7 ways to support someone just diagnosed with celiac disease


I just received an email from a follower (don’t laugh…I have followers!) that reinforces why I started this blog. Here is part of what he said:

My wife is a celiac diagnosed about 2.5 months now. She really truly feels better reading your entries as she doesn’t feel alone and others are experiencing the same things she is. Anyway, I was wondering if in one of your posts you can address the things a spouse can do to help a celiac. I am trying to get all resources and knowledge possible. But I’m sure I’m missing something. Maybe a top 5 list of things a spouse can do to help out would be great. Like in the beginning what you really needed that your spouse couldn’t provide just due to not knowing or something.

Well, you asked for 5, but I’m feeling quite helpful today, so here are 7 ways to support somebody just diagnosed with celiac disease.

1. Be patient. You both are about to enter a whole new world. A world where gluten is now your enemy. Give yourself time. Time to mourn the loss of your old life. Time to learn all you need to know about your new life. Time to adjust. Don’t expect to waltz into your gluten free world without some bumps in the road.

2. Be strict. I remember the first few weeks after my diagnosis telling Mrs. Dude that I can’t make any promises that I won’t cheat. Well, she gave me the death stare and got her point across quite clearly. And I have never cheated…not even once. I’m not saying it has to fall on you to make sure your spouse doesn’t cheat, but don’t make it easy either. Never give your approval. Never encourage her to just “take a bite” of your pizza. And if you’ve got a death stare, now is the right time to bring it out.

3. Be educated. As your spouse is trying to digest the celiac diagnosis, it may be too much for her to learn all she needs to learn. Read, read and read some more about celiac disease and gluten. There is a wealth of information out there. Know as much as you can possibly know. Knowledge is power.

4. Be communicative. Talk about your fears (both of you…your life will also be quite affected). Talk about your anger. Talk about your future. Just talk.

5. Be organized. Read my lips…NO MORE GLUTEN. Help her get your house in order. Make sure she has her own space in the kitchen where she knows she will always be safe. Here are some tips to keeping a gluten free kitchen.

6. Be careful. Gluten is everywhere. And just because it’s not in a food item one day, it doesn’t mean it won’t be another day. Be your spouse’s best advocate. Know what she can and can’t have. Read ingredients for her. Look things up on Google for her. Yep, having celiac disease affects more than just the patient.

7. Be there. She will need you now more than ever. Don’t let her down.

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10 thoughts on “7 ways to support someone just diagnosed with celiac disease”

  1. Might I suggest: GO GLUTEN FREE. At least in the house. At least for a few months. Make it a safe zone. No temptations, no mistakes, no resentment.

    1. That’s a tough one Luna. I’ve tried to get my wife and kids to go gluten free for one day, and they just won’t bite.

      1. I know what you mean it’s somethings I can get my husband and the kids to eat other things it’s like pulling teeth would be easier then getting them to try it

  2. Guilt card! “You really don’t love me enough to support me through this difficult time? This is my health we’re talking about.” *sad face*


    Truly though, mine wouldn’t do it either. And then, several years later, my husband was dx’d with it too. *sigh* He sure felt guilty then. For all the years of cross-contamination. My health improved so dramatically, it was incredible – I had a lot of non-gi symptoms that we hadn’t connected to gluten. When my house became gf, they evaporated.

  3. I loved this post! My husband has done all these things…well, except for the evil stare. He just doesn’t have it in him. 🙂 When I kept getting glutened somehow, we made the house a gluten-free zone. He reads, researches, and continues to be my biggest advocate. It can be tough to “defend” the new gluten-free requirements to family and friends when you’re already feeling pretty crummy and trying to recover. I’m just now starting to get a fraction of my normal energy back. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. In fact, he found your blog and told me about it, thinking it would be therapeutic given the range of emotions I was feeling. (I was getting pretty tired of the “Celiac made me a better baker” blogs. No offense, but I don’t like to bake and never will.) He was sure right–reading your blog makes me feel empowered! Thanks so much for all that you do for us Celiacs.

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback Jen! Great to know I’m helping. And yes, my goal was not to be a “celiac is wonderful” blog.

  4. Dude, my husband and son are most DEFINITELY not GF but they do everything in their power to make sure I don’t get glutened. They eat a LOT of GF food just to make sure I eat properly!!!!! They read ALL labels when food shopping!!!!! It’s not easy for them but they are wonderful!!!!!!

  5. My death glare is one of my cats, the black one. she will stare you down until you look away (even if you blink.)

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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