We think it’s important to always be open about what the coeliac condition actually involves food-wise. Once you have got to grips with a gluten free diet, it’s a really good idea to educate friends, family, colleagues, and anyone involved in caring for a coeliac in your family - or even refer them to this very site!
You may be used to knowing which foods are safe and unsafe to eat – especially if you’ve been diagnosed for a while and have developed a good knowledge. It’s quite easy to forget that others may not even know where to start, or may think being coeliac is simply a ‘fad,’ not realising that coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition and therefore restricting all gluten from your diet is very important.
It might help to have a list of foods you buy that are gluten free and stick it on the fridge door! It could help remind others of what’s good and what’s not.
Gluten-free food that is touched by any other gluten-containing foods during preparation, cooking and serving is considered “cross-contaminated”. It’s really important for friends, family members or parents of coeliacs to understand about avoiding cross-contamination from gluten-containing foods. Even the smallest amount of gluten can cause people with coeliac disease to experience symptoms and this can cause long term gut damage.
Lots of foods can contain sources of ‘hidden’ gluten. This can result in you accidentally consuming gluten and making yourself unwell. Because of this, it’s very important that you read the labels of any food products you are buying with a hawk eye! It’s essential that anybody else who will be making you food or coming into contact with your food is made aware of this too. Food labelling legislation now makes it much easier to see quickly and clearly from the ingredients label whether a food is suitable for your gluten free diet.
If your friend, relative or colleague is interested in learning more about Living Gluten Free, refer them to Friends & Family where they can find useful information which helps them help you maintain a gluten-free diet.