With gluten being in almost everything, coping with the ever-present diet obstacles can be tough. While the availability of gluten-free products has been expanding gradually during the past decade as awareness of the condition continues to spread, unfortunately an overwhelming majority of food products still contain glutens. This is not surprising, considering the disease only affects about 1% of the American population, so we can’t exactly expect there to be a healthcare law that requires grocery stores and restaurants to remove all glutens from their products, as that would rule out a lot of staple ingredients that other people enjoy. Luckily, the internet is making the challenge of living with celiac disease easier in at least five different ways:
1. Online Forums or Support Groups
With celiac disease being relatively rare, the struggle can get lonely at times, which is why it’s helpful to be part ofa support group. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge on living with celiac disease and in the process you’ll undoubtedly make a few new friends along the way. In addition, you can also find support in other areas. For example, someone looking for information on filing a lawsuit due to a restaurant failing to heed their warning about being allergic to glutens, could easily find help from someone who graduated from a healthcare law school who is also a member of a celiac forum.
2. Making it Easy to Find a Health Specialist
Finding a nutritionist or diet specialist who is knowledgeable about gluten-free foods is an essential step. A poorly researched diet regimen can lead to nutritional deficiencies and subsequent susceptibility to illness and discomfort. It’s especially important to avoid overcompensating for the calories that you would normally consume if you were able to eat foods that contain gluten, and to avoid excessive intake of fat, salt, and sugar. In addition to consulting with an expert, you should also be doing research in your spare time, as everyone who suffers with this disease should be an expert on gluten-free nutrition.
3. Finding and Reading Gluten-Free Cookbooks
A great way to drastically simplify the process of stocking your refrigerator and pantry is to use gluten-free cookbooks or browse recipes online. Once you’ve become familiar with some of your favorite gluten-free meals, visits to the grocery store will be much less stressful. Plus, you’ll have a more exciting diet and will be able to practice meal planning, which brings us to the next tip.
4. Meal Planning Tutorials and Templates
Building a comprehensive schedule that includes every meal and snack that you’ll eat within the next week might sound like overdoing it, but it can save you a lot of time and effort. It’s a great set it and forget it option because once you have that schedule made, there’s no more diet decision-making to be done. You don’t necessarily have to do this every week, but give it a try and it will help you more effortlessly manage an optimal diet. Refer to tip 1 for the best results.
5. Ability to Research Medications and Supplements
Finally, be sure to double check with a pharmacist about the possible side effects of any medications or supplements that may be hazardous due to either containing gluten or being processed in a facility that also handles gluten-containing products.
Becoming an Expert Yourself
In closing, whether you choose to pursue an online public health degree, or take the less intensive route of just browsing the web to learn about celiac disease, you should be conducting research frequently until you’re confident that you know enough about it to be considered an expert.