Make it Public (no, I don't mean facebook)
This is so your support system is aware of what you're doing. The people closest to you should know what you’re trying to accomplish so they can be supportive and not unknowingly tempt you with wheat-y deliciousness. Writing it down or sharing it with others makes it official. No take backs, no “I’m starting tomorrow/next week/next year…” And make your statement positive! This is about feeling better and getting healthy, not denying yourself or shaming your current diet.
Prepare in Advance
It’s important to do a little grocery shopping before you start to make sure you have some gluten free food alternatives around the house. This might also be a good time to clean out your fridge and pantry of any tempting gluten containing foods. Although it may not seem like it at first, there are an infinite amount of food options that don’t include gluten. There are also whole isles at the grocery stores dedicated to gluten free foods, but I wouldn’t recommend focusing your shopping there, which brings us to...
Avoiding those Gluten-Free Treats
These days there are an endless amount of gluten free treats to try; cookies, brownies, breads, crackers, the list goes on. Although these products don’t contain gluten, they are often not much healthier for you. They tend to use gluten free flours like rice, tapoica, and corn, and have added sugar to make them tasty. These goodies can sky rocket your blood sugar, leaving you feeling fatigued and foggyheaded much like gluten can. Replacing every food item you currently eat with a gluten free product probably isn’t going to make a healthier “you”. Replacing gluten items with healthy, whole, real food is a much better option and will benefit you infinitely more in the long run.
To really drive this point home, here is a very quick example of a gluten free day done well (Day 1) and a less healthy way to do gluten free (Day 2).
Breakfast: Poached egg with avocado and salsa
Lunch: Homemade squash/carrot soup. Salad with veggies, goat cheese, and homemade salad dressing
Dinner: Roast chicken or turkey with sautéed bok choy and quinoa
Snacks: Apple with almond butter. Blueberries, flax, organic yogurt. Dark chocolate
Breakfast: Corn flakes with milk or milk alternative
Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on gluten free bread, carrot sticks with ranch dip
Dinner: Store-bought frozen dinner with chicken, broccoli and white rice
Snacks: Fruit cup. Fat free, vanilla flavoured yogurt. Gluten free cookies
So not all things on Day 2 are terrible food choices, but as a whole, you really aren’t getting the good protein, healthy oils, and vegetables you need. But it is still gluten free! So make your food choices wisely and realize that just going gluten free alone does not guarantee a healthier diet.
This can be done with practically every type of “diet” out there. There are really healthy wonderful ways to be vegetarian/vegan/paleo/whateverdietcomesnext, and then there is the unhealthy and detrimental way. If you are choosing a specific diet for whatever reason, make sure you talk to a knowledgeable health professional who can help make sure you are getting all your vital nutrients.
Good luck in your own gluten free adventures!