When you embark upon the grand adventure of living gluten-free, your world will change in countless ways. First, you will probably experience a new profound sense of well-being once your uncomfortable symptoms disappear and healing within the body takes place. Not only will the core of your being, your gut, feel better, you may find that your mind feels healthier also, less brain fog, fewer headaches, clearer thinking. And what can you expect to learn from this improvement as a result of living gluten-free? Feeling sub par does not have to be a way of life! You don’t have to wake up and feel bad and you can feel great after eating a wide array of foods. You can also expect to learn that you have control over how you feel by the food choices you make. Once on a gluten-free diet, you will never view food in quite the same light as you did before. In fact, you may never take food for granted again because you know how certain foods can harm you. A sobering realization. But, a new way of life is ahead of you with a broader awareness of your relationship with food.
Secondly, besides looking at food from a different perspective than you ever have before, your very actions and routines will change.
While the diet will seem challenging in the first several months, over time it simply becomes a part of who you are. You may even eventually forget what life was like before going gluten-free. Or at least, you won’t care, because feeling better than you ever have will more than compensate for the efforts you make to stay gluten-free.
But in the meantime, venturing into the unknown is always helpful with a roadmap of realistic expectations at hand. When living gluten-free, you can expect all of the following to become aspects of your life:
• Being pro-active with and protective of your new-found wellbeing.
• Being aware of everything you eat, particularly with new foods.
• Reading food labels and packages ingredient by ingredient and looking for the GF symbol (the gluten-free designation) or allergen statements.
• Reading restaurant menus for gluten, asking questions of the staff, and doing your best to avoid cross-contact with gluten.
• Saying no to the gluten-based foods inevitably offered to you.
• Becoming a gluten educator. Explaining to friends, family, and colleagues what celiac disease or gluten intolerance is and your personal experience with the condition.
• Educating restaurant staff about gluten.
• Being on the lookout for and researching new gluten-free products to add to your life.
• Satisfying your cravings with gluten-free foods.
• Broadening your world! Opening your mind and palate to new ingredients, recipes, tastes, and textures.
• Experimenting with new methods and techniques in gluten-free cooking and baking.
• Modifying your shopping habits and budget.
• Becoming accustomed to and delighted with the different flavors and textures of gluten-free foods.
• And last but not the least . . . feeling better, if not fantastic!