The question of going gluten free gradually isn’t one of strictness of diet. The question is about how and when to start. Do you need to know everything about being gluten free before beginning? Or will an imperfect approach work?
It is beneficial to gradually start a gluten free diet for some people. Those who will put off starting the diet and continue researching how to follow a strict gluten free diet may be better off starting sooner. Even if the diet isn’t followed precisely at first.
So what does it mean to start a gluten free diet gradually?
Start A Gluten Free Diet Gradually to Ease Into The Lifestyle Changes
A gluten free diet is a major lifestyle change, there is no question or work around. But if you start gradually with smaller steps, you will feel more confident in the outcome.
Starting a gluten free diet gradually just means starting now. Start imperfectly. Know that you will make mistakes and learn along the way.
The reality is that most people do start a gluten free diet gradually, even if that was not their intention.
They may realize that the crackers they thought were gluten free are actually not gluten free. Or they may not have known that their favorite soup was thickened with wheat.
These are common mistakes to make early on.
Going gluten free gradually is just acknowledging that you aren’t an expert yet.
If you are eating gluten free due to a doctor’s recommendation, being gluten free as perfectly as possible and as soon as possible is the best possible outcome. But for most of us, these just aren’t possible.
Putting off starting a gluten free diet because you don’t feel confident in your knowledge isn’t a great reason.
If your goal is to start eating a gluten free diet immediately and also never make a mistake, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Mistakes will happen. However, if you decide that starting a gluten free diet immediately is more important, you will be able to forgive mistakes.
If you start your gluten free diet by your next meal, you will be better off than you were when you were eating gluten.
But how do you start gradually and what does that even mean?
What Has Gluten?
Tip: Look for anything that says flour, wheat, malt, pasta, or dough. If you use these words to describe an item, assume it is not gluten free unless it says otherwise.
Assess Where Gluten Is In Your Diet Over Time and Make Changes
This is the first and only step. This is how you start and continue a gluten free diet.
Assess what you eat. Make changes. Repeat.
Write down or mentally make a list of everything you ate in the last week. Do this before continuing on. I’ll wait.
Now look at your list. Mark where the gluten was you ate. Any pastas, breads, or anything made with flour.
There are gluten free substitutes for almost anything made of gluten. One of the best places to start is replacing gluten pasta with gluten free. Gluten bread with gluten free bread.
You don’t need to change the entire way you eat. At least not yet.
If you are under doctor’s orders to eat gluten free, that is the most important thing. The caloric values, carbs, and other nutritional information is not as important. In time you can assess other health needs.
Start Reading Labels
The next step is to start looking at YouTube videos or articles on how to read nutirtion labels for gluten. This is going to be different than you may have done.
In time you will be able to scan an item and tell whether it is safe. But for now take your time. Look up each ingredient. Start looking at ingredients in your fridge and cupboard.
This is a skill that takes time. This is where most people get stuck researching. They want to find all the information they can about gluten free ingredients and how to spot gluten ones.
But its a learning process that takes years. You will make mistakes.
Focus On What You Can Eat And Start Your Gluten Free Diet Right Away
Focusing on all the things you can still eat is really helpful.
Get out that list you made earlier and circled all the gluten. Now go back and find all the things that are not gluten. Find all the things that you can still eat.
While gluten claimed all the bread products, the really tasty parts are usually gluten free. The sauce on your spaghetti, scrambled eggs, and cheese are all gluten free (or can be made gluten free easily).
Focus on what you can have. You will find that it is easy to start eating gluten free when you seperate the foods in your diet in this way.
Sometimes, it can even be easy to start eating in a diet style that you are familiar with. Such as Keto. Removing carbs from your diet doesn’t remove all the gluten, but its a great start.
When eating like this it is easy to see how many things are still possible.
Plan For Not Having Time
Part of your plan should include those times when you won’t have time to cook a meal from scratch at home.
Your life is busy and you can’t make cooking every meal and expectation you put on yourself.
What do you usually do for a quick meal? If it is fast food take a look at what options they have that are gluten free. Most fast food restaurants have online menus that show allergens.
If in doubt, get a burger without a bun or a salad. Most restaurants and fast food have one of these available.
Stash your snack spots with gluten free options.
Gluten free pretzels and nuts go a long way towards keeping a craving off.
Find what snacks you have in spots you always grab for. Purse? Car? Desk at work?
Find replacements as close as possible to what you already have.
Remember, you were just eating gluten. You will learn what is safe as you keep researching.
But you are taking things into your own hands and starting now. If you waited till you knew everything about gluten free, you may never start.
Be Gluten Free, Imperfectly
You do not need to be the perfect gluten free star.
The most important thing is to just start.