Celiac disease management involve a gluten-free lifestyle but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Let’s talk about what celiac disease is, how to manage celiac disease, and the struggles that come with celiac disease management.
Tag: celiac disease
Mental Health Impacts of a Gluten-Free Lifestyle
The mental health impacts of a gluten-free lifestyle are vast. Gluten is in what feels like everything! Overhauling your lifestyle and living a completely new one overnight is bound to have an impact on mental health.
And that’s what happens when you’re diagnosed with celiac disease. You get the diagnosis and are expected to live gluten-free 100% of the time from that point on, talk about overwhelming.
Basically, a gluten-free lifestyle is not a walk in the park. In fact, studies show that sticking to a gluten-free diet (or living gluten-free) can feel more burdensome than lifestyle treatments for other common conditions.
So you can see how there are mental health impacts of a gluten-free lifestyle.
How Does a Gluten-Free Lifestyle Impact Mental Health?
It can trigger feelings of:
- Social isolation – because so many social events involve food, food that we can’t often eat.
- Stress – because there are so many things to consider when it comes to living gluten-free.
- Overwhelm – because overhauling your life is a lot.
- Fatigue – whether it be related to gluten exposure or due to adapting to a completely new way of living.
- Depression – this can be due to a lot of things, like the other triggered feelings. I know I mourned the foods I couldn’t enjoy anymore for a while.
- Restriction – because living gluten-free means you need to adapt a lot of things to be safe.
- Loneliness – because again, food is so deeply rooted in our social culture but also because it might feel like no one understands.
- Distrust – due to fear of gluten exposure.
- Anxiety – again, likely related to gluten exposure or how someone will react to celiac needs.
- Loss of confidence
Any restrictive diet can have a negative impact on mental health. Living gluten-free is not easy and takes up a lot of headspace, especially in the beginning. If you’re struggling with mental health impacts of living gluten-free, know that it gets less hard.
Coping With the Mental Toll of a Gluten-Free Diet
Because there are so many mental health impacts of a gluten-free lifestyle, it’s important to be able to cope with them. Below are a few ways to cope with the mental burdens of living gluten-free.
Finding and accessing support for your new lifestyle can be incredibly beneficial in easing celiac disease and mental health impacts. In fact, studies show that when people are supported they are more likely to have higher quality of life scores.
This means that when people following a gluten-free lifestyle have solid support, they feel less burdened. If they feel Less burdened, they are likely to stay gluten-free and enjoy their life more.
If you need support, join my Celiac Support Group.
We know that a gluten-free lifestyle can come with a wide array of mental health stressors. Stressors that can quickly empty our cups. We can’t pour from an empty cup which is why it’s so important that we are filling it so that we can better handle the stress thrown our way.
This is where self-care comes in. How do you fill your cup you ask? Self-care. Check out this post on Self-Care and Celiac for inspiration.
Another way to combat the mental health impacts of a gluten-free diet is to exercise. Why? Because moving the body has been shown to have countless mental health benefits.
In fact, in a recent study done in 2020 on the beneficial impacts of movement on stressed out college students, researchers found that just 16 minutes of moderate intensity movement boosted the student’s mental health.
A meta-analysis from 2019 on the impacts of aerobic activity on mental health found that adults engaging in regular exercise were less depressed.
This is unsurprising, as exercise releases endorphins that boost the mood and stimulate circulation which stimulates the brain.
Take home message? While a walk won’t fix the fact that living gluten-free is hard. It can help shift your mindset or at the very least, end the stress cycle… which ties into my next tip which is:
End the Stress Cycle
Part of dealing with the mental health impacts of a gluten-free life must include addressing the stress that comes with it. In the book “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle” by Emily Nagoski, the stress cycle is described as the cycle to which we experience stress, react to stress, and resolve stress.
Emily goes on to explain that as we’ve adapted over the years, our stress response has started to be activated to everyday things like stress at work, stress from classes, or I would say, in the case of gluten-free living, stress around food and food events. Today, sometimes we get stuck in the stress cycle, never-ending it for the day or the event and we carry it with us.
Often we find ourselves stressed and worried for our safety around food (which is natural, gluten is a harmful substance and we must take care to avoid it) but it’s important we don’t get stuck in the stress response.
So the importance here is to find things to do to end your stress cycle, if not for anything else but for stressful food events. There are 6 general things Emily says end the stress cycle:
- Deep breathes
- Casual conversation
- A 6-second kiss or 20 second hug
Of course, these aren’t the only things that can end the stress cycle but they are a place to start. Learn more about celiac burnout here.
