Taking on a lifetime responsibility of being proactive, careful, and wise in protecting your new-found well-being requires a strategic mindset. Without planning and effort up front, following a gluten-free lifestyle with ease won’t be realistic. Expect a learning curve for at least the first three months, but if you know what to do in the beginning, the transition won’t be as difficult. You’ll find that when living gluten-free, thinking about where your next meal is coming from takes on a whole new meaning. But if practiced and implemented early on and regularly, the following rules will help you live the gluten-free lifestyle with relative ease.
• Strategic Rule #1: Think ahead, plan ahead. When you’re traveling to visit friends and family, will they know what to serve you during a meal? What snacks will you bring with you that could possibly tide you over, if they must?
• Strategic Rule #2: Learn the language and know your subject. Do you know all of the ingredients you need to avoid? Do you carry cheat sheets with you?
• Strategic Rule #3: Whenever possible, have a plan B in mind. If you can’t find a restaurant you can eat at when on a road trip, what will you do?
• Strategic Rule #4: Ask questions. When you are unsure, always ask, don’t assume. Are you sure the chicken breast you ordered won’t be dusted with flour?
• Strategic Rule #5: Think unconventionally. If the store-bought frozen gluten-free bread doesn’t please your palate, perhaps gluten-free pancakes made from a mix or frozen waffles will work great for your sandwich slices.
• Strategic Rule #6: Form realistic expectations. Expecting the airplane to automatically have a gluten-free meal is unrealistic. Calling ahead to request a gluten-free meal is realistic.
• Strategic Rule #7: Know your possibility factors. The possibility of eating gluten-free at a fast-food restaurant is slim. The possibility of eating gluten-free at a health-minded restaurant is better.