Gluten free at Christmas: Hello everyone, I'm... - Thyroid UK

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Gluten free at Christmas

bristolboy profile image

Hello everyone,

I'm hypo, have Hashi's and I'm NOT coeliac. I went gluten free a week ago at the suggestion of my doctor. I appreciate that doing this 3 weeks before Christmas was probably not the best time to start, but she (my doctor) thought that a 3-week trial might give an indication of whether GF would help me or not. My intention is to trial it for at least 3 months, then see how things have gone and whether it has helped me.

I have a couple of questions that you good people might be able to help me with.

Firstly, I've done my research and know it's perfectly possible to do a GF Christmas using what's available in the shops. However, we will inevitably be eating at relatives houses over the festive period and it's very possible that I will "fall off the GF wagon" either unknowingly or knowingly - so will eating more than a "trace" of gluten after 3 weeks of being GF violently upset my digestion? And will it undo any good that's been done over the three weeks? I appreciate that 3 weeks is no time at all on this hypo/Hashis journey!!

Secondly, many products state they "May contain traces" of gluten, usually because they are produced in a factory that also produces some gluten-containing products (OK, I'll be honest, I'm thinking of chocolate products specifically but the same applies to other, everyday items!!!!!). Does eating such products (in moderation) pose much of a risk to my digestion (and my GF progress)? I understand that it's a gamble - the "May contain" warning will just be covering the manufacturers backs in many cases - but there probably WILL be some traces in other products. I suppose it may boil down to what constitutes a "trace", because even GF-labelled products are allowed to contain minute traces, aren't they?

All advice gratefully received. And Happy Christmas to those of you who celebrate it :-) . Nick x

11 Replies

Hi Nick

Let’s get the important question answered first😊: Snickers bars are gluten free, also Kind bars from Tesco’s.

As to whether you would suffer digestionwise if accidentally glutened, I really cannot say. Have you had problems with gluten before? I don’t have many symptoms of gluten intolerance; I have gone gluten-free merely in an attempt to reduce TPO antibodies but do feel better for it. I understand from what I’ve read, mainly on this site, that even small amounts of gluten can completely sabotage your efforts.

In your place, I would probably wait until after Christmas to start your gf diet as it’s quite difficult to begin with. It takes a while to find out what you can and cannot eat.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope all goes well for you and you have a really good Christmas.

Best wishes


Hi Caroline,

Thanks for the advice - especially the Snickers info, LOL!! For what it's worth, I think Quality Street may also be GF.

Sorry I didn't make my reasons clear for going GF, but they are the same as yours - I want to reduce my TPO antibodies.

It might just be my imagination, but I fancy that I already feel a little bit better, and it's only been a week. Possibly a tiny bit more energy, and possibly a slightly less "foggy" head - hopefully it's not just my imagination or wishful thinking!

You think that even small amounts of gluten might possibly sabotage my efforts. Given that I've already done a fair bit of research on what I can and cannot eat, I think what I'll do, subject to any other advice received here, is continue my short "practice session" until Christmas, then inevitably go a little off the rails over Christmas and undo any good I've done, and then start again in earnest after Christmas.

Thanks again, and have a great Christmas yourself.


Thank you for the information about Quality Street - there’s usually some of that around at Christmas😊. I particularly like the gluten-free Livia’s Kitchen brand. The millionaire’s shortcake bites are delicious and can be bought in Boots.

Your plan to have a practice run at going gluten free is quite a good one in that you will have learned an awful lot by the time you go gf in earnest in the New Year.

I was accidentally glutened six weeks after first going gluten free and understand that that pretty well wiped out any benefit from the previous six weeks😐. I learned from members on this site that mistakes are almost inevitable, particularly when first going gf and that we just have to learn to live with it and move on.

I had TPO antibodies of >1300 at diagnosis. After 9 months on gf diet, my latest Medichecks blood test shows they have reduced to fewer than 350 so I will definitely be carrying on with it. I used to have lots of stomach aches which I always put down to stress but these have virtually gone now so generally I am doing better on a gf diet. Fingers crossed you will too.

