When I first went gluten-free, it seemed intuitive at first. The more you dive in, the more there is to learn and it is enough to make a new celiac or gluten-intolerant person’s head spin. Unlike many allergies, it is not ubiquitous as it may seem. Education is important and we all need a push in the right direction. Because of this, I have written a Gluten-Free 101 Guide as a great place to start as far as educating yourself on what to avoid and where.
After I had embarked on my lifestyle requirement, I have continued to be asked how to go gluten-free. Truth is, it really isn’t too difficult, though there are some things to expect when you first start this lifestyle. Whether you have an actual intolerance, celiac disease, or just want to see if it does something good for you, there are three things you should be aware of when you do.
Apart from replacing your toaster and maybe some of your cookware (or cleaning it obscenely well), here is some information I wish I was told when I got into this.
Detox from Gluten
To detox from it, you must educate yourself about what gluten is. After you educate yourself about gluten, you can more easily avoid it. Get more information about what to avoid and how here: Gluten-Free 101 Guide.
You can expect a lot of cravings. The best thing to do when you first begin is to eat a lot of clean foods. If you must have grain, keep them clean. So – instead of stuffing yourself with gluten-free bread – I recommend brown rice, quinoa (pseudograin), and gluten-free oats.
Expect a 3-day hump. On day 3, your withdrawals will be hard on your body. When you’re allergic/intolerant to something, your body tends to crave it the most. If you are desperate, grab a slice of gluten-free bread, but it will not be quite what you may expect. This is the biggest reason I recommend staying away from it at first.
Gluten Sensitivity and Getting “Glutened”
Be prepared. I regularly keep gluten/dairy enzymes on hand, as well as activated charcoal. There will be a situation where something happens and you will have this “poison” enter your body. You will eventually get a feel for how sensitive you are. Some people react to a few crumbs on their plate — some don’t.
If you do get “glutened”, drink tons of water, take 2-6 enzyme caplets (or as directed), and start taking activated charcoal as directed on the bottle.
Do Not Expect Gluten-Free Perfection
I am pretty sure I actually cried – nay, bawled – the first time I had baked goods as good as what I remember having. It will take time, adjustments, and a lot of trial and error before you know what brands and foods work for you. Ideally, when you are intolerant or celiac, clean foods are best for your body. Going gluten-free just is not enough, as many celiacs do not heal completely. You must become keenly aware about what is going into your body, because many of us can have cross reactions to other grains such as corn, oats, and sorghum, among others. If you’re still exhibiting symptoms or developing new ones – even though you have been rid of gluten – you may want to look into other intolerance possibilities.
|alpha and beta-Casein||Barley||Yeast|
As far as what’s on my plate? Well, I have had amazing luck with local bakeries. Do not be afraid to tap into your local gluten-free community. They are a wealth of advice and can be what saves you from going off the deep end!