Do you need to change to a gluten-free diet to support your health? If you’ve been eating the Standard American Diet for most of your life, it can be overwhelming. Here are three simple steps to take to make the transition a bit easier.
1. Shop the outer aisles of the grocery store.
Fresh fruits and vegetables (with no toppings or seasonings) are always gluten free. If you’re starving, you can pick up a bag of apples or a bunch of bananas. You can steam green beans, broccoli and cauliflower, or make a large salad. But be sure to check the ingredients on the salad dressing. Baked potatoes or sweet potatoes are another easy option.
Most unprocessed meats do not contain gluten. Hamburger, steak and fish are usually safe. Look for all-natural chicken. But read the fine print as some chicken is processed with ingredients that contain gluten.
Many dairy products such as milk, yogurt and butter are gluten free. Check the labels first. Eggs are a great source of protein, and they are safe to eat.
2. Connect with others.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with celiac, consider meeting with a nutritionist or a dietitian. He or she will provide you with guidelines that will help keep you from having an accidental exposure.
Put social media to work and join a gluten-free or celiac Facebook group or search for gluten-free Instagram accounts. Here’s my Instagram account: @glutenfreeforgood. There are many groups where members are encouraged to interact and ask questions. Others offer opinions on safe options for dining out. There are many excellent gluten-free Instagram accounts that provide recipes, and others offer helpful information about celiac disease or what stores provide gluten-free brands of products. Also, check out A List of Great Gluten-free Blogs.
3. Recreate your favorite meals.
To avoid feeling deprived, write down your favorite foods and create a menu for five days. Find gluten-free alternatives for the foods you enjoy. For example, you can find pasta sauce and gluten-free spaghetti or lasagna noodles. If you love pizza, consider buying an Against the Grain crust and making your own. It’s always easy to find gluten-free brownies or cake mixes. Discover easy online recipes or buy a gluten-free cookbook. In Celiac Mom, I share a list of 14 easy gluten-free meals.
I hope these tips help.