Pass the bread!!! The garlic knots!!! The focaccia!!! To the left-to the left (in my Beyoncé voice…..ummm #LEMONADE!!!)….is what a gluten free warrior ends up saying! The frenzy and craze of the gluten free world is impossible to ignore anymore. Has curiosity bitten you yet?!?! Unless you have been hiding under a rock you may have been curious enough to see what all the fuss is about. BUT do you need to or better yet should you is the real question. At the end of the day, for anyone who has no choice but to change to a gluten free lifestyle its survival of not just the fittest but ultimately the most prepared and educated.
Let’s be clear and blatantly honest here, this is not a fad diet or trend to try out on Monday just to forgo by Friday’s happy hour and half off apps. No, this is diagnosed by doctors not by watching TV, although I urge everyone to listen to what your body is telling you and how you feel. If you consistently keep putting something in your body that does not agree with you and makes you sick then stop! Go see a doctor and get it checked, and if they say nothing is wrong then why eat something that doesn’t make you feel good?!?! Being gluten free and changing your lifestyle takes patience, perseverance and a lot of time educating yourself! Anyone who has celiac or a serious food allergy can attest to their trials and tribulations on how this has affected their daily life. Food is cultural, food is how we show and express emotion and love. Don’t believe me?!? Watch any season Anthony Bourdain has put up in the last 6 years?!?! We have TV stations dedicated to food and entertaining making this a billion dollar industry.
Fear not, you can get through this! Here are my Gluten Free tips on survival! Put your crown on, lace up your combat boots and lets tackle this like the bosses we are!
FAIL TO PLAN ~ PLAN TO FAIL!!! I cannot impress upon how important this step is. Another MAJOR KEY if you will. The typical individual can make a quick stop for food at a moment’s notice when in a hurry and on the run. This isn’t always the case for us, and we end up in a bind sometimes leaving us hungry. Even though the amount of restaurants offering gluten free fare has grown, the default pit stop or café usually doesn’t depending on where you live. Location-Location plays a role here!!! Not even Starbucks has real gluten free items other than maybe fruit that you can pick up while ordering your midday latte. This is where planning becomes a must to survive for your optimum health. Carrying gluten free bars, nuts and crackers on a regular can hold you over and ensure you can carry out your day.
Educate Yourself and Do Your Research!!! Make sure you talk to your doctor and get all the research you possibly can upfront. If you never had this issue before this can and will be foreign to you, but the complications from not adhering to this lifestyle change can be serious, so make sure you continue to educate yourself. Read your labels, this is going to not only take some getting used to, but will require your patience when food shopping. Gluten and wheat comes in many forms and is hidden in so many items on our grocery shelves you need to know the many names for gluten. If it doesn’t say gluten or wheat free most people stay far away to be safe. Sad but true so read and educate yourself before you shop! There’s an app for that! This is a major business and there are apps you can use to help scan items while you shop and prep before you go and even plan recipes for the week.
Call Ahead When Eating Out!!! Know there is an impending GNO coming up soon? If you know the spot you ladies will be hitting up for dinner call ahead and see if they have a GF menu and if they have it online to view beforehand. Don’t know where you’re going? Maybe suggest a few spots to the squad that you know has options for you. The great thing is that a ton of restaurants have some type of gluten free or alternative menu you can choose from. When you’re there make sure your server knows you are GF upfront, so many people are dealing with this issue that you are surely not the first person they have encountered. Going for some drinks later on?!?! Lucky you, there are options you can be happy with to fit your needs and allow you to enjoy the night with the squad. My personal faves are Titos vodka and all Ciroc vodkas are gluten free, YES including the flavored vodkas!! Try to stay away from fruity drinks with pre-made mixers, instead opt for club soda, cranberry juice or Ginger Ale for safer alternatives.
One last item that I can attest to is the support from friends and family is crucial. This is a lifestyle change and impacts your day-to-day life. Having the support of friends and family is extremely helpful and will make family get-togethers and outings so much easier!!! Let them know this is something you will have to tackle for the long haul and you want their support. Anyone who cares about you will be more than happy to show you the support and patience you need. For the people eating cheesesteaks and donuts be patient when it takes us a little longer to order our dinner, and we can’t go to the new hot spot in town because they aren’t hip enough to care GF options…..lol
YOU GOT THIS! I’ve linked some of my favorite products and stores below that carry what I rely on to survive!! Happy shopping…Share with us what helps you stay on track!!! Your tips can help others and information is POWHER!!!
Nicole L. Rymer
The PowHer Hub