Monday, 25 March 2019 12:30

7 Tips on Gluten Free Living


Ella Easton is a coeliac living in East Sussex, United Kingdom. We recently asked for guest bloggers to share their story about living with Gluten Free and Ella wrote a few words about her lifestyle. These are great tips for living without gluten and it is great to get a coeliac perspective.

1. Eat Food you really like

2. Eating out can be challenging at first

3. Going out for the day

4. If in doubt leave it out

5. Travelling

6. A positive attitude makes such a difference

7. Be easy on yourself

If you’ve recently been advised to go gluten free, for whatever reason, I know how daunting it can seem.

I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease about 6 years ago and the first few months were definitely a big learning curve. I made so many mistakes! - But after that it got easier and now it’s just second nature. It’s a bit like learning to drive - at first it seems like too many things to think about and remember, but then it slots into place and it’s just automatic.

Here are my top tips on how to get started and avoid the pitfalls that I encountered!

Ella`s 7 Tips on Gluten Free Living

1. Eat food you really like.

This may seem blindingly obvious, but often we find ourselves eating poor substitutions to the food we’re missing just because it’s gluten free. It’s natural to miss all our old favourite foods - food is never just fuel - old favourites are comforting and reassuring. But eating food you don’t actually like is not going to help make going gluten free a positive experience. So try and see it as a bit of an adventure - an opportunity to discover new delicious eats.

2. Eating out can be challenging at first

Not all places really understand what it means to be gluten free - so I’d recommend eating at places accredited by coeliac UK. Chains (such as Zizzi, Prezzo & Cote brasserie) tend to really know their gluten free stuff and often have a seperate gluten free menu. I find independent pubs to be less knowledgeable on the whole, as they may not have had proper training - for example chips marked gluten free may well have been cooked in the same fryer as wheat based products. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions to make sure your food is safe - I was very british about it at first & refused to be “that person”! And I paid the price by getting glutened and feeling really awful more than once.

3. If you’re going out for the day

Have some snacks with you in case you can’t find anything gluten free to eat. Some dried fruit, nuts, crisps, carton of juice, a chocolate bar. This also takes the stress out of worrying about whether you’ll find something suitable.

4. “If in doubt leave it out”.

At first it may seem like there’s a lot to learn about which foods are Ok & which ones are not. If you’re not sure don’t risk it - It’s not worth it. As I said before you will soon learn and you won’t always have to think about it so much. Most foods are well labelled these days, which makes life easier. I would recommend joining Coeliac UK for their food directory alone - this has a comprehensive list of “OK” foods. I was surprised to find things like Marmite are not gluten free and wouldn’t have thought of this without the guide. Luckily there are GF alternatives!

5. Travelling. Ahh. This can be a tricky one

I like staying in Airbnb’s as I find it easier to be in control of my food. If you’re staying at a hotel, do speak to them about your requirements before you book just to make sure they can accommodate you. I have one friend who goes to the same place every year just because they are so coeliac friendly!
As in point 3, I always travel with some snacks. This year I could find nothing GF apart from chocolate at Miami international airport, and wished I’d been more prepared and taken food with me. (You can take food onto the plane, but not liquids, and things like yogurt or houmous count as liquids - they will take them off you!) You can order a gluten free meal in advance on many flights - but I often take something like pasta or quinoa salad in a tupperware container just in case. When staying with friends I always take some gluten free oats or muesli because I think breakfast is the hardest gluten free meal, so I don’t need to worry about that and neither do they. Lunch and dinner tend to be easier.

6. A positive attitude makes such a difference.....

and I know that’s easier said than done. Hands up I was a bit negative at the start. I felt left out when everyone
was eating birthday cake & I couldn’t have any, I spent ages thinking about croissants & twix’s & how I’d never eat them again (although the truth was I rarely ate them anyway!)
I focused on what I couldn’t have, rather than being grateful for & focusing on all the foods I COULD have. At the end of the day, feeling well, energised and not looking 9 months pregnant the whole time is worth everything - but it can take some time to get to that point of feeling great.

7. Be easy on yourself

If you make a mistake (and remember we all do when learning something new) don’t beat yourself up - It’s all part of the journey. The Journey back to health and vitality is not always a straight one. It often feels like two steps forward and one step back, but It’s so, so worth it in the end.

So those are my top tips.

Ella Easton

Last modified on Monday, 25 March 2019 17:20

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