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Going Gfree

When you're first diagnosed with celiac disease or you want to start a gfree diet, it's like being suddenly dropped into a foreign country and you don't know the language.

Well, my fellow gfreers, never fret! Here are some tips and advice on how to learn the language of being gfree and how to take care of your body as you're making the transitions.

1) Take a deep breath and accept that you have a food allergy. I know, I know, this seems trivial, but I promise that this step is very important. I remember when I got diagnosed, I was in denial that it was true. There was no way I had a food allergy. But acceptance is key to developing a healthier, happier lifestyle and I can tell you, living without my gut hurting every day is the best feeling in the world!

2) Start the research. Begin by simply opening up your internet browser: there are TONS of resources opening up as celiac disease and gluten gains more awareness. There are blogs (like ours!) which can provide information and advice on celiac disease/gluten, forums, the official celiac disease website (http://www.celiac.org/), medical websites, and even Wikipedia. If you're more into books, go to your local library and check out what kinds of resources are there for you. You can also ask your doctor, as well as family and friends who are knowledgeable or who know someone who is and ask them to talk with you. You have a huge support system out there, (including us!) so don't be afraid to ask.

3) Learn how to read labels. Every pronounced celiac knows of certain key words that have red flags that say whether this food item is safe to eat or not. Foods that contain these items are not safe to eat:

  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Wheat (durum, graham, kamut, semolina, spelt)
  • Malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar (are generally made from barley, verify the source)
This list was taken from the official Celiac Disease Foundation and is assumed to be updated. Make sure the ingredients list is complete; if you have any doubts, call up the food company and ask politely yet firmly about what you want to know. Most food manufacturers are usually understanding and will help out.

4) Once you have a good idea about what celiac disease is and what you can and can't eat, its time to hit the grocery store. Many upscale supermarkets (Nugget, Raleys, Whole Foods, etc) are aware of celiac disease and have helped out by putting signs that say "gluten free" next to foods that are safe and approved by the celiac disease foundation for you to consume. These will typically be either grouped in a designated section or dispersed throughout the store according to category. Fresh foods from the produce section, meat, and most dairy is naturally gluten free. Basically, the less processed it is, the safer it is for you to eat. And think about how healthy it is to have a reason to stay away from all that junk food you used to eat!

5) So let's talk about what grains you can eat. Any foods made with the following grains are safe to consume:

  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Sorghum
  • Wild rice

You'll find that as you continue down the road to becoming an expert gluten free eater, finding food to eat will become second nature. You'll be able to assess whether you think there is hidden gluten in something just by looking at a dish! 

6) Be wary of hidden gluten! Gluten is not always as apparent as it may seem. I like to think of it as a stealthy ninja who finds his way into food and even everyday toiletries that innocently enough seems gluten free. Here is a list of things that may contain hidden gluten (this list is not comprehensive): 
  • Soy sauce (contains wheat)
  • Beer (contains barley)
  • Gravy (wheat)
  • Cream soups (cream of tomato, cream of mushroom, etc) 
  • Some ice cream (cookie dough, cookies and cream, etc)
  • Some processed meat (bacon, sausages, deli meats, meatballs) 
  • BBQ sauce, creamy salad dressings, pasta sauces  
  • Some candy and chocolates
  • Creamers for coffee
  • Cosmetics, bath soaps, face washes, beauty creams, sunscreen
  • Egg roll wrappers 
  • Anything fried or battered
For a complete list of safe, gfree alternatives, please visit the official celiac disease foundation page. In the end, its always the safest to check labels! Become and expert and then no amount of gluten will be able to sneak its way into your daily life! Also, please keep checking our blog page for reviews on gfree food we've tried and want you to try too! :) We want to share the gfree love with everyone! 

7) Learn how to cook gfree food at home. Most gfreers don't have the complete luxury of eating out at whatever restaurant they want. Often times, the cross contamination (despite the fact that the dish itself is essentially gfree) will be enough to induce a serious reaction. If you're not a born chef, like myself, don't fret. You may be surprised to find that cooking is fun and not too difficult if you just practice. There are plenty of recipes online from fellow bloggers that you can try out yourself as well as make adjustments to how you like it and are also super easy and quick to make. I'm a college student, so I know what its like to need to eat a super fast meal and get back to studying! Our blog will also have recipes that we've tried and want to share with you all, so keep on the look out for those! As a tip, if you live with other people who use utensils that have touched gluten, you may want to purchase a separate set of utensils that will only touch your gfree food to minimize cross contamination. Make sure to inform the people that you live with that they should not use your utensils. It's best to keep them separate to be the safest. 

8) Know that you are not alone. It may seem like it at the time and you may feel extremely depressed that you can no longer eat your favorite brand of cookies or eat a French baguette and that no one can understand what you're going through, but you are certainly not by yourself. Find someone that you trust, whether it be a friend, family member, or your doctor, and who is understanding of your condition and who is willing to hear you out. I remember when I was diagnosed, I was lucky to have a great support system with my best friend, T, who also suffers from celiac symptoms, and also my family. Having a support system is a must. Sometimes your pains and symptoms are embarrassing (I know, I've had my share) but in order for you to move on past it, feel better, and also make the transition, caring and compassionate people around you will definitely help the process.

9) Here's the reality: Switching to a gfree diet is not only changing the food you eat, but is also a lifestyle change. It's not something you can get used to overnight. It's a lifelong treatment, and in order for your body to heal, you must eat and treat your body well for the rest of your life. Don't make excuses and don't cheat yourself. Medicine can only go so far: it's the right mentality that will pull you through and keep you strong as you make this transition. Many people find relief after just the first day on the diet, and I'm confident you will as well.

**Side Note**
If you've ever had some or any of these symptoms after consuming wheat or gluten derivatives, you should consider getting a blood test done as well as a biopsy to confirm if you have celiacs or some other wheat/gluten sensitivity:

Symptoms of Celiac Disease (courtesy of Gluten Dude):
Celiac Disease Symptoms

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps and bloating 
  • Pale stool
  • Foul smelling stool
  • Weight loss
  • Iron deficiency anemia occuring without apparent cause
  • Pain in bones or joints
  • Osteoporosis
  • Seizures
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Infertility
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Arthritis
  • Tingling or numbness in the feet and hands
  • Sores inside the mouth


I am just realizing I need to convert to a gluten free diet. It isn't celiac, but I definitely have a sensitivity and I am trying to eliminate the inflammation in my body. I am so excited about your blog. I plan to learn a lot from what you two are sharing.

That's great that you realize that Kaci :)
That was the whole point of our blog, to spread awareness with tips, advise, and reviews!
Thanks so much for the comment! We're trying to get more subbies and what not.