Gluten free living can be stressful. After all, going gluten free means BIG change.
When a gluten free diet is required for medical reasons like Celiac disease (CD), dermatitis herpetiformis or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, that change is abrupt and severe.
One moment you’re in a doctor’s office elated to hear years of unexplained symptoms are at last validated, the next you find yourself frustrated in front of your pantry realizing most of what you find there is now toxic waste as far as your body is concerned.
I recently read an article where the author encouraged individuals who need to go gluten free to “take it slow” because “purging everything that contains gluten [from your pantry] is a big undertaking”.
A big undertaking indeed, but this is hardly sound advice for an individual with CD or related health issues.
The truth is, when gluten is no longer an option in our diet, life changes dramatically. Individuals with a medical need to be gluten free must rid their lives of all gluten immediately.
And yes, it is stressful.
I receive plenty of email from readers conveying feelings of frustration when it comes to seemingly simple activities like making a family meal or attending a potluck dinner with friends. At times, navigating gluten free living can feel like walking over a landmine.
Some readers have even said they’ve completely stopped dining out because it’s such a hassle to make sure their food is safe to consume.
These feelings do not necessarily change over time, either.
Recent mail from two of my regular readers, Kate and Sarah, demonstrate how long-time gluten free folks can share the same feelings as those newly diagnosed.
“Gigi, I am a prisoner of Celiac disease. I was just diagnosed and when I left the doctor’s office, I cried and cried thinking What will I do?? What will I eat??”
“I have been living gluten-free for 8 years after being diagnosed with Celiac at age 62. I’m tired of gluten-free living and just want to be normal again. I am still afraid to eat in a restaurant, I don’t want to travel, and I’m bored with the foods I can eat. Please tell me this gets better!”
Neither Kate nor Sarah’s feelings are unusual. Let’s face it, the need to modify every aspect of our diet is daunting. That’s especially true when we need to be able to prepare family meals and eat outside our own home.
We all have these feelings. It’s how we handle them that can set us apart and keep us on a positive road to optimal health.
So, I was thinking, with autumn officially upon us (here in the Northern Hemisphere), this is a great time to step back and re-calibrate a bit when it comes to our gluten free diet.
After all, with holidays just around the corner, most of us put a greater focus on food and social events to celebrate those special days.
From now through the year’s end, I’ll be sharing tips and advice on how to navigate those situations so you’re able to enjoy the festivities as much as anyone else. And of course, you’ll be seeing quite a few festive gluten free recipes, too, so be sure to sign up for these helpful posts in the “Daily Gluten Free Fix”!
Today, though, let’s get back to basics…gluten free!
Living Gluten Free: The Basics
- Focus on foods you can eat instead of those you cannot.
- Enjoy the simple pleasures of naturally gluten free foods you already enjoy. Consider your morning coffee and a fluffy omelet for breakfast. And how about a bowl brimming with fresh steamed veggies and rice for lunch? For dinner, make a slow cooker full of hearty chili with the flavors of fall. See?? You can eat. You can even eat well.
- Take advantage of naturally gluten free seasonal fruits and vegetables. For fall, focus on in-season produce like acorn squash, broccoli, golden and purple beets, Swiss chard, cranberries, pumpkin, pears, pomegranate, sweet potatoes and turnips. Not sure how to prepare some of these? The broccoli, beets, pumpkin, pears, potatoes and turnips can be roasted to bring out their natural sweetness! Learn how simple roasting veggies can be here.
- Embrace your inner chef. Instead of viewing cooking as just another chore to check off your list each day, look at it as a positive step you’re taking to heal your body from the inside out. Lovingly prepare food for yourself to speed healing and reverse the damage gluten has done by finding trusted resources with recipes anyone can successfully make. That’s where my Recipe Index can come in handy! I always strive to use affordable, easy-to-find ingredients and simple methods so we can enjoy the best gluten free food with time to spare!
- Educate yourself about gluten free living and your health issues. I can’t stress this one enough. There is so much information available to use via the internet; however, all of it is not trustworthy and backed by science. That’s why every bit of advice and information I provide you with is firmly rooted in the best up-to-date research available. You deserve nothing less. You can find articles I’ve written here.
Now, take these starter tips and a deep breath and embrace your gluten free life and the improved health it brings.
Remember, the BIG change of going gluten free means BIG rewards for your health.
Another BIG reward is the information I have for you each week in my regular “Daily Gluten Free Fix” articles and recipes. You’ll also find an abundance of more in-depth information on living gluten free, never before shared original recipes, information about in-season nutrition, weight loss, valuable coupons and more in my print only newsletter, “Gluten Free Gigi’s Food Solutions”! If you’re interested about learning more about becoming a “Food Solutions” subscriber, click here.
I hope these “back to the basics” tips are helpful for you as you work to live the best gluten free life possible!