You are likely interested in gluten free for you health, but there is so much involved with gluten free and health, so I am here to help you navigate this loaded topic.
**Disclaimer: Always seek the guidance of a qualified medical / health professional regarding your health and medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and does not constitute medical or other professional advice** I share information based on years of personal experience with Celiac Disease, research, and interviews from my podcast, Gluten Free You & Me.
First off, I want to remind you that health is a lifelong marathon, not a race. You can start small and choose your health one step at a time. It is so important to wrap your head around changing your diet, and really, it starts with changing your mindset. This blogpost will share information on gluten free and your health, share tips on improving your diet and health habits, and recommend podcast episodes from Gluten Free You & Me to dig deeper. In this blogpost, you will learn:
- Is gluten free healthy?
- What actions can I take to improve my health?
- How can I make gluten free healthier?
Gluten free health has so many different avenues to explore, so scroll down to learn more and find links to interviews with heath experts and to products that can help on your journey! .
Is Gluten Free Healthy?
There are so many trendy diets that encourage you to eat gluten free– promising clearer skin, flatter stomach, weight loss, and more. These positive effects can be possible with a gluten free diet, but it is not an automatic.For some, eating gluten free is literally for your health. If you have Celiac Disease, an allergy or an intolerance, eating gluten free may be essential for your health. You protect yourself by eliminating a negative from your diet, but increasing your health also depends on what you add to your diet.
For someone who does not have a medical necessity to eat a gluten free diet, just swapping out gluten packaged foods for gluten free versions of the same food may not actually be “healthier” for them. To compensate for the “glue” function of gluten, many gluten free packaged items may have more processed ingredients, so that is not necessarily healthier.
And being mindful of what you are choosing to eat of course has a huge impact as well. Take for example if I choose to eat a diet consisting mostly of gluten free cereals, tortilla chips and salsa, and chocolate chips– all possibly gluten free but not necessarily a nutrient rich, healthy diet. And on the other hand, someone who eats gluten foods can have a balanced, varied, and healthy diet. Like everything else when there are so many possibilities– YOU choose what’s best for YOU.
What Actions Can I Take to Improve My Health?
So now that we have decided that gluten does not automatically equal healthy, here are some tips for ways to improve your health:
Be Gentle with Yourself
Remember to give yourself grace. Sometimes we have hiccups in the road, or we make progress in one area while falling behind in another. Notice all the amazing things you ARE doing and know that I am here cheering for YOU. We are all on a learning journey through life. As you learn new things and practice new habits, be kind to yourself.
Start Food Journaling
The first action I would recommend is keeping track of your diet and the effects it has on your body. No two people are exactly the same, and different foods affect different people in different ways, especially when it comes to allergies, intolerances and autoimmune disease. If you aren’t sure about what effects your diet is having on your health, you can jot down everything you eat/drink in a notebook and then write down how you feel. If you want something more formal, I have created a 10 Day Food Journal that keeps track of several health data points and is an excellent
Take Baby Steps Toward Your Goal
You don’t want to dive headfirst into a new diet and then find yourself breaking it a week later. There’s a saying, “Slow is Fast.” Wow, that sounds weird, but making slow, steady progress can move you toward your destination faster in the long run. Remember the tortoise and the hare?? Maybe today you work on increasing your water intake. Maybe next week you will be ready to swap to a healthier brand at the grocery store. Maybe you will try a healthier version of a favorite recipe at your next family gathering. Maybe your first step is eliminating gluten, and later down your gluten free journey, you will decide to also decrease you sugar intake or increase your excursive routine. These little changes can add up to big results, but that also depends on the next tip:
“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”
As you decide to implement these baby steps, make sure you have a plan for how to solidify these new habits. Before overhauling your health, do your research and plan out what you will need for success. Take time to plan out how you will deal with obstacles as they arise. Have a backup plan for being hungry on the go–like carrying snacks in your car so you don’t give in to fast food.
One way to plan ahead is to create a Meal Plan to simplify your weekly routine. (Psst– Did you know I have a Simplified Gluten Free Meal Plan Guide to help you create your own personalized go-to meals? You can set yourself up for success by writing down your favorite gluten free and healthy meal options)
Listen to these Gluten Free You & Me Episodes:
How Can I Make Gluten Free Healthier?
So if you have kept reading to this point, I’m assuming you have decided to navigate toward a healthier gluten free journey– WOW! You are incredible! I hope you got a chance to listen to some of the amazing interviews above to learn different tips and tricks for being healthier and gluten free.
I will be adding to this page with more tips and tricks, so I am excited for you to look around, listen to some of these podcasts, and revisit for more!
Here are some takeaways from my experience of enhancing my gluten free life with healthier options:
- Drink water
- Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store (This helps you buy more natural, whole foods and less packaged/processed foods)
- Add nutrients to your diet with vitamins
- Buy organic when you can
- Research brands to purchase packaged foods with less artificial ingredients and more natural
Do you want a handy cheat sheet for knowing better brands to buy at the grocery store? The Gluten Free Product Guide was a collaboration project with Karalynne @Just.Ingredients to share products with safer and healthier ingredients. Not only does this guide have 100+ celiac safe gluten-free food choices and brands, but it also provides you with the healthiest choice as well.
To recap, gluten free does not always mean healthy, so I hope this information can help you make the best choices for your health! Here’s to YOU navigating your best gluten free and healthy life!