Advice is everywhere. So are opinions. Everyone has one, and everyone is entitled to one. That is where the story should end, but it doesn’t. Facebook, twitter, TV, media….are all as good as the people on it. You have to be able to weed through the crap to get to the good stuff. And that often takes too much effort. It’s just easier to take all of these messages we are bombarded with at face value than to think for oneself.
I recently joined a couple of Facebook groups on gluten free living. While I think it’s a great idea to exchange ideas and have support, there are too many cooks in the kitchen with their finger in the pie. If you are just starting out with a diagnosis of celiac or gluten intolerance, the amount of advice on social media can just make you want to say “give me that doughnut!”
Everyone thinks their way is the best way. Eat only fruit, veggies and meat! Eat only pre-packaged foods! Eat only recipes made from scratch! Eat vegan! Eat Paleo! Now I myself give advice, but I always say-find what works best for you. What works for one person may not work for you. You have to find your own path in life, and you also have to find your own path eating gluten and allergy free. You will quickly become overwhelmed if you listen to the talking heads and try to do what they tell you to do.
Now, I can tell you what I did. I did an elimination diet for two weeks. Then I slowly started to discover boxed mixes and gluten free items that helped with my carb cravings. As a carb addict, I could not give up bread, cookies, pasta and cake. And I didn’t have to. Is it unhealthy? Yes. Did it work for me? Yes. Will it work for you? Maybe, maybe not. Although I can tell you that if you go cold turkey off of carbs, it will be extremely difficult for you to stick with a gluten free diet.
That being said, the choice is completely yours. You will have to make modifications and changes as you go along. I have found confidence in cooking and baking that I never thought I could have. But not everyone is Suzy Homemaker. Don’t be afraid to use boxed mixes and packaged goods if it makes your life easier. If you want to go vegan, that’s ok too.
Be true to yourself. Here are some tips that can help you.
- Google is your friend. I google everything and anything I am not sure of.
- Take articles about gluten intolerance with a grain of, well, wheat. Studies are inconclusive but no-one knows your body better than you. If you feel better after eliminating gluten, chances are you are intolerant.
- If you want to be tested for celiac, do so before eliminating gluten. If you are losing weight I would definitely be tested.
- Gluten and dairy intolerance often go hand in hand. It may not just be lactose intolerance. Try lactose free, then if that doesn’t work go dairy free. I found that products containing whey bother me. But it may be different for you.
- Giving up both gluten and dairy is extremely difficult. It is very hard to find both gluten and dairy free, especially when dining out. But you may have to to feel better. You can still eat well.
- Give yourself time to acclimate. You should start feeling better the first week. If you need to, give the elimination diet a little more time.
- Consult a nutritionist.
- Consult your doctor but be aware they will more than likely want to treat you with drugs, which isn’t always the right way to go.
- Read everything you can get your hands on, then form your own opinions.
I am not a physician. I don’t play one on tv and I don’t claim to be one. These are just suggestions to get you started. it will take a lot of trial and error to get settled, but once you do, you should see a remarkable difference.
Please contact me if I can be of any help sorting things out, or just be an ear to listen. Support is very important. Educate your family and friends and tell them this is not just a “fad”. And most of all, focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t. That is the first step.