In Part II, we talked about the different levels of gluten intolerance; wheat allergy, intolerance, leaky gut and celiac disease. Making the transition is much easier if you take it in steps or approach it as a project.
Making the Transition
1. Have a reality check. Remember this is a choice. If you want to feel lousy for the rest of your life and get worse as time goes on then continue eating gluten. If you want to start on a journey to heal; go gluten free.
2. Give it time. It takes time to heal and it takes time to transition into a new routine. Take the 45-60 day challenge.
Within this time frame you will notice the brain fog is gone. Your body will start adjusting to a healthy weight. Yes, you will lose the bloating and weight around the middle. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little longer to feel 100%
3. Look at your current diet and go through your pantry and refrigerator to find the foods and meals you already eat that are gluten-free. You may need to keep a food journal if you haven’t already. Be sure to list condiments, ice creams, produce, snacks, and other foods.
This list will be helpful as you create menus around your new foods and give you encouragement that you’re already on the right track!
4. Give yourself permission to eat; for some people, having things that you may have restricted from your diet before your diagnosis. Potato or rice chips or GF cookies may not be appropriate for other people, but they are a treat in a GF diet in small doses of course. You will need to find treats for yourself initially as you adjust to this diet. Count calories if you have to after you are comfortable with your new way of eating, manage your portions instead. This is a rule of thumb I live by. I don’t count calories, I count food.
Once you are comfortable with the switch start cutting back on refined grains, crackers, breads, etc., to help the gut heal quicker. In all honesty, bread will not be that important. It’s all about taking baby steps!
5. Look at your current menus and meals and find ways to eliminate gluten from your diet. Replace bread in sandwiches with GF bread or green leaf lettuce and add your favorite fixings and condiments. Have breakfast burritos with rice tortillas instead of toast and eggs. Look for GF hot and cold cereals (must not have barley malt) and have those handy for a snack or meal. Replace bread and crackers with tortilla or corn chips, brown rice cakes or popcorn. For example, chicken or tuna salad on rice cakes or scooped onto corn chips is delicious. Popcorn is a filling side dish with soup. Be on the lookout for meals on your current menus or the menus of friends and family that are naturally gluten-free (roasted chicken, baked sweet potatoes and steamed veggies, for example) and make them a staple on your new menus. Surf the internet, watch cooking shows and browse magazines for ideas and adapt them as you see fit.
6. Clear out any and all foods that have gluten, wheat, wheat flour, oats, oat flour, rye, semolina, or modified food starch from your pantry. This will allow you to see how close you are to living gluten-free already. If you have family members living with you who are not gluten free, you might consider giving the “offending edibles” to them to be put in another part of the house while you learn to live and think gluten-free. As time goes on you can cook for the entire family without gluten.
7. Plan and prepare your meals ahead of time. Being caught hungry without a plan is not a good idea! Keep a few GF soups on hand in case of extreme hunger. Keep a small cooler in your car with snacks such as nuts, dried fruit and water. It helps to outline and pack any meals you’re eating at home and away from home, including snacks. An example could be –
* Breakfast: scrambled eggs and mixed vegetables rolled in a rice tortilla, sliced apples, and coffee.
* Lunch: Lettuce with turkey, avocado slices, tomato, and mustard, 1 oz. chips, and 2 organic dark chocolate pieces.
* Dinner: Grilled fish or chicken with mixed vegetables, wild rice, and fruit.
* Snacks: 1 oz. almonds and popcorn.
* Desert: Coconut Ice Cream or fruit.
1. Be patient with yourself. You’ll have days when being gluten-free is really depressing (maybe even “fall off the wagon”). This is normal.
Relax – it’s a process.
2. Carry snacks with you wherever you go. It’s often difficult to find an appropriate snack when the hunger strikes. GF bars are great!
3. Arrange with the hosts of gatherings you may attend to bring your own sides or complete meals. Most people are very supportive of restricted diets.
4. Carry a small cooler in your car with small cold packs to store fruit, snacks and water.
5. Consider avoiding restaurants during your transition phase as you learn how to eat and think gluten-free. Grilled meats (over a flame), baked potatoes and salads without croutons are usually safe bets. But keep a log of places you eat, what you ate and how you felt afterward. Gluten is insidious and can turn up in the oddest places (french fries, for example which can be dusted with flour)
6. Get your hands on cookbooks or start collecting your own recipes in a binder.
7. Carry digestive aids (enzyme and bioflavonoid) with you in case of accidental ingestion. There are ones specifically for gluten such as GlutenFlam by Apex Energetics; available from your healthcare practitioner or Karmic Health.
8. Consider taking a multi-vitamin to make up for vitamins and minerals you may lack with your new diet (ask your doctor or nutritionist if necessary).
9. Find a mentor or support system.
Sandi is the founder of Karmic Health, specializing in nutrition related to disease where a gluten and casein (dairy) free lifestyle is crucial; working with celiac, autism and all auto immune disorders. Sandi graduated from The Natural Healing Institute with a degree in Clinical Nutrition and is continuing her studies in Clinical Herbology. She has hands on understanding of many health issues and has dedicated her life in helping others reach their optimal health.
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From our home to yours, Miranda Jade.