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Gluten Dude

Part 1: How to go gluten free? It all starts upstairs!

So you just got the word you have to go gluten free for life. I assume you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or a severe gluten allergy. My condolences. As if your life wasn’t challenging enough, you just got it kicked up a notch.

Right now, your head is spinning. What do I do? Where do I start?

Take a breath…relax…I promise you, while not easy, you can and will do this.

But before you go crazy emptying the gluten-free shelves at your grocery store (a typical newbie reaction), you need to mentally accept that you can never have gluten again. I will say it again…you can never have gluten again…ever.

It stings, doesn’t it?

When I was first diagnosed five years ago, I remember telling Mrs. Dude that I can’t make any promises I won’t cheat. It just seemed so overwhelming. And permanent. And not knowing too much about the disease, I figured the occasional slice of pizza couldn’t possibly harm me. Thankfully, I educated myself, I never caved and this has allowed me to heal.

But I know not everyone’s will-power may be up to the challenge. Take my advice. Give yourself time.

You’re pissed…and rightfully so. It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to mourn the loss of your old life. It’s ok to long for the care-free days when food and spontaneity could be used in the same sentence. Be angry. Be sad.

But then move on. Look forward and not back. You have to or you’ll lead a miserable, bitter life. You can’t have gluten. Oh well. Face it…there are worse things in life. Much worse.

You have to rise to the mental challenge or you will never succeed in going gluten free. A friend of mine recently stated over dinner that my disease must be great for my will-power. It is indeed. Once you get it through your head that you CAN do this, it really gives a jolt to your self-confidence that you can carry over to all aspects of your life.

So for the next few weeks, focus on brain-training. And I promise, eventually your mindset will shift and you will indeed transition from “I can’t have that???” to “I don’t want that.”

And once you achieve that, you’re half-way there.

18 thoughts on “How to Go Gluten Free – Part 1: In the Head

  1. I’m so greatful for your knowledge. And since I’m newly diagnoised this series will be sooo helpful. I’m still going through the “I can’t have that” stage.

    I was not tested on corn allergy but can there be such also? and what about yeast? I’m veg. but still loved all my sweets . and loved a good croisant veggie sandwhich.

    Any advice would be highly appreciated.

    • Just be patient Heather. The shift WILL happen over time.

      I’m reticent to give advice on other allergies…sorry. I’m sticking to what I know.

  2. I am 63 and was diagnosed a year ago. Looking back, I realize I have had Celiac all my life. So much makes sense now. Needless to say, a lot of damage has been done. I will not go into all my issues, but right now I am dealing with SIBO. I have about 5 foods I can handle at the moment. The other day I did not bring enough food with me to work. There was soup in the kitchen. My Boss suggested I have some. When I said no without even looking to see what was in it. (I knew it was per-packaged) she told me I was “unreasonable”. This is someone who has known me since long before my diagnosis and knows how rotten I feel. Just wanted to rant. Thanks for listening

  3. My name is Nicole I am 16 years old and my sister diagnosed with the Celiac Disease .
    She 25 years old , she started the GF Diet about 3 years ago . Im really sad/upset that she has it because she has change ever since she found out she had it . She went through a stage of depression for year or so . She lost a lot of weight during that time and she would be sad … She still has a generous and wonderful heart.. but something inside her has change . She cried a few days ago because she found out that she couldn’t make a spanish desert that she loved so much . It hurts to hear that she cries for “food”… see how that sounds .
    I just wish there was a way I can comfort her … even though she lives miles away now ….
    I hope there is a cure and FAST ! Any advice , anyone … ?
    Thanks for reading .

    • You’re such a sweet sister Nicole.

      Not sure how I can help but three years is a long time to be suffering emotionally from this. I know it’s a standard answer but I would recommend having her talk to somebody (therapist) so she can deal with her feelings.

      Once she accepts the loss…it becomes a heck of a lot easier.

      There will be no cure any time soon so the best path to happiness is acceptance.

