I went to the gluten free expo in Melbourne when Peanut was a small baby, so at least two years ago. I listened to a lecture on living with Gluten Intolerance, I will attempt to find the speaker’s details so I can credit her properly here. But I found the notes today in a pile of papers I was sorting through:
1. Don’t be ashamed to grieve for the food you can no longer eat. Particularly celebrations and gathering, as they will become harder. (I’ve already lost count of the amount of time I’ve not been able to have birthday cake). Every day routines will need to change to ensure you have food available for you to eat. By choosing not to eat gluten, you are giving your body the best opportunity to remain healthy.
2. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends.
3. Learn as much as you can about the gluten free diet.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
5. Seek others also on gluten free diets.
6. Learn to cope with social isolation. Eat before you go out if you know food won’t be available. Take something with you, explain to your host before you arrive what you can and can’t eat, talk to wait staff about your gluten intolerance, contact the kitchen before you go as well if you can. (Again, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve not been able to eat what I want to off the menu, but what simply was available – gluten free orange cake? It’s everywhere, you’d get sick of eating it time and again if it was the only thing you could eat too, wouldn’t you?)
7. Enjoy eating out when you can, revisit helpful places, rave about them in the gluten free community, say thank you to helpful staff and owners.
8. Promote gluten free options at work, bake cakes for birthdays, lunches or just because.
9. Travelling will be problematical, check if you can take food with you overseas, or where you can buy food from. Email your accommodation in plenty of time before you get there to ask for their help with menus and food options. Consider taking a letter from your GP with you.
10. Let go of the guilt. This is not your fault. People wouldn’t offer to help you if they didn’t want to help. Remember, you’re on a special, restricted diet for your health, not as a fad.