Article courtesy: Taylor, Gluten Away
Everyone takes on going gluten-free in their own way. Some people research it first and take it on like a pro. Others get overwhelmed and don't really know what to do. I've gained a lot of experience over the last 4 years, learned a lot of things, and also gotten a lot advice from people as well. Even though I'm 16 years old, I can definitely say I'm a pro by now. Even though I'm very experienced, there's a lot of things I wish I knew when I first went went gluten-free 4 years ago. That's why I put together this list of 5 things that everyone should know before they go gluten-free. I hope this is helpful to you no matter how experienced you are!
1. You NEED vitamins - Everyone who goes gluten-free thinks that they can just remove gluten and feel better. Although going gluten-free helps with celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or just your overall health, it can also create a lot of issues. You are removing grains and a lot of food groups from your diet which means a lot of vitamins are being removed as well. Make sure you get the proper vitamins to replace what you are missing or you will get deficient in many vitamins and begin to feel sick. Click here for the most common vitamin deficiencies while being gluten-free!
2. Hidden gluten - It's easy to know what gluten is in. Bread, pasta, cookies, cake and so on. But a lot of people don't think about the hidden gluten which can be hard to find. Things like soy sauce and many other products make it very hard for people to know what to avoid. Also it's important to look at whether a product is made in a facility containing wheat because this can cause cross contamination as well. Check out this Top Products With Hidden Gluten List!
3. You may need to remove more than gluten - Some people assume gluten is all they need to remove to feel better. This may be true for some but it isn't true 100% of the time. Many people with celiac disease also have lactose intolerance since the 2 are connected. It's important to get tested by a nutritionist to see if you are allergic to any other foods and if anything else should be removed from your diet. If you still continue to feel bad then it may be more than gluten that you have to avoid.
4. Social situations will be harder - I'll say it right now because it's true. Going gluten-free does make social situations harder. Most people only think about the diet aspect of going gluten-free but not the social aspect as well. Food is involved in almost any social get together which means it can be a lot harder to have options eating out. Let the people know you can't have gluten or bring your own food! Either way going gluten-free is a life style change and this is one unfortunate side to it.
5. You can still enjoy food being gluten-free - I've seen people say this a lot. They assume that going gluten-free means they can never enjoy food again which isn't true at all. In fact, I think going gluten-free allows you to enjoy food more! Luckily there are gluten-free alternatives to pretty much anything now which is awesome. But there are actually so many naturally gluten-free options to enjoy besides those gluten-free alternatives. You can still enjoy food as long as you are open minded and realize there are still so many options for you to enjoy.
Julie Lee says
The sneaky gluten is what has been difficult for me. If I don't cook it, I don't know for sure.
Taylor - I really enjoy reading your blog! My daughter is only 8, but she'll be a gluten free teen soon (she has celiac) and it's very interesting to hear how it is to have celiac from a teenager's perspective. You sound like you have a very good perspective on this - I hope you keep writing.