change your diet you may not be receiving all the vitamins your body is used to.
- In addition, I would advise you to do your own research to find out what being gluten-free means to you. There is a lot of information online and it may become overwhelming, so approach this information with an open mind and if it gets too much, leave it and start again a different day. I have coeliac disease, so I created a post explaining the ins and outs of what it is, you can check it out here:
- Following on from this I would suggest you join a gluten-free association, you can look for one near you online. I would recommend CoeliacUK even if you do not have Coeliac. There is an annual fee but in return, you are sent a food directory book which names gluten-free products in all the major shopping outlets in the UK. You will also receive regular emails if there has been any additions or changes to products allowing you update it throughout the year. CoeliacUK will also keep you informed about any up and coming deals and events, as well as provide a ton of information to answer any questions you may have.
- You will now probably have a good idea of what gluten and being gluten-free is, the next step is to now explain this to friends and family. This is super important because we tend to eat at least three times a day meaning food is a major part of our lives. You may find that some people may not be very supportive because they don’t understand why you can go from a normal diet to a gluten-free one in a blink of an eye. You will need to inform them as to why you have to change your diet now and why this is important to you. Hopefully, they will understand and then be able to offer their help. Eating is often a social thing so it is good to learn together what and where you can all eat.
- A quick tip now would be to give all your kitchen utensils a very good clean to ensure they are free from any gluten. If you are worried, extremely sensitive, or have been diagnosed with Coeliac I would go as far to suggest to throw them away and buy a completely new set. This includes pots, pans, cutting boards, cutlery, toasters etc.
- My final step involves your first shop, I would advise that you first buy products labelled specifically GF or found in the ‘free-from’ section and keep to basics such as fresh veg. This may prevent you from accidentally buying anything with gluten in it. It will also keep your shopping times to a minimum, I spent ages reading the labels of normal products and made mistakes buy buying products I hadn’t read correctly. You will eventually get into the habit of reading labels quickly and properly as time goes on, this will speed up your shop and maybe make it cheaper as there are many products that are not advertised as GF but are and cheaper than the ‘free-from’ options, nevertheless, these are great for newbies!