Being newly diagnosed with celiac disease can be overwhelming. Read this post for words of encouragement and tips to mastering a gluten-free lifestyle.
Tag: gluten free life
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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.
The holidays are full of traditions that involve food. From cookie decorating to holiday dinners, the holiday seasons if full of food. The food-focused holiday traditions can be overwhelming for people with medically restricted diets, food allergies, and those recovering from eating disorders. I know …
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The holidays are full of long days with family, good food, and for people with celiac disease, they are often full of anxiety. Worry creeps in, “will I be able to eat anything?” you wonder. Will Aunt Martha be offended again when I remind her I can’t eat gluten?
Whether you’re newly diagnosed or a few years in, hopefully, this guide to handling the holidays with celiac disease will be helpful. If you need more guidance, I dedicated an ENTIRE week in the 10-Week Celiac Disease Wellness Journal to helping you navigate the holidays.
What to say when…
I honestly can say handling people’s comments about my needs is my biggest stressor when it comes to handling the holidays with celiac disease. From reminding people that this is a real condition to educating people that I can’t just take a bite, it can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on what to say or do when you hear the following:
“Oh, just take a bite! I worked so hard on this ______”
- “I’m working hard on avoiding gluten for health reasons, so I’ll have to pass, thanks for understanding”
- “No thanks, I’m pretty full”
- “That looks lovely, thanks so much for spending so much time on making it for us. I’d love to try it but unfortunately, even one bite will make me sick”
- If they are really stuck on you trying it, remove yourself. I always like to pull that “I have to use the restroom” move.
Remember, your health comes before politeness.
“Oh please, it barely touched!”
- “I have to take cross-contact like that seriously for health reasons”
- “Even a small crumb can trigger my immune system, so I’ll have to pass”
- “Don’t worry about it, I’ll pass” or “No thank you”
“But _____ who is gluten-free ate it!”
- “That’s fine, I’m not going to though”
- “Just because it was safe for them, doesn’t mean it’s safe for me. People with celiac (or NCGS) have varying needs. I still can’t have this.”
- “Good for them, I’ll pass though”
“You don’t have Celiac” or “You made that disease up”
- “Actually, celiac disease is a real disease that many people have *pull up a website on celiac disease*, I can send you some info on it if you’d like!”
- “My feelings are hurt when you don’t support me or my needs around my diagnosis”
- Remove yourself from the situation.
“When are you going to grow out of it?”
- “There is no cure for Celiac Disease. Celiac disease is a life-long autoimmune disease that can’t be grown out of. It’s not like allergies, I have to be gluten-free for life.”
- “This is a lifelong need of mine that I need your support on.”
- “I’ll be gluten-free for the rest of my life, it’s not a fad diet.”
(and so many other options of response)
“Aren’t people with celiac disease supposed to be skinny?”
- “People diagnosed with Celiac Disease come in all shapes, sizes, and skin colors. My weight does not indicate the credibility of my diagnosis.”
- “People respond to small intestinal damage and healing in a variety of ways. My weight says nothing about my health or my medical history.”
- “My weight does not define my health”
- “What a rude thing to say to me!”
You do not have to maintain any conversations surrounding your weight if you do not want to. If you do continue with these discussions, feel free to refer to my post about celiac disease and weight gain in conversations you might have.
“Stop being so picky”
- “I’m not being picky, I am on a medically necessary gluten-free diet because I have celiac disease. Believe me, I wish I could have ____”
- “Please do not mistake my medical needs as choices”
- “Please respect my dietary needs – but if you can’t, I’ll remind you that they are NONE of your business”
I also want to say, no one should or can make you eat anything you don’t want to eat. You’re allowed to be picky and gluten-free (if you are a picky eater).
Closing thoughts on responding to peoples comments about Celiac Disease and your needs:
I’d also say if you’re newly diagnosed or plan to be around new people, expect to answer a lot of questions. Celiac disease often isn’t well-known and people genuinely don’t understand it. If you feel uncomfortable in situations, you are allowed to remove yourself (again, I love pulling the “I need to use the restroom” escape plan).
