GF Diet Guide: Part 3 - Basic Tips Expanded & Explained: #1

I apologize for taking so long to post the next part of my "Starting a GF Diet" entries. In May I got really sick (strep) and wasn't able to do much on the computer (or anything else that involved sitting up!). It set me back a ways on getting things done!

1. Accept that you can't eat the foods you used to eat.

A gluten free diet isn't something you're going to lose weight or gain weight, or to feel a little better, that you can then give up when you achieve that. You're going on this diet for life. Maybe it will help if you think of it as a "lifestyle" instead of a diet. Diets tend to be short term. Gluten Free, yeah, that's for life, and you don't want life to be short term, do you?

Is it really that serious?

YES. Yes, it is. If you had a severe food allergy, you'd take it seriously, wouldn't you? Why is an auto-immune disorder/food intolerancy any different?

I read somewhere recently (apologies, I forget where) that quite a high percentage of people who know they have Celiac's, cheat and eat gluten.

You *can't* do this. Not for a celebration, not for your birthday, not because it's easier when you're out with friends, not at church (they make gluten free hosts - and don't go drinking out of a communal goblet that gluteny folks drank out of either - cross contamination), not anywhere.

Will you get glutened by mistake? Yes, probably. Even those of us who are experienced on the diet can get glutened - often by well meaning friends and family, or by friends and family who don't take you seriously and think you're just being picky.

I've seen people post in communities about how they didn't want to hurt someone's feelings, so they ate a dish they *knew* wasn't going to sit well ... and then suffered the consequences. Stand-up for yourself, for your body. If you know it's bad for you, don't eat it. You're the one that's going to suffer for it.

Is it going to be hard? Yup, you bet. Unless you started a gluten free diet as a really young kid, you've probably got some favourites you don't want to give up. I know I did. Stuff that was totally bad for me, gluten or not, but I sure didn't want to give it up. My most missed treat? Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes. You know the ones? With the cream filling and the chocolate icing on top with the squiggly white icing? Yeah, I really missed those for awhile. (I'm determined to find a way to make a gluten free version to have as a special treat.)

Then I got glutened accidentally at a restaurant and was unbelievably sick. I thought to myself, "How did I put up with this for so many years?" I felt like I was going to die. It all came back, the stomach and intestinal cramps - and all which follows that. The feeling like I may vomit. The nausea, the dizziness, the chills, the anxiety, and the brain fog. Brain fog is bad enough at any time. I was working on my Masters at the time I went gluten free!

But you say to yourself, "Self, I've been sick before, I can handle it. It's better than making (insert name) feel bad when they went to so much trouble."

But is a night / a few nights / a few weeks really all you're going to get?

Let's look at what can happen to untreated Celiac's (untreated in a Celiac's case being not following the life-long gluten free diet).

What can you experience, if you don't go gluten free? Declining dental health, failure to thrive (and yes, this can happen in adults, not just infants/children), malnutrition, osteoporosis, increased risk of cancer (especially gastrointestinal cancer), neurological conditions, miscarriage, etcetera. Now, wouldn't you rather go gluten free?

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