3 Tips for Starting a Gluten Free Diet (The Healthy Way)

Starting a gluten free diet can be very overwhelming so today I wanted to share some tips on getting started on the right foot. Scroll down to check out a video talking more about a healthy gluten free diet! 

Tip #1  Figure out your gluten tolerance

One of the first steps that happens when you go gluten free is figuring how strict your diet has to be. Have you been diagnosed with celiac disease? or gluten sensitivity? Have you been told to go gluten free for other health reasons? Answering this is the first step on your gluten free journey. Remember to get tested for celiac disease before going gluten free because the test could show a false negative if you're already on a gluten free diet. 

Celiac Disease
If you're a celiac you have to be extremely careful. Exactly how much gluten actually makes you sick? There has been quite a bit of research on this topic so we know how much gluten people with celiac disease can actually tolerate. 

One study showed that consuming just 1/5th of a slice of regular bread (about 625 milligrams of gluten) one time is enough to cause severe symptoms and damage to the small intestine. 

Another study showed that many or most people with celiac disease can handle up to 10 milligrams of gluten — the equivalent of 1/8th of a teaspoon of flour, or 1/350th of that slice of bread — in their diets each day without experiencing adverse effects. That's many but not all, some are more sensitive and get symptoms from less. 

Gluten Sensitivity
Because there isn't a test for gluten sensitivity it's hard to say how strict the gluten free diet should be. Why? Because there isn't a way to test for damage caused by the gluten like there is with celiac disease. So what can you do? Find your tolerance and stick to it. Do your best to stay as gluten free as you can. Maybe cross contamination is enough to make you sick, maybe not. Since a gluten free diet is your key to health, it only makes sense to eat the smallest amount of gluten possible.  

Gluten free for other reasons
Many are going gluten free who have chronic conditions to find relief from their symptoms. Again there aren't studies showing how much gluten you can have in your diet. Like I mentioned above it's about finding your gluten tolerance. So if you find that gluten cross contamination makes you sick then you need to be that strict. 

#2 Realize there is an unhealthy gluten free 

Not all gluten free is created equal. A common misconception is that gluten free foods are healthier then gluten foods. Obviously when you take the gluten out of a product it makes it healthier for people with problems with gluten simply because the gluten is removed. But and that's a big but, these foods couldn't be further from healthy. Just because a bag of chips or a cake is labelled gluten free doesn't mean it's healthy. Often times it had more unhealthy fats, sugar and salt then it's gluten counterpart and it contains less nutrients. Limiting GF packaged foods or eliminating them and replacing them with a diet in whole foods is so important for your health. 

#3 Take care of your emotions 

When you go gluten free it can be really hard emotionally and this isn't usually talked about. Social events tend to revolve around food, so when you can't eat then it can make you feel separated from the group. It's also an unexpected and large change that isn't fun, so it's to be expected that some negative emotions come up. There are some ways to make the transition to gluten free easier. First realize that as time goes on you'll feel so much better that the inconvenience of gluten free will be more than worth it. You can make gluten free easier by taking care of your emotional health, having fun in ways that don't involve food, hosting celebrations and dinner at your home and bringing food with you when you go out.