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Ten Rules for Going Gluten Free

First off, this post is not for those who think going gluten free is “healthier” or if they’re trying to lose weight. From someone who can no  longer ingest gluten: if you can, please, do!

But, if you think you have a gluten sensitivity, then you might be wondering how to cut the gluten from your diet. It “sounds” easy enough, but the practice of it may actually be kind of daunting.

For me, it took several attempts to finally understand that I could only eat a gluten free diet and be healthy at the same time. Something clicked and now the smell of bread makes my stomach turn.

If you think you have a gluten intolerance, you’ll definitely want to connect with your healthcare professional to run some tests. It’s the right thing to do. When you’re ready, I would try going gluten free for 2 weeks or one month and see if you feel better.

GLUTEN-FREE MONTH-TO-MONTH PLAN
 

What to look for when you cut the gluten:

 

Some symptom relief you could look out for are  sleeping better, less anxiety, clearer skin, less stomach issues, more energy, clear mind/no brain fog, not as cold.

Have you always been clumsy? When I removed gluten from my diet, I stopped tripping over myself. In fact, if I fall these days, I can almost always trace it back to the last 48 where I was glutened.

 

Celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity have over 300 symptoms which is why it is so common these days for people to wonder if they have an issue with gluten. Basically, if you have a feeling, it could be gluten related. But the only way to know for sure is to visit your doctor, advocate for your health and start experimenting with your diet.

Before you jump into a 2-4 week experiment without gluten, I recommend trying to adopt a whole foods attitude about eating. If you just replace junk with junk, chances are, you’re still going to feel like junk.

If you need even more help easing into the idea of living without gluten, start by just removing one potential allergen a week, by eating what you have and not replacing it when you’re ready.

One more note about this post: you will find some incredibly helpful tips to adjust your mindset as you experience this new challenge, but I am not a food blogger. I might come up with some awesome recipe round up posts, but this post is really to focus on mindset. There are some of my favorite resources below for removing gluten from the diet, and the books come with some really great recipes.

 

List of resources to help ease into going gluten free:

Tim Ferriss Post about Slow Carb diet

Rob Wolff Paleo Diet

Leanne Vogel at Healthful Pursuit, Author of The Keto Diet

 

Wanna swipe this list? Sign up for the Millennial Life Skills Vault – its inside!

GLUTEN-FREE MONTH-TO-MONTH PLAN
 

1 – instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can

 

This is probably the most important step. When you’re making a lifestyle change, especially one centered around food it’s hard to remember why you’re making the change in the first place. Focusing on the positive aspects will help decrease cravings, guilt, and anxiety. When you’re removing gluten from your diet, a lot of your favorite processed foods go with it. But you open yourself up to a whole new world of cuisines, flavors, and experiences.

 

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I used to hate fish. My favorite saying is “Fish are friends, not food.” but I’ve learned to adapt my taste buds, and the other day when I had  gluten free crab cakes, I was pleasantly surprised and finally understood what the fuss was about.

Ten rules for going gluten free, how do I start gluten free, what can I eat on a gluten free diet, keto diet, slow carb diet, paleo diet, whole 30, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, jessicafwalker.com | gratitude | empowerment | success

2 – keep a food journal

 

Sometimes it’s not our diet causing us to be sick. But if you notice a correlation between eating and feeling poorly, keeping a food journal can be an incredibly empowering experience. I’m personally not a fan of tracking everything I eat all the time – if I binge, that list can be pretty depressing. But it is empowering to have actual proof to show when you speak with your doctor. If you’re noticing you have a meal, and for the next several hours your body aches, you should write that down. Be analytic and scientific in your tracking.

Before you eat, write down how hungry you felt.

After you eat, write down if you felt you ate enough to be full, or over full.

Two -4 hours after eating, write down any symptoms you might be experiencing.

Once you have a solid record of your feelings before during and after, you can start the discussion with your healthcare professional or whoever, to start making positive long term changes.

3 – Don’t beat yourself up -be gentle!

 

Changing a way of eating is hard, especially if you have emotional attachments to certain foods.

So often we use food to reward ourselves. Win a promotion? Go out for dinner. Have a hard day? Drink all the drinks. Break up with your boyfriend? Eat ice cream until you pass out.

Changing so many things at one time can be hard. But I would challenge you to be mindful of your feelings of anxiety and stress. Take five or ten minutes to meditate or do yoga. If you’re fighting a craving, ask yourself where it’s coming from and how you could provide that same level of comfort without food. Sometimes it comes in the form of a hot bath or shower. Other times it’s running, or playing with the dog.


