‘Home of the House Proud’s’ lovely coeliac ambassador, Karin Joyce has been telling us how her life has changed since being diagnosed with coeliac disease last year. In her second blog post, Karin explains how she now has to shop for food.
The Next Step Forward…
After being undergoing a gastroscopy as a formality for subsequent coeliac diagnosis, I began eating a gluten-free diet the next day. The idea of going gluten-free was a bit daunting. I had previously been entirely too fond of gluten-filled food items like pasta, bread and more pasta. What was I going to do? Whatever was I going to eat?
Of course, there are tons of naturally gluten-free foods like fruits and vegetables, meats, potatoes and rice. The mine-field that is gluten-free living is in searching out the hidden gluten in things that you’d never guess had gluten. For example, oven chip: made of potatoes correct? Yes, oven chips are made of potato but certain brands and styles will coat the oven chips in a dusting of flour and/or spices to make them crispier when baked or to prevent them from sticking together thus rendering them inedible for coeliacs.
Your first point of call, when planning your first gluten-free meals and shopping trips should be to check the Coeliac UK, Juvela and Glutafin sites. Registering with these sites will allow you to receive starter kits including written information about appropriate gluten-free food items and samples of prescription items such as flour, pizza bases, pasta and bread. Coeliac UK will also send you the Food and Drink Guide which will become an essential part of finding gluten-free food items while out and about and for shopping.
Every major grocery chain will have a “free-from” section. Not every item is a gluten-free item but all of the items are targeted to those individuals with food allergies and intolerances. Thankfully you can purchase staple items like bread, pasta, flours, pizza bases, biscuits, crackers, crumpets and more. What is unsettling, however, is the price of most gluten-free items which is double and sometimes triples that of the non-gluten-free alternatives. If you’re desperate for a bagel or a crumpet though, you do have options.
I have found that through process of elimination, looking up specific items that are favourites and lots of label reading, in a relatively short span of time you will establish a list of items that you know are gluten-free and become staples on your shopping list. There are some items you may have to pay more for but for the sake of convenience that expense may be worth it.
A happy result of adopting a gluten-free diet is that I have gotten stuck into the kitchen and cooking again. I gave our cupboards an overhaul by clearing out all of the items with gluten in them and started fresh with gluten-free pantry items like flours, pasta, baking powder, gravy granules and soups. I’ve taken old recipes and adapted them to suit my gluten-free needs and my husband has been exceptionally supportive of the changes. This support is essential for a smooth transition to a gluten-free life.
Taking the next step forward can be a bit daunting but with help from organisations like Coeliac UK, your favourite grocery chain’s free-from section, a bit of label reading and some kitchen re-organisation you can confidently take that step into gluten-free living and hopefully never look back.
My name is Karin Joyce and I am a freelance writer and parent blogger. I am the author of Cafe Bebe, a parenting website where I share my adventures in motherhood, marriage, mealtimes and moi. I am the mother of an energetic and entertaining two year old and the wife of an Englishman who is fully supportive of my coeliac diagnosis. I will be a regular contributor to Morphy Richards ‘Home of the House Proud’ where I will share posts, tips, recipes and reviews.