Warm, tasty breads. Indulgent red velvet cakes. Even salad dressings and sauces of most kinds. When you give up gluten, must you give up all of these foods? Will you be stuck with boring, bland food? And with no bread — how will you survive?

So, yes, when you forgo gluten, you will miss the taste of this protein, which is in grains such as wheat, rye barley, and is also found in most processed foods and breads today. But after a few weeks, your cravings will subside, you’ll begin to have more energy, and you won’t be suffering the negative digestive and other symptoms.


Maybe you’re giving up gluten because you have celiac disease. Or perhaps you have gluten sensitivity, which has similar symptoms. Or maybe you’re giving up gluten because you have diabetes or prediabetes (the research is limited but suggests going gluten free may help these health conditions). Or you simply feel better without gluten in your life (try going without it for two weeks and compare how you feel).

Living a gluten-free life can seem challenging at first, but if you follow these rules, you won’t miss it. You’ll be healthier and happier, too, even without your usual chocolate chip cookies!

13 Rules for living a healthy, gluten-free life

  1. Focus on what you can have. Giving up gluten is hard, but focus on what you can have. Focus on the delicious taste of fresh vegetables and fruits. Focus on the creative ways this new lifestyle will wake you up to new foods and new ways of cooking and eating. Research what you can’t have (of course,) but don’t linger too long on it. Because what what you can have is what matters, and it’s going to make you feel a lot better, too. You’ll see.

  1. Say yes to fresh. Fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, fresh fruits. These foods don’t go through processing, and, therefore, don’t get flour or wheat-based preservatives added to them.


  1. Eat more veggies than anything else. Eat a large amount of your vegetables as raw and organic.

  1. Choose gluten-free grains and starches. So you can’t have wheat. But guess what you can have? Amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, flax, hominy, millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, tapioca, teff and more.


  1. Be wary of some gluten-free products. The grocery shelves are now filled with gluten-free products, but not all of them are healthy. Look for the amounts of sugar, fat and sodium on the backs on the packages. Gluten-free flours like tapioca starch, corn starch, rice starch and potato starch can cause health issues and are high on the glycemic index.

  1. Stay away from food that never spoils and food that comes to you from your car window. These foods are full of preservatives and ingredients that aren’t truly nourishing for your body. Plan ahead make things fresh.


  1. Always read food labels. Ingredient lists with wheat bran, wheat germ, durum flour, bulgur, farro, kamut, spelt, barley, triticale, rye and other ingredients contain gluten. Also, look for ingredients that contain seasonings, flavoring, natural flavoring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, maltodextrin and modified food starch, as these could be derived from wheat.

  1. Be open to alternatives. Instead of snacking on crackers, eat hummus and sliced veggies. Instead of croutons, sprinkle your salads with nuts. For sandwiches, think outside your ordinary bread. Make wraps with corn or gluten-free brown rice tortillas and lettuce.

  1. Make your own convenience foods. Fast food, take out, frozen dinners, processed foods — these are all full of gluten and also sugar, refined flours, hydrogenated fats and weird unknown ingredients. Make your own convenience foods instead. Cook in bulk and freeze individual portions, and whip up your own condiments, sauces and base ingredients.

  1. Choose gluten-free products that have been tested and are certified gluten free. The Celiac Sprue Association and the Gluten Intolerance Group have certification programs, as does the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

  1. Be sure you’re getting enough vitamins and nutrients. This way you won’t have cravings or negative effects from not getting what your body needs. Fiber is one thing you need to make sure you’re getting enough of in your diet. Find it in things such as nuts, ground flax and beans. You also need to make sure you’re getting enough iron, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate.

  1. Get creative in the kitchen. Make gluten-free pizza crust and top it with healthy veggies . Use gluten-free baking mixes. You can choose from plenty of gluten-free flours, like ones made from teff, amaranth, garbanzo beans, almonds and more. And there’s even a gluten-free, plant-based meat recipe.


  1. Allow yourself to indulge sometimes. Indulge in gluten-free treats like cakes and pies. Have some gluten-free apple pie, some grain-free tuxedo cupcakes, and even a dollop of vegan, gluten-free “Nutella spread.”

See, there is so much you can have! For more resources, check out 10 best gluten-free cereal brandsHow to eat soy free and gluten free (without going insane) and Is a gluten-free diet good for everyone?

Lead Image Source: Gluten Free Zucchini Pesto Pasta