Remember the mild panic you felt when you first found out that you were gluten intolerant or had a more severe gluten allergy that resulted in something like Celiac Disease?
Maybe you just found out that you need to get gluten out of your diet and you’re just going through the panic stage now when you ask yourself:
- What can I eat? It seems like nothing is good for me!
- Will checking labels and learning about the right and wrong ingredients take a lot of time?
- How will I adjust to eating in restaurants?
- How much of a pain in the butt will eating gluten free be?
- How will I feed myself and my non-gluten free family?
Going gluten free is far less of an inconvenience compared to being disabled by the pain and sickness gluten brought to my life, so I maintain that perspective.
The answers to those questions are very individual. For the first couple of weeks after my gluten intolerant diagnosis, I just grazed a lot of fruit, veggies and lean proteins while I did quite a bit of research. Reading food labels is time consuming at first, but once I found gluten free brands and started to consistently remember what I can’t eat, shopping no longer took extra time. As for eating in restaurants, it’s not that difficult. Many now have gluten free menus, but you have to ask for them. Otherwise, I stay away from coated, thickened and marinated foods unless the menu or the server assures me they are gluten free. As for feeding the family, they eat gluten free foods and love my recipes. My daughter recently started a gluten free lifestyle and she no longer has stomach problems, and my husband eats gluten free bread and anything I cook. Going gluten free is far less of an inconvenience compared to being disabled by the pain and sickness gluten brought to my life, so I maintain that perspective.
Focus on What You Can Eat, Not What You Can’t
I often hear people say that going gluten free was difficult because there was soooo much that they couldn’t eat. That seemed to be the case for me, too, at first. But, once I started reading Living Gluten-Free For Dummies (2nd Edition) , I chose to take a different approach to going gluten free. I needed eliminate wheat, barley, rye and non-gluten free oats and any derivatives from those foods from my diet (goodbye beer and malted milk balls), but how much food did that leave that I could eat? I have no other food allergies, so I can have any fresh fruits, vegetables, beef, fish, chicken, dairy, rice and other grains, nut butters, beans and tons of other foods! Believe me, there’s so much more that you can eat on a gluten free diet than you can’t!
What helped me quite a bit is that once I discovered how well I could feel without the gluten, I do not miss bread and other baked goods. Go ahead, eat a piece of chocolate cake in front of me. I won’t have a craving because if I eat that stuff, my joints will ache and my stomach will be upset (I’ve found the most excellent gluten free brownie mix). I have tried gluten free bread, and some brands are quite good. I like Udi’s Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread, but it requires toasting to keep it intact for a sandwich. If you have an Aldi store near you take advantage of their gluten free white bread, which needs no toasting.
If you can take on the mindset that wheat, rye, barley and most oats are literally poison to your body, you’ll stop missing them and will focus on all that you can eat, not what you can’t. And you can eat many things.
Simple is Smart for a Gluten Free Lifestyle
Most of the recipes and tips I will share on this site are ridiculously simple. Please follow me on social media using the buttons at the top of the page to get those recipes as they are published. I know that when you’re new to gluten free eating, it’s easy to feel so overwhelmed that you forget that you can have something as simple as corn tortilla chips and salsa or a baked potato with sour cream and bacon. So, I provide simple ideas for adjusting to gluten free living and mostly simple recipes. That’s why you won’t find a lot of baked goods here like gluten free cookies, breads and cakes – I’m too lazy for that stuff.