Today I am pleased to have Trisha from Eat Your Beets guest posting about making the transition to gluten free eating. If you haven’t been over to her site, Trisha writes about food, kids, and helping families live a healthier lifestyle. One of my recent favorite post is her recipe for cauliflower gratin. Thanks, Trisha for sharing with us today!!
More & more people are exploring the option to go gluten free these days. For some people it’s about challenging themselves. For others it’s an exploration in self awareness, testing their bodies to see how they feel. And for others, it’s a first step in working towards healing chronic aches, pains or intestinal issues.
Whatever the reason you’re transitioning to gluten free, for some people it can be simply overwhelming. The thought of drastically changing your diet or entire lifestyle can paralyze people, leaving them to throw their hands in the air & give up.
Well, don’t give up.
It may seem challenging but I’m here to help you & hopefully provide some much needed support.
5 Tips to Transition to Gluten Free
#1 Get Past the Pity Party
All right, I’m sorry. Go ahead & have that pity party.
Ok, so now that’s over we can move on!
I don’t know what your reasons are for going gluten free but whatever the reasons are, it’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Maybe this is just a 30 day challenge. Maybe it’s a first step after a celiac or autoimmune diagnosis. It doesn’t really matter. The point is, as long as you continue to lament all the things you “can’t eat” those are the only things you’re going to want. Give yourself a good couple of weeks to let your body adjust. In the beginning, expect ups & downs. You may feel worse, you may feel exhausted, you might feel darn right grumpy & most people might want to stay outta your way but as long as you recognize this as part of your body trying to detox then hopefully, your friends & family will forgive you too.
Instead of thinking of all the things you can’t have, focus on all the things you can have! Fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, meat, fats, nuts & seeds. Maybe even dairy if you can tolerate it. When you’re filling your plate with nutrient dense foods like these you won’t even give a second thought to all the things you left behind.
#2 Focus on the Goal
On the occasions you do start to feel bogged down or uninspired, it helps to focus on your goal. Why are you going gluten free? If it’s only a 30 day challenge, well then focus on the fact that you can do anything for 30 days! And maybe by the time you get to the end of the 30 days you’ll be someone you never could have imagined. A person who craves brussel sprouts! Maybe this is the first step towards healing ongoing medical issues. I cannot think of a more persuasive goal for clean eating than your overall health & well being. Imagine having the power to control your quality of life simply by choosing to eat a certain way! If you could control that, wouldn’t you want to feel the best you can possibly feel?
#3 Don’t Get Caught in the GF Trap
It seems that big business has gotten a taste for what the market wants. Demand is now making way for supply & more grocery stores are now standing up ‘Gluten Free’ sections in their aisles hosting cookies, pasta, cereals, chips, bread, cake & dessert mixes. Go ahead & hold your horses there, my friend. These things are fine when you’re in a pinch or on occasion but please, please let me caution you against making these items a staple in your daily diet. You won’t be doing yourself any favors. Trying to turn your beloved pancakes, sandwiches & pasta dinner into a gluten free imposter could be sabotaging your goals. A lot of these items are full of processed junk too! Instead of searching for processed gluten free foods, look to whole foods that are already naturally gluten free – vegetables, fruit, fats & proteins. Stick to the outer aisles of your grocery store & you won’t even see that silly gluten free section unless you need to.
#4 Find Your People
Going gluten free has the ability to make you feel a bit excluded. Especially at the weekend BBQ when you’re having a burger wrapped in lettuces & everyone else is chowing down on gluten filled buns & Doritos. Bummer.
Take this opportunity to find your tribe. Seek out people who have similar goals as you. Maybe you only know a couple of other people who are gluten free. Set up a monthly potluck where you sample & share your favorite gluten free recipes. You can even find meet up groups for like minded people. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your journey. Chances are, they are interested.
There are also several amazing bloggers or websites where you can find support, recipes & just have a good laugh reading about their experiences. Some of my favorite websites are Chris Kresser, Balanced Bites & Elana’s Pantry .
#5 Look Beyond
Now that you’ve gone gluten free, you may be feeling better. It may have cleared up some medical issues you were dealing with or it may have brought some new unexpected issues into the spotlight. If you find that going gluten free did not provide you the answers you were looking for, perhaps you could benefit from looking beyond. If going gluten free has left you frustrated & searching for more answers I would encourage you to look further into the GAPS diet or auto immune deficiencies. My own family has benefited well from working towards gut healing through the GAPS diet specifically but also through the addition of bone broths & fermented foods. Sometimes it’s not just about the things you’ve taken away, but also about the nourishing foods you’re putting into your body.