Newly diagnosed: where to turn for help

Newly diagnosed: where to turn for help

 

By Jennifer Harris, Gluten Free Go-To Guide

 

 

Being newly diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity is overwhelming, daunting and confusing. There is also a huge learning curve. Sure, it is great to find out the cause of these unexplained symptoms, but now comes the hard part - the research. Following a gluten-free diet is the only treatment for these autoimmune disorders because there is no cure.

 

Learning about gluten is the first of many steps on the road to transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle: not diet, lifestyle.  Many questions need to be asked and answered. What is gluten? What ingredients contain gluten? How do you avoid gluten when dining at home, work, on vacation, etc.? How do you identify gluten on a label? Can gluten be in over-the-counter products, like toothpaste, mouthwash, makeup, etc.? Is there gluten in my prescription medication? What does it really mean for something to be ‘gluten free’? The answers are sometimes complicated.

 

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle that will make it easier, less expensive, or less frustrating, but there are a number of keys to managing it that put you in the driver’s seat feeling empowered and in control:

 
  • Consult with a knowledgeable dietician to address vitamin deficiencies, learn about nutritious gluten-free grains and ingredients, and how to maintain a healthy weight.

 
  • Learn about celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity through research and by reading, reading, and more reading.

 
  • Adhere to a strict gluten-free diet without ‘cheating,’ or risk more medical issues down the road.

 
  • Find and join a local support group, because socializing with others who have the same or similar issues allows one not to feel so isolated. It is also a great way to make new friends, learn about gluten-free friendly restaurants, and get the scoop on the best places to grocery shop.

 
  • Follow up with a gastroenterologist and dietician yearly to keep your health on track. Vitamin deficiencies need to be monitored, and any other health issues should be addressed.

 

Just where can one turn for trustworthy information on celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity? The best websites to use for research are those of the national support groups and gluten-free magazines. These sites work to bring timely and accurate information to the gluten-free community, and they don’t perpetuate myths and misinformation. They work with the medical community to address new research, trends, and advocate for the gluten-free community 24/7.

  

Get informed about gluten in its many forms by vising the websites of these national support groups:

 
  • Canadian Celiac Association is dedicated to providing services and support to persons with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis through programs of awareness, advocacy, education, and research.

 
  • Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) drives diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease through advocacy, education, and advancing research to improve the quality of life for all people affected by gluten-related disorders.

  • The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) advances widespread understanding of celiac disease as a serious genetic autoimmune condition and works to secure early diagnosis and effective management. Their community outreach programs aim to educated individuals, doctors, foodservice professionals, and more to improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.

 

 

Stay informed by getting a subscription to gluten-free magazines that cover the in-and-outs of the gluten-free lifestyle:

 
  • Delight Gluten Free Magazine’s focus is on glossy photographs of their extensive gourmet recipes that take additional allergens into account. The magazine also features travel and lifestyle articles and comes out bi-monthly. $24 for six issues

 
  • Gluten Free Forever Magazine  is an independent magazine featuring food, travel, and editorial to bridge the gap between captivating, world-class food magazines and gluten-free living. This magazine is the newest of the bunch and has set itself apart from the pack by focusing on its creative layout, photography, and collection of recipes. $35 for four issues

 
  • Gluten Free Living was the first magazine dedicated to gluten-free living and continues to be one of the most authoritative voices in the market since its launch in 1995. It reports on ingredients, labeling, nutrition, medical research, recipes, and more. $34 for six issues

  
  • Gluten Free & More used to be called Living Without and recently transitioned to its new name and scope. It provides guidance, direction, product information and encouragement for people living on a gluten-free or other restricted diet. $23 for six issues

 
  • Simply Gluten Free Magazine serves as a gluten and allergen free, vegetarian, vegan, and paleo lifestyle resource providing recipes, tips, medical and personal stories, and more. $26.95 for six issues