So, finally you're diagnosed with coeliac disease and you have a solution. We know you may be feeling relief, sadness or apprehension about your diagnosis. Don't worry, your journey to feeling better is only just beginning and we’re here every step of the way to help.
To get better, you need to cut gluten out of your diet. The good news is that many foods are naturally gluten free and we can help you learn about all the foods that are suitable for your new diet.
Here are six tips to help get you started:
1. Learn which foods are naturally gluten free
All types of rice, potato, corn (maize), plain meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, most yogurts, fruits, vegetables and pulses (peas, beans and lentils) are naturally gluten free and are suitable for the diet.
2. Join us and our amazing community
The best support comes from people who understand. We can help you make safe food choices more easily and connect with others just like you, because we know what it takes to live gluten free every day.
So wherever you are in your gluten free journey, our community is the place to be, and it gets you:
- access to our Food and Drink Guide, which lists thousands of food and drink products that are safe to eat
- for those who want it, you can be buddied through our Member2Member scheme, with someone who has lived through what you’re experiencing now
- Live Well Gluten Free magazine and Crossed Grain newsletter delivered direct to your door
- access to our expert Helpline – call 0333 332 2033
- our Live Well Gluten Free app to give you our help whenever you need us
- the ability to meet up with members in your area via our local groups
- other information sheets and booklets to help you manage your condition
- other online services such as our email newsletters, Venue Guide and Home of Gluten free Recipes.
Join us online today and get instant access to the support and resources that will help you live well, gluten free.
3. See a dietitian
Your gastroenterologist or GP should refer you to a dietitian who can give you individual advice and a step by step plan on how to remove gluten from your diet.
You may see your dietitian at your local hospital outpatient department or at your GP surgery.
If you're not sure if you've been referred to a dietitian, check with your GP. Consultations with a dietitian in the NHS are free.
Before your appointment try and keep a record of what you usually eat over a two or three day period. Take this diary to your appointment and be ready with any questions you might have.
Your dietitian should give you written information and a contact number to support the advice they give you. Be sure to ask about a follow up appointment.
You should also have regular check ups with either your GP, gastroenterologist or dietitian.
4. Talk to your GP about getting products on prescription
Depending on where you live in the UK, people with coeliac disease can get gluten free staple food on prescription.
There are hundreds of products available from a number of manufacturers. Try as many products as possible as they all vary in taste, texture and palatability. Many manufacturers produce newly diagnosed packs to help you get to know what ranges are available. Contact manufacturers directly for information on what they make.
5. Talk to other people with coeliac disease
Coeliac UK has over 60 local groups across the UK. They are an invaluable source of support and many organise meetings, cooking and baking demonstrations, coffee mornings, evenings out and fun events to help raise awareness of coeliac disease.
6. Check out your local supermarkets and the internet for gluten free products
Many supermarkets now stock a range of specialist gluten free foods and the range of available products has increased over the last few years. Some of the supermarkets also produce lists of foods you can eat on their websites or you can ask for them in store.
Availability of gluten free foods may vary between stores so you may have to visit more than one shop to get a good idea of what is out there. Products may be kept in a specialist free from aisle, placed among other foods, or sometimes even both – so allow yourself time to investigate.
You will get there
Learning about living with a gluten free diet needn't be a daunting and lonely journey. It’s a lot to learn at first but we’re here every step of the way to get you living well, gluten free.
Below are some hints and tips from our fabulous community, who have all felt as daunted at first as you do.
"Get a copy of Coeliac UK's Food and Drink Guide. Read, mark and inwardly digest!"
"Don't worry. The gluten free diet seems challenging at first but it is completely manageable, you'll feel so much better for it!"
"Don't live in fear of eating out, do your research, get recommendations and speak to restaurants to understand what they can do."
"Don't worry just be careful what you eat and have fun baking gluten free cakes."
"Focus on what you can eat, not what you can't - think of all the new things and ways of eating you can discover!"
"Learn to bake, there is nothing as nice as a fresh out of the oven gluten free carrot cake."
"Join Coeliac UK; their advice is brilliant and the Food and Drink Guide is an essential part when choosing foods you can eat!"
"Living with coeliac disease really isn't that bad. Good food can taste amazing even without gluten."
"It is not the end of the world but the beginning of the rest of your healthy life."
"Try to focus on what you can eat rather than what you can't and most importantly, it does get easier."