Helping Friends And Family Members Understand Why You Can Only Eat Gluten-Free Food
When you start sharing with friends and family members that you have Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, it’s common that they think it’s just a fad, a phase, or something that isn’t critical to your health or well-being. It’s important to relay some crucial facts about gluten and its effects on your body and immune system. The more information that your family and social circle understands about your condition, the more willing and able they will be to accommodate for it.
Gluten-Free Food Is More Than Just A Fad For You – It’s A Requirement
Start by explaining that Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with the digestion and absorption of foods. Foods containing gluten actually cause further harm to the intestine, leading to stomach pain, digestive distress, constipation or diarrhea, and an overall ill feeling. These symptoms vary depending on the individual’s sensitivity to gluten, and can last for days or even weeks with a single exposure to gluten.
Where Is Gluten Found, And What Is Being ‘Contaminated?’
Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt. Any food, beverage, sauce, spice, powder, or other item that contains any derivation of wheat, barley or rye contains gluten. This rules out breads, cookies, cakes, most sauces and creamy soups, beer, and many other common foods.
Explaining to a friend or family member what it means to be contaminated can be very enlightening to them. Even something as seemingly innocent as a stray crumb or using the same cooking utensil is enough to expose a person to gluten. Common sources of contamination include:
- Sharing cooking prep surfaces, such as cutting boards
- Sharing cooking surfaces and utensils, such as knives, spatulas, pots, and pans
- Sharing tubs of spreads, such as margarine, jam, or peanut butter
- Sharing toasters or toaster ovens
- Using oil that already cooked a food with gluten (breaded chicken tenders, etc.)
- Missing gluten on an ingredient list
- Eating a food that was cross-contaminated in the manufacturing process
Finding Gluten-Free Food Is Becoming Easier
Share with your friend or family member that they can easily help you avoid gluten by either allowing you to provide your own gluten free food items, or by choosing to purchase pre-prepared gluten food products for you. Gluten-free food is becoming more readily available in mainstream grocery stores, and the varieties and tastes are also steadily improving.
All But Gluten™ gluten-free food items are tasty and certified gluten-free, made in a facility that has been tested to be gluten-free. Click here for a list of locations where All But Gluten™ products are sold.