If you live on this planet, you know that there is a lot of hoopla around the whole “gluten free” thing. I don’t have Celiac disease, but I have observed the significant differences in how my body functions on both a gluten and gluten-free diet. With a G diet, I’m sluggish, groggy, bloated, and just generally feel unpleasant. When I’m eating GF diet, I sleep 100x better (and I take less melatonin!), I’m focused and energized, and that bloated, sick feeling is gone. It took me nearly six months of self observation and becoming conscious of what I was putting in my body (4 months observing my diet, 2 months integrating new changes)
In January 2014, I made the switch to a 90-10 diet (because yes, I LOOOOVVVEEE pasta puttanesca, pizza, cookies, fresh scones, tempura-fried things, gravy, Chipotle burritos, craft beer, cheese and crackers, crusty artisan olive breads and MAC AND CHEESE!!!! I had to give my foodie self something to live for.) And while, admittedly, I have a week here and there where all I do is stuff my face with all gluten errythang (nobody’s perfect) I have seen and felt a remarkable difference on how my body works.
Thinking of making the switch? Here’s a couple tips on how I did it.
1. Educate Yo Self: Despite what you’ve heard, being gluten-free is not a trend. And it’s not going to make you lose weight. Some people with Celiac suffer severely, and if given the chance might offer their first born just to get down on a big plate of Easy Mac. Do you know what “gluten” even is? It’s two proteins combining to create that elastic doughy texture you love so much. It is found in all wheat, rye, and barley.
I recommend reading a couple articles about exactly what the hard G is, where it’s commonly found, and how it might affect you. This Women’s Health article is a good one to wrapping your head around it.
2. Evaluate, Observe, Learn to be Conscious: When I started my GF journey, I spent months just observing what I ate without changing my diet. I found that I ate some form of gluten with EVERY meal (5-6x a day!!), even when I thought I was eating a “gluten free” meal. It was in my toast at breakfast, veggie patties for lunch, and in my sushi during happy hour. It made me so much more aware of how much gluten is in the average American diet. Taking what I had observed, I was able to create meal plans and shopping list that eventually eliminated GF-products, and thus led me to eat a cleaner (ie: less processed) diet.
3. Start with a Clean Slate: It’s hard to make any change when you’re surrounded by reminders or temptations of the thing you’re trying to change. So, if necessary, for the first few weeks remove all tempting gluten-filled things from your cupboards and fridge: beer, cereal, Oreos, soy sauce, ramen, crackers… well, you get it. If you’re anything like me, gluten-loving you might eat an entire sleeve of Oreos just to spite your gluten-free other half.
I made this change while I was home in Los Angeles for 3 weeks this winter because I knew Tyty was going to eat gluten-y things in front of me and I didn’t want any temptation. It takes two weeks to get create a habit!
4. Prepare Yourself with Pinterest/Blogs: Being the foodie that I am, making (or eating) dinner is a big part of my day. And rather than jump into a very bland and boring gluten-free diet of “baked chicken, rice, and steamed veggies” (which for the record, I now eat very often), I created a Pinterest board with lots of tasty looking GF and paleo-inspired dishes to help me.
I spend about 20 minutes each day checking out my favorite foodie blogs for GF recipes and poking around Pinterest to see what you guys have pinned to your healthy boards. When you have tons of delicious looking options or alternatives, you stay inspired to make delicious GF meals! And trust me, just because it’s gluten-free, DOESN’T mean it lacks flavor! One of my favorite recipes is The Londoner’s cauliflower pizza! I made it for my brothers once, and they didn’t suspect a thing. 😉
5. Know Where Gluten Might Hide: If you really wanna be a GF betch, you’re gonna have to start reading labels. Gluten is in almost every processed food product from cereal, to salad dressings, to hot dogs and even some ice cream (aw hell nah!). Here are some products you should keep an eye for:
6. Indulge Yourself: Unless you are truly Celiac, you don’t have to live in a gluten-free world forever! Frankly, you can find a GF substitute or recipe for anything these days; but I also know that no amount of rice pasta or quinoa cookies can offer the same delicious happiness as a plate of homemade pasta. This is the same reason I allow myself to indulge in non-GF foods every once in a while.
I hate making others create a completely separate menu for me just because I’m GF so if Tyty’s grandma invites me over lasagna, I’m not gonna say no. If I go to brunch, I might spring the extra $2 and order gluten-free toast OR I might say fuck it and go with that amazing pain au chocolat. My one rule is: if I make it at home, I’ll make it GF. And thats how I stay happy, healthy, and foodie!
Bon Appetite everyone!