Making the Transition to a Gluten Free Diet
If you believed everything you hear and read about gluten, it would be easy to believe that it is the center of all things evil. However, it isn’t necessarily as bad as it may sound – unless you have an intolerance, celiac disease, or another similar condition – and should be better understood before you start making any dietary changes.
No matter what the reason is when you want to follow a gluten free diet, or at least reduce your gluten intake, it is really important to make the transition in a smart way. That is why we have compiled a short guide that is designed to help you follow a gluten free diet while supporting your health and weight. Check out the information below to get started.
What Is Gluten, and Why Might It Be Bad for Your Health?
The first thing that you should know is what gluten actually is. Gluten is a form of protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley.
There are some people who have adverse reactions to gluten in their diet. According to Express, one of the common symptoms associated with an intolerance to gluten is bloating, so if you are always experiencing stomach bloating, a gluten allergy might be to blame.
Other symptoms that are associated with gluten intolerance and allergy include the following:
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Brain fog
- Numbness in your fingers, arms, or legs
If you feel that your body is having a negative reaction to products containing these ingredients, speak with your doctor to help to determine whether you have a sensitivity, intolerance, allergy, or other reason to avoid gluten.
If you find that you are going to need to make the move to a gluten free diet, then make sure that you are doing so with your doctor’s assistance. This will help you to transition into what will likely be a very different style of eating.
The Challenges Associated with a Gluten Free Diet
The first struggle you’re likely to notice is that you will lose a certain texture of food that you might like. The fluffiness of baked goods and breads is extremely hard to replicate in foods that do not contain gluten.
Another issue that you may find to be challenging is that products that are gluten free will often contain lower levels of vitamins B and D, as well as iron. Therefore, it will be important to you to adjust your diet to compensate for those lacking areas, or to at least supplement them.
You’ll need to avoid the mistake that many people make in thinking that because they are reducing or eliminating the gluten in their diet that they will be naturally reducing their calories, as well. Many gluten free products have up to twice the calories – or higher – when compared to their gluten packed counterparts. This could make it very easy for you to suddenly start packing on the pounds when you start living without gluten. Be careful to start reading that part of your nutrition levels so you don’t blow your daily calorie budget.
You’ll also need to start paying closer attention to ingredients and what they mean. For example, many deli meats, flavored teas, flavored coffee drinks, and even gum could contain some sort of gluten. Fillers, tea bags, stabilizers, caramel color, spices, and emulsifiers can all contain ingredients made with gluten. Start to learn more about foods and what’s in them so that you’ll be better equipped to identify the problem when it’s present.
A Few Ways to Easily Transition to a Gluten Free Diet
Are you ready to transition to a gluten free diet? Take it one step at a time, and be patient with yourself. This is a big change to your eating habits. Even if you are only cutting back on your gluten intake, it is best to move slowly through this transition. Much like going plant-based is often done in stages for a lot of people, going gluten free can also be approached in the same way, so you don’t have to make a big change all at once.
- First, you can replace gluten containing grains with those that are naturally gluten free. A few good examples include quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and rice. And, thankfully, there are a lot of products out there today that are made using various gluten free flours. Just switch the pasta you eat from one that is wheat based to one that is made from a gluten free flour. It is that easy!
- Focus on eating natural foods rather than processed foods. There are many options that are gluten free to begin with, so you don’t have to go crazy trying to find products that are specifically labeled as gluten free. Some good examples include fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts, and beans.
- Another word about processed gluten free foods: eat them only occasionally and in small amounts. These might be high in sugar, refined grains, and calories, so they are not the best way to go if you are hoping to move towards a healthier way of eating with a gluten free diet.
- Variety is the spice of life, right? So, when you are going on a gluten free diet, look up recipe ideas that will inspire you to cook up delicious, homemade meals that will satisfy your taste buds and keep you full, so you don’t overeat. Whenever you move into a new way of eating, such as gluten free or plant-based, you might be totally lost at the beginning, but there are so many people who have already done it, and they can offer you loads of guidance and advice.
Reap All of the Benefits of a Gluten Free Diet!
Going on a gluten free diet is easier than ever to accomplish in a delicious way!