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The Anxiety of Going Gluten-Free

by Elyse the Gluten-Free Foodee
The Anxiety of Going Gluten-Free

Did you recently find out that you need to adopt a gluten-free diet? Are you feeling overwhelmed and anxious about it? Today, we are going to discuss the very real anxiety of going gluten-free.

The anxiety of going gluten-free does not mean that eating gluten-free causes anxiety. However, switching over how you have eaten, shopped, and socialized your whole life- seems pretty overwhelming.

Now, everyone will say it gets easier the longer you are gluten-free, and this is VERY VERY true. However, in that moment of feeling overwhelmed, it is just a platitude.

From my personal experience, I was deeply impacted by the anxiety of changing to a gluten-free diet. I didn’t know what I could or couldn’t eat. I knew vegetables and meat were ok, but I wanted my meals to be more than that. At one point, I felt like the only food that made me feel “normal” was Nutella. I knew Nutella was safe and I held on to that information. It was something I could enjoy on the variety of horrible gluten-free breads I tried before I found ones I enjoyed and found palatable, at that time.

You may feel, as I did, that gluten was lurking everywhere. Walking down a condiment aisle, meant reading soooooo many labels and trying to figure out what was and wasn’t gluten-free. The good news is that now, years later, there are so many more products, improved products that are so much better. The quality and flavour of these gluten-free products, can now fool non-gluten-free family and friends. And what’s better than that? Plus, many products are now labelled as gluten-free, taking away all the guess work.

So how do you deal with the anxiety of going gluten-free?

1) Embrace it:

Your feelings are valid and you deserve to feel them. This may seem like psychobabble, but this is a big shake-up. You need to take the time to realize that: yes, your life will be a little more complicated for a time. While you are discovering what you enjoy, where you like to shop that has the best gluten-free selection, which restaurants are safe etc… Your life will mean a lot more research and planning. This can be frustrating, and pretending that it isn’t happening, doesn’t make your new reality any easier.

2) Find your support system:

Speak to people who are gluten-free or can who can help with your food transition, and frustrations. I worked with a registered dietitian at the beginning of my gluten-free journey to help me. Joining an online gluten-free community where you can find people who have lived through this already, is a great resource. We have built an informative and inclusive community on Facebook of over 67, 000 people from around the world. No matter how you feel about your gluten free journey, or whatever question you may have- someone in our community, will step-up to help answer your question.

3) Educate yourself:

Knowledge is power, and the more you know- the easier your gluten-free journey will be; not to mention a lot less stressful.

Here are some resources to help:

4) Realize you don’t have to stop socializing:

You just have to adapt to your new reality. This may mean educating family and friends, or even having to bring your own food to events. Let them see that there is no mystery to eating gluten-free.
Here are some resources for help:

Finally, after enduring endless snide comments about what “bird seed” my food was made of from family and friends. I really got tired of being food shamed. While some people are incapable of change, we can control how we react to these challenges. That’s why I decided to focus on trying to change the narrative, by starting this blog. I’m so very proud of the supportive community we have built. I hope that these words inspire you to live the life you want, and to embrace the start of your new food journey.

In the end, the best advice for dealing with the anxiety of going gluten-free, is to know that everyone deals with this in their own way. Knowing you are not the only one who doesn’t embrace a gluten free lifestyle, right from the start can be somewhat comforting.

Know that you have got this. You will learn how to make your diet work for you.

Remember that you can reach out to us here on the blog, through social media, or through our Facebook group to help make this time in your life easier.

Cheers to going gluten free!

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