Gluten Free – 20 Tips To Get You Started

This article is for anybody who has recently discovered they have a gluten allergy, gluten intolerance, or celiac disease.

The process of eliminating gluten from your diet is often confusing and overwhelming.

I have put this article together to help you get off to a great start!

Being told you have to go gluten free can be extremely overwhelming! Here are 20 great tips and the "how to" of going GF if you are Celiac, going Paleo, or just trying something new. There are many benefits of going GF so if you would like to regain your health without going crazy, check out these amazing resources- one being a gluten-free guide to ordering your food at your favorite restaurants and of course, amazing and healthy recipes!

By: Sarah Koontz

I remember the feelings of devastation and loss I experienced when I first discovered I had a gluten allergy.  I know it is just FOOD, but the idea of living without it for the rest of your life is depressing!  I didn’t really know where to start, but my health was so poor, I knew I had to at least try to make the change.

Being told you have to go gluten free can be extremely overwhelming. Here are 20 great tips for anyone going gluten free.

The first few months were the most challenging, as I learned all the sneaky little places that gluten can hide.  For example, who would have ever thought that Twizzlers were made with wheat?  Not that Twizzlers are a huge part of my diet, but they have been my favorite candy since I was a kid.  Oh, and Campbell’s Tomato Soup was another childhood favorite that I had to say goodbye to forever.

In the beginning, all that I could think about was the foods I CAN’T eat anymore.  I think that everyone reading this would agree that some of our favorite foods contain gluten.  But everything got a lot easier for me once I realized all of the delicious food I still CAN eat.

I have chosen to focus on all of the things I CAN eat rather than the few things I CAN’T eat, because who wants to live their life feeling deprived?

Although that is the most valuable piece of advice I can give anyone who is learning to live without gluten, there are many more tips and tricks I have learned along the way.  I have compiled a list of my 20 best tips for anyone going gluten free. Here they are:

  1. Focus on all of the things you CAN eat rather than the few things you CAN’T eat (yes, I am repeating myself here….it is that important!)
  2. You must become an expert at reading labels! Here is a wonderful guide to help you get started.
  3. Learning the art of gluten free baking is the best way to feel “normal” as you transition to being 100% gluten free. Start with my Gluten Free Flour Blend. It is frugal and makes the most delicious muffins and treats.Being told you have to go gluten free can be extremely overwhelming. Here are 20 great tips for anyone going gluten free.
  4. Gluten sensitivities are often a sign of a compromised immune system; be sure to research the health benefits of taking high quality nutritional supplements in the form of cellular nutrition (the author of this article is my daddy!). Sammi and I take and recommend the Ariix Nutrifii products.
  5. Be prepared to pay around 6 dollars per loaf of bread, and also….it will taste like Styrofoam. I find that it is really only good as toast.  Rudi’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread & Vans GF Blueberry Waffles are my favorite choices for breakfast.  If I truly want a sandwich, I find I am only happy with fresh baked bread (within 24-48 hours from the oven).  This is my favorite GF bread mix.
  6. Focus on eating as many NATURALLY gluten free foods as possible. Not only will this save you money, but it will also help you to feel normal.  The Peaceful Mom has put together a printable list of Naturally Gluten Free Foods.
  7. It is important for you to discover exactly HOW sensitive you are to gluten and respect your own boundaries. They are different for everyone!!!!  I have discovered that I can eat foods that have been prepared in a facility that has gluten in it without having a reaction.  Some people cannot.  So keep that in mind as you read the rest of this list!
  8. Sometimes you just need a little crunch (that isn’t a carrot). HERE is a list of all the Frito-Lay products that do not contain gluten.  What, I can eat Cheetos and Hint of Lime Tostitos??? Yes…yes you can!!

