Did you know that 83 percent of the people who have Celiac’s disease don’t know they have it? And millions of people have gluten sensitivity. In fact, experts believe that about 7 percent of the population has gluten sensitivity.
You might have it if you experience the following symptoms; “foggy thinking”, depression, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, unexplained weight gain, and chronic fatigue.
These symptoms can show up one to 48 hours after you’ve eaten gluten so the only real test to see if you have it, is to eliminate it from your life and see if your symptoms disappear. There is a test for Celiac’s disease. There is no test for gluten sensitivity.
Over the past ten blog posts we’ve covered a lot of material about wheat free and gluten free living. We’ve talked about what to expect, how to shop and plan your meals, and how to dine out. We’ve talked about nutrition and alternative sources of grains and gluten free treats. We’ve even discussed the drawbacks to a gluten free lifestyle (which in my opinion are far outweighed by the health benefits).
What we haven’t talked about yet is how you make the commitment to go gluten free. It’s not easy but it’s worth the effort for most people. So let’s talk about how to make sure you’re ready for this lifestyle change.
#1 Why Are You Going Gluten and Wheat Free?
Think about why you’ve decided that this is the right path for you. What are your reasons? This is important because these reasons will help you stick to your decision. If you’re feeling terrible and think that gluten is the cause, write down the symptoms you’re feeling. Maybe record a video where you talk to yourself and share your symptoms. You can then look at this video when you’re feeling tempted to have gluten.
#2 How Will You Support Yourself to Succeed?
Do you have support from your friends and family on this? It’s difficult to convince others to go gluten free with you but if you can, it makes it easier. If you can’t, then you’re on your own and that’s fine. Make sure you create support systems for yourself. Plan how you’re going to avoid gluten. What are you going to eat? How are you going to reward yourself for pushing through the tough times? How will you navigate the potential withdrawal symptoms?
#3 Your Mindset
A positive mindset is essential. You want to embrace the benefits, not dwell on the drawbacks. Sure there will be days where you’ll feel sorry for yourself. This usually happens when the people around you are enjoying a pizza or some other junk food that you used to be able to eat. Find substitutions that you enjoy and let go of the past. If you’re struggling to stay positive, consider the gratitude journal approach and write down things you’re grateful for with your new gluten free lifestyle.
Going gluten free may be the most rewarding and empowering step you’ve taken in a long time. Do it for your health. Do it so that in thirty or forty years you’re still strong mentally and physically. Do it so you feel better and look better right now. Today is the day to go gluten free.