It’s been three years since I went gluten free.
That’s a lot of pizzas, pastas, crusty rolls and cakes to abstain from.
Moving to Vanuatu two months ago refreshed the challenge. Think French influence – baguettes, vanilla slice, almond croissants, pain de chocolat.
Boy it’s tough. I have broken my self-imposed rule a few times.
Don’t get me wrong, avoiding gluten has been strongly recommended by two holistic doctors and a naturopath over the three years. But I’m only going to be successful if it’s my own rule. That if, or when, I break, I know will hamper my health. Slow my healing journey. Add an unnecessary road bump in my progress.
People ‘go gluten free’ for a myriad of good reasons, from emotional to mental to physical. For me it’s to heal an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Important if I don’t want to end up in bed, unable to find the energy to face the day, with hair falling out, skin dry and fragile, weight stacking on, a downward spiralling mood and an uncomfortable lump in my throat.
Hence I need strategies to ensure gluten free success. With only occasional moments of succumb – as being totally stressed about perceived deprivation would do me no favours either.
My Tips for Gluten Free Success
- Be prepared. If you might be out longer than planned, take something yummy so you don’t need to resort to fast food – a refillable tin of nuts lives in my handbag. If the urge to snack hits you each afternoon, have something appealing ready-made – such as these power balls, smoothie or fruit ‘ice cream‘.
- When you are considering where to dine, ensure enough choice on the menu to suit you.
- Don’t have gluten-containing foods in the house. Give away your flour, cereal, cracker and pasta stocks, or don’t replace them once eaten.
- Put aside your standard recipe books, and instead search online sites such as Quirky Cooking, The Merry Maker Sisters and Elana’s Pantry. Request new recipe books from your support team.
- If you’re hankering for similar food items, gluten free bread, biscuits and pasta are an option. However, as soon as you can make the transition, move to whole foods instead, as gluten free items are generally not nutrient dense, being made of processed starchy white rice, potato, maize and/or tapioca flours. Almond, coconut and some root vegetable flours are considerably more nutrient dense, however still not ideally consumed on a daily basis.
- Wheat, barley and rye, aka gluten, are carbohydrates, one of the three macronutrients important for us to consume. Alternate sources of carbohydrate are vegetables, fruit and other grains, such as brown rice and oats. By ensuring each meal and snack contains healthy carbohydrates, fats and protein, you’ll feel satisfied for longer. With no need to reach for that gluten-laden muffin at 11am. Or the biscuits at 3pm.
Like any journey, sometimes you’ll get off track, or lost along the way.
If you do, don’t beat yourself up about it. Remember where you are heading and why. The why is what will get you there.
Gather others to keep you company along the way, inspire them with your new found energy and radiance. And if you spot me on the journey, do be sure to say hi, I’d love to hear about the road you travelled toward better health.
What are your gluten free tips? Add them below!