Are you NEW to Gluten Free?
If so, you're not alone! Currently, it is believed that gluten sensitivity effects almost 700 million people worldwide. In the United States ALONE 1 out of every 133 people have Celiacs disease. And trust me, the world will continue to see more. (For an interesting read on WHY, see this article from my husband, Dr. Nielsen's blog: GLUTEN.)
Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivities:
Gluten intolerance covers a wide spectrum of conditions, including Celiac Disease to just a simple wheat allergy. Here some symptoms you may be experiencing:
Help! This is ALL so OVERWHELMING! Where do I begin?
Here are 5 basic steps for you that I've learned along my own journey and from others going through the same thing.
1. Going Gluten Free is more MENTALLY hard than anything...
When I first went Gluten Free my mind started tormenting me. I thought of all the things I COULDN'T eat when in reality, there were still a TON of foods I COULD EAT. See this section of my website for extra help:
How to Eat Gluten Free
Foods to Avoid
Take this one day at a time. Don't worry about all the future details. It will just make the transition seem more overwhelming.
2. Make a MEAL PLAN:
I found it really helpful to make a week plan of meals AND snacks. If I knew what to eat or where I could eat, then I didn't get hungry. And if I wasn't hungry, I didn't panic about what to eat!
Start by making a list of "Meals You Love." Then determine which ones you know have gluten. If you still want to eat a gluten meal, figure out how to make it Gluten Free.
For example, I love HAMBURGERS, but the buns are gluten-infested. I use these buns or buy Gluten Free buns at my local health food store. Be sure your toppings are Gluten Free as well; ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc. Some meals are really easy to switch over. Others, take a completely different recipe all together.
I started with a good solid week of meal plans (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
Don't forget to plan out your snacks too! Here is a couple of gluten free suggestions:
Gluten Free Snacks:
(Click on the blue words to open the link)
For a FULL selection of my Gluten Free RECIPES:
You'll see what's cooking today and as you scroll down the page you'll see the full menu of Gluten Free RECIPES on the far right side in blue.
There are currently over 200+ recipes for you to choose from.
And if you don't like to cook:
Click HERE for a HUGE list of restaurants with Gluten Free menus or items.
3. Keep a bigger goal in mind:
What is your overall goal?
Whatever your overall reason, focus on that, and when temptations come, fall back to WHY you are doing this.
For me, it's simple. I would like to have more children and consuming gluten affects my fertility. So, anytime I see a donut or get tempted by some warm cookies, I REMEMBER: It's so much more important for me to become pregnant than to have a donut.
I would suggest typing out this phrase, fill in your reason, and hanging it in multiple places you'll see it (on the fridge, cupboard, bathroom, etc.). Then, when a temptation comes, you'll know WHY and HOW to be strong.
"It's so much more important for me to ______________ than to eat this gluten-infested food!"
4. Learn the WHYs about being GLUTEN FREE:
Chances are, if you really learn about the WHY to be gluten free, you'll be extremely more motivated to live gluten free.
There are SO many help books out there about being Gluten Free. Your local library should have some copies sneaking onto their shelves. Our library now even offers you to check out books on your smart phone! You don't even have to set foot into the library.
Don't have time to read? Most libraries also offer audio books as well. That is how our family is "reading" the book Wheat Belly. Here are some great starter books we suggest:
5. Don't cheat on the Gluten Free Diet:
In order to COMPLETELY heal your gut, you will have to be really strict about staying away from gluten. My husband, Dr. Nielsen, suggests at least 6 months.
If the temptation to "cheat" is just too strong, try some of my copy-cat recipes!
Foods that you might miss most turned Gluten Free:
Becoming gluten free, there were some good gluten-infested foods that I was heart-sick over. It's amazing how much we are emotionally attached to food. I've come up with and adapted some recipes that will remind you of the real thing. This is a great go-to list when you're feeling deprived.
Gluten Free Basic Questions:
Do I REALLY need to go out and buy all these different kind of flours?
One of the biggest complaints we hear about turning gluten free is all the different flours they use in gluten free cooking. The following recipes only contain 1 flour. They are a great starting point.
These recipes use absolutely NO FLOUR!
What Gluten Free flours do you normally have on hand?
Staples for me are Brown Rice Flour, White Rice Flour, Gluten Free Oat Flour, Potato Starch and non-GMO Corn Starch. I occasionally use Sorghum Flour and Almond Flour or Almond Meal and I seldom use Coconut Flour and Soy Flour.
To learn about all the different Gluten Free FLOURS available click HERE.
How can I become more confident in my Gluten Free cooking?
This might seem like a no-brain answer but...keep cooking! Practice makes perfect as they say and you can really learn a lot as you try and try again. Whenever I am making a recipe for the for the first (or second, or third) time I always keeps good notes on what worked and what didn't work. I always right down what might be better in a future batch as well. That way I don't make the same mistake twice!
Also, learn from others. There are some great gluten-free websites out there with TONS of recipes. Notice what they do to make things work and apply that to your baking.
Most of all, don't be afraid to make mistakes. Someone once said they were too afraid to experiment because they knew mouths had to be fed! If you're unsure about a recipe make it other than a meal time so hungry mouths aren't relying on you. Also make it in a smaller batch so instead of messing up 24 cookies, you only mess up 6!
making any kind of big transition in your life is going to take some time and preparation. Hopefully, you have found a good start here. Thanks for reading. You can do it!