Last week I paid a visit to my doctor due to some stomach issues I have been having lately and I walked out of the appointment starting a brand new lifestyle. In my appointment my doctor recommended I go completely gluten free. I struggled to grasp this at first, but if it can help my health and overall well being of course I’m going to do it. The problem is of course, I love to eat and going gluten free means giving up not only hundreds of foods I adore but also completely altering my lifestyle. I never realized how hard it would be to walk into a party with no food I can eat. Those days of casually picking up the brownies and cookies and egg rolls and bread and cake and pizza and candy sitting on the table are no more. I have to plan my diet now and say no to foods I would normally gorge myself in. As I’ve began this new journey I’ve learned a lot and after tons of reading, watching and doing I have found there are 5 major steps in beginning the gluten free journey.
1.) Know what you cannot eat and learn to read labels
This one sucks but you really do have to start here. Being gluten free does not just mean you cannot eat bread, it means you cannot have anything with the major ingredients of gluen: wheat, rye, oats, malt vinegar, baker’s yeast or barley. It sounds like a lot, but trust me it’s not as bad as it sounds! Read the labels and if you see any of those things in the label it is not gluten free. I recommend downloading the app ShopWell to help with your shopping trips! Simply scan the bar code of an item and it will tell you if it is gluten free or not! Also a lot of companies have started labeling their items as gluten free.
2.) Focus on the foods you already eat daily that are already gluten free
This is something I have read on every blog post, article and website I’ve been on. Focus on what you already eat! Yes, going gluten free is a huge diet and lifestyle shift, but you don’t have to give it all up. Foods don’t have to say “Gluten Free” on their label for them to be gluten free! Fruits, veggies, nuts and other natural options are great places to start. Beyond that corn chips
3.) Find substitutes for the things you eat that aren’t gluten free
A big one for me (and for most people) is pasta. I eat pasta a lot more than I ever thought I did. Luckily for me there are tons of g-free options on the market. Other major things to substitute include: flour, granola bars and cereal. Also when going out in restaurants pay close attention to g-free menus, and even do some research ahead of time. I tried the Houlihan’s Seared Georges Bank Scallops (in photo below) yesterday and it was 10X better than the burgers I normally get!
4.) Round up some blogs/sites with supportive G-Free info
I have been actively reading Gluten Free Girl for the last few days, her explanations and support astound me. She also has hundreds of delicious looking recipes embedded with the same kind of advice.
Although I am not celiac this website still has an abundance of advice, information and recipes for anyone going gluten free.
This blog is FILLED with every type of gluten free recipe I can think of. I can’t wait to try out the many foods listed on this blog.
5.) Accept it and be supportive of yourself
What choice do you have? Feeling sick or not eating gluten? I know which one I’m choosing. Acceptance is hard and I am struggling with this one the most. I tell myself “I can have this bread and cheesecake, I will be fine!” and then two hours later I feel like I fell off a building. Some days I so want to cave in and eat whatever I want, I want to complain to everyone that I can’t eat what they can, but negetivity does nothing good for your mental or physical health! So be positive! Know the good this is doing for your body and recognize the many upsides of being gluten free. Trust me if I can do this anyone can.
How have you coped with a lifestyle shift like this one?
Happy Holidays Everyone!