Several readers and followers have reached out to me over the last few weeks asking for tips on going gluten-free. While I have been successfully gluten-free for years, I cannot suggest that anyone approaches a gluten-free lifestyle the way I did. In fact, I suggest they don’t because my initial attempt at the gluten-free diet caused me to gain weight which is the exact opposite of what I was hoping for!
My Gluten-Free Story
I shared a bit about my story in Are You or Someone You Love Gluten Intolerant?. What I didn’t share is that I left the doctor’s office the day I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant and went on a scavenger hunt looking for gluten-free food. I all but ransacked the grocery stores and bought just about every (processed) gluten-free snack and treat I found.
Within days of going gluten-free, I quickly felt better but was devastated to find myself gaining weight! It took me months and several pounds to figure out why. All of the processed snacks and treats I found were the culprit! No wonder the gluten-free diet caused me to gain weight!
According to Rachel Begun, MS, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Many gluten-free products are high in calories, fat, and sugar while also being low in nutrients. When people go gluten-free and eat too much of these highly processed, low-nutrient foods they’re likely to gain weight.”
Great Advice on Going Gluten-Free From An Expert
Sarah Axtell, ND, naturopathic doctor, who provides holistic supportive health and wellness expertise offered a lot of amazing advice in her article Ditch the Wheat, Drop the Weight. I absolutely love her healthy advice for going gluten-free.
She says, “A good rule of thumb is to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the inner aisles. Don’t get sucked into the gluten-free aisle with gluten-free bread and gluten-free crackers thinking its better for you. Junk food is junk food, whether it’s gluten-free or not”.
“The key to staying lean and healthy is sticking to lower carb whole foods- eggs, meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, vegetables and low glycemic fruits (berries are best!).”
My Best Advice For Going Gluten-Free
My #1 piece of advice is to just do it. If you suspect you may be gluten intolerant or have any of the symptoms of gluten intolerance, give it a try. As I mentioned in Are You or Someone You Love Gluten Intolerant, going gluten-free has drastically changed my life for the better.
Take going gluten-free as your opportunity to eat healthier. Instead of adding processed snacks and foods to your diet, eat more fruits and veggies. The best gluten-free foods are the ones that don’t need a gluten-free label!
Increase your fiber intake. Fiber helps us feel fuller longer. Since many gluten-free products are low in fiber they may not be as satisfying. These are my favorite fiber caps because they are gentle and very easy on your stomach.
Consider a diet like low- carb, Paleo, or Whole30 to jump-start your gluten-free lifestyle. All of the recipes, online support groups, structure, and information will be really during your transition! I was gluten-free for years before doing the Whole30 and for the love of food, wished I would have done it sooner. If not for the NSV’s (non-scale victories) for the Whole30 recipes!
Focus on what you can eat – not what you can’t. I know this one can be tough especially as you are conquering the cravings but focusing on delicious fruits and new recipes can really help.