Your first Christmas as a diagnosed Coeliac can be pretty intimidating. I was really really nervous this time last year as the big day approached as I was so unsure what I could and couldn’t eat, as well as what I need to change about my Christmas dinner to make it safe.
Because I’ve now successfully survived one Coeliac Christmas as well as countless other special occasions, I thought I’d share some top tips for getting through your first Christmas gluten free without a single tummy ache AND without missing out!
Tins of Christmas Chocolates
I was so confused by tins of Christmas chocolates when I first had to tackle it after going gluten-free and for a long time I just avoiding ever digging in but here’s what you need to do know:
Cadbury’s Heroes ARE safe
Quality Street ARE safe
Roses ARE safe
Celebrations ARE NOT safe
Three out of fours isn’t bad going really is it?
I was convinced last Christmas that I just couldn’t have an advent calendar and that was that but how wrong was I!
For a start, there’s specialist free from calendars such as the Moo Free chocolates calendar and others available in supermarkets but a lot of standard, off the shelf advent calendars are fine for us Coeliacs too!
Best of all, the good old Dairy Milk Advent Calendar is totally fine, as well as the Quality Street and Heroes calendars. You can also enjoy the Galaxy calendar, Milkybar and some of the Thornton ones!
And if Chocolate isn’t your thing, why not opt for a beauty calendar or something like that?
Christmas Dinner Dos and Don’ts
I was pretty nervous about my first Coeliac Christmas dinner but I was very lucky that my family were super considerate and pretty much all went gluten free with me!
If you can do this, I personally think it’s best as it stops the chance of any cross contamination and gluten free food is no less tasty than the regular stuff!
Things you’ll need to swap out from your regular Christmas dinner to make it gluten free include:
- Gravy – either buy free from granules or make your own with gluten free flour
- Yorkshire Puddings
- Roast Potatoes (some people roll these in flour, so use gluten free flour)
- Pigs in Blankets (a lot will be free from but always check)
When it comes to the sweet treats on Christmas Day, don’t forget you’ll need to buy gluten free Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies if you like those and always keep these separate from any regular versions lying around!
Drinking alcohol isn’t generally that difficult when you’re gluten free as most wines, spirits and ciders are naturally gluten free, it’s mainly beers you need to supply free from versions of.
The gluten free beer market has gone crazy this year with some specialist gluten free beer brands popping up as well as free from versions of some best-selling lagers becoming available in supermarkets, so check those out if you’re a beer drinker.
Always check the labels of ‘regular’ alcohol just to double check but if you want to know more, the Drink Aware website has some great information.
Don’t Worry About the Bloat
The likelihood is, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to bloat on Christmas Day. I stick to a 100% gluten free diet and know I’m avoiding cross contamination but my stomach has been through a lot over the years and still bloats but I’ve just learnt to not let it get me down.
If the bloat is causing me issues, I’ll change into something comfortable for my stomach, take some peppermint tablets and drink plenty of water but generally just try and relax as stressing will make it worse!
I hope you have a wonderful gluten free Christmas! If you have any top tips for surviving the festive season as a Coeliac, share them in the comments!