*this blog post is in collaboration with Allergen Accreditation UK as part of their One McPeake Challenge, however this is not an ad.
When I got diagnosed with Coeliac Disease over a year ago now, my GP basically left me to fend for myself and figure out what it was all about which needless to say, was a bit overwhelming.
I didn’t check out blogs or Instagram accounts until I’d been diagnosed for a while because I didn’t know they were a ‘thing’, so I feel like I messed up quite a lot in the beginning because I just didn’t get the advice.
If you’re newly diagnosed and wondering what the heck you’re doing, here my top three pieces of advice you need to know when dealing with Coeliac Disease:
1. Take Cross Contamination Seriously
For a good few months after being diagnosed, I didn’t really know what cross contamination was and I didn’t really do anything to avoid it, which probably made me ill quite a lot near the beginning.
Cross contamination occurs when your food has no gluten containing ingredients but has been prepared in a way or in an environment where it has been mixed with gluten and the food now contain traces of gluten.
Cross contamination is quite easy to monitor at home and I’ve shared a blog post on the best ways to avoid cross contamination at home but when you’re eating out, really quiz the waiter or manager of the restaurant/cafe to ensure they know they’re stuff about keeping your food safe!
2. Don’t Ignore May Contain Warnings
Before I was formally diagnosed, I attempted the gluten free diet to see if it made a difference and now I realise how badly I was actually doing it.
I never paid any attention to ‘may contain warnings’ which is essentially when there’s no gluten containing ingredients in an item but it’s been made in a factory where cross contamination is possible.
It’s unlikely you’ll get ‘glutened’ from a product with a ‘may contain’ warming but it’s always possible and if you’ve got Coeliac Disease, it’s best to avoid
3. Don’t be Afraid to Tell People You’ve Got Coeliac Disease
When I was first diagnosed, I used to hide the fact that I had Coeliac Disease when we ate out as I was embarrassed and didn’t want to be a pain.
I’d pick things off the menu that I thought would be naturally gluten free or just not eat the bread or obviously gluten containing items on my plate which looking back, was so dangerous.
Never be afraid to tell people you have Coeliac Disease and never be embarrassed to ask waiters or chefs to be careful or treat your food in a special way because you have to be confident you’re food is safe for you to eat and the only way you’ll get that reassurance is by telling people.
I had no idea what I was like to have to avoid certain foods before being diagnosed Coeliac, so it was a real shock to the system, so I do wish I’d heard of the One McPeake Challenge by Allergen Accreditation UK before now.
Created by Jacqui McPeake, she ran this challenge on a small scale a MMU but Allergen Accreditation UK are challenging people to cut out 1 of the main 14 allergens from their diet for the first two weeks of September to see what it’s like.
As well as raising awareness for what it’s like for people living with a food allergy or intolerance to help make eating out, supermarket shopping and living with out certain foods generally easier, the challenge will hopefully also raise money for the Anaphylaxis Campaign.
Cutting our foods from your diet long term when not required is not recommended but if you have no underlying health complaints that could be affected by removing the intake of one of the 14 allergens, this could be a fun challenge for you to get involved with.
If you decide to get involved, good luck and I can’t wait to hear how you get on!