So you’ve just decided to start a gluten-free diet, or maybe you’ve just been forced to start a gluten-free diet. Perhaps you’re starting this diet after learning someone in your household can’t tolerate gluten. Either way, it can be overwhelming when you first transition, but we’re here to help! Here are some simple tips and things to keep in mind when first starting:
FIRST AND FOREMOST, GET INFORMED
Educate yourself as much as possible on what gluten is, what your diagnosis is and/or what your restrictions are. Find out from your doctor exactly what you can and cannot eat then do your research. Check out this list of resources for information about gluten and celiac disease as well as tips for gluten-free living. The more informed you are, the more confident you’ll feel as you start the diet.
FIND A SUPPORT SYSTEM
One way to help you mentally prepare yourself and ease into gluten-free living is to read other’s stories about their start to a gluten-free diet. Knowing you’re not the only one who’s transitioned to gluten-free can help give you confidence that you can do this! Check out our blog for feature stories highlighting our gluten-free influencers and how they coped when first learning they needed to go gluten-free.
Search the web for either digital or in-person gluten-free or gluten-intolerant support groups. If you’re a parent starting your child off on a gluten-free diet, there are even support groups specifically tailored to parents of GF children. Facebook is also a great place to search for forums and groups. Check out our favorite GF Facebook Forums to get you a head start.
PREP YOUR KITCHEN
For those with celiac disease and severe reactions to gluten, you do not want your food even touching the same utensils, countertop or tableware that gluten foods had touched before washing. Review this list of tips for de-glutening your kitchen. We recommend sharing some of this information with your family, friends, teachers and/or possibly even co-workers just to give them a heads up that you’ll need to be a little more cautious about your food prep.
STOCK UP ON GLUTEN-FREE FOODS
Make Your First All-Gluten-Free Shopping Experience Fun! When it comes to gluten-free grocery shopping, it can almost feel like a game while hunting for GF certification labels at first. Follow these tips for making the best of your first gluten-free shopping experience. We’ve listed tips for gluten-free label reading and even have a list of our favorite gluten-free products!
CONSULT A DIETITIAN
If you don’t already have a reliable doctor that you feel comfortable with, we highly recommend finding a knowledgeable dietitian that you can consult as questions or concerns come up once you’ve changed your diet. Make sure to use them as a resource to ask questions about maintaining a healthy weight, what exactly you can and cannot eat, how to ensure you’re still getting the vitamins you need while cutting out gluten, and any other topics about a gluten-free diet that are a little unclear to you. While the internet can provide a lot of information, it’s not always accurate information.
If you have questions or tips you think others in a similar situation could benefit from, please feel free to post them to our forum, Your (Gluten) Free Voice.