Friday, November 11, 2016

Gluten Free Me

I will start out by saying that I do not have Celiac disease and am not actually allergic to gluten. I do however struggle with a chronic auto-immune problem like 20% of the population of the US who has some form of auto-immune disease. I chose to eliminate gluten from my diet as a way to alleviate some of the symptoms I was feeling at the recommendation of a friend who had done the same. Well, more specifically, I said I would give it a try for one weekend as she harassed me strongly suggested I do just that. As my symptoms seemed to vanish over the course of a few days I knew that if I didn't keep it up moving forward I would be knowingly hurting myself... I'm no sadist so, I have and it really hasn't been that bad. Sure, sometimes I want to eat walk into a bakery and buy a cupcake, or a deli nearby and get sausage, egg, and cheese on a bagel, or eat anything at a networking even where hey serve finger food but, while that moment of sweet/chewy/delicious flour filled goodness will taste great it won't be worth it in the end. Here are some of the ways that I started to incorporate gluten free living into my everyday gluten filled life.
  • Focus on foods that are naturally gluten free like fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy (or dairy substitutes), etc. Something that I realized as I started my gluten free lifestyle change was that many of the foods I was eating on a regular basis met the criteria for gluten free. There were some tweaks I had to make, of course, but, for the most part the transition was pretty seamless and in the end it was the more processed foods that I had to weed out. 
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  • Learn about the devil gluten and where it hides. Speaking with people who are gluten free was one way to learn but, it really helped when I sat down and read a little more about it on my own terms. This book was given to my by more than one person for Christmas the year I went gluten free and was helpful in getting a baseline understanding of what gluten is a where it could be hiding. There are also some recipes that you might be able to integrate into your daily life. 

  • Remember that vegan does not equal gluten free which can be one of the most challenging things at the grocery store. You might have think you found the perfect Non-GMO, Dairy/Nut/Soy Free breakfast burrito with heritage tomatoes and free range chicken eggs (YUM) but, none of that means Gluten Free, in fact, the burrito that all that deliciousness is wrapped in still has wheat flour... Read labels carefully to make sure don't just jump at the buzz words.
  • Remember gluten free does not mean low fat. In the beginning when you focus on fresh food and non-processed things you might lose a little weight (which is nice.) Once you start trying out the plethora of gluten free substitute items available you might see that number tick up again.  Those items are, most of the time, not low fat and might actually have more calories than their gluten filled counterparts.  
A photo posted by Iris (@260daysnorepeats) on
  • Plan for stuff like special occasions (or just a random day of the week) when you might want food items that are not normally gluten free and those gluten free alternatives might pose a challenge to obtain. I'm talking about cakes, cupcakes, and anything cake related like muffins, etc. Not many bakeries stock gluten free goodies regularly as they are not shelf stable but, you can order them and pick them up or find them frozen. As I have said before, to not you until now, "If I want a cupcake, I can have a cupcake I just have to plan for it." True story...
A photo posted by Iris (@260daysnorepeats) on

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