Celiac is not as simple as "just" eating Gluten-free
There are a ton of factors that influence food decisions when living with celiac disease. These factors are part of why celiac disease management is not as simple as “just” eating gluten-free. If we are to improve our gluten-free lives or the gluten-free lives of clients, it’s important to understand what is influencing food decisions in people with celiac disease.
Factors influencing food decisions in people with celiac
Affordability is one the biggest reasons celiac disease management is not as simple as “just” eating gluten-free.
In fact, a 2014 study on the treatment burden of people with celiac disease found that one of the key factors playing into high treatment burden is the extra food cost.
Living gluten-free doesn’t just mean eating gluten-free, it means budgeting for it.
When making food decisions with celiac disease, 2 factors involved with gluten-free options are play:
1. Availability of gluten-free options
2. Quality of gluten-free options
If gluten-free options are lacking, it makes living gluten-free difficult. The same goes for if there is poor in gluten-free options.
Living gluten-free doesn’t just mean eating gluten-free it also means having access to gluten-free options.
Everyone’s gluten-free needs are different. People living with celiac disease are on a spectrum of knowledge, skill, and comfort when it comes to certain foods and situation.
Not to mention often there can be other food sensitivities or allergies tied into people’s dietary needs.
Living gluten-free doesn’t just mean eating gluten-free, it means adapting gluten-free eating to current needs.
taste & Texture
When making food decisions with celiac disease, we can’t forget about the 2 foundational things that impact food choices: taste & texture.
Will the food taste good? Does it taste good? Will it give the same mouth feel as the gluten-filled version? Will there be disappointment?
Living gluten-free doesn’t just mean eating gluten-free, it means investing in trying to find delicious gluten-free alternatives.
Safety is a big word when it comes to celiac disease. Food can feel scary when living gluten-free because there can be a lot of unknowns that can directly impact health.
- is there a risk of cross-contact?
- is the food unsafe?
- is there trust that the person that made the food to knows what to look for when helping find gluten-free options?
- is the environment supportive?
- are the people around supportive?
Living gluten-free doesn’t just mean eating gluten-free, it also means maintaining safety (environmentally, socially, mentally, and more).
Everything takes longer when you are living gluten-free. Buying food, ordering food, dining out, deciding what to eat, all of it.
You go from picking something off the grocery store shelves and putting it in your cart simply because it looks good to having to think twice about if you can actually eat it before putting it in your cart.
You go from ordering something off a menu because it sounds good, to quizzing restaurant staff about it’s ingredients and how/where it’s made in the kitchen.
Living gluten-free doesn’t just mean eating gluten-free, it also means consistently investing time in staying gluten-free.
Nothing is ever simple - especially celiac disease
Something people often miss is that living gluten-free is not as simple as the think. Often people are diagnosed, told to go gluten-free, and then they are sent on their way. No other help provided.
As I just demonstrated, living gluten-free is not that easy. It involves so many other factors. Saying “just” go gluten-free does a disservice to how complex living gluten-free really is.
What factors influence your food decisions most?
Need a little extra guidance when living gluten-free? Want help with budgeting, safety, time, and more? The Celiac Disease Wellness Journal was designed to help you find peace with gluten-free living.