How to Grocery Shop for Gluten Free Living

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If you’ve embarked on your elimination diet and have a sense that gluten-free living may be in your best interest, you may be wondering what to do next, particularly since “going gluten-free” often evokes concerns of very restricted eating with few to no tasty, affordable options to be found. Not the case!

Making the transition to living gluten-free can actually be quite a cinch, particularly when you’re fueled with the knowledge that this new way of eating will actually help you live in your body more comfortably and with more energy and radiance than before.

Now that you’ve jumped on the bandwagon, it’s time to – quite literally – put your money where your mouth is.

Here’s how:

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Some of my favorite GF substitutes copyright Sprout and Rosebud

Swap out gluten-filled favorites with gluten-free varieties and whole foods.
Choose the products with the fewest ingredients listed, and even more importantly, no matter the length of the list of ingredients, select the products with ingredients you can actually pronounce!
As they say, if it took a laboratory to create it (with unpronounceable chemicals), it would take a lab to digest it. Give your body a break and try to avoid ingredients that are the length of your arm 😉

Choose pastas that have a blend of grains, like quinoa, rice, and/or corn, which will cook more like the pasta you may already be used to. I’ve found pastas made solely of rice tend to be a little mushier if cooked the traditional way. Asian noodles composed of only rice will have different cooking instructions, so make sure to read the packaging.

Baked goods, like bagels, breads, etc., found in the refrigerated section tend to be more like gluten-filled items with more familiar textures and tastes.

**Even better for your body and your wallet: Choosing whole foods, like beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat or even brown, black, or red rice, which can be bought in any grocery store and even in bulk at natural food stores. Plenty of traditional recipes can be de-glutened by swapping these ingredients for their gluten-filled counterparts.

Don’t forget that beer contains gluten, too, so look for gluten-free beers or ciders to help whet your whistle. (Wine and liquors are considered GF by the Celiac Foundation.)

As you’re starting to make these small, but somewhat drastic changes, the most important piece of the puzzle is to approach this process with playfulness and curiosity. Sometimes, the recipes will not turn out as you think (don’t worry; it’ll get better with a small amount of practice and you might even create your own unique recipes!), or you might fall off the wagon and pick up a non-gluten-free cupcake. It’s ok!

Be kind and patient with yourself, and keep on keepin’ on. You are worth the journey and the work, and this new way of living will become a lot more fun and rewarding than you might have ever imagined!

Thinking of Going Gluten-Free? How to Know if It’s For You!

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Gluten free. Two words, much mystique. From trendy diets to health conditions, living gluten-free is becoming more mainstream, but what does it really mean?

First off, gluten is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not an additive or an unnaturally occurring substance. It is a natural protein found in rye, wheat and barley that some people find hard to digest. It can become stuck to the lining of the intestines, wreaking havoc for those with a sensitivity or allergy and encouraging a slew of other health challenges to take shape. From a B-vitamin deficiency to joint pain to brain fog to IBS to The Real Deal Celiac’s Disease to MS-like symptoms to even cancer, a gluten intolerance left unattended can become a real roadblock on the journey to optimal health, to say the least.

Before you take off to your kitchen to exorcise all potential gluten-filled items from your pantry and fridge, let’s talk about the best approach if you’re interested in dabbling in this (currently on-trend) gluten-free lifestyle.

Try an elimination diet.

An elimination diet is simply a way of eating that removes gluten-filled foods from your diet (not to be confused with a diet that limits your food for weight-loss; going gluten-free does not guarantee weight loss, but it is a possibility!)

An elimination diet is a simple and relatively cheaper method of figuring out if you are gluten-sensitive. Depending on how long you’ve been eating gluten and how significant the impact has been to your sweet body, it may take 7 days to 6 months to truly feel the relief of going off the gluten. For me, it took about six months of going gluten-free before I felt the symptoms significantly subside; other people can deduce a sensitivity within a week. Your best bet is to go off of it for a week, then add it back in for a day and pay serious attention to how you feel. I’ve seen people get a runny nose the first time they take one bite of a bagel (ONE BITE!). That’s an indication you may want to remove gluten from your diet. Other indications that you might be better off going G-free could be lesser joint pain, decreased belly bloat, fewer digestive problems, and/or clearer thinking as a result of going G-Free. Just reading that list alone certainly makes testing out going GFree quite attractive, doesn’t it!?

Keep a journal or mental list of the changes you notice in your body, mind, energy level, etc. as you go through the week. After the seven days of gluten-free living, add some “normal” carbs back into your diet and then notice how you’re feeling. Re-read your journal of observations and decide if G-Free living is for you!