Endoscopy next week, plan to go gluten free straight after. Any advice on how to get started?

Had blood tests done by drs and ttg came back at 80. Consultant says almost definitely coeliacs although wants to rule out a couple of other auto-immune possibilities like lupus due to symptom (joint pains, pins and needles).

I think I'm going to go gf straight after endoscopy to see what impact this has. I'm a comptetant home cook and prefer to make by own food rather than buy pre made stuff. I do love wheat in all it's forms so am a little sad! Now going gf has become a reality rather than an idea I'm feeling a little daunted. I cook for the whole family including a 2 and a 1year old.

I'm really after advice or ideas on how to get going breakfast and lunch seem more daunting than dinner I think.


17 Replies

  • Hi galey,

    One thing to bear in mind, is the equipment you're cooking with.

    If you're going gluten-free then you will either need a new toaster or the use of toaster bags every time you do toast for yourself.

    I was also advised to change my sieves, colander and wooden spoons when I went gluten-free (by the hospital dietician). I reluctantly parted with my pasta machine

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    as well because of cross contamination issues.

    In the beginning you'll want to check every food label very carefully when shopping, so allow for extra time in the supermarket. I decided to join Coeliac UK to get access to their food directory. It's far from perfect but it's a good starting place when you're a complete newbie.

    Food wise these days; I tend to have an omelette, fruit and/or toast for breakfast, depending on what mood I'm in. There are some good gluten-free cereals out there but they're not really my thing. I prefer to have a higher protein breakfast because it keeps me fuller for longer.

    For me, the only way to eat gluten-free bread is toasted - I find it too dry or cloying to eat straight out of the packet (but GF bread is gradually improving as new players get involved in the market). To be honest, I never really was big on eating sandwiches anyhow.

    In work situations I tend to favour things like GF crackers, soups, pates, fruit and salads etc. At home I eat a lot of GF pasta; vegetables; Heinz beans and jacket potatoes; and I also love rice noodles. If you're not a vegetarian like me, then the majority of meat and fish is okay - unless it's been processed, eg: ham, sausages or fish-fingers.

    If you give up gluten and find you still don't feel right; then be aware that you may also (and unfortunately) have other food intolerances - for example, having a dairy intolerance is fairly common when newly diagnosed as a coeliac. I wish somebody had told me this at the time of my diagnosis! It took me over six months to figure this one out.

    If you're a competent cook, I'm sure you'll do just fine. There are lots of gluten free recipes on the Internet these days if you're struggling for ideas.

    Eating in restaurants will take time to adapt to and can be very difficult (I still find it can get a bit embarrassing when asking for what I need!). Again the situation is improving but I find a general rule of thumb is that if you have any doubts about the food being gluten-free, politely say no to it. Trust me – it's much less painful than becoming ill again!

    Btw, get used to carrying a few snack foods in your handbag (just in case) - because it's much better than going hungry!

    Finally, good luck with those tests. I hope you get the answers you need.

  • I used to agree with you about bread, but sandwich thins have been a life-saver for me. I love bread - I ought to say "I used to love bread" because real bread is a distant memory and I now dream of a real baguette - and finding something that works for me is such a treat (even if it does cost an arm and a leg).

  • Hi galey,

    We are a three person household with only me as a coeliac, but apart from checking ingredients ect. we live a pretty normal food life. That is only one meal is cooked each evening for all.

    We don't and never have done processed food. We always use cornflour to thicken and if say breadcrumbs are in any recipes then mine are used.

    You may also want to consider buying a breadmaker. I produce GF bread that's often used when we have guests and all say it's as good as normal. If you want to try look at the GFG arcive as there are lots of posts on how to make the best bread.

    Best of luck and be aware you are now going to eat a healthier diet than most non coeliacs!!

  • I have my own food cupboard to keep my food free from cross contamination and my own spread in the fridge that everyone knows is mine. I don't buy ordinary flour, all of my cooking and baking (I love doing both) is done with gf flour and gf baking powder usually doves farm. Get xanthum gum to help with pastry. There are plenty of gf cooking and baking books out, but just check the internet first for ideas.. Or ask on here!

    I find bananas are a coeliacs friend, the ideal portable food. I often start my day with a fruit smoothie, or gf toast, or a cooked breakfast. Lunches I make soup, or have rice cakes with spreads, salads, I like dietary specials brown ciabatta rolls too. Remember to keep checking labels when you shop, it takes forever to start with. Best of luck, you are not on your own, it does get easier!

  • Don't beat yourself up if you slip up and have something with gluten in while you are getting used to the new way of thinking about food.

    Gluten has addictive qualities and you will find yourself yearning for bread, cake and beer etc; for the first few months walking past bread at the supermarket will be awful.

    If you do cave or accidentally contaminate yourself, you will likely feel awful as your body becomes more sensitive once you give it up, stock up on some probiotics, gluten enzyme tablets, aloe vera juice and activated carbon to help mop up the poison and help you feel a little better.

