In May 2021, I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease. Long story short, I was ill and now I can’t eat gluten anymore. I was relieved to finally understand why I was ill, but I was also worried. Food has always been such a big love of mine and plays an important part in my family. I was frustrated I could no longer eat my favourite things or enjoy a simple takeaway with my loved ones. Over the past year, I have learned to live with it through trial and error. Here are the most important things I have learned.
1. Use the NHS Gluten Free Food Service
I can’t stress this one enough. If you live in Scotland and have a coeliac diagnosis you can get staple foods (bread, pasta, flour) for free through your local pharmacy. GF food can be pricey, especially on a student budget, so this really is a lifeline service for a lot of people. Make sure you use it to your advantage, we are so lucky to have it.
2. If you accidently eat gluten, don’t panic
Unfortunately, it’s probably going to happen to you at some point post-diagnosis. Referred to as being “glutened” in the coeliac community, it’s inevitable (unless you live in some miracle gluten-less bubble). It can be a painful and uncomfortable experience, but don’t worry too much. If you rest and stay hydrated, it’s not a huge cause for concern.
3. Always bring a snack with you
I’ve learned this the hard way. Imagine you’re out at a café with friends, only to realise there’s nothing you can eat. Keeping a cereal bar or pack of biscuits in your bag means you’ll have something at least!
4. Educate your friends and family
Coeliac disease is so underdiagnosed right now and not a lot of people fully understand what the condition is. Talk to those close to you about it (especially your family, as it is genetic!).
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