    I love baking recipes that are healthy and easy! These Simply Amazing Banana Muffins are the best recipe I have found so far! I love the fact that it takes less than 30 minutes (ONLY 8 ingredients!) to make this recipe from start to warm, gooey, finish! It's your choice if you want to add chocolate chips or nuts. I have also had success using whole wheat flour and baking this batter in small loaf pans and giving them as teacher or neighbor gifts!
    Simply Amazing GF Banana Bread Muffins

  9. Eliminating gluten is a great way to take stress off your digestive system (if an allergy or intolerance exists), but there are other things you can do to help heal the damage gluten has done over the years. I am a huge advocate for fermented foods like Kombucha, Kimchi, and Kefir and their ability to improve digestive health.  Sign up for this e-mail list and you will receive some great ‘How To” e-mails.
  10. No matter how careful you are, you will accidentally consume gluten from time to time. If you are anything like me, you will get very sick, and you will be sick for days.  I have a prescription of Lomotil that I take at the onset of any symptoms and it seems to ease my pain a bit.
  11. Eating out can be tricky. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat: Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, PF Changs, Wendys, Ruby Tuesday, Pizza Ranch, Chilis, and Qdoba.  Here is a list of 75 Gluten Free Restaurant Menus for your reference.
  12. Eating at friend’s houses or church functions are often the most challenging situations for people with food allergies. No matter how hard people try, they often don’t understand what gluten free means. If you DON’T KNOW FOR SURE, then DON’T RISK IT.  I am always prepared and unapologetic about bringing my own food (hosts are usually appreciative).
  13. There are some really great gluten free products out there! My favorites include: Crunchmaster Crackers, Cinnamon Chex Cereal, Go Picnic Meal Kits, Kind Snack Bars, Larabars, Pure Nourish Meal Replacements, Mama’s GF Pizza Crust & Pie Crust Mix, Mrs. Leeper’s Corn Pasta, Bisquick Gluten Free Brownies & Pancake Mix, and Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips.Being told you have to go gluten free can be extremely overwhelming. Here are 20 great tips for anyone going gluten free.
  14. Most ice cream and French fries are gluten free (just be careful if the fries share oil with other gluten-containing foods). These have definitely become my “splurge foods” since going gluten free.
  15. ASK QUESTIONS when you are dining out! Keep in mind that YOU are the only person who suffers if there is a mistake with your order. PROTECT YOURSELF!  Here is an excellent guide to help you have a positive dining out experience.
  16. Be patient with your friends and family, they won’t always understand you…and that is ok.
  17. Just because you are gluten free, that doesn’t mean your whole family must be gluten free 100% of the time. Most of the meals I prepare are gluten free, and almost all of the goodies I bake are too (I mean who wants to slave over a treat that they can’t eat!).  But my family still consumes plenty of gluten.  I just do my best to keep those dangerous crumbs away from what I am eating.
  18. There are some great resources and guides for gluten free living.  BOOKS: The First Year: Living Gluten-FreeThe G-Free Diet.  MAGAZINE: Living Without’s Gluten Free & More.  COOKBOOK: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.
  19. There are some super talented gluten free bloggers out there!  Here is a roundup of 10 Inspiring Blogs for Gluten Free.
  20. The learning curve is steep, you will make mistakes, just keep on trying….the benefits are well worth the effort!

Going gluten free is not the simplest thing you will ever do, but it is well worth the effort!  It has taught me to respect my body, protect my body, and do what I can to rebuild my body.  It can be discouraging at times, especially when you are on vacation.

Being told you have to go gluten free can be extremely overwhelming! Here are 20 great tips and the "how to" of going GF if you are Celiac, going Paleo, or just trying something new. There are many benefits of going GF so if you would like to regain your health without going crazy, check out these amazing resources- one being a gluten-free guide to ordering your food at your favorite restaurants and of course, amazing and healthy recipes!

Because, people like me, never get to take a vacation from their gluten free diet.

But the health benefits are undeniable.  I have been gluten free for nearly 3 years and I am finally feeling vibrant and healthy.  I have margin in my life now, and I am proud of myself for practicing the self-discipline it takes to be gluten free.  I never thought I would be able to stick with it this long, but it has gotten much easier over time.

