You've just been told by your doctor that you need to go gluten free. Or maybe you're curious if gluten could be causing some of your symptoms and you're thinking of cutting it out, but the idea seems SO OVERWHELMING. Don't worry! You can do it!
Here's what you need to know about going gluten free:
- Be prepared. The more prepared you are, the less stressed out you'll be and the more success you'll find. This means learning the why, understanding what products contain gluten, and finding alternatives. Check out my gluten free meal plan to get you started.
- Stick with it. Just like there's no such thing as being sort of pregnant, there's no such thing as being kind of gluten free. While gluten will pass through your GI system in 24-48 hours, it can take up to 3-4 months to fully purge it from your system. (1) So, "cheat days" aren't an option here if you really want to see your body heal. Consider it a life-style change rather than a diet. I promise you'll be more successful that way.
- Learn to read labels. Now days many products are labeled gluten free. But, it's still important for you to learn to read labels. You're looking to avoid the ingredients: wheat, gluten, barley, rye, semolina, durham, bulgar, gamut, spelt, and triticale to name a few. If you can't access the ingredient list, just assume it contains gluten and pass to be on the safe side.
- Check your beauty products too. Ugh. Yes, it's true there may be gluten hiding in your shampoo or toothpaste. Overwhelmed by reading labels? Check out my favorite GF toiletries and beauty products (coming soon).
- Canyon Bakehouse is your new best friend. Their original sandwich bread tastes just like it's gluten-filled distant cousin. And they've got soft and delicious hamburger buns, bagels, and a new homestyle sandwich bread that, in my opinion, is worth the extra $. The only Udi baked good you really want to try is the dinner rolls. Otherwise, Canyon Bakehouse all the way. (Check their website for coupons. Available at Sprouts and Whole Foods.)
- Save money by eating grain free. It's no secret that gluten free breads and baked goods are more expensive. The first time you order a GF bun on your burger, you'll notice the $2.50 upcharge. So if your budget is taking a beating, consider going grain free with some of your meals. Bunless burgers, steak and veggies without the roll, or eggs and bacon without the toast are a few simple ideas to save a little money every once in a while.
- Stock these 6 GF flours in your pantry. Almond flour, Coconut Flour, Cassava Flour, Tapioca Flour, Arrowroot Flour, and Rice Flour. Check out this post (coming soon) for more about cooking with GF flours.
- Download this app. Find Me Gluten Free is a great website and app to find reviews and ratings on local dining establishments. You can find restaurants with GF menus, dedicated gluten free kitchens, and see what other diners have to say about their GF dining experience. If you're in Dallas, check out my go-to list of favorite restaurants.
- Eat before you go. Headed to a party? Don't assume that there will be gluten free options there or that you'll even know what's in the food. When in doubt, eat before you go so you won't be tempted to eat what's in front of you. (See #2.)
- And on that note... Don't apologize for being gluten free. I get it. No one wants to feel like an inconvenience or worse, like a weirdo that doesn't fit in. But remember this: it's not you, it's what they've done to our food. The wheat you're eating today are NOT the same wheat of Bible times. Research has shown that the grains of Jesus' time are not genetically the same as the modern wheat we eat today. Hybridization has resulted in larger gluten molecules that are harder to digest and are prone to causing allergies and inflammation. (2) And what's more, wheat is one of the highest sprayed crops. Glyphosate (Roundup) is sprayed on the wheat at harvest time to increase yields. It doesn't wash off. So in addition to consuming a molecule that's hard to digest and causes inflammation, it's covered in pesticides that totally destroy your gut micro biome. Mmmm. God has called us to steward our bodies well. You don't have to apologize for taking care of yourself. In fact, I think it's something to celebrate. Maybe with a GF cookie. 🙂
Photo by Canyon Bakehouse.