WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is a general name given for the proteins found in Wheat, Barley, Rye and Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Gluten is a binding agent that helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together.
Gluten can be found in many types of foods. The more obvious products being breads, baked goods, pasta, cereal and beer. However, gluten can also be in foods that you don’t expect, including sauces, soups, salad dressings, marinades, food colourings, malt vinegars and gravy stock cubes and even beauty products.
The list is long but don’t let that stop you from enjoying a normal lifestyle. Get creative in the kitchen! You can find tips and recipes on our website to help you along the way.
WHAT IS COELIAC DISEASE?
Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition and auto-immune disease where a person is intolerant (has an adverse reaction) to the protein gluten. According to the Coeliac Society of Ireland, “there are an estimated 50,000 people living with coeliac disease in Ireland, and a further 400,000 who are gluten intolerant.” https://coeliac.ie/
If someone with coeliac disease is exposed to gluten, they may experience a wide range of symptoms and adverse effects, including:
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
- failure to grow at the expected rate
The Coeliac Society of Ireland produces an annual Food List booklet, a magazine and a monthly ezine, all available on joining. The Society has a website with information and advice on Coeliac Living, including a member’s forum, recipes and information on travelling and eating out.
If you are following a gluten free diet, it is particularly important not to allow your gluten free food to be contaminated with food that contains gluten. Even tiny amounts of gluten may cause people with coeliac disease to have symptoms in the short term and gut damage in the longer term. Therefore, taking cross-contamination seriously, is a must.
ROSALEEN'S TOP TIPS
Over years of experience living with Coeliac disease, I have compiled a list of tips and I want to share some with you. These tips are simply suggestions and proved to work well within my household. I hope they will be of some help to you.
- Be aware of cross contamination
- Getting creative in the kitchen will help you a lot
- Get used to reading food labels when you shop
- Pop your CSI Food List Booklet into your bag when shopping
- Remember lots of foods are naturally gluten-free
- You can still enjoy meals out with family and friends (Check Coeliac options are available and always mention to the staff that you are a Coeliac)
- Know which alcohol to avoid
AT HOME TIPS
When you are cooking at home, there are some simple steps to take that will help keep food preparation safe:
- Treat yourself to a kitchen shelf, drawer or cupboard. Just for you!
- Keep your foods sealed and separate
- Wipe down surfaces
- Clean pots and pans with fairy liquid and hot water (Some opt for separate pans)
- Separate bread boards is a good idea
- Use a separate toaster
- Use different butter dishes and jam spoons to prevent breadcrumbs from getting into condiments.