When I started eating gluten free I was in a really great position to do so. Because of my coeliac sister I already knew what things I could and couldn't eat, so setting up the pantry was relatively easy and my family were already sympathetic. I had also witnessed someone going through the hard parts of the gluten free life, so I was pre-warned and could do my best to avoid problems.
But ever since that day in November 2008 when I went gluten free, I've noticed more and more people trying the gluten free diet. Some of them succeed, some don't. Recently a close friend of mine has decided to trial a gluten free diet for a month. Talking to her and remembering all the things that she will need to learn made me realize that not everyone has it as easy as I did.
It is hard work, going G-free. So I've decided to do a series of blog posts about the things that I found helpful when I started out - and the things that I think you, as a G-free newbie need to know.
These blog posts are for people who are new to being gluten free, thinking about going gf, family members of gluten freesias and also gf veterans - I hope you can learn from this or be reminded and encouraged to live an awesome gf life.
Believe it or not I am not the font of all knowledge, I'm just sharing some of the stuff that I have learned and continue to learn. [So forgive me if I miss things out.] I'm going to be hard on you, reader, so just listen and be aware that I am quite a blunt person.
So? You're going gluten free? Awesome! But are you actually serious about this? It's a pretty big step to take and you need to be prepared for all the things that will come your way. You also need to know the nature of the gluten free diet.
When I say 'diet' I don't mean fad diets like the Atkins, Macrobiotic or cabbage soup diet. In most of those kinds of diets you can have rest days where you eat cake or splurge on creamy chocolate mousse. If you slip up and eat too many calories or whatever - well, that's ok. Everyone does that.
No. That is not the case with the gluten free diet. Gluten free is your life. You may not, under any circumstances slip up. And no, one piece of cake isn't ok, or even just one crumb. Amount doesn't matter, a little tiny bit of gluten could ruin everything.
Let me explain. Imagine this, when you started being gluten free your health started creeping up, from your unhealthy level to a good, healthy level. Now you've been gluten free for awhile and have been chugging along a nice healthy plateau - but then you ingest some gluten. Suddenly all of that ground you made and all of that work you put into staying gluten free for all those months is destroyed. Suddenly you're back at the beginning again, on that lower level of health. It can take ages, from 1-3 months to get back to the healthy level.
Do you get what I mean? One little slip up can ruin all of your hard work.
So, are you going to take this seriously? Are you ready to say no to gluten food, to turn a blind eye to cakes and breads that you can't eat? Will you think about everything before you put it in your mouth, and by extension into your precious gut? [yes, yes I just said that.]
This is what Bette Hagman, a real gluten free veteran said:
"Welcome to a world without gluten. To some of you this will, at first, appear bewildering, upsetting, and frustrating. But once you get the hang of it, stepping into this world should be the gateway to better health."
Health is more important to a fleeting taste in your mouth. Remember that.
And don't worry, I'll be following up this post with some nice things :)