Anytime you make a major dietary or lifestyle change it’s good to have a strong support network in your corner, especially when starting out. Here are a couple examples of where you might want support:
- You’re going gluten-free and the rest of your family or your partner is not – you need recipes and someone to talk to.
- Your child has been diagnosed with CD and you could use ideas from other parents about how to navigate school and social situations.
- You’re wondering if anyone has had symptoms like depression or peripheral neuropathy improve when following a gluten-free diet.
- A friend or family member is being unsupportive and you aren’t sure how to deal with the situation.
- You're not sure which restaurants in your area are generally recognized as safe, and could use some advice.
- You’re wondering if anyone else has found a fabulous pie crust mix.
The Gluten Freedom Project Help area is staffed by coaches who are available to help with questions or issues. You can also get support from the GFP Community by posting in our forums. Other options for support include:
Local Support Groups
Take a look in your local newspaper for announcements about local celiac support group meetings. These groups are a great way to connect with other members of your community who have similar challenges and successes and are willing to share their experiences and recipes. GFP encourages attending a couple meetings when first starting out. If you cannot find information about your local support group in the paper or by asking friends or healthcare providers, look for fliers at the health food store. Also, The Celiac Sprue Association lists local chapters on their website.
Friends, Family & Colleagues
Having trusted companions that you can socialize, exchange emails, recipes, and impromptu complaint sessions with is beyond important – it’s a stress reliever! Especially in the beginning, you’ll want to surround yourself with people who are positive influences, who are supportive of your dietary changes and who don’t judge you. (See Living Gluten Free: What Friends & Family Need to Know) Conversely, making this change and only connecting with people who question, doubt, and push foods on you that you can’t eat will not make the process any easier (and oh yes, they will emerge!). If you know a co-worker that is on a gluten-free diet ask if they’d like to go to lunch with you (then you can see how they order food!), and share some of their tips with you. If your aunt in Indiana is gluten-free, see if she has some time to talk on the phone about what she does for the holidays. It will take some reaching out on your part to get these relationships started, but you’ll find that most people are thrilled to have someone else to talk to.
Finding support will make this transition so much easier than going at it alone! There is someone out there experiencing the same things you are, we promise…