The finer points of going gluten-free

The finer points of going gluten-free

by Ashley Tan 12 Jan 2020

Leading a gluten-free lifestyle certainly isn’t a new thing. Whether it’s part of a desire to embark on a healthier diet or as a remedy for coeliac disease, having your meals sans gluten can be a life-changing experience for some. While nutritionists may provide you with a list of ingredients to avoid, it is difficult to account for 100% of the things you eat, especially when dining outside. In light of this, what are some of the lesser known things that you can take note of to make this lifestyle choice a more fulfilling one?


Though it may be easier to identify foods containing gluten (wheat products and the like), it’s generally more difficult attempting to determine whether the food you’re consuming is cross-contaminated. Cross-contaminated foods are ones that have been in contact with gluten, such as french fries which are fried using the same oil that has been in contact with gluten-containing foods like chicken nuggets or onion rings.


In order to avoid this calamity, it would definitely help to double-check with the waiter, and explain why ensuring that the food you’ve ordered is gluten-free is so important. This will avoid any carelessness on the part of your server, who will likely take you more seriously, rather than simply attributing your need to confirm your food composition to general “fussiness”.


Moreover, maintaining a gluten-free diet could unexpectedly bring about social implications too. Many coeliacs tend to avoid parties or social gatherings because they do not wish to become a burden to the host or their friends and colleagues, especially when such functions place importance on dining locations and choice of food.


Instead of avoiding these gatherings altogether, why not provide suggestions on food choices, or even offer to grocery shop for your host? This eases any additional load that your host or friends might have had to grapple with, and also demonstrates your sense of courtesy to others. This way, everyone will be able to enjoy themselves and have a great time, without needing to worry about the food served at the social function!


Lastly, possessing the grit to actually stick to a gluten-free diet might be one of the trickiest and hardest things of all. Adopting a gluten-free lifestyle is definitely rewarding in terms of how good you might feel, but the tendency to cheat and indulge in the foods that are off-limits might be tempting at times, especially if you’re not suffering from coeliac disease and simply chose to lead a gluten-free lifestyle on your own volition. To avoid this stumbling block, holding the determination to keep yourself in check is key.


At the same time, solely relying on yourself to stay on the right course is, in itself, often challenging. To mitigate this, you could ask a trusted friend or family member to help you out; after penning down a list of reasons on why embarking on a gluten-free diet is essential for your health, you could pass it to them and get them to remind you of why maintaining this diet is so important to you in the first place when you feel like you might be on the verge of slipping up. Not only will you feel proud of yourself for managing to push away temptations, but your body will also thank you for it in the long-run.


Committing to a complete lifestyle change is always a daunting and demanding task, but that shouldn’t be an excuse not to try. Taking note of potential pitfalls could assist in easing you into the gluten-free diet, and help you avoid plunging headfirst into the dark. With enough willpower and determination, maintaining your diet should be a breeze, if not manageable!