It was 5 years ago this month that I began my Gluten Free journey. I remember it well. I had no idea this would be a forever thing, but I was desperate to feel better so I decided I would give it a try. The first thing I did was to consume as much of my favorite glutenous foods as I could in the next 24 hours before I began my new diet. And boy was that a bad idea, but as I think of it maybe it wasn’t. It made me see what I was doing to my body by eating gluten. To put it nicely, my IBS was pushed to whole new level the day after my binge. (For more on healing my IBS click here).
Changing my diet was so overwhelming and the thought of never eating certain foods again made me really sad because food was my vice. It was what made me feel better when the world hurt. It was what made me go to parties and socialize with my social anxiety. Now I would be letting all that go for a hope that I would find relief from a myriad of mysterious symptoms no doctor could diagnose.
For me my IBS went away instantly and this is what kept me going through the 2 and a half months of neurological symptoms that would follow. I knew something good was happening in me, I just had to see it through. So I did, and in the process lost my chronic pain, exhaustion and my IBS.
Today I want to share with you my advice for beginning with a Gluten Free Diet since it can seem so very overwhelming. It will take time to find things you like and sadly some money, but hopefully I can help make the transition a little easier and a little lighter on your pockets.
My number one piece of advice to those that are beginning with a gluten free diet is to keep it simple. Focus on the foods you already eat that are naturally gluten free. Meat (watch the processed stuff for hidden gluten), fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds are all naturally gluten free and honestly good for you. Nutrition is something you should think of, especially if you are trying to overcome illness, but that is a realization you will come to on your own when you are ready. It is hard enough to take this first step.
The good thing is a piece of meat, veggies with some herbs and spices, and rice or potatoes are all a part of many dinner plates and unless you are putting gluten on them, these ingredients are all gluten free. There are many different kinds of meat and a variety of vegetables you can choose to add variety to your meal. If you are in a rush grab a rotisserie chicken or turkey breast on your way home from the grocery store (these are usually gluten free, but you should double check first).
For breakfast eggs, most bacon and sausage (again double check ingredients) are gluten free. You can add some fruit with yogurt and granola to complete your meal. If you can handle oats (get only gluten free oats due to cross contamination), oatmeal is a great option as well.
To cover lunch I just did leftovers from the night before. These are just some examples of easy gluten free, but as you learn to live this way, and I suggest spending some time on Pinterest searching for recipes, it does get easier.
If you are just looking to trade what you used to eat and make it gluten free, here is a list of some of my favorite gluten free products.
Kind bars are one of my daughter’s favorite snacks. She likes the chocolate ones in the red box the best.
Kind Granola was one of my favorite breakfast foods until I found out I can’t eat oats. I would eat it like cereal with Almond Milk. Yummy! It’s also great on top of yogurt.
Crackers are hard to replace on a Gluten Free Diet, but we have really enjoyed these table crackers in place of saltines. My kids will even break them up and add peanut butter and banana slices to them for a snack.
These are my absolute favorite Gluten Free cracker and my girls agree with me. You could dip ’em or just eat them plain. My youngest daughter didn’t even know they were Gluten Free.
Before I went sugar free, I was obsessed with these. They are so good. I even got my mom addicted to them. They also come in strawberry and I loved them both. These were a staple for me.
We love to use the Gluten Free Bisquick for pancakes and biscuits.
I love to use these brown rice noodles in my soups. They don’t fall apart like many other noodles.
These are our favorite pasta noodles for spaghetti night. These have a taste and texture most like regular noodles.
There are many snack items that are already Gluten Free too. Many of the snack chips, candy, and even some cereals like Cheerios and Chex are Gluten Free. There are many places online where you can find lists of candy and snacks that are Gluten Free also. A simple Google search should bring these up for you.
I hope this article has helped you begin the switch to Gluten Free!
(note: the links in the post above are affiliate links)