I have been gluten-free for a year and one month now, and I am STILL learning. Changing to a gluten-free lifestyle was a little bit of a transition but the reward for how I feel is more than I could have imagined. When you feel bad for so long you forget what it's like to feel healthy. I now understand the phrase, 'you get back what you put in'. In regards to the food I am eating now and how I feel after.
But I still make mistakes. I am lucky enough to have a gluten-free home, not in any danger of getting cross-contaminated with crumbs from my brother eating pop tarts or hamburger buns when we have a party. Our house is a no-gluten zone, even though I am the only one with allergies. And I have still gotten 'glutened' simply by being careless, or assuming that something is safe, even just checking the ingredients and thinking it's safe because it does not say "contains:wheat".
Yesterday I changed my face wash, toothpaste and mouthwash. I was using St. Ives and the website says contains wheat protein. I always wash my face when I wake up and it's scary to think I could have had traces of that on my hands while making my breakfast. I had previously checked my toothpaste and the website said gluten-free but I had a closer look and it says cannot guarantee that there are no traces of gluten.
My biggest piece of advice to people with gluten allergies, is to eat out as little as possible. I've worked in restaurants, and if the staff is ignorant of the severity of food allergies (I was), they may make small mistakes and you can EASILY get cross-contaminated. Nothing gross or anything, but if it's a busy night and they send the wrong food to the wrong table, it happens all the time. You might think you're eating gluten-free pasta but how would you know for sure?
If you plan to eat at a restaurant, choose one with a gluten-free menu (the staff is a little more knowledgeable), don't pick a very busy night, and call ahead. You don't have to be specific about who you are, just talk to a manager and say you were planning on coming in soon and you want to make sure that they take food safety seriously, and are careful about cross contamination. The manager will probably have a talk with the staff that day and pay extra attention to make sure everything is handled properly.
Then, there is the dreaded bread basket. The poison placed directly in front of you, and hopefully it's not warm and buttered because the smell makes it worse that you can't indulge. *Something to think about, even if you aren't eating it. Everyone else is, and probably all the people who have sat at the table before you. Of course, they clean the tables, but they don't clean the seats as often so be careful where you touch while you eat.