Do your research
Forewarned is forearmed. Although reading food labels is very important, you don’t want to constantly be double-checking and googling in the supermarket aisles to see what’s what.
For a safe and reassuring choice, look out for products which are registered with the Coeliac Society for your country, for example in Ireland they will carry the crossed grained symbol on pack. Also consider becoming a member, as they are a great resource (find the Irish Society here and UK Society here) and they produce great product guides with approved brands and an extensive food list.
Be wary of unhealthy, processed food
A gluten-free diet might be better for you due to an allergy or intolerance however the food itself is not necessarily healthier. In fact, being unsure of what you can and can’t eat can make you more likely to resort to pre-prepared, processed foods. Anything with a whole load of ingredients you can’t pronounce isn’t going to be great for you whether it contains gluten or not. We believe good food promotes good health and that means all-natural, additive-free, and sustainably sourced.
What to cook
The internet has a wealth of resources for those going gluten-free. You will never run out of new ideas to try that’s for sure! As a starting point, how about these fish tacos using naturally gluten-free corn taco shells or this super simple recipe which will work well hot or cold, using rice noodles as a gluten-free alternative to pasta. For dinner time, how about these great ideas from Jamie Oliver, such as a simple but healthy omelette for when you’re in a rush or this Indian-spiced potatoes with chicken-thighs for the weekend.
Don’t be nervous about calling ahead at a restaurant, cafe or hotel. Restaurants will be used to this happening and it helps them to prepare ahead of time for you trip instead of scrabbling together something at the last minute. Of course many restaurant chains now have special gluten-free menus which makes life easier on both sides.
You also don’t want to end up in a meeting or out with a friend where the only option contains gluten or wheat. Although it might be a pain, the upside is going to be much healthier food. The food you might have grabbed on the go before your diet change – a supermarket sandwich or a packet of crisps for example – are going to have nothing on your homemade lunch or thoughtfully chosen snack. We've designed the Bite box, a gluten-free snack pack, so that you never need to go hungry or risk consuming gluten on the go.
And don’t forget to tell your good friends and colleagues about your diet change. It will help to keep you on track and you might be surprised how thoughtful people can be when cooking for you or planning meals out.
Make some gluten-free friends
No, you don’t need to ditch your oldest friends in favour of new ones who share your diet. But there are so many great bloggers you should get familiar with who share their experiences online including tips, tricks, recommendations and recipes.
Thanks to the growing awareness of gluten and wheat sensitivity/allergies long-gone are the days of little to no choice and disappointing flavours. There are lots of great companies competing for your business that the quality and choice is at its peak right now. Enjoy the journey.
The last thing to say is best of luck! You’re in great company. And before you go make sure you check out The Foods of Athenry gluten-free, wheat-free, vegan-friendly products and maybe even try a few!