Being diagnosed with celiac disease can be very overwhelming. Many of my clients have told me that they were informed to ‘google’ the diet and were then shown the door.
- Selena De Vries is dedicated to helping individuals who are struggling with digestive issues find food freedom. Selena understands that celiac disease not only effects one’s physical health but also effects one’s emotional health. Using an integrative approach in the management of digestive health conditions, she provides support for those with celiac disease/gluten sensitivity and nutrition coaching for other digestive health conditions.
Being diagnosed with celiac disease can be very overwhelming. Firstly, as unfortunate as it is, there is not much support out there when your doctor hands you the diagnosis of celiac disease. Many of my clients have told me that they were informed to ‘google’ the diet and were then shown the door.
I remember when I was diagnosed, my doctor said “well you’re a dietitian so this should be easy for you.”
Yes, that was it.
I definitely feel I had a leg up than others, for sure. But, it was still very difficult for me. The first year I learned so much more than the basic gluten free diet. From reading labels correctly, to correcting nutrient deficiencies, to navigating social situations, the learning curve is steep. And, of course, when you live a disease everyday, you see things through a different lens.
It is not as simple as ‘googling’ the gluten free diet. And, in fact, I would say it is much more dangerous to google the information as there is a lot of inaccurate information on the internet, especially when it comes to gluten free and celiac disease.
So, if you have just been diagnosed, take these 3 steps to get your health back on track:
One. Seek Out Accurate Information from Dietitian Experts in the Area of Gluten Free and Celiac Disease
Just as there are doctors that specialize in gastrointestinal disorders (gastroenterologists), there are dietitians that specialize in certain areas as well. And, when it comes to celiac disease, it’s very important that you use a dietitian with this expertise.
Registered Dietitians with expertise in the gluten free diet are the nutrition professionals you want to turn to in the case of celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy. Not only have they taken a 5 year degree program to become registered as a dietitian in their particular province, they also have additional expertise in the gluten free diet helping to get you on the right track right away.
Avoid spending unnecessary dollars on a bunch of supplements, unnecessary and inaccurate ‘food intolerance’ tests, unnecessary microbiome assessments and wisely invest your health dollars, simply, in a dietitian.
How to Work with a Dietitian 1:1 or in Group Settings
- Private Practice Dietitians – If you have third party benefit plans, private practice dietitians are typically covered and you could be reimbursed for your time together. At Healthbean Nutrition, we offer direct billing to insurance companies.
- Public Health Dietitians – If you live near a large city, you may live near a specialized celiac center. For example, in Hamilton Ontario, Macmaster University has a celiac center. Ask your doctor if you can be referred to one of these as they typically have dietitian experts on staff.
- Save on Food Dietitians – Dietitians at this grocery store hold group grocery store tours and can help you navigate the store so you can choose safe and healthy products for your health condition. They are free.
- If you are interested in a tour for the Kelowna group, you can sign up here.
Invest in Resources Written by Registered Dietitians with Expertise in the Gluten-Free Diet
- Shelley Case, RD, is a well-known Canadian dietitian that specializes in celiac disease and she has written a book on everything celiac disease and it is well worth the investment.
- Real Life with Celiac Disease written by Melinda Dennis, RD is also a great resource.
- Tricia Thompson from is another well-known dietitian and runs a website called gluten free watchdog which tests gluten free products submitted from the public using third party testing. She publishes whether the product is safe to consume or not and includes detailed information on the tested product.
Two. Eat Single Ingredient, Whole Foods
- Yes, you need to learn to read labels like a pro. It’s a life changing skill that every celiac needs to nail down. A simple tool to start learning how to read labels can be found here.
- For now, though, and especially if if you are super overwhelmed, take a deep breath.
- For the first few weeks while you let the diagnosis sink in and while you wait to see a dietitian, you can simply choose to eat whole foods that have no ingredient lists to navigate. And, it doesn’t take a professional chef certification to prepare a simple, delicious meal made from whole foods.
- Fresh produce items like apples, kale, potatoes, beets, oranges, avocado, tomatoes, plain poultry, fish, tofu, eggs, have no ingredient lists and can be easy to prepare.
- You can prepare fast meals on one tray, called sheet pan meals which can be very tasty. For example, lay down pepper and onion strips, and sweet potato cubes on a baking pan. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of oil. Roast at 350F for ~25-30minutes. Top with over medium eggs, a few cherry tomatoes and avocado cubes and you have a hash bowl ready in 30 minutes.
Three. Find Support Groups
- A diagnosis of celiac disease can be very socially isolating. It may even increase the risk of depression due to the significant challenge of adapting to the gluten free lifestyle (beyond celiac).
- The Canadian Celiac Association is the voice for all Canadians living with celiac disease. They are an amazing organization and so I would encourage you to connect with them in the following ways:
- In addition, many cities have free celiac support groups. Connect with them as well!
I’m Selena – THE CELIAC DIETITIAN
I operate an online private practice specializing in the dietary management of celiac disease and the gluten free diet. And, I’m celiac too.
As the go-to expert on everything gluten free, I help people master the gluten-free diet so they can live gluten free with more ease.
I take the ‘complicated’ out of the gluten free diet, and give you the practical and realistic advice you need so you can still live your life!
‘Q&A Tuesdays on Instagram’
Your chance to submit any questions you may have on nutrition, education or receive downright free advice! Fellow celiac and expert Gluten-Free Dietitian, Selena De Vries, RD, is eager to help! Ask by 4pm Pacific Time and get your answer the same day!
How it works!
1. Visit Selena’s profile at https://www.instagram.com/celiac_dietitian/
2. Click on her profile picture (screenshot 1)
3. Wait until you see the “ask me a question” sticker and then click it and type your question (screenshot 2)
4. Receive your answer by clicking through Selena’s stories i.e. the same spot where you entered your question
- Does it feel like celiac disease is taking over your life?
- Do you want a solution that makes celiac feel less overwhelming and less stressful so you can get back to living and loving your life?
- Are you thinking about celiac from the time you wake up, to the time you go to bed?
- Are you worried about cross contact? ,
- Does eating out feel frustrating?
- Are you experiencing persistent symptoms?
- Does celiac disease often creep into your thoughts?
Well, no more. You’re in the right place now. And, it’s time for this to change!
Live Gluten Free with More Ease – Hybrid Group Program – Master the Gluten Free Diet
This online program combines 1:1 support and group coaching support. Sky rocket your knowledge beyond what most healthcare providers know and kick anxiety and stress to the curb. This hybrid program is the ultimate, A-Z, course that will help you live gluten free with more ease.
Eat Out with Confidence – Group Coaching – Become a Celiac Savvy Restaurant Diner
If you find yourself avoiding eating out because of anxiety around cross contact, not knowing the right questions to ask, or not trusting that the staff are taking you seriously, then this online, group coaching course is for you.
1:1 Individual Coaching – Receive an Individualized Action Plan
This online service is best suited to help people find relief of persistent symptoms such bloat, constipation, reflux, or fatigue. It is also helpful for newly diagnosed and people who prefer to work, solely, in a 1:1 capacity.