Going gluten-free is tough—REAL tough. Even though you know it’s the right thing to do, whether due to a Gluten-Sensitivity or Celiac Disease, cutting out gluten-filled food is extremely difficult. It’s also difficult to simply know what is gluten-free. There are a lot of details that one needs to wrap their head around when transitioning to a gluten-free diet, and the below steps will aid them in the process.
Know what a gluten-free diet will do for you.
There are a variety of reasons one may go on a gluten-free diet, but the end result is all the same. Whether you go gluten-free due to a diagnosis of celiac disease, or because you have found that gluten doesn’t agree with you, the steps to success are similar.
Throughout your gluten-free journey will be asked my many people what the point of going gluten free is. They might label you as a Celiac, hipster, or a picky-eater. Sometimes you might feel like an outcast—Don’t.
Know the benefits that a gluten-free diet brings to your health. Remind yourself of that whenever you feel resistance from others—or like you’re a pain to go out to eat with. Be confident in your decision to be healthy!
Know the basics of leading a gluten-free lifestyle.
Many will say, “You can’t have gluten? That’s in everything, isn’t it?!” Or my favorite, “If I couldn’t eat gluten, I would die.” Kind of dramatic, don’t ya think?
The general consensus around “gluten” is that it equates to tasty, and if food is gluten free, your taste-buds are doomed. That is not the case. You see, what others don’t realize is that we still have a wide variety of foods we CAN eat. I still throw down at a barbecue. I can eat a platter of nachos like nobody’s business. I love whipping up a batch of pancakes on a Sunday morning. Do those things sound like they don’t taste good? The only limitation we have when eating gluten free is knowing which brands of substitutions are good, and which sauces, seasonings and other ingredients are safe, but the minimal research this may take certainly shouldn’t stop you from incorporating these tasty foods into your diet!
When people tell you that your life sucks (because let’s be honest, that’s what the “you can’t eat anything” remark does), fire back at them. Rattle off the food that is naturally gluten-free, and inform them that gluten-free substitutes are available for just about every product imaginable.
When people tell me I can’t have bread, pizza or pasta, I tell them that I actually can, I just can’t go to any restaurant or aisle at the grocery store to get it. But yes, I can have these food favorites, and I will enjoy them!
Moral of the story—”gluten-free” does not mean “doomed for life.”
Focus on the positives that the gluten-free diet brings you.
One of the most difficult things in the beginning of the gluten-free diet is missing the convenience that gluten-filled food provides.
Traveling seems like a chore. Late night food runs may no longer be feasible. Dinners out with friends turn into a question of where can I eat?
The beginning of my gluten-free diet was filled with the above complaints. I missed being able to enjoy all of the simple things that others took for granted. But, after I would throw my taste-buds a pity party, I would be sure to remember the aftermath that came with eating the above foods. I don’t need to go into the details, because you all know what those symptoms are. So my questions is, why would anyone complain about NOT having to experience that pain anymore?
During my transition to the gluten-free diet, I would think about the positives of a gluten-free diet and not focus on the negatives. Having that sort of mentality didn’t make eating gluten free seem that hard anymore.
Prepare for gluten-free success.
When you prepare for success, you achieve it. This applies to anything you wish to accomplish, whether it is passing a test, nailing a presentation, or eating a healthy diet. Things take time. You get out what you put in.
So, what’s more important than your health? Prepare for success. If you know you’re going to have a long day at work or school, pack extra gluten-free snacks to help you get through. If you are traveling, pack your go-to snacks to last throughout the trip. We fall into temptation when we feel weak. Don’t let yourself feel weak as you make the transition to eating gluten free.
I’ve been in the situation where you think to yourself “Will I really get THAT sick?” “What’s one little piece of pizza going to do?” Man, oh man—you don’t want to know what one piece of pizza can do. Bad things. VERY bad things.
If you’re making the switch to the gluten-free diet right now, you may wonder how to get past the feelings of temptation, gluten-free induced depression or desperation. When I was just starting out, I planned ahead and prepared for each day. I knew how important it was to pack my own food so I wouldn’t either go hungry without options, or have an excuse to “cheat.” I reminded myself that the risk vs. reward wasn’t worth it. Always have gluten-free snacks on deck!
Value your health.
Above all, you have to believe in yourself and what you are doing. You have to value your health more than convenience. Don’t that a second of satisfaction cause you to fall into temptation.
Remind yourself of the benefits that a gluten-free diet provides, and how you are a stronger person because of it.