Living With A Gluten Intolerant Family Member

Suffering from celiac disease can be a real hassle but what about if it is not you suffering from this disease, but someone in your family?

Whether it is your husband, wife, son, daughter, aunt, uncle or long lost cousin if you know someone who suffers from gluten intolerance then there is no doubt that you would have had to make some form of sacrifices to either your personal lifestyle or your diet (or both of the above). If you have just found out that someone you know can no longer eat gluten and are wondering how this will impact your life, here are a few things you will have to keep in mind.

1. Be Accommodating
Gluten intolerance can be tough and it is even harder if you do not have the support of family and friends. If you are eating at their house then be willing to eat a gluten free meal. If they are part of your family then you may have to do this more often then you think. The important thing is to be supportive and helpful, don’t make them feel isolated or weird for not being able to eat the foods that you do. Instead why no try to be inclusive and make an effort to understand how they feel by trying to eat gluten free foods.

2. Be Willing To Change Your Diet
Especially if the sufferer is a direct family member this may mean the whole family making a diet change to some extent. Since so many western foods contain gluten, following the gluten free diet can be a massive change – which can make feeding one family a gluten free and regular meal at one time, very difficult. This is why you see a lot of couples and families with a gluten intolerant family member all adopting a diet change.

3. Be More Creative With Your Cooking
It is not uncommon for families to have very set menus. Everyone has their favourite meals and cooks have their specialities. Because the gluten free diet can be so restrictive it may mean that the same meals are going to get boring very quickly. You will be cutting most breads and grains from your diet and this can be very daunting for some cooks. However, before you start stressing, there are plenty of gluten free cook books available, and a growing number of websites and blogs written by sufferers of celiac disease that are starting to post their own recipes as well. This can definitely be a massive help.

These changes can seem really major when you first think about it but once you start to just roll with the changes you will realise that it is not as hard as it first looked and the reason (supporting your friend or family member) is much more important than the discomfort.

Gluten intolerance affects a wide and diverse range of people, with some reports saying as many as 1 in 130 people suffer from this condition. This means that there is a good chance that every one knows at least one person with celiac disease! The great news is that many restaurants and cafes are now starting to highlight the gluten free options on their menus, which is a massive step in the right direction. But we all need to make a combined effort when living with a gluten intolerant family member to make sure they do not feel excluded and most importantly, that they stay healthy.