Eating Gluten Free--Getting Started

So, you have been diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Now, how do you begin you new life eating without gluten?

1. Remove all temptations at home. Begin in your pantry by going through each item and reading every work on every label. If you see any one of the following words—wheat, oats, barley, rye, malt, durum, semolina, spelt, or any term not familiar to you—throw the item away. Saving a few dollars is not worth being sick.

2. Focus on the foods you can eat. If you are a fast food and/or junk food junky, you will probably have a harder time than if you like vegetables and meats and enjoy trying new foods and food combinations. The truth is accepting the challenge of eating a totally gluten free diet forces you to consider options you may have never otherwise considered or tried. There are more foods that you can eat than there are that you can’t. Find creative ways to incorporate more of these into your diet. (See my page on Converting Recipes to Gluten Free--which is currently under construction.)

3. Shop cautiously. Unfortunately, your days of dashing through the supermarket to buy groceries may be over. Because wheat is in so many foods that you would never suspect necessitates reading every ingredient on every item you buy to avoid wheat completely. The good news is that with just a little time invested, you will some have a new or amended repertoire of favorites products that you know are safe.

4. Inform family members and friends. Support from your loved ones is very important to your staying well. Having those you care about the most help maintain a vigil over your diet is crucial to remaining gluten and wheat free.

5. Find a support group. Eating gluten free in a sea of gluten and wheat worshippers can lead to a long and lonely road. Having even one other person to share your concerns and help answer you questions is essential. Go to and click on the Find a Branch on the drop down menu under the Get Involved button to find a group close to you.

6. Arm yourself with tools to help you understand your diagnosis. Please go to Celiac Educational Resources on this blog for an ever growing list of resources that will help make you life easier.

 7. Find a physician who is an expert in Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Unfortunately, many GI doctors have little expertise in your condition and may not even adhere to standard accepted practice when testing and treating, thus putting your health at risk. To find a physician near you, one source is the website of Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (Click to go to GIG website)