      Please keep us posted on her progress.

      GD

      • My sister is doing way !!!!!! Better :) She did struggle a lot at first but i guess shes use to being in a GF diet . Also , she moved on with her life ..she gave birth to a baby girl and she happier than ever !
        :D :) thank you

  4. Thank you for all your fantastic information. I’m one of the newbies since my diagnostic just came in a month ago. Every day I learn something new. It is good to everyday check your blog and your tweets because it makes the learning experience easier. You also give us a heartfelt support which I appreciate. It has been very difficult for my fiancée. He is having a problem understanding the concept of me being celiac or even accepting it. But the support you give all of us it’s enough for me. So I thank you very much for being there always.

  5. I feel very alone in this celiac diagnosis. At first I was so relieved for the DNA results that confirmed celiac disease because I was at one point told I had a neuroendocrine tumor on my pancrease (pan -crease ultrasound). Biopsy said no, doctor said probably lymphnoid, pathology said not enough biopsy sample. All over the place, so I was happy with celiac. Much better gluten free but not all the way. Do all grains have gluten that could bother celiacs? It feels too hard giving up all grains but I’m tired of having a huge potbelly after I eat.

    • Hi Grace. Stick with us and I promise you won’t feel so alone. A great community here. Passionate, smart and humorous.

      Here is the list of safe grains. That being said, I’ve given up almost all grains simply because they were hard to digest for me. Life of a celiac. I’ve also given up dairy and soy. You get used to it I promise.

      Amaranth
      Arrowroot
      Buckwheat
      Chickpeas (Garbanzos)
      Corn
      Flax
      Flours from nuts/beans/seeds
      Millet
      Potato starch or flour
      Quinoa
      Rice (and rice bran/flour)
      Sago
      Sorghum
      Soy (but not most soy sauce)
      Tapioca
      Teff

      • Thank you Gluten Dude,
        I appreciated your reply and watched Jennifer’s videos. I was inspired, she verbalized what I was feeling.
        I viewed your gluten free kitchen and it was an eye opener for me. “Grindz” a coffee grinder cleaner I was using had wheat in it and I am rethinking how I handle our dogs food and biscuits, (not that I eat them) but I touch them everyday.
        Thanks again

  6. Today i was diagnosed with celiac disease as well as sensitivities to dairy and starch. I want to tell you how much your knowledge has helped me, after the initial shock and after feeling very pissed and angry I found your website, it is like a little haven for me right now. Your advice has helped me face this challenge and realise that there is much more to life than gluten, which is how i felt earlier. Although i am only 16 and have a very long road ahead of me and many years of no gluten i can honestly say you have made me feel a lot better about this situation and the support you have given me just through your posts has made a huge difference, so thank you. Thank you for helping me feel less alone.

  7. Gluten dude, I think finding this site has pulled me out of a serious hole. I’m from Ireland but I live In Germany, I’ve been ill for a long time this last year was really bad, and 2 months ago found out that it was CD.My first reaction was yipeee I’m not mad I’m ill. Now I’m grieving, it’s difficult. Although I feel a lot better it really will take time to heal, I still have no energy. But I’m finding that it’s more difficult than I though it would be. My home life is difficult I have 2 children 10 & 13 years old and my husband. We now have a gluten cupboard and try to keep it separate, but I’ve been glutened a lot throuh contamination. I guess it’s just alearing process for all of us. I really want to thank you I now don’t feel so alone anymore, just reading here helps :)

  8. I am so thankful for your site. I just found out that I have Celiac Disease. My allergist believes this is directly related to why my husband and I have not gotten pregnant yet. I was also diagnoised with Lupus when I was 10 years old. They believe that they were wrong, and it was been Celiac the whole time! Thank you for such a great site full of info, humor, and great information. This is overwhelming.

