This is going to be a bit controversial, but I think sometimes we make our lives harder. We work so hard to think about eliminating the smallest amounts of gluten possible, but we miss the bigger picture.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m advocating for a 100% gluten free diet all the time. No cheating. No mistakes. No exceptions.
At the same time, we have to live our lives. I read a post about someone packing an entire suit case full of food to take on a trip to another country. This seems excessive to me. A few snacks in a backpack should get you through most places.
There is always a place to buy fresh fruit and produce and some protein if you are cooking. The dishes and dishware and can run through the dishwasher or even buy a cheap pan replacement while you are in your vacation location.
Is it the need for gluten free alternatives? I don’t eat many gluten free alternatives very often because they are disappointing. I still remember what great bread and pasta taste like and am disappointed more often than not by their replacements. Then the burden of taking them with me
Most restaurants will accommodate some basic requests. Cross contamination is always a risk when eating out and cannot be avoided. But we should ask the right questions, order something we think can be made gluten free easily, and just not worry about it sometimes. We should feel lucky when we find someplace that is 100% gluten free.
Someone else was talking about their grill that they they used for gluten items prior to diagnosis. Replace the grill grate – the place that really matters – and go on. For me, gluten free body products and shampoos are not necessary but might be for some. But gluten free lip gloss is important. You sort of have to navigate where things are important and where they aren’t.
Here’s my list of what I think is important in general for someone with Celiac Disease?
- How to read and understand food labels.
- Knowing how to order at a restaurant to get the best chance of a gluten free meal.
- Understanding how gluten contamination feels to you.
- Understanding how to avoid cross contamination.
- Keeping up to date on the latest research
So, don’t make it so hard. Eat whole foods. Ask the right questions. Learn as much as you can about potential medications and/or cures. Order properly and don’t order gluten free pizza or pasta at a restaurant. Know that you vomit or get exceptionally tired or have diarrhea for three days after gluten exposure instead of a stomach virus or other gastrointestinal distress. Know how to live in a gluten filled environment. Go on vacation freely knowing you can keep yourself safe. Exercise some humility and humor because the world is not designed for us gluten free folks – so we have to live in their world they don’t live in ours.
I think knowing what is on that list will get you through 90% of what this disease throws at you. You will be able to navigate most situations and stay safe. Those are just my ideas of what needs to be done to remain sane in this crazy world.