I have been eating gluten free since 1999 and through it all I have developed nine steps. As diligent as I am I don’t always follow my own advice but do my best and move on. These steps are helpful for any kind of food intolerance/allergy or food you are avoiding, such as dairy, pork, soy, corn and so on. Just replace “gluten foods” with the offending food of your choice.
1. Always carry snacks. Choose easy, nonperishable goodies, not junk (Lara bars, raw almonds, dried fruit, Crunch master crackers or Mary’s Gone Crackers).
2. Own real estate in your fridge. Outfit your real estate with GF spreads and condiments (peanut butter, hummus, baba ganoush, jam, butter spread).
3. Don’t get caught hungry without having researched possible restaurants. Carry a list of restaurants (at least 3) that offer a gluten free menu, include address or directions, hours and telephone number. This is especially important when you travel.
4. Have a signature dish. Know how to cook a minimum of one delicious item that you can whip up and serve anytime. Try vegetable risotto, lentil salad, stuffed red peppers-make it something fun and want to be associated with.
5. Keep a running list of naturally gluten free foods. This is especially helpful when you grocery shop. On my list I have things like apples, bananas, kiwi, carrot sticks, red peppers, tomatoes, quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, kidney beans, almonds, shredded coconut.
6. Keep a running list of gluten free brands that you tried and liked. For example Tinkyada brown rice pasta, Food For Life Millet bread, Enjoy Life Nutty Flax cereal and Mary’s Gone Crackers.
7. Have a virtual “go to” community. Follow gluten free blogs and at least one gluten free organization such elanaspantry.com , celiac.org, celiac.ca or this one of course OffTheMatNutrition.
8. Eating gluten free is only one aspect of your life; you are so much more than what you eat.
9. Enjoy your lifestyle, ask for what you need…and finally, don’t be a bore.
What would you add to this list?