Self-proclaimed font of Celiac knowledge, Libby tries to educate everyone she comes across on the differences between allergies, gluten sensitivity, and Celiac Disease.See all posts »
Everyday Advice for Newly Diagnosed Celiacs
Today, I want to list all the things that I wish I had known when first diagnosed as a Celiac. Many of these items came as a surprise either from trial and error, someone telling me a few months later, or reading an article online.
Don't Lick Envelopes and Stamps
The sticky paste that lines envelopes and postage stamps is actually an adhesive made from wheat. I always have the nearest person to me to close my mail and try to use the sticker stamps instead of ones needing liquid. If no one is around, you can always wet your finger from a tap and then wash your hands. However, the reality is that mail isn't exactly as popular as it used to be (if you haven't noticed), so this Celiac issue is not that extreme.
Caramel Color is Dangerous
Caramel color is a coloring agent used in many foods to give them a rich and appealing brown color. The problem with caramel color is that in different parts of the world it is derived from different plants. In the Americas, it is usually made from corn, but in Europe, it comes from wheat. Things like Coca Cola use this colorant, but drinking it can be dangerous when you do not know the country of origin. To be safe, I don't eat products with caramel color unless I know without a doubt that it is made in Mexico, for example.
Medicine Can Contain Gluten
From multivitamins to headache tablets, pills can contain gluten. Usually one reaches for medicine when sick, but when that medicine will actually make you more ill, it becomes a major issue! I have had bad experiences with allergy pills, migraine tablets, and vitamin C (to name a few). Make sure to check the ingredients list and speak to a pharmacist or the manufacturer by phone to check that the "starch" that all pills use is actually gluten free.
Check Your Lipsticks and Lipbalms
There is a crazy statistic floating around that women will consume pounds of lipstick in their lifetime. Now, I do not know if this is really true (maybe it would have been in the 80s) but when applying a product to your mouth, you need to make sure that gluten is not lurking in the ingredients. This goes for lip balm or gloss as well. I had to throw out a few sticks and glosses when I was diagnosed. Also, try to keep all sticks out of the way of friends and family, who may be inclined to share such items -- crumbs and particles can easily stick to the top and contaminate you at a later date.