By Coeliac UK www.coeliac.org.uk
If you’re dating someone diagnosed with coeliac disease, it means that they can’t eat gluten – ever!
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Some people are also sensitive to oats.
Coeliac UK’s Emily Hampton shares the things you should know before dating someone on a gluten free diet.
It’s not a choice
“Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or an intolerance, it’s an autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten. So please don’t think we’re fussy eaters – we would love to be able to eat what we like, but our bodies won’t let us!”
Don’t expect us to share
“As much as we’d love to share a slice of pizza with you, it’s not worth the stomach ache or the potential damage to our gut! So don’t try to tempt us with a taste, unless of course, it’s gluten free.”
If you want to impress, plan ahead
“You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find a restaurant with a decent gluten free menu. Call ahead, or use Coeliac UK’s Gluten Free on the Move app to find a suitable venue, but don’t be surprised if we’d rather just book it ourselves – we’ll have tried and tested all of the local eats to check they understand the risk of cross contamination. When ordering we will no doubt want to make the waiting staff aware that the meal needs to be gluten free – again, we’re not being fussy, we just know the best way to make sure things go smoothly!”
If you can cook for us, we’re smitten
“It takes time to master cooking gluten free alternatives– but there’s a cheat. Many dishes are naturally gluten free – like this Spanish style chicken casserole (https://www.coeliac.org.uk/information-and-support/your-gluten-free-hub/home-of-gluten-free-recipes/1581870/) and you’ll need to learn about cross contamination and reading labels so you can make sure it’s safe for me to eat. The effort won’t go unnoticed.”
Learn to read labels like a pro “If you are cooking for us, or buying an edible gift, make sure you check the food label first (https://www.coeliac.org.uk/information-and-support/living-gluten-free/the-gluten-free-diet/food-shopping/food-labels/), and look out for the Crossed Grain symbol, which means the product is gluten free.”
Moving in? Keep the kitchen organised
“Cross contamination is no joke! Keeping gluten free food and certain equipment separate will keep us safe, because eating even a bread crumb of gluten can cause some very unsexy symptoms. Don’t be surprised if we have our own cupboard, toaster, bread board and knife and also tub of spread and jams.”
At the end of the day, it’s not a big deal
“It might seem like a lot to take in, but your date’s probably been living without gluten for a while. They’ll be impressed if you make an effort to understand their gluten free lifestyle because they need it to stay well and safe, but don’t get bogged down in it, there’s more to them than that, so enjoy getting to know each other better!”
Emily Hampton is Head of Food Policy at Coeliac UK. You can find out more about supporting someone on a gluten free diet at https://www.coeliac.org.uk/information-and-support/living-gluten-free.
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