How to go Gluten-Free

Over the past few years the terms ‘Gluten’ and ‘Gluten Free’ have been popping up all over the place, leading them to becoming common household phrases. It seems more and more people are struggling daily with a gluten based diet and struggling even more with changing it. So the question is, how can you cut gluten containing foods from your diet, whilst still enjoying your favourite treats.

So about a year ago I discovered my body was very sensitive to gluten. I would break out in eczema, dry skin and constantly feel lethargic and tired. All of these things were starting to get me down and I decided I needed a change.

These are the following steps I took in becoming completely gluten free.

1.     Substitutions

Now let me warn you, the first couple of weeks are going to be hard, as you will need to change all your eating habits.

A common mistake most people make, is thinking that their new diet is going to be limiting, stressful and just plain boring. Don’t worry it’s not just going to be fruits and vegetables from now on.

Thanks to the rapidly growing ‘free from’ sections in supermarkets, we’re able to sink our teeth into brownies, cakes, breads, cereals, flour and much, much more. Now I’m not suggesting that you live off these foods, but my advice is to have some of these treats with you or in your house at all times, or at least for the first month. Just in case you feel like you’re going to slip up.

2.     Where to shop?

Okay, so now that you’ve cleaned out all your cupboards of gluten containing foods, where can you stock up on these goodies.

So when it comes to your breads, cakes and other sweets I’d recommend Marks and Spencer’s, this is because I feel they have the biggest range, especially in their cakes. Another great thing is you can’t even tell they’re gluten free.

Most supermarkets stock the basics now anyway, so for your pastas, cereals and other snacks just shop around and find what you like.

3.     Eating out?

Now this is the hardest part about being gluten free, eating out is a nightmare. You don’t realise how many things contain gluten until you go to eat out. Don’t worry it’s not the end of the world though. There are ways around this.

A few little tips are, firstly check the menu before you go somewhere. If you can’t see a little GF next to anything then unfortunately you’re going to have to avoid it. Another thing is to call up in advance, now I’ve worked in many restaurant kitchens and if someone lets you know at the start of the week they are coming for dinner on Friday and they are gluten free. Nine times out of ten, we will organise something for you.

4.     Read the label!

Make sure to always read before you buy. I’ve made the mistake quite a few times of picking something off of the shelf and buying it without reading the ingredients list, saving me a nice surprise for when I get home only to discover I can’t eat it. Like I said earlier gluten is everywhere so always check what you’re eating.

5.     Can I just cut down?

If you really want to feel the benefits of a gluten free diet then you need to take it out of your system completely, and whilst this seems hard it is definitely worth it. Of course if you find it easier to slowly remove it from your diet rather than quitting cold turkey then that’s okay. If you are going to do it this way my advice would be to set an end goal, e.g. quit over a two-month period by removing items weekly.

6.     How long does it take to be noticeable?

The best thing about cutting gluten out is that the improvement results are near enough immediate. I found that by the first week, I felt much more energetic and awake. By the end of the month my skin had cleared up and I felt great. I’m not going to lie along the way I had some slip ups but a year later I am completely gluten free and found it has helped me no end. So my advice is stick at it and don’t give up.



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