Living with a Celiac

Living with a Celiac sounds rather scary!!  But, it is not that scary and most of the time there is no difference.

You, as the partner, friend or family member of a person diagnosed with Celiac Disease has to realize that this person does not live a Gluten free diet by choice. It is not a “fad” that they are going through. Who would choose not to eat cookies and fresh bread if they had a choice??

However, it is very important to realize that this condition is serious and even the smallest amount of gluten can lead to illness and/or bowel damage. Who would want that on their conscience?

At home in the kitchen - you have a choice to either eat gluten free meals that are cooked for you, or cook for yourself.  Generally you should not notice any difference in the taste with the meal being prepared using gluten free ingredients.  Meals can be stir fried dishes, roast meals, meat and vegetables, pasta dishes, salads and desserts using gluten free products such as gravies, pastas, sauces or mayonnaise. There is also a  large range of ice creams/dairy desserts that can be chosen that does not contain any gluten.

As the person who does not have celiac disease, you can have your own bread, cookies and cereals (that contain gluten), as it is not good for a person without the celiac condition to totally not eat gluten. Just make sure that the cookies, breads, lollies etc are kept in  separate containers so they do not get mixed up with the gluten free products.

It is recommended to have two separate toasters that are used to toast each others bread. You cannot allow crumbs from your bread to come in contact with the gluten free bread. A little bit of contamination is just as bad as eating a whole piece of bread. You also have to make sure that the chopping board/bench area is free of any crumbs; use a separate knife if spreading butter or margarine on the toast.

It is a good idea to have separate margarine/butter and maybe even a favourite spread just for the gluten free person.  This will save any crumbs being left behind.

If you are having a party, just make sure that the gluten free cookies (or rice biscuits)  are not put on the same plate as normal cookies. Educate your friends not to dip their cookies into dips as this can leave crumbs behind and contaminate the dip. You could use a dip spreader or better still,  have gluten free dip and gluten free cookies on a separate platter.


Barbeque Cooking - This is normally left up to the men of the house do as they do it better!! Ensure that the barbeque plate is thoroughly clean prior to cooking, especially if you are cooking at a public park. If cooking meat that is not gluten free like patties or marinated meats, then ensure that this meat is cooked well away from the gluten free food.   'Baking Paper' can be used to cook the gluten free meat on to keep it separate from the other meats.

Juices/crumbs can easily be spread. Always use two sets of tongs to 'turn' the different foods – remember cross contamination is bad. This would be the same consideration you should give to a person who is vegetarian or vegan.

Shopping for Gluten Free Products - If there is a requirement for the non-gluten free person to do the weekly shopping it is very important for that person to buy products that are naturally gluten free, labeled gluten free or to be able to read the ingredient list to determine if the product is gluten free.