If you are reading this, than you are probably considering or have made the decision to go gluten-free. Well, as have I; welcome to the club, Mama. Before getting into all of the technical stuff and how to’s, I want to first, explain my history with the infamous, gluten-free diet.
Our love-hate relationship began during my first year of high school and lasted about two years after. From past years of struggling with stomach problems (and much convincing from my mom because what kid wants to not eat bread), I finally made the decision to stop eating gluten. I spent half of my high school years bringing my own lunch of a tiny sandwich on gluten-free bread or meat and gluten-free crackers everyday. Although I probably wouldn’t have admitted it then, this diet made me feel SO MUCH BETTER! However, being a gluten-less teenager was nothing near easy, and as I spent two years watching my friends lavish in their oh so mouth-watering pizza, I slowly fell back into the norm and began eating gluten again.
Fast forward to several years, a pregnancy, and a birth later, I decided I was done dealing with the continued stomach problems and took the gluten-free plunge, once again. This time I was older, smarter, and things were much simpler ( not easy, but simpler). As of now, I have been gluten-free and dairy-free for almost a year and am feeling better than ever!
In this post you will find information on what the gluten-free diet is, when you should consider going gluten-free, the benefits of this diet, and tips on how to make life easier while living gluten-free.
WHAT IS GLUTEN & HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM INTOLERANT?
Gluten is the protein found in any and all kinds of grains. It can be present in foods such as bread, flour tortillas, and many processed foods.
According to healthline.com, a gluten intolerance can be recognized if you are noticing the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Skin Problems
- Unexplained weight loss
- Joint and Muscle Pain
- Leg or arm numbness
- Brain Fog
additionally, you can develop an autoimmune disorder like Celiac Disease, in which your body can no longer process gluten. In this case, in addition to the normal gluten intolerance symptoms, celiac.org says that you could experience the following:
- Chronic Diarrhea
- irritability and Behavioral Issues
- Dental Enamel Defects
- Delayed Growth and Puberty
- Short Stature
- Bone Loss
- Depression or Anxiety
- Tingling, Numbness, or Pain in Hands & Feet
- Seizures or migraines
- Missed menstrual Periods
- reoccurring miscarriages or Infertility
- Mouth Canker Sores
While many people take on the gluten-free diet due to an intolerance to the ingredient, they also choose to live this way for the many benefits that the gluten-free diet brings to the table. Benefits include:
- More Energy
- Can Reduce Arthritis
- Aids Weight Loss
- Helps Immune System
- Improves Digestion
- Lessens Inflammation Resulting in Healthier Gut
The Big Question is:
How do you go gluten-free?
Know Your Diet
First things first, get to know your new best friend, Mr. Gluten-Free EVERYTHING. Learn what your options are and what you can/can’t have. As you search through your options, it will be easy to feel limited. But Mama, these are not limitations, only help to get your health on track.
An important idea to know about the gluten-free diet is how to read food labels.
If the food label contains any of the following, you should COMPLETELY stay away from them:
- Wheat Protein (or anything with the word “wheat”)
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Bread Stuffing
- Oats (Unless the label states that it is gluten-free)
Find Yummy Foods
After learning what you can not have, shop for foods that sound like something that you would look forward to eating.
Here’s a little #MOMHACK: Stock up on a couple of yummy, gluten-free treats. Make sure that you have one treat for every day; something to be excited about. For even more convenience, use Amazon Foods for a quick and affordable order. It get’s shipped right to your door step. How awesome is that?
As a healthy and fit mama, my favorite gluten-free treats are Udi’s Gluten Free Double Chocolate Muffins , Lance Gluten Free Baked Original Crackers (they taste just like Ritz crackers), and Simple Mills Naturally Gluten-Free Chocolate Muffin & Cake Almond Flour Mix (when I feel like I deserve cake in my life).
Stop Telling Yourself “NO”
Stop telling yourself, “no” and find alternatives to the foods that surround your life. Replace your normal, day-to-day food with similar gluten-free options.
For instance, I replaced my sandwich bread with Udi’s Gluten-Free MultiGrain Bread and my pancakes with THIS RECIPE. All of these happen to be dairy-free too because my exclusively breastfed son is sensitive to dairy.
Also Related: All About Dairy-Free Diet for Breastfeeding Moms
You Can Still Go Out To Eat
Yes, I said it. You do not have to be a hermit crab to be gluten-free! Although going out to eat can be a bit tricky, there are several places that fit our gluten-free needs.
- Domino’s Pizza
- Winco Pizza
- Red Robin
- In n Out
Are all restaurants that have yummy gluten-free options.
However, if worst comes to worst and your beloved burger’s bun can not be made gluten-free, WHEN IN DOUBT MEAT AND VEGGIE IT OUT! You can never go wrong with a good piece of meat and vegetables (or fries…hello cheat meal).
A little tip: NEVER, I repeat, NEVER feel guilty or high maintenance for being specific on your order. This is your health at stake and your server will, more than likely, be happy to accommodate.
Remember The Goal
When things get hard and cravings get strong, remember that the whole reason why you began eating gluten-free was to improve your health. Whether you are in the process of finding a solution to your gluten sensitivity or just seeking the amazing benefits, the gluten-free diet will be life changing (in the best way possible). Moreover, it will not always be easy sticking to your gluten-free alternatives while the rest of your loved ones relish in their thick-crust pizza; however, stay with is because the results will only come with persistent actions.
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