Coeliac: A person who is allergic to gluten, the protein found in wheat.
Living with an allergy, especially a food allergy, can be very challenging on a daily basis. However, sometimes in life we encounter certain occasions in which our desire to fill ourselves with delicious wheat filled foods is much stronger than our willpower to avoid something that could make us incredibly ill. Events such as weddings and birthday parties are where coeliacs are at their weakest. What’s the harm in eating a little cupcake anyway? The truth is it could be very harmful. Why give into five minutes of mouth watering pleasure when 15 minutes later you could be running to the nearest bathroom the throw up the contents of your perfectly iced cupcake? It wasn’t even that nice and now you feel sick, your belly has swollen to the size of a nine month’s pregnant woman’s, you’re miserable and you just want to go home meaning you’re going to miss out on all the fun that’s just getting started. All for the sake of a silly little cupcake. The logic of this story: it’s not worth it, don’t eat wheat. This is a LOT easier said than done so here’s a few tips on how to avoid the ‘wheat belly’.
One of the hardest places to stick to your gluten free diet is a party. Whether it be a birthday party, an engagement party or even a wedding all of these places are going to have tempting wheat filled food and drink. An important thing to remember is that there are certain alcoholic beverages which contain wheat, such as beer, but most bars will supply other drinks such as cider which coeliacs can drink so this shouldn’t be a big issue. On the other hand the delicious cakes staring back at you could be a bit of an issue. A fun way to fight the urge against these evils would be to make your own batch of gluten free cookies or cupcakes and bring them along to the party as a gift, for the host, that you yourself can enjoy. You could also put a little card in front of them stating that they are wheat free in case there may be any closet coeliacs in attendance too. This way your taste buds are satisfied and your body is happy.
Road trips can often be difficult also. Travelling in a car or a train for even as little as two hours can get very boring so of course you’ll want something to snack on while listening to your favourites 80’s tunes on your way to the countryside. The danger that coeliacs face is not stocking up on gluten free treats before the trip and pulling in to a petrol garage half way or getting something naughty from the train trolley to get their fix. It’s highly unlikely that a little garage in the middle of the country will have a gluten free section so of course you’ll just have to buy a big bag of bold crisps. The best thing to do to prevent this from happening is to stock up on all things gluten free before the trip. Pop into your local Dunnes or Tesco and pick up as many gluten free brownies or bars as you please. They may not be the healthiest option but anything chocolatey and gluten free is 100 times better than something filled with wheat. You’ll be happy when you’re not pulling in on the side of the road to get sick.
Long days in college or work can often leave you feeling peckish. You’ve had your lunch and are not hungry enough for a big meal, just a couple of biscuits perhaps or even a little pastry. You’re initial thought is to run to the canteen to get a cup of tea and one of those lovely looking chocolate crossaints that you’ve been eyeing up for the past few days. DON’T DO IT. Instead why not bring a healthy snack from home that morning such as a banana or an apple. They will be kind on your tummy and on your wallet and will sort out your sugar craving.
Going out for dinner can be stressful. Panicking and picking the first thing that looks familiar on the menu is a big no no. If you’re going out for dinner with friends why not suggest a restaurant that you know has gluten free options? Or if somebody else has picked the restaurant don’t be afraid to ring them up and see if they do gluten free options. Most places have an alternative menu but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If the restaurant doesn’t have gluten free options let your friends know, they’d be much happier if you got a meal that you were able to eat rather than eating something that would make you ill, resulting in you going home and missing out on the rest of the night’s fun.
There’s no denying that at some points in life it will all become too much and the laws of being a coeliac will be broken from time to time but hopefully these tips will be useful in staying ‘clean’ for as long as possibly. Coeliac out.