Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Do you find being a Coeliac stressful? If so what relaxation tips have you found useful?

Did you find that after diagnosis you were on edge reading every label of things before you ate or drank them? Do you get irritated each time you eat out having to repeat yourself 3 times so the waiter understands you're asking for gluten free food (not 'free' food!).

If so what relaxation tips have you used? Deep breathing? Meditation? Forward planning and ringing ahead to de-stress outings with food? Share your POSITIVE tips for newbies.

12 Replies

I don't find it at all stressful on a day to day basis and as long as I am looking after myself I can pretty much forget I have coeliacs

What I do find stressful is the lack of knowledge or down right incompetence of staff at restaurants / cafes etc. When they look at me as if they have no idea what I'm talking about I feel my stress levels rise, especially when I am with company and I know I am holding things up I feel anxious and embarrassed.

This is why I always try to be organised before I eat out and call in advance to forewarn them and to make sure that they know how to cater for me.

I get a little frustrated at the lack of label information at supermarkets and spend ages scanning ingredients list only to err on the side of caution and not buy it. I ask staff for assistance and they generally aren't much help..It would be oh so easy if every item on the supermarket shelf said either suitable for coeliacs or not suitabel for coeliacs.. *sigh* in an ideal world..

I find it very lovely when friends who invite me to eat have gone to great length to find out what I can and cant have, this makes me feel loved.. :) I laugh and call myself the dinner guest from hell..


As a new coeliac I find it quite understandable that restaurant staff no nothing about GF or cross contamination as I knew very little myself when diagnosed. We live in. a CD hothouse where we have to think about it all the time. They don't.

There are lads of allergies and conditions which require special diets and CD is just one of many...


I eat mainly in places I am happy with and new places I discuss my needs with the staff and have few problems, sadly with shopping it is a case of stick to what I know best and read labels to place more variety in the diet. Being as I also have a formaldehyde allergy I need also to avoid foods that produce it so steer clear of gluten & gluten/wheatfree products there is also a risk using medications for me.

Now I know my problems I know the answers and questions are being raised with the Department of Health.


I found it stressful before being diagnosed as I knew there was something wrong but since diagnosis I've felt so much better that I've learnt to live with being a coeliac.

My advice to newbies is to check out what you can eat rather than dwelling on what you can not. I was very surprised at what I could buy on my doorstep. I have a cafe shop within walking distance of my house that sells fresh falafels daily the cafe serves a vegan gf brakfast and soup and always does a gf lunch. A few doors down another cafe serves gf pancakes all day.

And realised that this was not unique the secret was seeking out what's gf where, so I do a web search before visiting anywhere and it's amazing what turns up sometimes and I also go in places and check them out, for instance I regularly drive to S. Devon and I found that one coffee shop served Twining's tea and was squeaky clean and they also sell gf chocolate macaroons I then found that another across the rd sold gf chocolate brownies. Then yet another made polenta cake made with coarse cornmeal and is gf. I sometimes pop in a book shop on the corner of Mill st and there's this fabulous smell of spiced food cooking and that's from a cafe called Cafe Asia and they serve gf options. I actually really like the chocolate brownines and when I go in there a friendly voice says gluten free chocolate brownie? before I even get to the counter and I'm 120+ miles from home. So it's out there the secret is to look beyond the free from shelves of supermarkets.

And here's a place in Bath and look at the gluten free cakes!

The Society cafe is on my list of places to visit as I cycle from Bristol to Bath on the cycle track sometimes so I won't worry about the calories LOL.

And to prove my point do a search for any town/city and search gluten free wherever. And my positive tip is to be grateful that you've been diagnosed and focus on what you can eat.


The Blue Deli in Thompson Street, Barry,South Wales, has a great selection of gf foods, which, for me, is a Godsend, as have been coeliac for six months, and often pop in there for coffee. Also Costa do a lovely chocolate brownie that, when warmed, is LOVELY with cream. Have started cooking welshcakes with Gutafin white mix, and they are lovely. I do like cakes etc, so to be able to still have them is fantastic. Forgotten I could cook!!!!!!!!!!!!!


When I was first diagnosed, a shop in the supermarket that might normally take apprx 40 minutes took me 4 hours because I spent so much time reading all the labels I nearly went out of my mind. Regarding eating out, many more places are now understanding GF but if the chef does not understand the term GF then he won't understand the problem caused by cross contamination so I would avoid such places. Stress &coeliac disease work hand in hand because you are constantly checking that nothing has changed which sadly manufacturers seem to do without any consideration. So you have to be on your toes. Sorry I can't be more positive but I don't like to dress things up. Good luck be vigilant &things should slip into place. Take your time & don't let anyone rush you. Xx



I'm a 'newbie' myself and was only diagnosed a couple of months ago. I have to say that for me the relief of finally having an answer to my health problems, and of feeling well after years of illness, more than compensates for the minor inconvenience of being gluten-free.

As I have been vegan for over 20 years, I was already used to scrutinising labels and to eating a different diet to others, which I think must have given me a head start. As others have already stated, I also think it helps enormously to focus on what you can eat, rather than the things you can't.

In addition, going gluten-free gives you the opportunity to be a lot more creative in the kitchen. I have never been much of a cook, but am enjoying experimenting with different dishes and find I am eating a greater variety of foods than ever before.

On the subject of stress-relief, as a yoga teacher and health writer, I must also give yoga a mention. Whether you practise a few simple moves at home or attend a class, yoga is brilliant for relaxing both body and mind. And it's suitable for all ages and levels of ability - one of my students is 87!

To fellow GF newbies, I would say the best approach is to embrace your new lifestyle and to see it as the path to a new, healthier, happier you! Oh, and do make the most of this forum. I'm finding it invaluable to be in touch with others in the same situation...


I did at first and took a full year really to get used to it. However, now a couple of years later, I am on a day to day basis not stressed. In saying that I do when I go out with friends or mainly and when I am traveling. The way I get round this, is to think ahead - know where you are going and phone ahead, places you can eat at. If traveling I do the same, and for example with work/traveling not always easy to take a pack lunch (which I normally do) so I organise with the place I am staying to make one up for me so I have somthing with me. I always look for places which are ok GF wise example, London st pancras station I look for M&S and I can get a GF sandwish etc. I always have nuts in the car and I always carry an apple in my bag. Hope this helps :-)


PS airports are the worst, but I take nuts and fruit.


I found a way to relax on flights: Prepare a gluten free pizza to take with me to eat cold with a glass of the airline's red wine at 35000 feet whilst the music in the headphones from my ipod slowly microwaves my brain. Not healthy, but hey-ho, everyone needs to relax now and again.


Lots of great points & tips - great work!


I find riding my bike and running alway help me to relax, never fails!


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