Once you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease, you can start to find out about the gluten-free diet.
Here are six steps to help you start on the gluten-free diet.
1. Learn which foods are naturally gluten-free
All types of rice, potato, corn (maize), plain meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, most yoghurts, fruits, vegetables and pulses (peas, beans and lentils) are naturally gluten-free and are suitable for the diet.
We have lots of information about following a gluten-free diet, including ingredients and grain checklists to help you.
2. Join Coeliac UK
If you join Coeliac UK, we can give you lots of detailed information about living with coeliac disease.
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3. See a dietitian
Your gastroenterologist or GP should refer you to a dietitian who will be able to give you individual advice and a step by step plan on how to remove gluten from your diet.
You may see your dietitian at your local hospital outpatient department or at your GP surgery.
If you’re not sure if you’ve been referred to a dietitian, check with your doctor. Consultations with a dietitian in the NHS are free.
Ahead of your appointment it’s a good idea to keep a record of what you normally eat over a two or three day period. Take this diary along with you to your appointment. Make a note of any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss.
Your dietitian should give you written information and a contact number to support the advice that they give you, so you will have something to refer to later. Be sure to ask about a follow up appointment.
You should also have regular check ups with either your GP, gastroenterologist or dietitian.
4. Talk to your GP about getting products on prescription
Depending on where you live in the UK, people with coeliac disease can get gluten-free food on prescription. The foods on prescription are generally staples in the diet such as bread and pasta, rather than biscuits and cake items. The gluten-free foods that are prescribed are agreed by a body called the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances.
There are hundreds of products available from a number of manufacturers. Try as many products as possible as they all vary in taste, texture and palatability. Many manufacturers produce newly diagnosed packs to help you get to know what ranges are available. Contact manufacturers directly for specific information on what they make.
You can contact us for a list of gluten-free manufacturers and their contact details.
5. Talk to other people with coeliac disease
Coeliac UK has over 80 Local Voluntary Support Groups across the UK. They are an invaluable source of support and many organise meetings, cooking and baking demonstrations, coffee mornings, evenings out and fun events to help raise awareness of coeliac disease.
6. Check out your local supermarkets and the internet for gluten-free products and information to help you shop
Many supermarkets now stock a range of specialist gluten-free foods and the range of available products has increased over the last few years. Some of the supermarkets also produce lists of foods you can eat on their websites or you can ask for them in store.
Availability of gluten-free foods may vary between stores so you may have to visit more than one shop to get a good idea of what is out there. Products may be kept in a specialist Free From aisle, placed among other foods, or sometimes even both – so allow yourself time to investigate.