Hey you guys and welcome back! Today I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips for going gluten free. I cannot tell you how hard it is to go through life doing what you always do, only to wake up one morning and have to make major changes. It honestly is all about the baby steps and that is where I come in to help you.
With any new changes in life, just know that this will take time. It will be full of trial and errors, but you will learn!
Just a disclaimer: I am not a doctor in any way, shape, or form. I do not pretend to be. This post is to simply share with you the 5 things I found most useful on my gluten free journey. My hope for you, is to take away something from this that might help you or someone you love.
TIP #1: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!!!
When I first tried going gluten free, I got overwhelmed…and I got overwhelmed fast! You truly do not realize how many items contain gluten. Yes, yes… you figure things like breads, cakes, and cookies contain gluten, but what about things like soy sauce, meat substitutes [like imitation crabmeat], or even ice cream? Here is the thing too, there are so many sneaky hidden words for gluten too that it can make your head spin. I remember my first trip buying gluten free foods… I had printed out an actual sheet of all the hidden names for gluten and yes, it was a full page. It was long, tedious, and stressful, but 3+ hours later in the grocery store, I was on my way to a healthier and happier life.
Going gluten free takes time and it takes research. It definitely takes research if you are planning on buying any processed foods. Don’t get me wrong you can easily just go to the gluten free aisle of your grocery store, but sometimes things you don’t even think about having gluten in them, do. [bbq sauce is a great example.] Before you even take a trip to the store, I highly suggest you make your grocery list and then take the time to research which items you may need to replace. It will save you the hassle of accidentally buying something that has gluten in it.
TIP #2: SAVE SOME EXTRA MONEY UP.
I am not going to lie when I say the gluten free lifestyle is expensive. It is quite expensive for one person, let alone an entire family. I highly suggest before actually going to the store to start your new lifestyle [esp. if you are on a budget] to take the time to save up extra money. Especially if you are buying processed foods! I still remember how much my first gluten free grocery trip was in order to switch out everything: sauces, pastas, flour, etc. etc… my total for that day was over $500.00. I literally came home and cried.
The initial cost of starting a gluten free diet to replace most of the items you have is going to be the most expensive. It is better, however to be prepared and have that cushion money vs. going to the store and end up shocked at your receipt after you went into it without thinking it through fully.
TIP #3: TRY TO AVOID PROCESSED FOODS!
Just like I had just mentioned above, going gluten free is expensive. It is expensive ten-fold however, if you buy a lot of processed foods like; pastas, breads, flour, cake mixes, sauces, seasoning mixes, condiments like bbq sauce etc. In all honesty it is simply best [and a whole lot cheaper] to try to avoid buying as many processed foods as possible. Avoiding frozen meals and frozen pizza will save you a lot of money as well. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we like to indulge in a pre-made treat and that is ok, but just know that gluten free food is at least double the cost of a product that contains gluten.
Also going to the gluten free aisle will usually get you into trouble. Cereal is notorious for this, but just know the cereal found in the gluten free aisle that costs $3.50 for a little box isn’t the only actual cereal in the store that is gluten free. A good amount of gluten free items can be found in the regular aisles of the grocery store and costs less than what you had found in the gluten free aisle.
TIP #4: IT IS OK TO MAKE MISTAKES.
This tip is mainly meant for those looking to make a change to their lifestyle by choice or those who have a non debilitating allergy to gluten. If you have celiac, you will want to be a lot more careful. Going gluten free has a lot of trial and error to it. Sometimes you will buy something you have always bought in the past without even checking for gluten and it turns out that it contains gluten. Sometimes you will order something from a restaurant thinking it was gluten free, only to find out that it sure does have gluten in it. [For me, usually it’s my favorite dish.] Once again, researching helps you a lot of times avoid mistakes, however sometimes you are just sick of learning about what you can and cannot have. Don’t get yourself too down when you are first learning and trying to figure things out. There will be mistakes, you just need to learn from them and move on to doing better the next time.
TIP #5: BE SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR LIFESTYLE CHANGE:
This is probably my biggest tip for you. Making a lifestyle change is a big thing and needs to be taken seriously if you truly wish to succeed. Going gluten free is sort of like going on a diet: A lot of people attempt for a little while and then tend to throw in the towel. It takes months and months to get results from going gluten free. You won’t see an improvement in a day or even a week. You most likely won’t see an improvement after a month. You just have to keep at it and you have to believe in yourself and push yourself to keep going. If that is something you struggle with, join a gluten free/celiac group. Reach out and share stories and support others, while being supported by them in return. Build friendships on this journey of yours and rock it.
I wish you all the very best on this journey and I hope that you find the results you are looking for by going gluten free. Remember, you are not alone in this, as many people have chosen or had to make this change as well. As always feel free to leave any questions of comments down below.
Until next time, take care.