Another option is to simply ignore people who are continually unsupportive. Sometimes it’s best simply to draw that boundary for the sake of your mental health and your enjoyment of the holidays.
Disclaimer: the above responses are quick responses I thought of and use when hearing these claims made. This, of course, is not an all-inclusive list of how to respond to these situations. Ultimately, you get to decide what the best way to respond is.
On Being a Guest during the Holidays with Celiac Disease
I wrote a whole blog post last year giving tips on how to enjoy events as a guest safely during the holiday season. It’s a quick read and might be worth checking out if you need to prepare yourself more for being a guest. On top of the tips I provided there, here are a few more!
Serve Yourself First!
Whether you made the decision to bring your own dishes to share or if there are gluten-free options on the table, ask/advocate to go first. Communicate with other guests (or better yet, the host) that you need to go first in order to limit cross-contact and stay safe.
While you are serving yourself first, serve yourself extra just in case you want seconds. This will allow you to not have to worry about any cross-contact that might happen between when you served yourself and others.
If you don’t know, say no!
If you don’t know if something is safe, spare yourself the trouble and don’t eat it. My general rule of thumb is to stay on the side of caution. Google is your friend but sometimes you just can determine if a drink or ingredient is safe. Alternatively – you might not know if a food, in general, is safe depending on how it was prepared. If you don’t know, say no.
(If you’re looking to see what drinks are safe for you, check out this page!)
On Hosting During the Holidays with Celiac Disease
I wrote a post on my top tips for gluten-free hosting during the holiday season that I encourage you to check out if you’re hosting someone who is GF this year. In addition to that post, here are a few tips to get you started:
Ask your GF guests about their needs (and do your best to meet them).
Everyone living gluten-free has different needs and levels of comfort and care. For example, some people might be comfortable with you preparing them safe food (but if you choose to do this, please do your research to prevent cross-contact – my best tip is to treat gluten like it’s raw meat when preparing food) others might politely reject your food.
Which leads me into my next tip which is:
Don’t be offended if someone living gluten-free doesn’t eat your GF food (or if they bring their own food).
Handling the holidays with celiac disease can be stressful, even if you took a ton of precautions when preparing their food, someone with celiac just might not want to risk it. Or they might have witnessed cross-contact, (learn more about cross-contact here) or just simply not feel comfortable with eating it. Respect their decision – it’s hard living GF. Know that they aren’t doing it out of malice, they are doing it to protect their health.
General Survival Tips for Surviving the Holidays with Celiac Disease
Get comfortable with politely saying “no” when you don’t know if something is safe. You are your best advocate and “no thank you” is key tool during this season.
Don’t get all “preachy” about eating gluten-free. It can be easy to think everyone should go gluten-free – and just like your diet is your own business, everyone else’s diet is THEIR own business.
Remember what the holidays are about. Focus on your loved ones and don’t let your dietary restrictions prevent you from enjoying them.
What are your tips for surviving that holiday season? Leave a comment below, and like this post, if you found is helpful!
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In my work I am often asked “what is the best way to heal your gut?”. In this post, I’m going to break down some easy ways to get on the path of good gut health.
If you’re reading this post, when people say to trust your gut, you’re probably one of the people who respond with “you’ve obviously never met mine”. But really, all jokes aside, gut health is a booming topic right now and rightfully so.
Gut health is linked to so many things. From efficient nutrient absorption, mood, to potential autoimmune disease triggers and prevention, every day we are learning more and more about just how important our gut is to our health. So I thought I’d chime in with the best way to heal your gut or should I say best ways.
Why Gut Health is Important
Gut health is important for a variety of reasons but probably most importantly, gut health is important because it supports a healthy immune system and microbiome/microbiota. In fact, the intestinal microbiota plays a role in the initiation and perpetuation of intestinal inflammation in numerous chronic conditions. In conditions like diabetes, celiac disease, and other autoimmune issues, there are indications that there is a microbiome/gut component. Meaning while gut health is important for everyone, it’s especially important for those who have or are at risk for autoimmune conditions.
Additionally, as mentioned above, gut health and the microbiome are involved in a variety of body processes. You gut impacts things like nutrient absorption, digestion, immune system regulation and defense, mood and so much more.