 

 

I do not feel deprived any longer.  Because saying NO to gluten is saying YES to feeling like a normal human being.  What is your favorite tip from the list above and why?

sarah signature

About Sarah Koontz

Sarah Koontz is a freelance writer and regular contributor at Grounded & Surrounded. If you are interested in growing your faith, nourishing your family life, and discovering the beauty of God's design, be sure to follow her personal blog at SarahKoontz.com. When Sarah is not writing, you are likely to find her covered in dirt, sitting in the middle of her garden, adoring her beautiful flock of backyard chickens. She is eternally grateful for her husband and two little girls, and revels in their simple, uncluttered life. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

17 thoughts on “Gluten Free – 20 Tips To Get You Started

  1. Thank you so much for all your tips. I was diagnosed celiac less than three months ago and its starting to become less of a struggle, if I stay close to home…lol.
    At first having to change everything from shampoo, conditioner, soap, facial cleanser, make up, cleaners, and food was very overwhelming. Now since I have read more, researched more, talked to more people, and obviously gotten better which has helped I have gotten better control of it. So all in all sharing your tips helps us all. We are all different and react differently so what might work for one may not work for all.
    Thank you again.

    1. Hi Annette! I totally agree, it is much easier to control your GF environment at home than it is at a restaurant or friend’s house. It sounds like you have done so much to heal your body and feel better in 3 short months. Well done! Thank you for your words of encouragement and taking the time to write your sweet comment. Blessings to you on your GF journey!

  2. Thank-you, thank-you. In May we discovered my husband is celiac, after 4 yrs. of going from one Dr. to another. I was overwhelmed. Our carefree retired life of vacationing, eating out, not really planning anything came to a halt. It’s been 4 months and I have finally relaxed, learning just about anything can be home made in my kitchen. The internet has been the best source of information for me. Your blogs and post are great! Keep up the good work!

    1. Finding the real cause of someone’s pain and discomfort can be such a long process. I am so thankful you and your husband have finally turned a corner and know that gluten is not tolerated. I agree, I can’t imagine what others did before the internet! I wish you the best of health and thank you for your kind words 🙂

  3. One thing most people don’t think about when it comes to gluten (and our household has many food / medicine allergies, our son is fatal to peanuts / treenuts) … but as far as gluten goes, I have to watch every product I use as well. Makeup, shampoo, soaps, lotions, cleaners etc. A couple of great brands I’ve found are Pacifica (developed by a gal who’s sister is Celiac, so very important to her and her company. ) They have all face, body, makeup products that are amazing. Also, WEN has gluten and nut free cleansing conditioners. 😀 I hope this can help anyone else struggling to search the non-obvious hidden gluten places!

    1. You are absolutely right, Amy! Thank you for sharing the products that you use in your household. Your recommendations will certainly help others that read this article! Blessings to you!

  4. My favorite tip is to focus on the foods you CAN eat! I did the IGG test and had a huge list of foods not to eat. It seemed like nothing was left. I flipped it to the positive and started focussing on what I COULD eat and it is much easier. Sourdough bread has been in question as to whether those with gluten intolerances can eat it or not. I recently gave that up as well as my tongue was still showing gluten symptoms.

    1. Jayleen, I have tried some of those “grey area” products as well. Even though I could get by for a while, when I got too much in my system there were consequences. It is sad to say goodbye to yummy foods, but the health benefits are well worth the sacrifice. Best of luck!

    2. What do you mean when you say your tongue was showing gluten symptoms? Trying to help my 23 yr. old daughter figure out if she has allergy/sensitivity to gluten. she often gets canker sores and swollen inflamed taste buds.

  5. Great tips! It is always overwhelming for a newbie I think. I have an extreme wheat allergy and Celiac Disease, so there is absolutely no gluten for me. Now my whole family is gluten free and loving the benefits as well! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    1. J – I wish I knew if I had celiac. I lean toward’s NO, but honestly we will never know. I went of gluten for about 4-6 weeks before we ever thought to test me. And my reactions are so bad, there was no way I was willing to go back on it just to get an accurate test result. I have considered removing gluten from my family’s diet entirely, but until I notice reactions in my children….we will remain an 80% gluten free household (while I am 110% gluten free!). I am so glad to hear that someone who has struggled with this in their own life finds my tips helpful. Thanks!

    1. So glad you found Sarah’s post helpful! Let us know how you like the flour recipe, Melissa! This has become my go-to flour when I am baking! Even if I don’t need the recipe to be gluten-free 🙂

  6. Great ideas! My daughter has been gf for almost two year and while it was a struggle at first, it becomes second nature in no time. Plus, there are so many delicious foods out there that are gf, too!

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