Are you new to gluten-free eating? My hope is to give anyone new to this journey a jumpstart and help you get your head in the gluten-free game! A lot of times, we just need to know where to start.
Let me give you a little backstory about why I decided to write on this topic this week: My youngest child, Sadie, has had severe eczema throughout her life. We have tried many different approaches — allergy tests, diverse doctors, steroids, etc. Finally, I decided I was going to try going dairy free for Sadie. Doing this was like starting all over again, but this time with a dairy-free journey instead of a gluten-free journey. Hopefully our story can inspire those of you who are just starting out. These principles apply to any food restrictions — or really any new thing in life.
Remember your why
The first thing I had to do was really accept the fact that we needed to be dairy free. We tried strict dairy-free eating for a week and did pretty good. At the end of the week, though, I was discouraged and not sure that it had even made a difference. Then I had Sadie come over and to my surprise her legs weren’t red at all. She immediately knew it was because she had been eating dairy free. She was so excited, and now we were both 100% committed!
Whatever your reason is for going gluten-free, you have to accept it first. You have to decide that this is what you want. Remember your why. Write it down, and remind yourself often. Stick to it — you got this!
Make small adjustments
Think about the foods that you are eating right now. Write down what you normally eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert. Once you have written that down, circle the items that might be leading to your symptoms. Then, come up with alternatives. In Sadie’s dairy-free example, we decided to replace her daily string cheese with a handful of almonds. She now had her go-to food and was so happy. In my case, I’ve been eliminating sweets from my diet. They give me headaches and tummy aches, and so I am trying to not eat them (even though I want them). So, I decided that after every meal I will eat fruit and nut butter. Tweak the little things, and it will be so much more fun for you!
Keep an eye on quality
Learn the importance of whole foods and better ingredients, and break the habit of unhealthy swapping. For instance, don’t replace a brownie with a gluten-free brownie. Instead, now is the perfect opportunity to choose healthier items to include in your life. Transitioning into a gluten-free lifestyle is the perfect opportunity to decide how you want your menu to look. Create a pantry full of foods that are healthy and that you love to eat. You are worth the effort of changing lifelong habits to be and feel better.
Additional tips for starting on a gluten-free diet
Here are some additional tips that will help you on your journey:
Research each product that you consume and make sure you are sticking to your dietary principles.
Enjoy the journey.
Find the excitement in the new foods that you get to enjoy.
Stop saying sorry.
Don’t apologize for not being able to eat a certain food.
Find role models.
Follow the people online that will make you excited to eat gluten-free food. You can follow me on Instagram @glutenfreewithcoral. Some of my favorite accounts to follow are:
Learn to prepare meals ahead of time.
Make and prepare safe snacks to have on hand.
I am so excited for you to step up your gluten-free game. It is such a blessing to know how you are going to fuel your body and what is going to make you feel better. Be your best you!