The First Three Steps
When I first found out I couldn’t eat gluten anymore, I thought “No problem! I’ll just find all the food that says ‘Gluten-Free’ on the box”. After a very eye-opening trip to the grocery store, I was instantly stressed, confused, and frustrated. “How the heck am I supposed to know if a product contains gluten? Where am I supposed to find specialty gluten-free foods? How am I going to afford them? What am I going to make for dinner tonight?”
Maybe the same thing has happened to you. If the thought of going gluten-free seems overwhelming, try out a few of the steps I took to ease into a gluten-free lifestyle without wanting to kill myself. Now for the first step…
Buy This Book
You need to get this book! Living Gluten-Free for Dummies by Danna Korn breaks everything down in plain english. It also has some great recepies to get you started, along with a cheat sheet of ingredients to look out for when you’re reading labels. Which brings me to my next step…
Read Your Pantry
That’s right. Your entire pantry. Take everything out, put it on your kitchen table, and set out to find all the things you can eat that you already have. You can use your ingredient sheet from Living Gluten-Free for Dummies, or you can find lists of safe and unsafe ingredients from sites like celiac.com. If you find a product that’s questionable (meaning the ingredients are too vague to know if it contains gluten or not), call the manufacturer or go on their website to see if the product is gluten-free (treat the customer service reps nicely, because you’re gonna be doing a lot of this). Once you’ve determined a product is gluten free, mark it GF or put a gluten-free sticker on it (I like to use mailing labels). You’ll be surprised how much frustration melts away once you see all those Gluten Free marks in your pantry. Congratulations! You can now eat in your own kitchen! 🙂
*Warning!* Please remember that some things, though initially gluten free, may be contaminated with gluten from your former glutinous eating habits. Beware of peanut butter, jelly, butter, and other things that are normally put on a knife, spread across bread, and dipped back into the jar again. No matter how clean of a person you are, the gluten always finds a way to make it in.
Cleanse Your Body
This may sound frightening, and a bit extreme, but I cannot tell you what a huge impact this cleanse made on my transition into gluten-free living, as well as my perception of food as a whole.
The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs is a simple, natural, and healthy way to cleanse your body of all the toxins your body has absorbed. It is also a great transition into gluten-free eating! Starting with a cleanse gives you the opportunity to learn how to eat, find recipes, and do some in-depth research without having to worry about what you’re going to eat that day. Lemon juice + 100% Maple Syrup + Cayenne Pepper + Water = Gluten Free. Go out and buy yourself a handy half-gallon water bottle and make the day’s worth every morning. This gives you 10+ days of worry-free eating while you’re figuring out how to live your new life. Plus, you’ll feel a thousand times better when you’re done! It was my first experience of feeling like a normal person (no headaches, no throwing up, having energy), and it really got me excited to continue with my gluten-free lifestyle so I could keep feeling that good!
If you do decide to do the cleanse (it’s not easy, so grab a cleansing partner!), this message board is a big help. And, of course, always ask your doctor before taking on this or any other cleanse (my doctor highly recommends it). It’s going to be the most miserable 10+ days of your life, but every day after it will feel like heaven.
So those were my first three steps to becoming gluten-free and not going crazy. Hope this helps some newbies out there!