Living a Gluten-Free Lifestyle
Some people go on a gluten free diet because they want to lose weight and if this is your case then this article will probably not be beneficial to you. If you truly have gluten intolerance or suspect that you might, then I hope that these rules and guidelines will help you maintain a gluten free lifestyle and that it will have you feeling your best!
MY STORY: I have been gluten free for almost 6 years and my stomach has never been happier! All through high school and college I thought that having stomach issues on a daily basis and constant headaches was normal. Every day I would eat lunch or dinner and within a half an hour I would be laying on the couch in pain, running to the bathroom and/or sitting uncomfortably in class. Most people feel great after filling their bellies with delicious food, but nope, that was definitely not me. My stomach would immediately feel bloated and my energy levels would drop. Nausea was a constant issue for me and it was NOT fun. Besides the constant bloating, nausea and stomach issues I also suffered from chronic migraines. When I went off to college my dad who had similar issues decided to try out a gluten free diet. We had heard about how gluten can really effected people and side effects they suffered from. We found ourselves in shock on how many of the side effects we had. Being a stubborn college student I told my dad he could try it first and to let me know how it went! So he did and within a couple of weeks he started to feel much better and symptoms that he had suffered from for years had gone away! After learning about how much better he was feeling, I had to give it a try! Of course the day I started it was my mom’s birthday and we bought her an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen (they have a delicious cookie crunch in the middle- so not GF). I had already gotten my dad to be strict with me and not let me eat gluten. I have to admit, this first day was the hardest. I REALLY wanted that cake. I have to say the first couple of weeks were HARD in general. When you can’t have something you want it even more! Anything with gluten was screaming my name! It felt like a lifetime but 1 week turned into months and then into years and I can say I have not had gluten in SIX YEARS! After just 2 months of living gluten free my stomach actually started to like me again. My energy levels and the nausea slowly started to improve. After about 6 months my chronic migraines started to diminish as well. After my stomach finally healed itself I was a whole new person. Even when they serve that delicious smelling bread on your table when you are out to eat, I don’t want it because I know how much better I feel without it! It is like a poison for me… Every once in a while I accidentally eat a small amount of that “poison” and I remember just how bad I feel and it is so not worth it!
Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you live a stress free gluten free lifestyle (if it will benefit you)! Trust me, when you are feeling like a different person and feeling super healthy, you will be so happy you made this change in your life! Just give the diet 2 months before you decide it is not for you, at least!
Below are tips and tricks for maintaining a gluten free lifestyle and below that are some delicious gluten free meal ideas to try! Be sure to check out more recipes under cooking and gluten free on our home page!
Tips for Living a Gluten Free Lifestyle:
Disclaimer: These are simply tips and tricks to maintaining a gluten free lifestyle! This by no means is health information or advice for going on a gluten free diet. Always talk with your doctor before going on any kind of diet! Consult with your doctor about any and all diet restrictions for your health and safety. Below is information on ideas for staying Gluten Free and ways to make life easier for you.
1. Remember why you are gluten-free.
Unfortunately, “gluten” is in a lot of yummy products. You are going to have to say goodbye to things like bread, pretty much anything breaded and fried, flour tortillas and pasta. But whenever those cravings start to kick in and you start questioning if you “really need to be gluten free”, remember why you went gluten free. For me I think back to those days of nausea, being exhausted, migraines and constant stomach issues. Is it worth it? NO. You deserve to feel your best! It also helps me to think about how I can make similar foods gluten free that won’t make me feel horrible. Sometimes it is fun to take on a challenge of making something gluten free! Also, once you get educated on foods that are free of gluten, you will realize how much you can actually eat!
2. Trust your GUT!
Going out to eat is going to be very difficult. You are going to go to parties and people are going to say “yes! I think it is gluten free”. DO NOT be afraid to second guess yourself and make sure with your waitress that something is gluten free. If you have something on your plate that you are nervous about, trust your gut! You are probably right! My dad and I went out to a delicious Italian restaurant with a big gluten free menu. He is gluten free so he ordered a gluten free pasta and I did as well. We both received our pastas and I looked at his and it was a totally different style noodle and I told him I didn’t think his was gluten free. We asked the waitress and she went to double check and sure enough she came running up apologizing. Moral of the story: TRUST YOUR GUT. It is so not the risk!