If during your two-four week trial you do give into temptation, don’t call yourself a failure. Don’t talk poorly to yourself. Instead, in your journal track it. Write down why it happened and how you can prevent it in the future.

 

4 – Plan ahead

 

Work towards removing gluten items and replacing them with non gluten items. If you want to keep it as simple as possible, Amazon has an incredible section of gluten free pantry items. All the premix cookies, cakes, pie crusts you could ever want. Some of them are even good. ( I highly recommend the Goodie Girls Mint Slims. My absolute favorite cookie!) but when we’re talking about health, replacing old sugars with newer even more refined sugars probably shouldn’t be the crux of the conversation. Programs like Whole 30 and The Paleo Diet are both great ways to plan a head. They lay out all the steps and menus you need.

 

When I went gluten free, I only ate meat, rice, vegetables and fruit. Eventually I cut out the rice too. It doesn’t have to be boring or filled with complicated recipes. Just keep it simple.

Wanna swipe this list? Sign up for the Millennial Life Skills Vault – its inside!

 

5 – Reach out to your health care professional

 

If before, during or after you start to realize that gluten is affecting your health, you need to connect with your healthcare professional for further testing.

I’ve mentioned this several times. It’s so important to get your health care professional involved early in your experiments. If you discover you feel better on a gluten free diet, they may want to test you for Celiac disease which requires a certain level of antibodies and inflammation still occurring in your body in order to be quantified. If you’ve been gluten free for too long and then get tested, you’ll pop up a bunch of false negatives because your body has healed. People who have been off gluten for several months are asked to take a gluten challenge – you eat the amount of gluten in 4 slices of bread every day for up to two months.

 

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If you’ve been gluten free for awhile, you know how awful that could be.

 

6 – Treat yourself!

 

Being gluten free shouldn’t be a punishment. Goodie Girl thin mints are freaking amazing. Easily found at walmart or Amazon. Some of my other favorite gluten free treats are Larabars, Beef Jerky, and fresh fruit.

GLUTEN-FREE MONTH-TO-MONTH PLAN
 

7 – Connect with community

 

MLSG which is there for all things millennial life related, or other gluten free communities on Facebook. You might also be able to find meetups in your area.

 

8 – Read Labels

 

This probably should have been closer to the top, but at least it made the list. Gluten hides in everything. It hides as vitamins, it hides as emulsifiers, and it hides as modified food starches and “natural flavors”. Even worse, it still isn’t mandatory for companies to disclose gluten or potential cross contamination. Even things labeled as “Certified Gluten Free” can have up to 20 parts per million of gluten inside of it, and be made in a facility where glutenous food is produced. Reading labels helps, but there is still so much more the food industry as a whole can do, and we should expect from them; namely, keeping the gluten far and away from the gluten free products.

Wanna swipe this list? Sign up for the Millennial Life Skills Vault – its inside!

While you’re experimenting, sticking to strictly certified gluten free products shouldn’t be your highest concern. If however it looks like it should be gluten free, but you experience a reaction, make sure you note it in your food journal.

 

9 – Choose whole foods instead of gluten free replacements

 

I’ve talked a lot about this already, but the best way to minimize cross contamination is to stick to whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, seeds, fats. Keep it simple. Keep it fresh.

 

10 – Get your family on board

 

If you do find you have celiac disease, you need to keep your kitchen as gluten free as possible. When you’re  not the only person in the house, this might seem impossible. The best way to protect your health though is getting the family on board. People who don’t experience issues with gluten will never really get just how debilitating it can be to be glutened. Through consistent conversations, testing, and trial and error, hopefully you’ll be able to create a meal plan that the family will love so much they won’t even notice gluten is off the menu. Getting family to adopt a gluten free way of eating can be hard, but it’s the best way to protect your health long term.

 

My favorite book about Celiac onset (so far) is  In Memory of Bread by Paul Graham. Look out for my full review coming soon. In the meantime, one of the things that really struck home with me in this book is that the author’s wife decided to remove gluten from her diet, and didn’t cheat on it, in an effort to protect him. To hear him talk about it was very moving.

Ten rules for going gluten free, how do I start gluten free, what can I eat on a gluten free diet, keto diet, slow carb diet, paleo diet, whole 30, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, jessicafwalker.com | gratitude | empowerment | success
Ten rules for going gluten free, how do I start gluten free, what can I eat on a gluten free diet, keto diet, slow carb diet, paleo diet, whole 30, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, jessicafwalker.com | gratitude | empowerment | success
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