Who wants to be ill at Christmas? The answer, of course, is no one. But for people with coeliac disease and others who are gluten intolerant, spending time with family and friends during the festive season can be full of risk as they try to avoid becoming ‘glutened’ and sick as a result.
To help those who need to live gluten free, and those who might be hosting them, the Coeliac Society of Ireland, in association with Tesco Ireland, has created a comprehensive Gluten Free Christmas Survival Hub online.
The hub is packed full of information and practical advice from health and nutrition experts, as well as important tips, tasty recipes, and cook-along videos from top chefs, and helpful hints about staying healthy over the festive season. Most importantly, there is clear information on how to prepare food in a safe manner to avoid cross-contamination of food with gluten – allowing everyone to cater for guests who have to live gluten free.
Coeliac Society of Ireland chief executive Gill Brennan said: “Christmas is a time of celebration and indulgence, and it should be no different for those who cannot eat anything containing gluten. Even a tiny amount of it in someone’s Christmas dinner can make someone with coeliac disease very ill. That’s why we developed the Gluten Free Christmas Survival Hub as a one-stop shop for not only the estimated 50,000 coeliac sufferers and 450,000 people who are gluten intolerant in Ireland, but for family and friends who might be cooking for them over the festive season.
“Living with a lifelong autoimmune condition like coeliac disease or being severely gluten intolerant can be stressful at the best of times. Around Christmas it can be worse as sufferers try to navigate various social occasions where they could accidently be fed something that will make them ill. For those hosting coeliacs, the last thing they want to do is cause one of their guests to suffer unnecessarily. The good news is that with the right information and advice, all of this can be avoided, and we would encourage everyone to visit the Gluten Free Christmas Survival Hub on the Coeliac Society website to find out more.”
The Coeliac Society has also launched a dedicated gluten free shop in their new offices in Dublin, which is packed with products which would make a great gift not only at Christmas – but all year round.
Gill added: “We are delighted with our new offices and shop. To the best of my knowledge, we are the first coeliac society in the Europe to incorporate a shop like this where people can drop in to purchase food while also having the opportunity to get information and advice about living gluten free.”
The shop – at Dolcan House, 78/80 Tower Road, Clondalkin, Dublin D22 N6F6 – is open from 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday.