1. Research the benefits.
If following a gluten-free diet was a choice for you, you likely have already completed lots of research before making that decision. If it was not a choice for you, researching the benefits of eating gluten-free can spark a more positive outlook since you will better understand the good it is doing for your body.
If Celiac Disease is the reason you have to go gluten-free, these benefits go as far as healing the damage the disease has done, which is likely something you’re working toward in order for your intestines and digestion to work properly. Overall, understanding all the benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle can really help to ease your mind in feeling like this was the right choice for you.
2. Have confidence in explaining your needs to others.
This is something that I personally struggled with for a long time after going gluten-free. Telling people that I needed them to use a different spoon to stir my gluten-free pasta than the one they’re using to stir theirs felt extremely high maintenance. I was often overly apologetic for asking them to take these types of precautions when it really was a need for me and not just a preference.
As my confidence has grown in explaining my dietary restrictions to friends, family, and restaurant workers, my number of cross contaminations has dropped significantly, which is really important with Celiac Disease. I have yet to have someone respond negatively to me telling them to “please note a gluten allergy” (which is simply the best way to put it) for my meal, which has allowed me to feel more confident and comfortable in asking them to do so. Often, I even get a waiter/waitress that is also gluten-free or has a close friend or family member that is! I have learned how far a short, kind ask or explanation can go in keeping my food fully gluten-free, which has really contributed to my positive experience.
3. Try new foods and recipes.
Beginning a gluten-free diet could be the start of a new hobby…cooking! As you find that things that were once readily available for you won’t work any more, you will likely fall into trying new foods and many new recipes. In my opinion, this is always a great thing. Now, you can be more aware of everything that is going into your body and find your new favorite foods, which may be foods that you would have never tried before. Expanding your plate within your new diet will provide more options and make this lifestyle feel so much easier. Be sure to write down your new recipes to easily access them later!
4. Find your perfect food replacements.
Gluten-free lifestyles have been made so much easier with all of the options out there today. There are replacements and substitutions for almost everything. Some of those replacements work a bit differently than others, for example, I have seen differences in types of gluten-free pastas, so finding the replacements that are perfect for your meals will ensure that you never miss gluten again. This may take some time, but eventually you will be using the new, gluten-free version of everything in all of your meals. You may not even be able to notice the change, but your gut will thank you!
After all, going gluten-free can be an extremely positive experience once you are able to find all that works best for you and fully settle into the new lifestyle. Hopefully, these tips and many others will aid in ensuring that your experience with a gluten-free diet is a positive one!