If you’ve recently decided (or health has decided for you) to embark on a gluten free diet, thyen congratulations – and good luck in making this change! It’s quite likely that you’re doing a fair bit of thinking, and maybe some worrying too. Lots of questions will be on your mind – such as “what can I actually eat now?”, “if I’m going out with friends, does pizza hut have gluten free pizza?”, and “can I still have a beer or a glass of wine after work?”.
Well, don’t worry – it’s normal to have some questions, and some worries too! The truth is, you can live a perfectly normal life without gluten. You’ll have to be a little more careful about what you eat and drink, and take care not to contaminate any of your food with it if it’s a serious health issue – but you can still eat plenty of delicious food, and have lots of great tasting drinks,without having to consume any gluten!
Look At Labels
You’re of course going to have to get used to looking at the labels of any food you buy in the supermarket, and of course learning what ingredients are and aren’t safe for you. If the lahel you’re looking at doesn’t have the relevant information, then it’s of course better to be cautious – find something else! If you’re eating out, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the food – if you’re not sure, be sure to ask whether they have a gluten free menu, or if a specific food is safe for you.
Find Good Substitutes
You simply won’t be able to eat the same foods as before, when you’re on a gluten-free diet. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out completely on your favorites – just that you;re going to have to dedicate some time to finding some gluten-free substitutes. Pasta, for example – notoriously hard to give up, as it’s a staple of so many fantastic dishes. But if it’s gotta go, it’s gotta go – but don’t worry, as there are plenty of great gluten-free pastas out there! The same goes for many foods that are made with gluten. Bread, crackers,cereals, and more can all have gluten-free substitutes, so make sure to look out for them!
There’s Lots Of Gluten-Free Food Out There!
Losing gluten from your diet can be a daunting task, but remember – gluten wasn’t all that you ate before anyway! There are thousands of great tasting foods and ingredients out there that are completely free of gluten – and were all along! So don’t feel bad about having to excise a few things from your diet, as there are still so many delicious things that you can eat. Fresh vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, eggs, fruit, and more – all free of gluten!
Alcohol can be tricky if you’re a fan of beer. There are plenty of great types of alcohol that are naturally gluten free – wine, cider, sherry, port, spirits, and liqueurs are all fine from a gluten-free perspective – so if any of those are your tipple, then little will change for you! For beer drinkers, however, it’s important to remember that ingredients containing gluten are used to make a majority of beers. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up beer completely – but you’ll have to make sure you’re drinking only gluten-free beers, which are sadly much less common.
Stay Safe – Avoid Cross Contamination
Remember to keep your food completely free from any possible sources of gluten. If you’re staying off gluten for health reasons, then it’s imperative that you keep your food far away from anything that could introduce gluten to it! Ideally, you’ll be able to keep your kitchen completely gluten-free too – which might well mean throwing a load of things away that you can’t use, and giving everything a good clean to remove any traces of gluten. If you can’t keep your kitchen free of gluten, then at least ensure that it’s cleaned thoroughly before and after use, to make sure that no cross contamination can happen. If need be, use separate equipment for gluten-free and non gluten-free cooking.
Look out for that gluten-free label! Lots of manufacturers, shops, restaurants, etc, are now displaying “gluten-free” labels on their food. This is of course a great indicator that something is safe for you to eat – and there are more and more foods being made for a gluten-free diet every day!
If you’re eating out with friends and family, then it might be advisable to bring your own food whenever possible. Of course, you’re unlikely to get away with this in a restaurant – but if you’re going to a meal at someone’s house, or a BBQ, then you might well be better off preparing some food of your own at home. Of course, let the host know beforehand! This can be a lot easier than having to worry about cross-contamination – after all, someone who doesn’t have a problem eating gluten just won’t be aware of the issue in the same way that you are.
You Can Still Enjoy Food
Remember that food is still there for you to be enjoyed! It’s a big change to make to your diet, but make sure that you don’t let it suck the fun out of food for you – after all, there are so many amazing tasting foods and meals that you can make without gluten, and so many great substitutes for ingredients that use gluten too. Have fun with your food!
Changing to a gluten-free diet can be a challenge, but it needn’t be one that you can’t meet and overcome! You’ll have to pay more attention to your food than before, but it won’t be long before you’re used to avoiding gluten, and are still cooking and eating great tasting food!