Best wishes


Hi. You can’t be a bit gf any more than a bit pregnant 😀. In my experience, getting gluten out of my system took 2 weeks so it can hang around once ingested. It’s really not that hard. Eat fresh food fruit and vegetables and stay away from ready made and processed foods. Appreciate that’s hard at Xmas and rather than try and fail (or deprive yourself of goodies only to later find out gf makes no difference ) why not kick the can down the road to January. To the question of those warnings that food made where gluten present, I don’t worry too much about that. The risk is quite low and the manufacturers are really covering their backsides. If you are gluten intolerant and inadvertently eat some then my experience is I feel it immediately and for a few days. Good luck. 👍

bristolboy profile image
bristolboy in reply to Olsbird

Hi Olsbird,

Many thanks for your advice. I see what you mean about not being able to be a bit-GF, but I think I'll still give it a bit of a half-hearted trial run up to (and over) Christmas just to get into the GF frame of mind (but not expecting to see any results until I get into it seriously after Christmas). Have you seen Kipsy's mention elsewhere in this thread about charcoal tablets possibly being helpful if you accidentally gluten yourself? I might get some as an insurance policy!! Nick :-)

Good for you Nick! I’ve been gf for 18 months and like Caroline my antibodies have fallen from over 1000 to in the 200s. I was fine last Christmas about staying gf but am missing the thought of some of the Xmas food goodies this year. I also miss beer although Peroni & other makes do make gf versions. M& S make good gf mince pies and Tesco does a lovely single size gf panettone if you like that kind of thing. Going to friends is tricky but not impossible- I remind mine that I’m gf and that I hope they won’t be offended if I just eat what I can. Most are superb at trying to accommodate me. I’ve been told by a nutritionist that charcoal tablets are good at mopping up accidental gluten..2 after eating gluten, 2 the next morning then a further 2 later the next day. I bought some on the Internet. I was glutened quite badly on holiday a few months ago & spent the next day in bed with dreadful stomach pains, & feeling very flu like. Before I went gf, I would be in discomfort after bread, pasta etc but nothing as painful as this incident. I guess that 18 months off gluten made me hyper sensitive??? Good luck- you’re doing absolutely the right thing in going gf.

Caroline888 profile image
Caroline888 in reply to Kipsy

Thanks, Kipsy, for the mention of M & S gluten-free mince pies - I thought mince pies would definitely be off the menu this year.

I've never heard of the use of charcoal tablets for mopping up gluten but will certainly buy some now. To find you've been accidentally glutened is depressing to say the least when you make so much effort to avoid it - at least the charcoal tablets would give us something positive to do about it! Thanks so much for the information.

Best wishes


Kipsy profile image
Kipsy in reply to Caroline888

The pies didn’t last long...I’m afraid to say that I ate all four in one go today 😞 The novelty was too tempting!

Caroline888 profile image
Caroline888 in reply to Kipsy

Well you had to try them out before Christmas didn’t you? Perhaps you should buy another box just to be extra sure!😊 Enjoy!!

Hi Caroline and Kipsy,

Thanks both for the good advice and support. My TPO antibodies are much lower than yours, in the high-200s, so I have less to gain from going GF, but I'm definitely going to try it. I'll stick with my plan of a trial run up to Christmas (and will look for some charcoal tablets as insurance!!), then go for it seriously after Christmas.

Regarding mince pies, I happened to be eyeing-up some of Tesco's own brand GF ones yesterday and a lovely lady shopper who was long-term coeliac said they weren't up to much - but she highly recommended Iceland's own brand ones. I seem to have spoken to an awful lot of very helpful total strangers since cruising the various supermarkets GF aisles recently (plus another lovely lady this morning while waiting for a puncture repair - dunno how THAT happened!!!) - what a wonderful community!!!

Nick :-)

bristolboy profile image
bristolboy in reply to Kipsy

Hi Kipsy,

Many thanks. See my reply to Caroline888 above (or below?!). Nick :-)

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