Living gluten free can sometimes be a daunting transition. There was this joke posted on Twitter by Ryan Reynolds, quoting: People in LA are deathly afraid of gluten. I swear to God, you could rob a liquor store in this city with a bagel. Ha! While the dialog has been hectically heating up towards all-things-no-gluten in the last year or so, the real question is whether “gluten-free” diet is a modern-day sickness or if there’s actually some (or a lot) truth to it.
This story is my personal view on the matter and it tells the tale of how I began my journey into the wonderful world without gluten; everything started three years ago, triggered by some medical reasons and it developed into a phenomenal life based on health, good choices and a healthy diet. I’ll guide you through it.
My daily routine is pretty hectic, and I noticed changes which hinted at me possibly having an intolerance to gluten. And the way it was demonstrated?
- Frequent constipation
- Awful sleeping habits
- Bloated stomach
1. Can I Cook Normally?
Don’t go into a frenzy thinking you’ll have to stop eating all the delicious food you adore. Your cooking won’t change much; the only difference is that you’ll exclude gluten and start fashioning your own recipes (for the most part). The tricky thing about going gluten-free is that, when you must eat out, you’ll have to prepare your meals at home and take your lunch box with you. Luckily, you only need to set aside an hour or so to prepare your next meal, especially with the wide selection of ingredients available. Not only are gluten-free ingredients tasty and healthy, they’re also nutritional energy bombs.
2. Reading Food Labels
When you start your gluten-free diet, you’ll soon notice that you’re reading food labels reading food labels more carefully (after all, you have to make sure you’re eating what your body responds well to). Nowadays, manufacturers produce all sorts of delicious gluten-free versions of almost all the foods you love, so don’t worry for nothing.
3. Use Your Imagination for Gluten-free Cooking
Your favorite meals can be made without gluten, and you don’t have to be limited by regular recipes. You can still eat your preferred meals but with a slight change. Basically, you need a bit of imagination and a few gluten-free know-hows on how to use gluten substitutes. Trust me on this, if you give a man a recipe, he’ll eat a tasty meal; but, if you teach him how to make a solid plate of gluten-free food, you’ll feed him for life.
4. Enjoying Gluten-free
I simply love food. The taste, the feeling of being full, and the nutritional value the food has. I love exploring the cuisine I haven’t tried yet. Don’t settle for bland and unappealing food; look into ways you can prepare tasty meals and get familiar with the plethora of seasonings to spice up your food.
5. Fear of Social Shunning
There’s always that fear that, if you’re not eating gluten, you won’t be able to eat the food served in restaurants and for various celebrations. Don’t fret, there’s always something you can eat without worrying about gluten. Also, one of the most frequent questions I get is: can you drink coffee? It was scientifically proven that a cup of coffee has healing properties and it’s indeed one of the most prominent sources of antioxidants followed by tea, bananas, and dry beans. So, drink away! It would be best to always use freshly ground coffee beans from certified suppliers (just to stay on the safe side!).
Don’t retreat from social life because you’re different. No way! My advice: always carry some nuts in your bag and you’ll never go hungry.
Three years after I’ve gone gluten-free I can say that changing a diet and lifestyle is neither done quickly nor is it easy. In the beginning, it seemed impossible to live without my favorite cookies, pasta, and other meals containing gluten. However, once you learn what your body likes, you can adjust your diet and make sure you’re healthier. Trust your body’s cues for a longer and improved life, okay?
Guest Post: Angela Berry, Editor, Ripped Me