Mistakes are bound to happen occasionally, but eating gluten deliberately is reckless. The psychological aspects from the fear of eating gluten by accident or the sadness and anger that can lead to cheating should not be underestimated.
Eating gluten may trigger immediate symptoms such as diarrhoea and/or vomiting, which can last for several days or there may be almost no immediate reaction depending on the individual. Remember that even a small amount of gluten may cause harm.
When you feel symptoms, try and work out where the gluten came from. If you find it is happening on a regular basis perhaps there’s something you’re eating that contains gluten. Here’s a few tips on finding the source of the gluten:
- Keep a food diary and review what you are eating against the Food List. Make sure you are using this years food list and consider whether a visit to your dietitian could be helpful.
- Assess your kitchen set up. Perhaps cross-contamination is the cause?
- If you are a regular customer at a restaurant or cafe perhaps this could be the source of the gluten. Double-check everything when you’re eating out.
Remember to remain positive. Focus on finding the cause and avoiding further accidents rather than reprimanding yourself. Bear in mind that there are other things that can make you ill such as rich foods, spicy foods, greasy food or too much alcohol. Don’t blame gluten when something else might have been the cause.
If you experience an unpleasant reaction to gluten you’re probably motivated enough not to cheat. If you have milder symptoms it is hard to withstand the cravings for your old favourites but you need to be able to deal with these emotions and find effective ways to stop yourself from cheating. Here’s some tips for avoiding cheating which involve avoiding or changing the circumstances that can make you want to cheat:
- Take control with restaurant choices. For example if your friends want to go out for a pizza, suggest a restaurant where gluten-free pizza is available rather than going to a regular pizzeria and having to persuade yourself to have a salad. A list of Restaurants Catering for Coeliacs is available to members.
- It can be hard to watch others enjoy food that is now off limits to you, particularly if you don’t have a gluten-free substitute handy. At home it can be acceptable to ask that certain foods are not brought into the house. If you’re out and about without a gluten-free snack at hand a good way of coping is to think of something that you enjoy that you can eat soon.
- It may help to make it a habit to bring something suitable with you, whenever you are going out, so that if you get hungry or end up in a social situation, there is something in your handbag or pocket to look forward to.
- Keep foods that make you want to cheat out of sight and where possible out of the house or office.
- Try new recipes to add interest to your diet.
- Join the society and find a friend that you can call to sympathise with your cravings.