Considering a Change to Gluten-Free

I often meet people who are in the process of removing gluten from their diets. Others are thinking that it might be helpful for them, but they are struggling to figure out how to do it. I was chatting with a lady a couple of days ago who told me that there were several people in her extended family with celiac disease – and that she herself often felt bloated and sluggish when she ate certain foods. I suggested it might be worth it to just try to avoid gluten for a couple of weeks to see how she felt. She shrugged, said something like “Yeah, maybe . . .” and changed the subject.

Her lack of enthusiasm is understandable. Changing the way you eat is not easy. Gluten is in a lot of different products, including some you would never guess. Reading labels becomes an absolute necessity, and in many cases an exercise in frustration. Going out to eat becomes a challenge as well. Asking a teenager at a fast-food place what they have that is gluten-free does not usually work out well. Family restaurants are getting better – many have a menu that advises about safe choices for various food allergies, including safe gluten-free choices.

So, if it’s hard and you’re not sure whether it will help, why bother? After three or four days without gluten, I was already sold on making the change. That’s how much of a difference it made for me. It still wasn’t easy, and I still occasionally ate something that I knew had gluten. Every time I slipped up, I felt lousy again. Those incidents were just stepping stones for me, concrete reminders of my reasons to make this change.

I no longer have “hay fever”, sinus infections, and I haven’t had a bout of bronchitis since making the change. I can go outside and breathe without Sudafed, what a wonderful thing! Others have different symptoms: stomach issues, depression, and migraines. (Shari Lieberman’s book, The Gluten Connection, lays out many of the chronic diseases that seem to be linked to gluten.)

The simplest way for me to get the gluten out was to keep everything as simple as possible. I mean, an apple only contains apple and there is no gluten there. A grilled chicken breast is safe – it only contains chicken, plus maybe salt, pepper, garlic, or rosemary. Gluten-free pasta is easy to find, and most of it is so good that you can even feed it to the rest of the family without them noticing a difference. Add jarred marinara sauce and a little Parmesan cheese, that is a simple meal – or a side dish to enjoy with your grilled chicken. Steam some broccoli, scramble some eggs and serve with a slice of ham. Like I said, I went very simple!

The hardest meal for me was breakfast. A friend of mine suggested that I try Shakeology, from the same company that produces P90X, Insanity, and many other well-known workout DVD’s. I tried it, and loved it – it is still my go-to, every-day breakfast. Besides being gluten-free, it packs in a ton of good nutrition! Click here for a short, entertaining video that gives a sense of what all is in this awesome shake.

There are some simple recipes on this blog, and all of them are GF. See the Food caption along the top of the page, then choose Recipes. Choose the Gluten-Free selection for more information and help. Post your questions and comments to keep the conversation going too!

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Vinny Grette said,

    For me, a slice of whole grain seedy bread beats any processed-food breakfast shake any day. Real food rules. And if you have no health issues with gluten, no need to eliminate wheat entirely (is what I think). I DO hate refined white flour and processed foods in general, many of which contain same.

    • 2

      Vinny, thank you for your comment. I completely agree that real food rules! Some of us, however, can’t eat the whole grains and that is just the point. For someone with a health issue who would like to try a week or two without wheat, locating a decent GF alternative to bread can be a challenge. Most of the commercial alternatives are not so tasty. About the Shakeology – it is made of whole foods that are difficult to find and not so easy to work into your diet each day. I’m happy to send you more information about the ingredients; you may be surprised to find there is no junk in there! I also stay away from processed foods in general because of all the additives and junk in there.

      • 3

        Vinny Grette said,

        If a person has a health issue around wheat, we do have to find tasty substitutes. What annoys me are food nazis who scare “everybody” into giving up complete food groups. It makes eating a balanced diet so challenging. I admire people who do have these allergies for finding ways to enjoy their restricted meals. My sister is one of them, so I know first hand how hard it is. Glad to hear your shakeology is a healthy food alternative!

  2. 4

    for me it has been life changing. one of the best choices I’ve ever made, so much so it made me want to share the benefits with everyone so I started my blog.


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