Set Yourself Up for Success
When I decided to go gluten-free, I did it suddenly. I’m like that. I make rash decisions and then I’m forced to stick with them. I had actually been considering going gluten-free for a while, and I stopped and started a few times before I actually did it. I think it would have been easier if I’d set myself up for success. I’ve learned over time how to make living gluten-free as painless as possible. Here’s what I do, or the advice I’d give to those who are trying to make gluten-free a lifestyle.
Planning is key with any restrictive diet, and gluten-free is no different. There’s no ordering pizza when the pantry is bare or stopping at the Food Court when you suddenly find yourself ravenous after a morning at the mall. Meal planning is key. I make a menu plan every Monday and then make my grocery list from that and stock the house. In fact, if you’ll forgive the shameless plug, you can find them on my blog, Musings of a Housewife!
I’m also careful not to get caught out without snacks. I always carry a gluten-free fruit & nut bar in my purse for snacking if I get hungry when I’m out and about. It’s harder than you’d think to find a gluten-free snack when you’re at work or running errands.
In fact, before you even go gluten-free, it’s a good idea to research the hidden sources of gluten (soy sauce and salad dressings, who knew!?) and find out what you need to avoid. Find some good recipes and start a recipe book of just gluten-free meals and gluten-free desserts so you don’t feel at a loss for what to make.
2. CLEAN OUT THE PANTRY
When you decide that it’s time to take the plunge, get rid of all the gluten in your house if you can. Having glutenous snacks around to tempt you is not helpful, especially in those first few weeks. After a while, you’ll feel so good without gluten in your life that you won’t really be tempted to cheat. But at first, it helps to keep your life as free of temptations as possible. Go through everything, read labels, and toss anything you can’t eat.
3. STOCK YOUR KITCHEN
Once the temptations are out of the way, it’s time to stock up on yummy gluten-free treats… like Udi’s! (Their muffins are divine!!) Make sure to keep plenty of gluten-free goodies on hand.
If you must have gluten around for other members of your family who aren’t on the bandwagon, make sure to separate their stuff from yours. Put the gluten-free foods on separate shelves and label them accordingly.
4. ENLIST HELP
As with any life change or new commitment, support is crucial to success. Explain the situation to the loved ones in your life, especially those you live with, and get them on board. Some may even be willing to take on the gluten-free lifestyle with you. If not, it is still important that they understand the importance of the commitment you are making so they can help you when you’re feeling weak or frustrated.
On the flip side, there is nothing worse than friends and family who don’t “get it.” Don’t let it get you down. Do what you know you need to do for YOU. After all, you can’t put a price on feeling good and being healthy.