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Learning to live with celiac disease can take some time. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with it, then you’ve already had to make dietary adjustments to manage this condition. It is important to take steps to care for yourself while navigating life with a chronic illness like celiac disease. Below, we’re sharing some of the best celiac disease self-care tips to help you feel your best and stay happy. 

The Importance of Self-Care in Managing Celiac Disease

Self-care is essential for everyone but it is especially important for those who are learning to live with a chronic disease. There is more to managing celiac disease than just cutting out gluten. You also want to make sure to take steps to care for yourself too. 

People with celiac disease often feel like they have to be on high alert, checking restaurant menus extensively and even skipping meals at parties in order to prevent exposure to gluten which will lead to feeling ill. These efforts can be emotionally taxing, which is why it is important to take care of yourself in more ways than just avoiding gluten. 

7 Practical Celiac Disease Self-Care Tips

There are several useful ways that you can care for yourself while managing your disease. Lifestyle changes and doing the best research can all be effective in helping you feel your best and keeping your symptoms at bay. 

1) Learn About Gluten-Containing Foods

Knowledge is power. Take some time to educate yourself on what it means to have celiac disease and what you need to look out for. Do some research on what foods contain gluten and try to increase your understanding of gluten in food to help make avoiding it more straightforward. 

If you don’t even know what foods contain gluten naturally or often have gluten-containing ingredients added, it can make navigating your new diet very complicated and overwhelming. Gluten is the name given to a specific protein that is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. So you can expect to find gluten in any foods that are made with regular flour, such as bread, pasta and crackers (to name a few). 

2) Always Read Labels

Get in the habit of always reading your food labels when you grocery shop. That way you can easily know which packaged foods are safe for you to eat and which ones are not. It may feel like a tedious task at first but over time, you will get used to this process. 

It is also empowering to read food labels since it gives you an understanding of what you’re really eating. Look out for foods that contain ingredients like wheat, flour, oats, rye or barley.

3) Focus on Naturally Gluten-Free Foods

Eating more whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, legumes and seeds is not only beneficial to your overall health but also makes gluten free living a little bit easier. Natural whole foods are not going to contain gluten and they are typically rich in nutrients that benefit your health in several ways.

4) Be Cautious When Dining Out 

Going out to eat is one of the more stressful parts of having celiac disease. It is hard to know what foods contain gluten when reading a restaurant menu and sometimes, even the restaurant workers aren’t entirely clear on it either. 

Always check restaurant menus before going out to eat to make things a little easier. Be prepared to ask your server plenty of questions. Even if you find a menu item that is gluten-free, you’ll still want to communicate to your server about your gluten allergy since foods can be cross-contaminated when cooked near or with gluten-containing foods. 

5) Use Separate Cooking Utensils

If you find yourself preparing gluten-containing foods in your home (for another family member or for a gathering) make sure to use separate cooking utensils so that you don’t expose your gluten-free foods to gluten. 

6) Take Supplements if Necessary

You may need to incorporate dietary supplements into your daily routine since celiac disease can sometimes cause nutrient deficiencies. Talk with your doctor about whether you need to incorporate any additional supplements into your diet such as iron, calcium or B vitamins. 

7) Manage Stress

Managing a disease like celiac can be stressful. Not to mention, most people are already stressed to begin with. Take steps to manage your mental health by managing your stress levels such as:

  • Prioritize healthy sleep patterns
  • Incorporate downtime into your schedule
  • Practice meditation and breathing exercises

How to Test for Celiac Disease at Home

If you think you may have celiac disease, you may consider trying an at-home test. There are several different at-home celiac test kits that all work differently. At-home celiac test kits usually involve performing a finger prick and sending a small blood sample. An at-home test kit is a great way to gather more information about potentially having a gluten allergy but these tests are not considered 100% accurate. Work with your doctor to get a definitive diagnosis. 

When to Seek Help for Celiac Disease

If you’re experiencing digestive issues that you think may be related to celiac disease, it may be time to seek out medical care. Speak with your doctor about your symptoms and they can recommend what type of tests to perform to help determine what exactly is going on. It is important to have a primary care doctor who you see regularly so that you can check in about any issues you’re facing and move forward with the appropriate treatment strategy. 


Finding out you have a disease like celiac disease can be stressful. It is important that you take steps to take care of yourself to stay healthy and feel your best. Skilled lifestyle medicine providers at UCF Health can work closely with you to help you navigate your diagnosis and establish a unique treatment approach.