What I Wish I’d Known

Looking back now, it’s hard to remember why it took me so long to “bite the bullet” and go gluten free. I can only remember thinking that it sounded so unattainable, almost impossible for a carboholic like me.

Now that I’ve been living this way for well over two years, I know that it’s not only doable, it is quite liberating. I only wish I’d done it sooner — much sooner.

Not everyone needs to be gluten-free, but if you’re wondering if it might be worth trying due to some medical issues or suspicious symptoms you’re experiencing, I want you to know that it’s not as hard as it seems.

It really isn’t!!

It helps that gluten-free living has become so much more common than it used to be, and food manufacturers have hopped on the bandwagon, practically pushing and shoving as they try to produce their next gluten-free product.

It also helps that people are more informed than they used to be so most have an idea what is involved with gluten-free eating and can better accommodate their friends and family who have chosen to live this way.

I wish I hadn’t waited so long to give it a try. I felt better within days of removing gluten from my diet. I felt lighter, thinner in my middle, and the uncomfortable gas and bloating that I thought was just part of living was suddenly gone.

I wish I’d taken more time to read labels and stock my kitchen. I started eating gluten-free quite suddenly and without much research so I had to scramble to find foods I could eat. But it worked out fine anyway. I was just hungry for a few days until I figured it out!

I wish I’d been better prepared to explain my gluten-free experiment with friends and family. People who don’t struggle with food sensitivities are often unsure of what to do with us! Once I had a succinct explanation readily available, it made the conversations easier. No one really wants to hear all the gory details, but they do want to understand. So keep it short and sweet, gloss over the not-so-pleasant details that involve emergency restroom visits (right??) but be able to tell them what you can and can’t eat because that is the most important part to understand.

I wish I’d been more positive. Rather than looking at the gluten-free lifestyle as a death sentence, look at it as an opportunity to expand your culinary horizons. I’ve discovered so many wonderful grains and new ways to prepare my old favorites. You don’t have to live without pizza or your favorite dinner rolls. You just have to find new ways to make them.

And finally, I wish I’d sought out a support group right away. Fortunately I had friends who paved the way for me, and I could go to them for advice. But once I set up a Facebook Group for other gluten-free peeps like me, it was much easier because I had a support system. Especially if you discover that you have Celiac Disease and gluten-free living is essential to your future health and well-being, finding a support group is really important to keeping your spirits up.

I guess the main thing I want you to come away with is this. Living gluten-free is not as bad as you think it will be . . . now matter how much you love your carbs (and trust me, I’ve never met a carb I don’t like!) So if you’re on the brink, just give it a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying.

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