Firstly, take a breath.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s even easier to immediately jump to the wrong conclusion that because of your diagnosis, your hope for a normal diet is effectively doomed. But stop. And breathe. Like any other new thing you are learning, this thing that is now overwhelming will soon be second nature to you.
Join Groups Dedicated to Living Gluten- Free
Now that you’ve had a breath or two to relax, go online. You can take comfort in the fact that there’s a whole community out there that shares the same sentiment. Nothing beats advice taken from practical experience in ensuring you learn tips that has a high chance of actually working for you. Join forums on sites such as on Glutenfreesociety.org . You can also find a number of groups on Facebook , that can provide helpful information. Try these groups, which have a lively energy and a high following:
The other day, a member posted a photo of a mouthwatering burger. It’s enticing, and the entire thing is totally gluten-free. I know where to get the bun, though I was curious what seasoning I can use, since flavor packets that I usually use has gluten. Now I have new things to try: garlic powder, onion powder and salt– Such priceless help you cannot find just anywhere.
Google is your best friend
When in doubt, Google. Google credible sources, that is. Some of these are : Celiac.com, Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten Intolerance Group , Mayo Clinic. Your criteria for judging should be that the information provided really comes from studied research, backed by nutritionists who know what they are talking about, or practical information from people who actually are living gluten-free themselves. Also, go to the company websites of the products you are doubtful about. They pretty much will tell you what you need to know about the product.
Get to Know Health Apps
There are excellent apps that can help you, and you don’t even have to pay to get useful service. Here are a few apps we’ve experimented with:
-Ipiit, The Food Ambassador, is a good app to start with, it let’s you scan items off a grocery shelf for potential allergens. But disappointingly, though, this is only available in the US and works only with US products for now. But if are going gluten-free in the Philippines we found for you an alternative:
-HAPIcoach, the nutritionist in your pocket. You can download the app and register a free account. Upload a photo of your food and have a registered nutritionist comment on your food. If you are worried about gluten, ask-away, and they can give you valuable insight.
Naturally Gluten-Free Food is in Abundance
Realize that most of the food you are already eating are gluten-free. For food allergies, the typical reaction would be, “Can I still feed myself conveniently? What can you eat instead of gluten containing food?” In a gluten-free diet, you will need to stay away from these three things and their sub-forms: wheat, barley and rye. And so, what else is there to eat? Well, a whole lot of options! Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, corn, rice these are all gluten-free. So you’re not depriving yourself. And you’d actually be eating additive-free with just these items in their pure state, if you think about it. (gluten usually sneak their way into these items through additives and spices)
Get to Know Gluten-Free Shops
Though in the Philippines, Celiac Disease is not familiar to most people you meet off the street. Most of those who know about Celiac disease are those afflicted or have relatives who suffer from it. But there are a few places that offer gluten-free options.
You may already know GERALD.ph offers gluten-free options for home delivery but there are restaurants as well that serve gluten-free food such as Corner Tree Cafe in Makati, or the Wholesome Table in BGC offer great options. Tripadvisor also has a comprehensive list of restaurants around Manila that you can checkout. Be sure to call in advance to ask especially if gluten-free options are available.
So take heed my now gluten-free friend and you’ll get there! If you have questions, you can post them in the comments so our gluten-free readers can also share their insight and experience with you. Have a great journey!