  9. I have just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease—what a Christmas present! I am glad I now have a reason why I never feel that good so now it’s trying to get use to the fact that my old lifestyle is about to change and I fear it and welcome it if that makes sense. I knew something was wrong and after several years of testing I finally know….it’s scary and overwhelming….the Doctor told me I could hold off until the first of the year to start my gluten free life…it maybe wasn’t the best advice but hope I am ready for all of this in a few days….I’m working at that mindset first and then hope I can figure this all out and start feeling better.

  10. Great post, GD. Your closing remarks really say a lot:

    “… focus on brain-training. And I promise, eventually your mindset will shift and you will indeed transition from ‘I can’t have that???’ to ‘I don’t want that.’

    “And once you achieve that, you’re half-way there.”

    I think of this as “psychological framing.” You have to make it about NOT what you CANNOT eat, but what you CAN.

    Before my DX last year, I’d just read “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard” by brothers Chip and Dan Heath. If you know Malcolm Gladwell’s books, the writing style is similar.

    Little did I know I’d soon use this book to help my dietary adjustment (I ate tons of gluten like almost anyone pre-DX). I’m not saying it’ll help everyone who’s been newly DXed, but I thought I’d share this anyway. First, some background on my DX:

    I never had severe symptoms — stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, brain fog — that many celiacs get. My road to DX began at the blood donor clinic. After 10 donations, my hemoglobin suddenly screened out too low; I was barred from donating.

    I visited the doctor where I was given a kit and asked to provide… samples. Being squeamish about this I just let it slide. I rationalised my low hg being from frequent (every 8 wks) donations, not fully replenishing before the next one so it caught up to me. I adjusted my diet (more iron) to restore it. A couple years passed, my hg returned, the clinic invited me back.

    But the story repeated: after 10 more donations I failed again. I thought it could be serious so this time I’d do all it took to solve it and they eventually (8 months later) found celiac. Gluten hampered my iron absorption; the donations amplified it. (I had no other celiac symptoms, so it could have gone undetected until something worse happened — pancreatic cancer? Who knows? The life I saved by donating might well have been my own. How’s that for irony?)

    Anyway, I’d had no idea of my gluten consumption, so this big change hit me like a 16t weight. I could have dwelled on it as “there’s all this food you CAN’T eat anymore, ever”, but eventually figured this was the wrong mindset. I had to “shrink the change,” as the book put it.

    Looking back at the last few years, I realised my eating habits weren’t really so static. Even before the blood issue, I’d cut back on sodium-rich processed foods (high blood pressure runs in my family). Then more changes (more iron) after the first blood fail.

    So from my reading, I re-framed it as, “You’ve already made some changes to get healthier. Successful changes. Nobody ever said there wouldn’t be more. This is just another change. And this one will be just as successful.” This turned a big change into just the next item on a checklist — one from which I’d already ticked off some items.

    And this is how I “shrank the change.” Sure, I sometimes mourn the old life, but I find this approach helpful in daily life. Maybe down the road I’ll have another setback, and I can continue on the same mindset: you’ve checked off all these other items, so here’s the next one on your staying-healthy checklist.

    I’m not saying this approach works for everyone, but it’s worth considering if you’re newly DXed. Don’t think of it as “giving up gluten forever”. Look at it as just one facet of the broader goal of being healthier, and try to draw on something, anything else, no matter how minor, you’ve done lately to improve your health. Let your past success inspire your next success.

  11. Hey man, I really enjoyed reading this post. I look forward to coming back for some good info!

    I am not a Celiac. However, my wife and I decided to go gluten free and have experienced a “re-birth” if you will. We feel so much more energized and full of life. My head hasn’t been this clear in a very, very long time. I have also shed a lot of unwanted body fat and just feel great.

    The only bad part – when we decide we want to cheat and eat something containing gluten. I have noticed that after consuming a piece of pizza for example, my head will start to hurt and I feel extremely sluggish.

    Do you believe in self-imposed celiacs?

    Check out my site which is in very early stages-Glutenfreethin.com

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