  • I like variety at breakfast so alternate between home made yoghurt and fruit, boiled egg and crispbread, cheese omelette, and my favourite - poached egg on an M&S gf crumpet. Those crumpets are also good with jam.I don't ever bother with gf bread. For lunch I make a lot of soups. If I'm out I take a snack for lunch - some cheese and rice crackers or similar. It's worth finding an emergency snack that you like and always carrying it in your bag - a bar of safe chocolate or something like that, and bananas, as someone else mentioned, can be a life saver. Really wishing you luck, and honestly it won't be long till you can look at the cakes and pastries in the coffee shop and not want them at all.

  • Same thing happened to me, first join this coeliac society, they are helpful, I find Juvela flour is great , my wife adapts ordinary recipes it works well with cakes and puddings,I make my own bread in a breadmaker, as for breakfast I use some makes of cornflakes, and rice crispier recommended in the coeliac soc.

    Booklet. Once you get used to gf it's ok

    All the best

  • My daughter and granddaughter have been gluten free for about 6 years, they have eggs for breakfast in one form or another, gluten free bacon sometimes, salad and tuna for lunch and meat or chicken and veges for dinner, she keeps it real simple. all the best.

  • There's a really good you tube video on this which I watched with my boyfriend to help us to adjust. I couldn't find the exact one I watched but here's one to start with for you

    The key question is: Is your whole household going to go gluten free or not?? That decision needs to made first. Either way it can be worked around but would be easier if the whole household goes gluten free. ( mine isn't but it still works ok). Be prepared for a long road of learning how to cook again; it's quite fun!!!

  • Thank you so much for all the tips. Its helping me to find a focus at the start.

    I think the boys will eat a lot less gluten, but some things, like breakfast cereal and pasta I'll leave in - especially as its cheaper!!

    I do like to make my own bread, so experimentation awaits!

    Thanks for the youtube link, I'll check that out and food ideas have been a great help.


  • Having been gluten free for three years, I can recommend making a list of all the dishes you would have eaten at each meal. Then plan how to adapt these to be gluten free. Always plan weekly meals this makes food shopping much easier. You will spend 2-3 times as long doing the shopping reading labels. But if you are able to make sauces from scratch thats great. Have to watch out for wheat in Gravy's, barley pops in many places you wouldnt think of. Cutting down on dairy would be advised also or switching to lacto free and also staying away from gluten free oats for the first 6-12months. ( everyone slips up at the beginning- I wasn't feeling well and wasn't until I searched my fridge checking every label and found I had bought 'crumbed ham') Lunches- only bread I would suggest for lunch is the genius multiseed loaf. Winters easy homemade soup and summer- salads or leftovers from the night before. Breakfasts once you get sorted if in the UK you can get 14units of gf products each month on prescription. Glutafin Pasta, spaghetti, is good. Livwell breakfast muffins are great toasted. Also you can get cereals and Glutafin multipurpose white mix is great for muffins, cakes, dough bread stix and there's plenty of recipes on their website too. When you join glutafin, livwell, juvela on their websites they will all send you a welcome box of different products to encourage you to pick their product on prescription too

  • If you're a competent cook you'll be fine - I'm an incompetent one and I haven't killed myself yet.

    The thing to remember is that it doesn't need to be labelled gluten-free to be gluten free. Eggs? Gluten free. Potatoes? Gluten-free. Rice? Gluten-free.

    Before I found some gluten-free cereal that I liked, I would sometimes make rice pudding for breakfast. How's that for a great excuse for pudding - it's just cereal and milk, isn't it? (And a bit of sugar.)

    As for lunches, as well as sandwiches (a bit tricky, but I've now found some bread that works) I'd have pasta, Greek salad (I love it) or cold omelet (but it tastes better if you call it frittata or tortilla). I found the way round it was to work out what I liked and then to see if I could take out the gluten.

  • Thanks again all, this has been very helpful.

    I had the endoscopy today and whilst the biopsy results will be a few weeks they saw enough to give the preliminary diagnosis of CD and recommend going GF straight away. I've had a few farewell meals to old favourites and day 1 of new life starts today! Here's to a healthier future!!

  • It might be good to get referred to a dietician. I found them most helpful in working out what I could and couldn't eat. Although I felt much better once I stopped eating gluten I realised there were other things that made me ill too. A dietician should be able to help you. I can't eat Free From products but for lunch I often have something leftover from the night before so I try and cook extra. It was (and still is) a question of being organised for me. At first there were 4 of us in the household with the most ridiculous food preferences. It took a while to get things together but now we can all eat the same food.

  • I made a list of what I CAN eat ...... you know the kind of thing, meat, fish, vegs, fruit, eggs, cheese, cream, certain ice reams, macaroons, meringues, custard, jellies, some chocolates and sweets etc etc. It instantly made me feel better in myself (rather than concentrating on the negatives).

    Just a word of warning for the rest of the family - I read somewhere (sorry I've forgotton where) that going completely gluten free for a NON coeliac is not a good idea as it can give them a tendancy to become sensitive to it after a few years.

    Just a thought for the NON coeliacs in your family.

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