The term “gluten-free” seems like the latest buzzword with everyone from Hollywood stars to popular bloggers supporting the elimination of this controversial component of several grains.
While many chalk it up to a passing fad, those who have gone gluten-free and experienced its benefits will tell you firsthand how it has changed their life for the better.
Whether someone has diagnosed celiac disease, a gluten allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or other health issues such as autoimmune problems, going gluten-free does not have to be difficult.
Here are five tips to making the transition easier.
1) Understand why you are eliminating gluten from your diet.
Testing for celiac requires that you have been eating gluten regularly, whereas non-celiac gluten sensitivity does not necessarily show up on any tests, However people with either condition report symptom improvement with elimination of gluten and return of the symptom(s) upon its reintroduction.
Additionally those with autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s disease may find that eliminating gluten helps alleviate symptoms. Knowing why gluten is causing problems is motivating.
2) Do your research, read labels and talk to people.
Going gluten-free is a major lifestyle change for many and their families. Therefore it is helpful to have websites for easy reference, support groups to ask questions, cookbooks for recipe ideas, and research sites such as the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center or the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
The more you know, the easier it will be to shop in grocery stores, eat out at restaurants, go to potlucks and travel. It may seem overwhelming at first, however learning everything you can be critical to your health.
3) You have to give it time.
Giving up gluten for a week and declaring that it's too difficult, or that you didn’t notice any improvement is not fair to your health. The damage done in celiac disease can take six months or more on a gluten-free diet to repair, and even then it may never fully heal.