Top 10 Tips for a Happy Gluten-Free 2009
In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease. In 1998 I foundedÂ The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore!, and I am the co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.View all articles by Scott Adams
- Toss Out any Unsafe Foods
The beginning of the year is a great time to go through your cupboards to make sure that any gluten-containing food that might have snuck into the house over the holidays is banished forever. Still have that fruitcake from your well-meaning aunt who forgot about your gluten-free diet? Toss it…or, maybe better, re-gift it to one of your gluten-eating friends (or enemies depending on the quality of the fruitcake!).
- Restock your Kitchen
Plan to include a gluten-free shopping list in that first grocery purchase to help you replace any depleted favorite gluten-free ingredients. The start of the year is a great time to re-stock your kitchen with your favorite gluten-free foods and ingredients.
- Take Advantage of Sales/Specials to Stock up on Gluten-free Favorites
Numerous online companies are eager to make way for 2009, and offer great deals on your gluten-free favorites. Whether it’s breads, pizzas, pizza crusts and mixes by companies like Chebe, Dad’s, Schar, Foods By George, or ‘Cause Your Special, now is a perfect time to stock up and save big.
- Source Products from Reliable Makers and Vendors
The ‘gluten-free’ label is becoming a hot commodity, with the market for gluten-free products growing at double-digit rates, and consumer demand higher than ever. However, until the U.S. government implements official standards, there is no official definition as to what constitutes a gluten-free product, so it’s buyer beware! So it’s best to buy your gluten-free products from trusted companies and sources. Look for companies that have a long history and are vigilant about protecting their customers. One of our favorites is the The Gluten-Free Mall, which has provided on-line shopping for such products since 1998.
- Stay Informed
Follow the latest Gluten-Free developments. From clinical trials of a vaccine for celiac disease, to the pending U.S. adoption of the Codex Alimentarius standards for gluten-free labeling, to major developments in diagnosis, treatment, associated conditions, etc., there’s plenty happening in the gluten-free world, so be sure to follow any news that might have a positive affect on your health and gluten-free lifestyle. You can follow your favoriteCeliac.com RSS feed in your Google or Yahoo! account. Or even better still, subscribe to a celiac disease or gluten-free newsletter such as Celiac.com’s paper newsletter, and help support us at the same time.
- Double-Check Safe and Unsafe Gluten-Free Food Lists
You can find free updated lists at Celiac.com. Another good option is to purchase a commercial gluten-free shopping guide, which can help you find items at a regular grocery store that are safe.
- Take Part in Food Planning for 2009 Events
From post-New Year’s parties to the Super Bowl and beyond, now is a good time to look at the year ahead with an eye toward any events you’ll likely be attending and to make a mental note to chime in ahead of time with hosts to arrange for any gluten-free adjustments. This includes arranging to bring gluten-free versions of any favorite or ‘must-have’ dishes.
- Think Ahead: Plan and Try Gluten-free Dishes in Advance
Think back to the few disappointments you may have suffered at one of last year’s parties or picnics. Maybe it was the company get-together, maybe it was your cousin’s Superbowl party or Memorial Day BBQ, where there just wasn’t enough gluten-free snacks to nourish you properly. Don’t get caught short again. Now is a perfect time to look ahead and mark your calendar for the events you know will be coming. Then mark your calendar again for a date far enough in advance of those events for you to prepare and try out the gluten-free offerings that will help to make those events a gluten-free success!
- Try new Gluten-free Products!
With the market for gluten-free foods projected to grow at double-digits through foreseeable future, the number of gluten-free products hitting the market is also swelling. Since 2004, food retailers have added nearly 2,500 new gluten-free products to their shelves. In 2008 alone, retailers added nearly 750 new gluten-free products. Trying new gluten-free products is a great way to discover new products, and new manufacturers, and to enjoy eating gluten-free.
- Spread the Word
Generally speaking, a gluten-free diet is a healthy diet. On the whole, people who eat gluten-free automatically avoid a huge number of foods containing enriched wheat flour that pervades our food chain, and is often found in combination with other questionable ingredients like hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, etc. Eating gluten-free generally means paying closer attention to ingredients, eating foods made with a variety of whole grains, like quinoa, rice, corn, and millet, along with more fruits, and vegetables. A gluten-free diet is an invitation to a healthier lifestyle. Spread the word!
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