Gluten free diet

Aoecs Corn Tortilla

The only treatment for coeliac disease is removing all gluten from your diet.

Learning what you can and cannot eat is crucial to prevent symptoms and discomfort. Luckily, there are many naturally gluten free foods and a wide range of processed gluten free food is available.

Gluten free foods & drink

For most people suffering from coeliac disease removing gluten from your diet will mean you start feeling better within days. Whilst symptoms like nausea, diarrhoea and bloating can stop in a few weeks, the time it takes the gut damage to heal completely varies from person to person and can take between six months and two years.

Some symptoms may take longer to subside, or you may find one symptom gets better before another. 

How do I prepare gluten free meals?

When preparing of gluten free meals, using gluten free ingredients is not the only thing to pay attention to. You must make sure all cooking utensils and kitchen surfaces used are also completely free of gluten. This is to avoid cross contamination with gluten containing particles, as 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. 

When you’re cooking at home, there are some simple steps to take that will help you keep food preparation safe:

  • wipe down surfaces
  • clean pots and pans with soap and water
  • normal washing up or using a dishwasher will remove gluten
  • washing up liquids are fine to use as there are very few that contain gluten. If they do, normal rinsing will remove any traces
  • you do not need to use separate cloths or sponges
  • you may want to get separate bread boards to keep gluten free and gluten containing breads separate
  • use a separate toaster or toaster bags
  • use different butter knives and jam spoons to prevent breadcrumbs from getting into condiments.
AOECS Buckwheat Beetroot Salad

What foods are safe to eat?

Many staple foods are naturally gluten free such as gluten free grains, unprocessed meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits and milk products. 

You can also eat foods that have been processed to not contain gluten, such as ready meals and soups. Many of our member societies have licensed over 5,000 gluten free products that are safe to eat. They bear the Crossed Grain symbol which makes them easily identifiable to consumers, even when you are travelling and unable to speak the language.

Gluten free foods & drink

More and more restaurants, takeaways, canteens in schools, universities and hospitals now offer gluten free meal options. It is recommended to call the establishment in advance to ensure that serving and kitchen staff are aware of the need for meals to be gluten free. Many of our Member societies maintain a directory of gluten free catering establishments in their countries.

Adobestock 530471369 Eat By Mistake

What if I eat gluten by mistake?

 Following a gluten free diet is a learning process, for you and your family and friends. Mistakes can happen, especially if you have only recently been diagnosed.

If you have coeliac disease and eat gluten by mistake, you will usually start to have symptoms a few hours after eating it and the symptoms can last from a few hours to several days. However, symptoms can vary from person to person, and depend on:

  • how much gluten you’ve eaten
  • how sensitive you are
  • how long you have been on a gluten free diet.

If you have diarrhoea or you are vomiting, keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Some people find that taking medication to treat constipation, diarrhoea or headaches can ease symptoms, but speak to your doctor about this first. The most important thing is to get back onto your gluten free diet to try to prevent further symptoms!

If your symptoms are severe or do not improve, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.