How do you go gluten free and do so healthily?
How do you feed a family if only one of you is gluten intolerant or coeliac? It’s a problem that can cause frustration and resentment where someone ends up losing out to make life easier.
I met a lot of people at the Allergy & Free From Show who had been diagnosed coeliac for many years and were still struggling with what to feed themselves and the family with only one of them with the problem.
I also met newly diagnosed mums (mainly) starting to panic because only one of their children was coeliac and not the others.
The worry was how can I make it fair, not feel like someone is missing out and easy for me to manage? How can I make sure everyone is healthy but happy?
With an estimated 85% of the UK population undiagnosed with gluten intolerance this is going to become a bigger problem.
But what difference does it make if you do compromise on what you feed your family? Afterall you’ve all managed this long and got by.
One of the greatest problems with gluten intolerance is that so many symptoms remain unseen. Damage to tissues that may ca
use a headache or hairloss. Damage to intestines that causes constipation or bloating or even random outbreaks of itchy elbows or shins that lasts for weeks and then mysteriously disappears.
By ignoring the condition for you or your child you do keep the risk much higher of greater long term damage and disease. Cancers, depression, Chron’s disease and thyroid damage are all conditions of the long term damage from gluten.
The truth is that it is simple to adapt the family diet or your own personal diet quickly and easily so that everyone starts to feel better without realising what they’re not having anymore. There are plenty of places and forums that will help with an integrative approach to healthy eating for any allergy or intolerance to foods.
When I discovered I needed to cut out gluten I found that I could change the meals for all my family and them not notice. For 100 days this year I went grain free. But so did they! (sneaky eh?!)
So what did we eat?
Well we ate lots of veg. On their own, in stir fries, roasted, grated, chopped, noodled-d and diced. We ate excellent quality local meats. We ate homemade cakes and crackers and flan bases made from ground almonds. My daughter had her 18th birthday during this period and we had a fabulous homemade chocolate birthday cake that could have been served to anyone without a mention of ‘grain free’.
As a consequence of my own experiment I helped one lady remove all back pain (that she’s had for 40 years) by cutting out all grains. We’ve tried adding some of the gluten free grains back in, but for her a grain free diet works wonders, she’s never felt so good. She runs a family and manages to keep everyone happy.
Losing hair everytime she brushed it was becoming a huge problem for one of my walkers. After adopting a gluten free plan for 3 weeks her hair started to fall out less when brushing and washing and is now looking lush! With some simple pointers she is now feeding her whole family better and more healthily and they are all benefiting with renewed energy. Not bad for a bad hair day!
So in conclusion
- Someone in your family has a food intolerance or allergy.
- You need to keep everyone happy, healthy and feeling like they are not missing out.
- It can be done by cutting out grains and boosting vegetables and salads and fruits.
- Family favourites can be adapted to suit everyone in one sitting, rather than two or three meals.
- You can even have cake!
Making these changes to your daily food planning is a simple 1,2,3 step process. I’ve done it, I’ve had others do it, you could do it too.
You’ll feel so pleased you did.
Heidi Strickland-Clark runs FastTrack Fit Camp, a health focussed bootcamp in the Wokingham area with venues in Swallowfield, Yateley, Winnersh, Wokingham, Twyford & Warfield. She has a passion for all things food and health related and has more than a healthy preference for good, black coffee.