3. Ignore the haters
With being on a diet, especially the “new” gluten free diet, you are going to have haters. Things I am asked/told on the regular: “Don’t you miss gluten though?”, “I hear that gluten free is actually not healthy”, “I hear gluten free is just a fad”, “I hear if you don’t eat gluten for a couple weeks that you get sick either way because you haven’t eaten it in so long” and “Why are you gluten free? Your skinny!”. This is a short list but some of the things I hear on a regular basis. I used to try and fight back but now I just smirk and walk away. Sorry haters, I am not going to fight about why not eating gluten helps me and makes me feel 5,000 times better. Sorry I am over it! I am done explaining why giving up gluten is not unhealthy! Why would you get sick from not eating bread? I am done explaining that I am not on a gluten free diet to lose weight, it is a lifestyle. ENOUGH SAID. IGNORE THOSE HATERS.
4. Meal Prep
Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep! This will make your life SO much easier. Every weekend I take a couple of hours to meal prep my lunches for the week. I typically cook up veggies, chicken and rice for meals. On the side I will individually bag some gluten free pretzels and/or popcorn. I also get tons of fruit to take for lunch. I have a bunch of different Crockpot chicken recipes to prep and it will last me the whole week. Some of these recipes include balsamic chicken and salsa chicken. For dinner I make a Crockpot meal almost every day. There are SO many natural gluten free Crockpot meals! Check out our cooking – gluten free page for more ideas!
5. Plan ahead
Okay so having a large family and friend group means frequent outings and parties. Weddings, going out to dinner, graduation parties, vacations and BBQ’s are a regular thing in my life and unfortunately thinking ahead is a necessity when you are gluten free. I totally hate being that person that has to ask at a party if there is anything gluten free so I plan ahead. I am always on the prowl for gluten free granola bars and grab and go snacks to take with me. I also make some of my own snacks if I have the time. I throw these snacks in my purse just in case we go to a wedding or party that doesn’t seem gluten friendly or I will just eat a meal beforehand. Nowadays, a lot of people consider having gluten free options.
Many restaurants have gluten free options, but when in doubt order a salad with grilled chicken! My favorite gluten free story is when I walked into a restaurant and I asked if they had gluten free options. The hostess looked at me for a second and then proceeded to show me their bakery section filled with bread. She told me “we have tons of bread”. I walked out more confused than ever. I also frequently get asked how I live without potatoes. For the record- potatoes are indeed gluten free. Unfortunately, I have learned that going out and informing people that I am gluten free comes with more of those haters I talked about earlier and people just need to get over it. Raised eyebrows, eye rolling and fake smiles seem to come with the label of gluten free. It is pretty sad, not going to lie. I have learned not to care. End of rant.
Okay so planning ahead when you travel is also very very important! Long road trips will become a lot longer if you do not travel prepared. Although many sit down restaurants have gluten free options, fast food places do not. You can always order a salad or something but it is still risky with fast food. Everything is cooked in the same place and I just don’t trust it. Pack a cooler with lunch meats, snacks and fruit and you are set! Make life easier and plan ahead!
6. Find Products you love
Along with meal prepping and planning ahead comes with finding products that you love! Finding snack bars and other snack foods that taste good and are gluten free are a necessity. Many grocery stores carry large amounts of gluten free products these days!
I am super excited to be going to the Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo on April 22nd & 23rd in Schaumburg, IL! Tons and tons of gluten free companies will be coming together to this expo to share their wonderful products! I can’t wait to try some of my favorite products and be introduced to some new products as well! More information about this fabulous event can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/schaumburg-gluten-free-allergen-friendly-expo-april-22-23-tickets-29823518948?aff=AFFILIATEIL&afu=204675660230
Some of my favorite companies currently are Udi’s, Enjoy Life Foods and Glutino. I am over the moon excited to find more products that I will love! April cannot come soon enough!! For discounts and more information visit our social media pages!
7. Get educated
In the end, you will not survive a gluten free lifestyle if you do not do your research. Look up reliable sources and find out what products are safe. Learn what products contain gluten. Many products have gluten that you do not realize – so DO YOUR RESEARCH. You will find that making your own meals is an easier choice and that it is really simple to be naturally gluten free!
Check out some of our favorite Gluten Free Recipes HERE