Mental Health and A Gluten-Free Diet
Because food is such a huge part of our life, there are many mental health impacts of living gluten-free. From the social isolation of the many ways our ability to connect with our community, culture, and traditions are disrupted. To the exhaustion and grief of trying to navigate an entirely new way of living.
Just as food is not just fuel. Food is comfort, connection, community, culture, tradition, joy, celebration, and more. A gluten-free diet is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle that changes all of the ways food once served us.
And that is hard. And that comes with many mental burdens.
Need Help With the Mental Burdens of Gluten-Free Living?
Being newly diagnosed with celiac disease can be overwhelming. Read this post for words of encouragement and tips to mastering a gluten-free lifestyle.
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Gluten-free Beauty Products: do you need them and how to find them.
Do people with celiac need to use gluten-free beauty products? How do you even identify gluten in beauty products? We will be discussing this and more in this post.
Do Celiacs Need to use Gluten-Free Beauty Products?
Do celiacs need to use gluten-free beauty products? Short answer? It depends on the beauty product and the person.
Are you ready for the long answer?
First, for the purpose of this post, beauty products refer to anything related to body hygiene. So when I say beauty products or cosmetics, I’m referring to anything that is applied to the body.
This means when I say beauty products, I mean soaps, lotions, sanitizers, eye cream, lipstick, eye shadow, floss, toothpaste, the whole nine yards.
Now when it comes to using gluten-free beauty products for celiac, it gets complex because some beauty products need to be gluten-free and others it’s really a choice.
Ultimately, it depends on where you you’re using the product and the person.
when to use Gluten-Free Beauty Products
Most importantly, if you have celiac, anything going in or around your mouth should be gluten-free. This means lipstick, chapstick, oral medications, mouthwash, toothpaste, floss, etc. should all be gluten-free.
The good news is that these things are usually gluten-free anyways.
For example, celiacs need to use gluten-free lip products. Luckily, most lip products are gluten-free. Preliminary research on the gluten content of lip products with obvious gluten-derived ingredients for example, has shown that all products tested has <10ppm of gluten. Which is far below the <20ppm celiac-safe limit.
Celiacs need to use gluten-free dental products too. Fortunately, these are often gluten-free too. In fact, in a 2019 study on the celiac-safety of oral hygiene products they found that only 6% of oral hygiene products had gluten >20ppm.
Other cases that may cause a celiac to use gluten-free beauty products might be:
- if they have an open wound
- they have celiac dermatitis herpetiformis
- they have sensitive skin and find they react to gluten
- it just makes them feel safer
- they have a kid who likes to put everything in their mouth (including bath water).
In summary, there are many cases as to why someone with celiac might need gluten-free beauty products and it’s important to respect these instances.
If you’re someone who needs gluten-free cosmetics and products it’s essential you are checking labels to make sure things are safe.
How to Identify Gluten in Beauty Products
Looking for gluten in beauty products by reading the ingredients label can be tricky. It’s not the same as checking food labels for gluten.
When trying to identify gluten in beauty products look for BROW, which stands for barley, rye, wheat, oats (if not certified gluten-free), and wheat. These are the foods to avoid if you have celiac and thus, what to avoid in beauty products if you have made the choice to do so.
However, these ingredients show up differently in the ingredients of beauty products.
Wheat in Cosmetics
The first ingredient to look for when identifying gluten in cosmetics is wheat.
Wheat can show up in the ingredients of cosmetics as a lot of things. Here’s a list of wheat ingredients often found in beauty products:
- Wheat Starch
- Wheat gluten
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Wheat protein
- Steardimonium hydroxypropyl
- Laurdimonium hydroxypropyl
- Wheat germ oil
- Dextrin palmitate (may be gluten-based)
Barley in Beauty Products
Another ingredient to look for when identifying if a beauty product is gluten-free is barley.
Barley’s scientific name is Hordeum Vulgare so look for both on a beauty product label.
Barley can also show up as:
- Malt extract
- Barley extract
- Hordeum vulgare extract
Identifying Rye in Beauty Products
The next ingredient to look for when determining if a beauty product is gluten-free is rye.
Rye can show up in the ingredients of cosmetics as a lot of things but usually it shows up as “rye” or “secale cereale”.
Thankfully, the list of ingredients to look our for in cosmetics is short for rye.
Looking for Oats in Cosmetics
Lastly, if you need gluten-free beauty products, looking for oats in your products is a good idea.
It’s important to note with oats that they are naturally gluten-free. The big risk is that oats aren’t always celiac-safe because of high risk for cross-contact.
