Staying Happy on a Gluten-free Diet

It’s friday night, you are out with your friends, what do you wanna do? Maybe some pizza and beer? Awesome! It’s your birthday, time for some chocolate cake! I’m in a rush, better grab a sandwich for lunch.

But WAIT!! I can’t do any of that… I have to have a gluten-free diet.

It is not a secret that being gluten intolerant or having celiac disease can be a bummer. Your meals have to be more planned you can’t just do things on a whim. In a world where food is part of culture, your diet is always going to be on your mind. So obviously, whether you have been recently diagnosed or born that way, having to stick to a strict diet can get ya down.

This goes along with lots of food allergies, corn, nuts, dairy, they can all be a pain, but I know from personal experience that gluten can really put a damper on my mood.

So how do you stay positive? Well in a recent article in Gluten-Free Living (Number4/2010)  they discussed ways to keep your head up while living gluten-free.

Here is what they had to say:

1) Address both the problem and the emotions behind it.

“Seeking out information lowers your depression, anger, and anxiety, and do better at managing the new issues or restrictions they face.”

If you have recently been diagnosed or suspect that you may be gluten intolerant I definitely recommend you picking up a book on the topic or doin a google search. When I wanted to learn more the first book I read was “The Gluten-Connection” by Shari Lieberman. It helped open my eyes on the disease and can help you determine if you are gluten intolerant if you are not sure yet.

2) Focus on the benefits

“The adjustment to a gluten-free diet can be difficult, but it is often accompanied by feeling better physically. Focus on that aspect.”

This is the thing I find one of the most important. Just knowing you can feel good, have energy, sleep better, and for some have a visual difference, such as the cure for psoriasis or eczema, then that HAS to make you much happier.

3) Keep perspective

” Celiac disease is a chronic illness that brings a host of symptoms and lifetime changes. But, it is also a disease that is relatively easy to treat and control.”

Yes you have to change the way you eat, but really.. it isn’t THAT big of a deal. You don’t have to take a hundred pills a day, you don’t have to go sit in dialysis, you don’t have to go through painful treatments or be worried for your life. You are lucky to have a disease that can be handled by simply not eating some foods.

4) Be aware of warning signs

“Most people will experience a variety of emotions as they work through this. Using a proactive approach and positive coping skills can make this transition much easier.”

If you do notice signs of depression or anxiety do not be afraid to ask for help or reach out for professional help when necessary.

So keep your head up! After a few months of mourning and adjustments it DOES get easier. You will figure out quick substitutions and easy ways to stay in the social world. Here are a few of my tips to help get you on your way:

*When going out to eat suggest restaurants that are easier for you to find options at. Thai and asian food are great, with their grain dishes being mainly made of rice you will have lots to choose from! Mexican food, corn chips and corn tortillas won’t have you look picky at all, who doesn’t love nachos!?

*Spend some time trying a few different quick and easy recipes. I try to post some ideas up here as often as I can and trying to find some healthy and quick options will make dinner no fuss.

*Just tell others you have an allergy and it is not a big deal. Sure it may not always be an “allergy” technically, but if you have to refuse a treat or dish because you are allergic no one is going to protest.

With a little time, research and practice you can live your daily life just as others. And plus, you will probably be healthier too not worrying about those cookies and pizza 🙂
As always, if you have any questions let me know!!!