I will admit, going gluten free was not easy. I spoke about that in my last article Five Reasons Why I Went Gluten Free.
I can remember like it was yesterday. I was in this semi-rundown Safeway (that I hope has been remodeled in Santa Cruz by now). I was perusing the aisles searching for a snack – no – any snack that I could find to eat for busy work days.
I looked for granola bars, trail mixes, you name it. I can just remember everything yummy-looking containing gluten, or some other “interesting” (to say the most) ingredient that I had never heard of before. Depressing.
I didn’t really understand how it would work. I didn’t know that conventional grocery stores by default were no longer my snack go-to places. I did not understand that my new “corner store” would have to be Whole Foods or Natural Grocers.
I felt lost.
Once I was able to collect myself, and wrap my mind around the fact that once you go gluten-free you don’t just heal and return to eating a New York deep dish stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut (if there is a such thing), I began to sum up to $2.00 granola bars (just for one: not a pack, silly!) and $6.00 mini-loaves of bread. I realized that I would have to pay $13.00 for a personal thin crust pizza, $6.00 for one box of gluten free all purpose flour, and most of all, I realized that one has to pretty much have a nice flow of cash to maintain this gluten free lifestyle.
Side note: There seriously needs to be a tax write off for this stuff.
No. I don’t want to talk political, for those of you who know why we can’t or shouldn’t write off gluten free foods :)
Back to the story.
I realized that I would have to reallocate funds to make this work – I mean, you want to feel good right? So you will do anything for it.
But, I didn’t feel good.
Yep, after all of that push to go gluten free, and after all of that money spent, my husband and I just didn’t feel good. And that is the point of this article today.
Hear me out when I say, it is possible to do gluten free all wrong! In other words, becoming gluten free is not enough – ever. That is only the starting place.
It’s not enough to find new restaurants that serve gluten free; to find gluten free pizzas, burritos, donuts, etc. at your local supermarket. No, your troubles do not end just because you found a gluten free label on the shelves. In fact, it could be flat out dangerous “just giving stuff up”, if you do not count the cost.
Indeed, there have been countless articles, journals, and magazines encouraging people to go gluten-free, but I am about to share with you a few points that I believe have been largely neglected. So hopefully these points shed some light on the topic for you.
#1- THERE ARE NUTRITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS.
Getting rid of gluten does not mean that you all of a sudden have a good diet. I had the toughest time initially explaining to people that this was not a fad, it is a lifestyle. And as with any lifestyle changes, it is not giving up one bad thing to trade for another. You do not give up gluten to eat it’s gluten free equivalent without moderation. So that means, variety. Yes, a lot of gluten free people miss this. You are not just trading one grain for another. It is instead trading what is not good for your specific body type for that which is great for it.
That means: Much more fruit, Much more veggies, Much more seeds and nuts, more legumes, more healthy proteins, less refined sugar, etc. You catch me. Remember, your battle is not with gluten. It is with creating and maintaining the healthiest body possible, both inside and out.
#2- THERE ARE GUT CONSIDERATIONS.
This should have went first, but hey, I am not putting this in any particular order. When it comes to going gluten free, you have to consider the “why”. Why are you going gluten free? Is it because of disease? Inflammation? A condition that can lead to malnutrition? Cancers? Autoimmunity? With about 80% of our immune system being linked to our gut health, I think it is safe to say that restoring health in your gut is far more critical than finding your favorite pop tart brand with a gluten free label now.
That means: Lots of prebiotic and probiotics, Lots of naturally anti-inflammatory fresh foods and supplements, digestive enzymes, low to no processed sugar or foods.
#3- THERE ARE LIFESTYLE CONSIDERATIONS.
Going gluten free is like the first chapter in your book of wellness. It is not the end of the story (although you may feel that way when you first get the news of having celiac disease or being gluten sensitive). It is the start of a journey to considering what true health means, and rewarding yourself along the way. With that in mind, it is important to consider that gluten free is all about awareness. Awareness of what your body is saying. Have you had unexplained: Fatigue? Muscle aches? Joint pain? Depression? Gastrointestinal distress? Bloating and gas? Unexplained iron deficiency anemia? Seizures or migraines? Maybe some of these are you. It’s time to talk to your doctor and take charge of your health.
That means: Exercise more, lose unhealthy weight safely, get more sleep, practice relaxation, meditate on that which is spiritually inspiring, pray, read something uplifting, journal, and most importantly *seeking the assistance and advice of your doctor before trying anything new*
THE BOTTOM LINE
As I said, going gluten free is only the beginning of your story. There is still more to go – more chapters to write. Each chapter must move closer and closer to a happily and healthily ever after for you.
It’s important to remember on this journey though, that for optimal digestive and immune health, it isn’t just about dropping wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and/or oats. It’s about taking a holistic approach to a life free of sickness and disease.
For more information I recommend you bookmark these links:
Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your thoughts!