Updated: Mar 2
1. Grocery Store-The grocery store will be a very important part of living gluten-free. My favorite grocery store is Wegmans. All Wegmans brand items are clearly marked if they are gluten-free. Each grocery store does things a little bit differently, so you need to find one near you that is easy to navigate for your gluten-free shopping.
2. Buy fresh, plain fruit, veggies, and meat- Fresh fruit, veggies, and meat are always safe. It's only when things are added to them that you have to worry about gluten. So, these are the easiest things to buy and then you can add your own safe spices to liven up what you're eating.
3. Plain seasonings-When you read the label you should recognize all ingredients. Spices are always a little tricky, often they add some type of gluten, so the spices don't stick, or as filler, so you need to be really careful when you're looking at spices. Make sure you read the ingredients and you know what you are buying.
4. Always have snacks all the time, everywhere- I can't stress this enough. Wherever we go we have snacks. We have extra snacks in the car, in school bags, and in purses because you never know if you will be able to find something to eat. With a growing teenager, food is a necessity.
5. Plan, plan, plan- Planning is so important in every aspect of being gluten-free. This isn't only when you travel. If you're going to a swim meet or a soccer match you need to make sure that you have food with you or that you know a place close that's safe to eat. If you can't find a place to eat, you can always go to the grocery store and find something there.
6. Learn how to bake & cook-you don’t need to be a chef- It's important to know the basics of baking and cooking. I don't love to cook all of the time. However, some things that you want to eat gluten-free are best when you make them yourself. You don't need to be a chef or a great baker. Luckily there are a lot of shortcuts and tricks that are out there to help us.
7. Learn how to read ingredients-sometimes this can be tricky- Learning how to read ingredients is extremely important. It's not always easy to figure out what some of the ingredients are. However, the internet does help a great deal to search for some of those unknown ingredients.
8. Find your GF tribe-Facebook, Instagram, and if you are lucky in your own community- As with any illness/disease it's important to find your people. When we find other people with similar needs, we don't feel so isolated. We can share ideas and struggles. Depending on where you live you may have a community where you can find other gluten-free people. Where I live it's pretty rural, so it's easier to find people on Facebook and Instagram. There are a lot of people out there who are eating gluten-free so you should not feel alone. I encourage you to try to connect with some people to share ideas and struggles.
9. Be ready to educate others-ALL THE TIME- When I say all the time it's not only in the restaurant where you're trying to explain what gluten-free means so you can eat safely. It's in your everyday life. You will be explaining to your co-workers, friends, and family why you can't eat certain foods. We can't expect everyone to know and understand gluten-free and Celiac if we're not willing to educate others.