Laura Hanley

5 Steps to a Successful Gluten-Free Transition

by Laura Hanley on January 7th, 2013


Gluten free diet

Photo: Whole Foods, http://wholefoods.com

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 things one needs to wrap their head around when transitioning to a gluten-free diet, and the below five steps will aid them in the process.

1. 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 because of a diagnosis or because you have simply found that gluten doesn’t agree with you, the steps to success are similar.

You will be asked my many people what the point of a gluten-free diet 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 a gluten-free diet brings to your health. Remind yourself of that whenever you feel resistance from others. Be confident in your decision to be healthy.

2. Know the basics.

Many will say, “You can’t have gluten? That’s in everything, isn’t it?!”

There is a misconception that gluten equates to tasty, and without it our taste-buds are doomed. The thing that others don’t realize is that we have a wide variety of foods we still CAN eat. I still throw down at a barbecue. I can eat a platter of nachos like nobody’s business. I love a big, juicy steak. Do those things sound like they don’t taste good? They are ALL gluten-free, and definitely don’t lack in the taste department.

When people tell you that your life sucks (because let’s be honest, that’s what theyou can’t eat anything remark does), fire back at them. Rattle off the food that is naturally gluten-free. Inform them that gluten-free substitutes are available for just about every product imaginable.

When people tell me I can’t have bread or pasta, I tell them that I actually eat bread every morning, and I make a mean pasta dish with gluten-free noodles.

Gluten-free does not mean doomed for life.

3. Focus on the positives.

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 remember the aftermath of eating the above foods. It was comparable to H-E-double hockey sticks. Why would anyone complain about NOT having to experience that pain anymore?

When I would think about the positives of a gluten-free diet and not focus on the negatives, it didn’t seem that hard anymore.

4. Prepare for 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, 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.

I’ve been there. 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.

So how do I no longer fall into temptation, get depressed, or even have the slightest urge to eat gluten in times of desperation? I plan ahead. Prepare. Know what my day ahead will bring and pack accordingly. I remind myself the risk vs. reward. It just ISN’T worth it.

5. 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.

 

Author Information:

Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009. She reviews gluten-free products, restaurants, posts simple recipes, and writes about gluten-free experiences onwww.gfreelaura.com. Laura also blogs for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery. You can follow Laura’s young, wild, and [gluten] free updates by finding her on TwitterFacebookPinterest and Google+.

 


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3 Responses to “5 Steps to a Successful Gluten-Free Transition”

  1. Keyoana says:

    Great article , recently I diagnosis my self with a gluten sensitivity and since the change no more stomach crapping or bloating .
    Thank you

  2. Bianca S says:

    I was so happy to come across this post! I have recently adopted a gluten free lifestyle. I am quite health conscious and always looking for new ways to drop some weight. I have quite often reached a point in which NOTHING seemed to work and I would struggle to lose those few extra pounds.I have quite a few friends who are gluten intolerant and have heard from a number of them that there are some amazing gluten free recipes out there that are delicious and extremely healthy (and assist with weight loss!). They have opened my eyes to the wonderful world of gluten *and even dairy free cooking* and I would highly recommend the website http://www.ninacucina.com/. I recently purchased her book, Nina Cucina: Your Healthy Gourmet and I have become addicted to gluten free recipes! I am not a great cook but I found this book (and website) so informative and so easy to follow. For every single recipe the author, Nina Pucillo, gives the nutritional value of each dish and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the dish. All of the dishes featured in the book are totally gluten-free and Nina has included many recipes that are dairy-free too! Thanks for sharing! I hope my suggestion helps too :) Good luck to everyone trying this new positive lifestyle change

  3. Gloria Duy says:

    That’s a good article Laura. It could apply to many things besides celiac. Life is hard. Oh, well, get over it and move on. We have to value ourselves and our health. Thanks, Gloria @ glutenfreepoodle

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