You no longer have to be a Coeliac to be anti-gluten. People everywhere are deciding to give gluten the cut whether it be for skin reactions, bloating or it simply 'not agreeing' with them. However, it’s actually far easier said than done- gluten can be hidden in the most unsuspecting of places. Plus, gluten is in pretty much in everything that satisfies the taste buds. How can you constantly resist that? This is your guide to prevent any slip ups, nutrient deficiencies and actually stick with the gluten-free diet.
1. Get Your Fibre In
Firstly, with the usual breads and pastas out of the picture, you need to make sure to get your fibre elsewhere. Along with its many health benefits, fibre helps you to feel full for longer. This will help to prevent cravings and thus prevent you slipping off the bandwagon when gluten gets dangled in front of you. You can click here for a list of my favourite gluten free brands that have products high in fibre. You should also introduce foods that are naturally gluten free and high in fibre, like oats! No, this doesn’t mean a bowl of sloppy, bland oatmeal. Click here for a recipe to a lovely Sunday brunch pancake with oats as the main ingredient. I use gluten-free oats as they are safe from cross contamination.
2. Get some toaster bags
Don’t bother buying a new ‘gluten free only’ toaster. The chances are, despite that sticky note you put on it, someone’s going to forget and use it for normal bread. Also, two toasters is such a crowd. Simply buy toaster bags- they completely do the trick. I actually always have spares in my bag too. What’s the point of ordering gluten free bread if it’s going to get covered in crumbs of wheat? I'm pretty sure you can get them in any big food shop, but you can also click here to get a pack.
3. Always carry a snack
I'm a big snacker. All day every day. After my meals, before my meals, in that horrible space of time between meals- I snack. Being on a gluten free diet for over ten years now has taught me to bring my own snacks or else I'll just have to go with a bag of crisps. When I first started going out to nightclubs, I would always bring the Nairns oatcakes out with me, which you can get here. They’re small, portable and when everyone headed to the fast food restaurant with no gluten free options afterwards, I’d have something to munch on. I still bring these everywhere with me now, as well as carrots and hummus in this specific tupperware which you can get here- it has a section for the dip!!
4. Don't trust Trip Advisor & Yelp
Don’t get me wrong, these review websites are great for general food and cleanliness ratings but if they tell you there’s 'gluten free options', don't believe it. You need to research that yourself by calling the restaurant or having a look at their online menu. Too many times I've gone to a ‘gluten free friendly’ spot recommended by Trip Advisor to find that their only options are salads without the croutons and dressing i.e chicken and leaves. If you’ve just started the gluten free diet and your thrown into this scenario, it’s likely you’ll break. If you're like me, you need an entire gluten free menu/section AND desert. Do your proper research beforehand so you won’t be left either disappointed or full of gluten. On my Instagram in the 'stories section', I have all of my favourite Gluten free spots in various locations I have visited. Alternatively, you can go to the 'Gluten Free Travel' section of my blog to find more in-depth guides of where to eat in holiday destinations around Europe and America.
5. Bring packed lunches on your travels
I no longer trust ANY airport to be able to provide me with a gluten free meal, especially small European ones (I starved flying back from Vienna). I always bring a packed lunch with me and this actually has loads of pros! You won't have to resort to a tuna nicoise that expires in ten years time, you'll save money and you can make it to be tastier than all of the gluten options! Click here for some of my favourite gluten free lunches that accompany me on my travels.
6. Avoid these foods
So you’ve gone through all the effort of buying gluten free bread, toaster bags and researching if your restaurant has a gluten free menu. Don't put all of this to waste from a bit of gravy or soy sauce. What do I mean by this? They both have gluten. As do many of these unsuspecting foods, which you can find in my post here. Gluten really can be hidden in the places you expect it the least.
Speaking from 10+ years of experience, following the gluten-free diet is actually simple once you get into the swing of things. Once you stick to these guidelines, not eating gluten will soon become second nature. Hope you enjoyed!