6 Steps to Going Gluten Free


6 Steps to Going Gluten Free

According to the advocacy organization Beyond Celiac, over 3 million Americans suffer from Celiac disease and over 18 million struggle with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). That’s a lot of people! Thanks to increased awareness, more people than ever are embracing a gluten free lifestyle. But cutting out gluten, for many people, is easier said then done.

We here at Sweet Crimes definitely have some experience with the struggles of being gluten free. Our owner, Keri, discovered she was gluten intolerant while living overseas in Manila. While Asia is one of the easier parts of the world to avoid gluten, it can definitely be even more challenging to adopt a gluten free diet when you’re away from what you know. Keri eventually returned to the U.S. after 11 years abroad specifically to work on getting healthy and learning more about what she can and can’t eat (which is easier to do in a country that requires everything to be labeled). While every person’s gluten free journey is different, and everyone faces unique challenges, we thought we would share some tips and tricks we’ve picked up along the way:

 

Being gluten free requires a bit more planning than you might be used to. Although there are an increasing number of gluten free options (mad props to Starbucks’ new gluten free breakfast sandwich), the vast majority of the world is still operating under the assumption that everyone can eat wheat.This is where some strategizing comes in.

We’re not talking about planning your life as though it is some sort of post apocalyptic survival scenario. But a little bit of planning can make a huge difference! If you’re going to a conference and you’re not sure what the food options will be, throw a banana or a gluten free granola bar in your bag so you don’t have a major attack of hanger. (The hanger danger is real, friends). If your friends want to go and check out that sweet new restaurant that opened down the street, do a little snooping and scope out their menu to see what you can eat. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, people.

 

 

The thing we learned about gluten (other than it making our bodies sad), is that it is incredibly sneaky and will hide in the places you least expect it to be. Think sushi must be safe? BAM! Wheat is in the soy sauce.

Think your tacos look tasty? KABLAM! Wheat can be hiding in your taco seasoning packet.

Really enjoying your latest Sephora shopping splurge? BLAMO! Gluten can even be hiding in your lipstick. (No, really).

Don’t be afraid to look into your everyday products to see what might be hiding in them. Keep an eye out for wheat barley, rye, or millet. These are your enemies. Stay vigilant!

 

 

Make use of the resources available to you! Thanks to modern technology, we now have the ability to look up ingredient lists, menus, and helpful tips from the comfort of your couch in comfy sweatpants. Tools like the always helpful findmeglutenfree are available to help connect you with gluten free-friendly businesses, no matter where you are. Speaking of making connections from the comfort of your couch, this leads us into our fourth suggestion…

 

 

Find your people! The internet is a fantastic place to connect to other people who are going through the same struggles you are! Looking for a really great gluten free bagel recommendation? Want a solid gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe? Simply want someone to cry about bread to? There are places for you!

 

There are numerous gluten free blogs out there, including Gluten Free Goddess, Simply Sugar & Gluten Free, and Gluten Free on a Shoestring, just to name a few. Check out /r/glutenfree on Reddit, listen to a gluten free podcast (https://www.glutenfreeschool.com/listen/), the possibilities are endless. Most importantly, reach out to your friends and family, gluten eaters and non-gluten eaters alike. They can be some of your biggest food advocates once they know your limitations. Don’t be afraid to reach out!

 

 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the one I struggled most with when I first started eating gluten free foods. I would go out to a restaurant, select something that looked gluten free, and then start silently panicking as the waiter was taking the orders over whether there was flour in the sauce or not. When it came to my turn though, I would clam up and order as though nothing was wrong, deciding that taking the hit to my digestive and immune system was better than being “that person” in a restaurant.

 

That’s crazy.

 

If you’re in a situation where you’re not sure if something is gluten free, just ask! Most places will be more than happy to tell you, and might even be willing to work with you to make a gluten free option if none is available.

 

 

Perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to indulge yourself! Being gluten free doesn’t mean you have to subsist off of kale chips and quinoa for the rest of your life. You still have access to a plethora of gluten free baked good options. Let yourself have a donut every now and then. You’ve definitely earned it!

 

We hope you find these tips helpful! Please feel free to share your own gluten free tips and suggestions in the comments section below!

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