The jury is still out on this and how much cross-contact would be translated to a beauty product with oats and if it would be greater than 20ppm.
If you want to be safe look for:
- Beta-glucan (can be from barley/oats)
- Avena sativa
- Avena sativa extract
- Sodium lauroyl oat amino acid
My favorite gluten-free brands/products:
This section features affiliate links.
I have an amazon list featuring all of my specific favorite products, if you want to check it out, click here. But my all-time favorite brands are:
- Tom’s of Maine (I like them for their deodorant sticks and sometimes toothpaste)
- Sun Bum (I like them for their sunscreen and chapstick)
- EO products (I like them for their spray deodorant, essential oils, and hand sanitizer)
- Zuzu Luxe (I like them for their eyeliner – but it does come off easily)
My beauty routine is pretty minimal so I don’t use a lot of beauty products. Unfortunately, that means my list of products not as long as some other people but that’s just me.
Special oral health note, Crest and Colgate toothpaste should be gluten-free.
In most cases, the use of gluten-free beauty products are personal choice.
There is a lot of judgement and shame in the gluten-free community around using or not using gluten-free beauty products. I think we are getting caught up too much in the details.
While it’s usually not necessary, I choose to respect everyone’s choice on the subject. I want to emphasize that in most cases, using gluten-free beauty products is a choice for celiacs.
A choice that I don’t believe should be taken from them and a choice that should be respected.
Get my FREE Gluten in Cosmetics Pocket Guide
Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance: What’s the Difference People often don’t know the differences between celiac disease and gluten intolerance is. I’m frequently asked “I have the symptoms of both celiac and gluten intolerance. How do I know which one I have”. First, I want …
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grass-fed beef collagen
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp paprika
Gluten Exposure Recovery Kit
Gluten Exposure Recovery Kits are incredibly helpful for managing being glutened. Being exposed to gluten (or being “glutened”) happens. Gluten exposure is a part of life when you are living gluten-free. Even the best of us get exposed. Rather than beat yourself up about it, give yourself grace, learn from your mistakes, and focus on recovery.
How do you recover from gluten exposure?
Gluten exposure relief really depends on the individual, their needs, and their reaction to gluten exposure. What to do when you’re exposed to gluten will thus, largely be different from celiac to celiac.
My general tips on relief from gluten include: being kind to yourself, giving yourself permission to be uncomfortable, and having a plan in place to help soothe specific symptoms you struggle with.
Specifically, having a Gluten Exposure Recovery Kit can be incredibly helpful. Having a place to keep everything that you need to help stay comfortable and heal really changes the game.
What to put in your Gluten Exposure Recovery Kit
A great way to start planning your gluten exposure recovery kit is by first listing the symptoms you struggle with when you’re glutened. Make note of the symptoms that are particularly tough for you to deal with and then brainstorm ways you can comfort yourself.
My Gluten Exposure Recovery Kit Recommendations
Now that you’ve identified the symptoms you struggle with and how you might cope. Now it’s time to decide what to put in your Gluten Exposure Recovery Kit that supports your findings.
Sometimes your response to gluten exposure involves long trips to the bathroom. A squatty potty can help make those trips easier and more comfortable. A don’t just take my word for it, scientists agree that the squatty potty really does help you poop better.
When you’ve been glutened, baby wipe can make the clean up a lot easier… if you know what I mean.
Electrolytes are a must for Gluten Exposure Recovery Kits because often symptoms of gluten exposure involve water-loss. Think of diarrhea and vomiting. Electrolytes are good to have on hand to help make sure you’re staying hydrated.
Certain teas are known for their carminative effects, or their gas reducing effect. Basically, they help calm the stomach. I personally keep the following teas on hand for gluten exposure recovery:
– Ginger Tea
– Peppermint Tea
– Green Tea
Note that if you also struggle with acid reflux, mint might not be a good idea.
L-Glutamine has been thought to help repair the gut. In a time where your body has been attacking the lining of your gut, taking L-Glutamine is thought to help improve repairs.
(always talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement to make sure it’s right for you!)
Often times gluten can cause cramps and aches when you have celiac. A heating pad can help these pains if they occur.
For maximum comfort, comfy clothes are a must! I like walking around in loose clothes that don’t put pressure on my stomach after gluten exposure. So naturally, robes are a go-to pick.
Getting Glutened too Often?
If you are getting glutened too often, working with a celiac specialized dietitian might help reduce your gluten exposures. Celiac dietitians are specialized in helping people avoid gluten in the least restrictive yet safest way possible.