What is Gut Health?
What do people mean by gut health? Before I can share with you the best way to heal your gut, you have to understand what I mean by healing your gut. You need to understand what gut health is.
Gut health is a very broad term and in this case, used to describe a few factors impacting the function of your gut. Factors like efficient digestion and nutrient absorption, healthy bowel movements, healthy and diverse microbiome, and an overall feeling of well-being help define gut health.
When trying to determine what goals you should set for yourself and your own gut health, it’s important to take into account what you need. A dietitian can be a tremendously helpful tool in helping you do this (click here if you’d like to work with me!).
The Best Way to Heal Your Gut
The best way to heal your gut (assuming it needs healing) is to find a balance in your life that works with you. By this I mean, being able to balance a variety of lifestyle factors in a way that makes you feel amazing. So what lifestyle factors should you consider?
Sleep is one of the easiest yet perhaps one of the underused methods for gut healing. Not only does getting enough sleep help you better manage stress (a factor that supports gut health), but it also helps you maintain a diverse amount of good gut microbes. A study done on men that were partially sleep deprived for 2 days found that their microbiomes were less diverse than when they slept for normally for 2 days straight.
Being well-rested is vital to your gut health. This is why it’s so important to “bubble wrap” your sleep. Or in other words, prioritize getting in a solid 7-9 hours.
Believe it or not, physical activity has been proven to change your microbiome for the better! While these findings and research is still new, more and more studies are coming out supporting the positive impacts that physical activity has on your microbiome. Some research even suggests that a healthy microbiome can help manage some chronic inflammatory conditions.
Because physical activity is so beneficial to your microbiome, it’s important that you incorporate some form of activity into your life. I say “enjoyable exercise” because whatever you do to move your body, you should enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, the chances of it becoming a long-lasting lifestyle habit are zero.
Personally, my favorite forms of physical activity are walking/hiking with my dog and dancing around my house. The gym is usually NOT my cup of tea.
Reduce Stress / Relax
We all know stress wreaks havoc on our bodies, and it also wreaks havoc on the little good guys living in our guts. Making sure we take time to take care of ourselves and give ourselves much needed attention is so important to overall health and well-being.
Know that setting aside time to fill your cup is doing more than just helping your gut! A great way to make sure your setting aside time for you is to plan for it. If you need a little help, check out my post on How to Develop a Self-Care Routine (featuring a printable self-care routine planner!)
Personally, my favorite forms of self-care are setting aside time in the morning to enjoy my morning cup of coffee, walking my dog, and playing video games.
Eat Gut Nourishing Foods (that you like)
A lot like how I mentioned engaging in physical activity that you enjoy, eating gut nourishing foods that you actually like is important too. Perhaps one of the best ways to heal your gut is by eating for your gut. This means honoring you gut and it’s needs.
I wrote a whole mini eBook about eating for your microbiome and gut that you can get if you sign up for my newsletter. But a general rule of thumb when it comes to gut nourishing foods is that if it has fiber, it’s probably going to help your gut. Meaning, load up on all of your favorite fruits and vegetables!
Better yet, if you like any form of fermented foods, that might fare even better. Personally, I love eating my homemade fermented/probiotic pickled carrots. They are crispy, delicious, and very gut health friendly.
Consider a Good Probiotic Supplement
I’m a huge “food first” advocate but that doesn’t mean there are not certain instances where a supplement is needed. Consult your doctor or dietitian on if a probiotic supplement is right for you.
Also know that not every probiotic supplement is made equal. Different people respond better to different strains of probiotics and some probiotics are higher in quality than others.
Work with a Dietitian
Sorry, I had to shameless plug this in here. A dietitian can do wonders for helping you understand your gut health and ways to improve it. From goal setting, coaching, to individualized dietary and lifestyle recommendations, a dietitian can help you take your gut health to another level.
If you couldn’t tell, the best way to heal your gut is through a balanced lifestyle that supports your needs. Making sure you’re moving your body, getting enough sleep, making time for self-care, and eating fruits and vegetables you like (maybe even some fermented foods) can be tremendously helpful in healing your gut.
Comment below what your do to support your own gut health!