6 Tips to Converting to a Gluten-Free Lifestyle
1. Take a Deep Breath
Going gluten-free is not the end of the world. While you may have to give up certain favorite dishes, your health and well-being are more important. Feeling overwhelmed is okay, but don’t let it drag you down. Motivate yourself to learn about eating gluten-free and be open minded about your recovery. Many individuals feel limited by becoming gluten-free, but there are so many items you can eat when you truly think about it.
2. Go Through Your Kitchen
If you live alone, take out everything that has gluten and either give it away to friends or donate unopened items to a food pantry. Should you live in a house with members that are not gluten-free, recognize what is gluten-filled and create a shelf or two just for your gluten-free items. There are many apps out there to help you figure out what is gluten-free or not, one being “The Gluten-Free Scanner.” This app allows you to either look through popular items in list form or scan any barcode and their extensive database will tell you whether there is gluten in the product or not.
3. Do Your Research Beforehand
You’ll end up spending three hours in the grocery store if you don’t prepare your list ahead of time. Doing research to plan out meals will allow you to not feel lost in the store but also have a purpose.
This applies to restaurants. Do your best to plan where you are going to eat with friends and family so that you don’t spend time researching the entire menu on your phone while everyone else is ready to order. Often if you just Google “Is blank restaurant gluten-free,” it will let you know what items are gluten-free at the restaurant; however, local restaurants may not show up, so calling ahead or simply asking works as well.
4. Check Everything
Make sure to check your medication, vitamins, and supplements; it is important that you are not getting any gluten. You can call your doctor or check with a pharmacist to ensure that you are 100% gluten-free. Just because your doctor diagnoses you as gluten-free doesn’t mean he or she will always remember to prescribe gluten-free medications.
5. Stay Positive
Converting to gluten-free will take some practice before it will become second-nature. Don’t stress out about it. If you feel uncomfortable going out to eat, take it in steps and research ahead of time to find the restaurants that are gluten-free friendly. Pinterest is a great place to look for recipes and tips for spotting gluten in hidden foods.
6. Be Prepared
If coworkers bring in treats for someone’s birthday, opt to bring in your own gluten-free treat so you are not left out. Have gluten-free snacks on hand at all times so you don’t give in to gluten-filled snacks when hunger attacks you. Nothing is worse than being stuck with only fast food options and nothing that is gluten-free. While the world is becoming more gluten-free friendly, you cannot rely on it, plus it is healthier to bring your own snacks.
Above all, make sure you realize that you are going gluten-free for your health and well-being. Yes, maybe it is inconvenient, but not being sick is definitely a good trade-off for the hassle of doing a little more research before eating.