Going gluten free is not the end of the world. Not even close, actually! It’s one of those things that seems like it’s going to be much harder than it actually is. It’s only as difficult as you make it, as is the case with any life changes such as beginning a gym routine, going back to school, or changing careers. However, this change can make such a positive impact on your health and can even help reverse chronic illness. As a matter of fact, I have been able to get my Hashimoto’s almost into remission! We’re so close!
Gluten free living is not a fad, and it is definitely not something that’s harmful to you (unless you’re replacing gluten junk with it’s gluten free cousin. A junk-filled diet is always a junk-filled diet). So if you’re looking at kicking gluten for good, then hopefully these steps will help make it a smoother transition!
6 Steps For Going Gluten Free:
- Make A Plan: This may seem like a step that’s not very important, but please don’t skip it! This step will make all the rest of the steps much easier, and will make your success easier as well! Figure out how often you’re going to have to cook, what recipes you’ll have to quit making, which recipes you can substitute gluten free ingredients for, and snacks you can make.
- Go Through Your Pantry: Get rid of anything with gluten in it. Donate it to church or to a friend that still eats gluten and can use it all. Read all the labels! Cookies, crackers, bread, cereals… it’s like ripping off a band-aid. Do it quickly and don’t be sad about it.. think of the health you will be gaining by going gluten free, not the food you’ll be losing!
- Go Through Your Refrigerator: Same as the pantry step. Read every label! Condiments, sauces, and dressings are especially notorious for hiding gluten. The last thing you want is to not be getting any better because you keep using regular soy sauce in your stir fry (yes, soy sauce contains wheat. And yes, they make a gluten free soy sauce. Or better yet, coconut aminos! YUM!)
- Find Easy Recipes: This is where Pinterest comes in so handy. Look up “gluten free ________ recipe” and you’ll find so many already tried-and-true, just waiting for you to whip them up. I’ve even got several under the “Healthy Food” tab on my menu. Give it some time, I promise that this food is delicious and you will be happy with your decision about going gluten free!
- Prep Work: Once you’ve found some recipes that work for you and that you like, now is the time to put some prep work in. Does having rice on hand make it easier for you to make dinner at night? Make a big pot of rice on Sunday, and use it throughout the week for dinners instead of pasta! Miss your breakfast cereal but don’t have enough time to cook breakfast before work? Hard boil a dozen eggs each week and you have breakfast ready to go! The more prepared you are for these changes, the more natural it feels, and the less you’ll miss the old Standard American Diet. 😉 Going gluten free is something that you can do overnight, but it still may take a little while to get used to it. It’s ok!
- Educate Yourself: This one is so important. You need to know the hidden names of gluten such as artificial coloring, caramel color/flavoring, citric acid (can be fermented from wheat), dextrins, emulsifiers, and more! You should also be prepared to discuss your food intolerance when you go out to eat. Therefore the more educated you are on the subject, the easier it will be for you to get something to eat without harming your healing in the process.
This life change is no different than any other one. The longer you make the choice not to eat gluten, the easier it will become. Since I’ve been off gluten for over a year now, it’s not a problem for me to have regular snacks in the house for the kids. I don’t want to eat them, and I don’t. However, at the beginning, it was much harder for me to resist, so make it easy on yourself and just get rid of everything to begin with! Set yourself up for success, not for failure.
Next, check out what essentials you should have on hand to make the transition into gluten free eating easiest on you!
Have you given up gluten? What steps would you add for someone who is completely changing their eating habits?