The Quick Guide to eating Gluten Free at Christmas
How to make Christmas Dinner for your friend or family member with coeliac disease or suffering from Gluten Intolerance
What do I need to know?
- Coeliac disease is a genetic disease. It is life long and can cause serious harm if it is not treated properly. Osteoporosis, infertility, cancer, migraine, nerve damage…
- Coeliac disease is treated with a strict gluten free diet.
- Gluten is a protein that damages the guts of people with coeliac disease.
- Even tiny amounts of gluten can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches in adults and children with coeliac disease within about 2 hours.
- Not everyone who is coeliac or gluten intolerant feels sick straight away when they eat gluten (around 60% don’t get an immediate reaction). They are still coeliac and they still need to avoid gluten. The gluten is still causing damage on the inside even if you can’t see it on the outside.
- Gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley and ordinary oats. People with coeliac disease have to avoid all of these foods as well as any food that has them as an ingredient.
- Some people with coeliac disease also need to avoid gluten free oats as well.
What do I need to look out for?
There is a long list below of what you look out for when cooking for someone with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance. Don’t panic! It will all make sense once you have read it through. If you are not sure – and even if you are – do ask your coeliac guest for some advice. They will be so grateful that anyone is planning to cook for them that they will only be too happy to help.
- Most of the foods that we eat at Christmas are naturally gluten-free anyway so there are usually only a few small changes needed to make it a gluten-free Christmas. It is often easier to make everything gluten-free than to try and spend time keeping everything separate on what is a busy day anyway.
- The main differences are stuffing (use gluten free breadcrumbs), sauces (use gluten free cornflour instead of ordinary flour) and cakes (buy some gluten free options or you can try one of our delicious recipes below).
(please check food list 2021)
Things To Remember
- If you are giving food to someone who is coeliac or gluten intolerant you need to check that there is no wheat, rye, barley or ordinary oats in it. Look for foods that say “gluten free” on the label or check the Coeliac Society Food List (your coeliac guest should have a copy they can show you).
- If you are using oats, check that the person can tolerate oats. If they can, then you need to choose oats that say “gluten free” on the label or breads that are made with “gluten free oats”.
- When you are preparing gluten free food, make sure the gluten free food doesn’t touch ANYTHING else that has gluten. For example, you need to use a separate toaster for gluten free bread or pop it into a toaster bag. A gluten free muffin that touches an ordinary muffin now has enough gluten to cause a reaction. If you have opened ordinary flour in your kitchen, make sure you wipe down surfaces well to remove the flour dust before you make any gluten free food.