Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How To Start A Gluten-Free Diet: Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about the first day of starting a gluten-free diet. My advice was to keep it simple. The goal on that first day is to simply cross that initial mental barrier of this-is-so-overwhelming-land and move into I-can-do-this-world. But even as I was writing that post, I knew I was leaving many of the intricacies of gluten-free eating out. I did that on purpose, knowing that there is only one goal for that first day: not eating gluten. And for most, that's going to mean starting with the foods you know are safe because they come in a box labeled gluten-free.

Of course, there's a caveat here which is that there really is no regulation of gluten-free labeling. Because of this, there's a movement to gain federal regulation standards for gluten-free labeling. This is extremely important because we need to feel safe and we want to know that our friends and family are safe. If something is labeled gluten-free, we don't want to have to worry that we might still get sick from it. You can learn more about that here.

But that isn't the point of this post. The point now is that once you've passed that monumental first day hurdle, that's when the real work starts. There are a number of steps you then need to take to become comfortable with your new gluten-free life:
  1. Learn where gluten is hidden, what brands you can trust, and  how to avoid cross-contamination
  2. Learn how to handle social situations and family/friends who think you can "just eat one bite."
  3. Learn how to successfully eat out gluten-free
  4. Learn how to travel gluten-free
  5. Make the shift from processed gluten-free foods to whole foods. This includes:
    1. Learning how to cook gluten-free
    2. Learning how to bake gluten-free
    3. Learning how to eat to speed up the healing process.
Now if there's one thing I've learned in the last two years, it's that I'm not an expert on Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, or eating gluten-free. No seriously. Despite this blog, there's still so much I don't know. But I do know a lot. There's a learning curve, and I'm at least two-thirds of the way around the bend. And more importantly, I know where to go (and who to talk to) when I don't have the answer. So I've decided that since May is already the month of 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living, I'm going to continue with that theme here all month. I'll be sharing my experiences on the topics above, and if there's another topic or question you'd like answered, feel free to leave a comment and let me know. And please, share your experiences and your own tips in the comments for the posts. As a community, there's so much we can learn from each other!


Ms. said...

i'm really glad i stumbled upon your blog! i'm slowly working through your archives as i am currently experimenting w/ an elimination diet (i suspect that food intolerances have been compromising my life since 15 - i am now 32). i have an appointment w/ a nutritionist at the end of the month and i am seeking a naturopath as well (such bad experiences w/ MD's). as i wait, i enjoy reading your perspective and personal experiences with this. i am also vegan, so a lot of your recipes work for me! just wanted to pop in to express my thoughts.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Iris, this is a great idea - to write about this all month. :) I'll share whatever I can, whenever I can! I'm no expert either, but I think a lot of navigating this diet is through communication with one another!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Iris, it's fantastic that you are continuing on with educating all on ways to live gluten free easily and well! Great outline here. I'll look forward to your posts very much.


hunterslyonesse said...

Great idea, Iris! I think I'm right there with you on that learning curve. I learned quite a bit at the Expo that I didn't know. Learning always reminds me that no matter how much I think I might know, there is still so much I don't!


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