Gluten Free Guerrillas
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Iv been a ceoliac about a year now & i'm still finding it hard to deal with the hole concept of what is good for me & what's not i still find shopping a nightmare and find myself eating the same things all the time , as for eating out iv not got a clue & when i get invited i find myself saying no because it scares the hell out of me !!!?????

6 Replies

Hi Carl, what you are going through is quite normal. Our society is wheat based and all we see are the foods that we can not eat rather than focus on what we can eat.

The vast majority of coeliac fear being made ill by gluten, I was diagnosed 17 years ago and the fear of being glutened is for me the worst aspect of being a coeliac. It is something that sets us appart from wheaties however well we deal with our diet.

I think that the psychological side of being a coeliac is not catered for. The majority of coerliac seem to go through a grieving period where they are painfully aware that their gf diet is for life its not like having flu or a broken leg, this is it, like it or lump it! This makes us feel isolated.

I went through a similar period in the first year after diagnosis as the ''novelty'' of feeling better wore off and it dawned on me that this was it. So after wallowing in self pity I started looking at what I could eat and havent looked back.

So what I would do is think about what you miss eating and find gf alternatives and start to look at foods that are naturally gf. And focus on this so you turn the emotions around and become open to foods from other cultures.

As for eating out what I would do is google eating out gluten free in your area and try eating out where the establishment has a good track record with gf dining. And go when it's quiet in the first instance so you don't feel that you are making a fuss but get their attention so that when you go back and they're busy they are clued about you and your diet.

As for eating healthy foods being a coeliac gives you a good reason to eat a healthy diet, it doesn't take long to knock a meal together rather than relying on ready meals it's just a change of attitude.

I hope this helps,



Hi Carl, It's been just two years for me. I go along with everything that Jerry and Tony say.

I'd like to add that I guess the people who are hit hardest are those who didn't have much variety in their diet for one reason or another.

My in-laws regarded rissotto as being 'wierd and foreign' and my wife hates rice - it's like maggotts and spaghetti - 'its like worms'. Curry is far to foreign.

If you were used to eating almost anything when you got diagnosed there would still be a rich variety of gluten free food to choose from. It also helps if you don't mind doing a bit of cooking.

Maybe you need to try eating things that you thought you didn't like before in order to increase your range and make it more interesting

As for eating out, I've found you just have to brave it.

If you don't want the whole of a restaurant to know you're a Coeliac ( and it is nothing to be ashamed about, welcome to the Club. You now have thousands of new friends that you haven't met yet!) carry a note or card in your wallet explaining what Coeliac is and show it discreetly to the eatery staff of take one of them aside and explain to them that you need to speak to the person who knows what the food contains. If the eatery can't produce such a person, don't eat there. Alternatively, phone them up before you visit them and ask if you can talk about gluten free food.

When you arrive, get to speak to the person you spoke to on the phone.

Eventually you will be able to shout over the noise in an eatery and explain proudly " I am a Coeliac, but don't worry, as long as the people here don't serve me with gluten I won't throw up everywhere or pebbledash the bathroom". It takes some getting used to, and when you do get used to it you will be a different, improved person.

Good Luck Carl.


Carl - lots of great comments from members as always. We hope that's given you some inspiration. We often find taking a friend (who will also eat GF with you - even if they are not a coeliac) makes it easier. That way a restaurant knows there's 2 GF-ers they need to cater for. Some chains are surprisingly good - Nandos (great allergy book - chicken, chips - check they aren't putting croutons in the oil - long story we complained to HQ about & seems to have resolved - macho peas are GF), Zizzi also do a good GF menu and their duck, chicken & GF pasta & sauces are GF. Always always speak to the manager (before you sit down) & if they seem clueless leave. Also try and spot some good local places that are GF - often little local restaurants really make an effort & you may be pleasantly surprised when you find one of the owners is a coeliac too! There's also some good facebook pages like Coeliac in the City and Coeliac in Birmingham that offer up user led advice on where to eat out.

Our top tip is avoid the free from aisles apart from the basics (bread/ pasta) & focus on what you can eat & naturally GF food. Often the Free From aisles are riddled with high fat salt and sugar products. They can taste very inferior and you'll waste a fortune only to be disappointed. Instead take things slowly introducing what you know is safe - home made meals etc. Then build up to products/ foods once you've got the hang of reading labels. Even M&S and Sainsbury's have come on leaps and bounds with labelling food GF / stating allergens clearly. So once you get used to products it doesn't feel so draining as you can skim labels more quickly. And remember that slip ups happen & that feeling pissed off every time you pass an advert for your old favourite food or crave a cake in a coffee shop is normal. You will get over it. You will discover naturally GF food you enjoy & a wide circle of GF friends who can talk about gluten free life forever and get the pros and cons.


Hi Carl, I've been on a strict wheatfree/Glutenfree diet for about 11 - 12 yrs. Still to this day I can grieve over foods I cannot have. Much less often now. I think when you've been brought up on steamed puddings, stews with dumplings, readybrek, weetabix etc etc you never forget those things. I have a card I carry in my purse that I got from & I can produce this if necessary when I go out to eat so the chef can advise what is safe to have. It has been very useful. As others have mentioned though the ideal solution is too make your own meals from scratch. I took to making lots of cakes & as each got better & better I started making them for members of my family who do not have such allergies & they loved them. Now friends & family ask me to make cakes for them. You can get coffee & cake at Costa's. M&S Coffee shops also cater for us as do their main food halls. All the big supermarkets & some health stores also carry gluten/wheat free food. The best bread for me so far is Genius Multiseeded Loaf. The down side although there are quite a few is the cost of our food. I think it's totally out of order. I feel we are treated as people going through a phase rather than people who's life depends on being able to have staple foods the same as those not on a special diet. Keep at it Carl, it's hard, I won't lie but it has to be done.


I have been diagnosed for the last 24 years, still find it difficult to stick to. I do cheat most of the time.



I am coeliac for 2 years. I am not going to eat out most of the time. I have some problems at the uni, where there is no gf food just sandwich everywhere. Also when I am traveling, on the airports, airplanes and other countries, hotels...makes little bit difficult but all other time is ok. I am going shopping and can buy lots of great naturally gf food. When you have a special desire of something, you can always find something to substitute, so I don`t feel any disadvantage in term of not getting everything. I try to work out my routine with going out. Packing my lunch, if I am traveling, packing my cereal, bread, then is fine. Going to have breakfast in the hotel, bringing my own bread and cereal. They usually understand. I am thinking now to create a package with GF pasta, pizza base, beer, soy souse etc. to give it to the chef in the restaurant to cook from this for me. lol


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