The picture above shows a snapshot of my results from a health test I took after coming across a health fair while strolling in the mall. After taking the tests, I received my results a few weeks later, and found out I am severely allergic to gluten among other things.
Currently 18 million people in the US have a non-celiac disease-related gluten sensitivity, According to Beyond Celiac – an organization dedicated to educate the public on Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. This means gluten has a significant effect on the person causing symptoms, but not in the same way it affects those with celiac disease.
For those with celiac disease or who discover they have a severe sensitivity, the changeover to gluten free is extremely difficult, takes serious dedication, and patience because you will make mistakes along the way. In this article we’ll look at some tips on how to be successful with a gluten free diet and still be able to live somewhat of a normal life.** Eating Out**
The phenomenon of gluten intolerance has become a big topic of discussion for those in the psoriasis community as well as those outside of it. I’ve spoken with many individuals who have psoriasis and claim that gluten negatively affects them. Stores now have entire sections for gluten-free food, and restaurants are also slowly becoming more accommodating.
I like to dine out. I not only love food, but I enjoy the social time that comes with eating at a restaurant. I knew changing my diet would affect my ability to eat out significantly, but there are ways to still dine out and enjoy yourself safely. There are many restaurants that cater to those with a gluten intolerance. There are a few ways to be successful on a gluten free diet:
Download an app that will locate gluten free restaurants
The one I currently use is “Find me GF.” I can search for restaurants in my area with gluten free options. The app also provides articles on the latest news surrounding the gluten-free community.
Google the restaurant with the term “gluten free menu”
So far, every mainstream restaurant I’ve googled online has a gluten-free menu or at least an allergy list online. These lists will tell you exactly what you can eat at their establishment if you are gluten free. Some businesses also list other allergens such as fish, eggs, and nuts.
If you are still unsure, call ahead and ask to speak to a manager. Let them know you are gluten free and double check on the options they have available since menu’s can be different for mainstream restaurants depending on the location.
The Downfall: Unfortunately when you go out to eat you do have to consider gluten cross-contamination. This is when your food is prepared on the same surfaces or with the same tools as foods with gluten.Cross contamination does affect your food in a harmful way, and it may feel like a hassle to request special service (asking the food preparer to change gloves and to use different cooking utensils for your food.) Also, designated gluten-free foods such as pizza or burgers will ALWAYS cost you more.
But to my surprise there are a lot of restaurants in my area with gluten free options. I went to Blue Moon Pizza and had a gluten free pizza, and restaurants such as Yeah! Burger or Smash Burger also have gluten-free burger options. For a gluten-free request at the pizza place it was $4 extra, and $1.50 at Yeah! Burger.
Stores now have entire sections dedicated to gluten free food. You can go to your local grocery store and find some really great options ranging from noodles, cakes, cookies, breads, muffins, and much more. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have amazing options, but they are bit too expensive for my budget. So far I have been purchasing all my gluten free foods from Kroger’s, Publix or Aldi’s (A discount grocery store in the south). Make sure the box always says gluten free.
If it’s processed check the label, and if unsure - google it.
If it’s not fruit, veggies, unprocessed milk, eggs, nuts etc, you need to check the label. Although we think of gluten as breads, cakes and flour, gluten can often times be hidden in ingredients such as sauces and salad dressings! According to gluten.org, the item is NOT gluten free if it contains any of the following:
Oats unless the oats are certified gluten-free
The site also suggests looking out for “modified food starch.” Although it doesn’t specifically say gluten, it does contain it. So far I have discovered if I cook with and stick to unprocessed foods, I’m less likely to make a mistake and ingest gluten.
Although I am sharing my experience for those who are considering a gluten-free lifestyle, it is important to remember that you must consult with your doctor. Gluten free seems to be today’s trend for a healthier lifestyle, but in reality for many, a gluten free life is not necessary.
I’ve been gluten free for over one month and from what I’ve read, you don’t see true results until the third month – so be sure to check back for a follow-up article!
Alisha Bridges is a freelance health writer on the topics of sexual health, skin care, and psoriasis. She has lived and thrived with psoriasis for over two decades. Alisha is the creator of www.Beingmeinmyownskin.com, a site dedicated to sharing what it’s like to live with psoriasis. She is also a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a physician assistant with a concentration in dermatology. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @alishambridges.