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5 Keys to Maintaining a Gluten-Free Diet

5 Keys to Maintaining a Gluten-Free Diet

1. Gather and Share More Information About Gluten

Whether you’re avoiding gluten for the sake of a loved one, have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or feel it’s more efficacious for your lifestyle, it’s important to learn all you can about gluten and gliadin proteins. As recently as five years ago, the average person had never even heard of gluten or gluten-free diets! It could be a challenging concept to explain to others. Fortunately, most people now know that gluten, and the similar protein gliadin, are found in foods containing wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. There’s still quite a bit of misinformation out there and not enough people understand how important and prevalent the need for a gluten-free diet can be. The more you learn about and explain gluten to others in your circles, the easier it becomes for you and other GF individuals to navigate around gluten.

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2. Become a Label Reader

You know that the less processed food you eat, the better your health. Foods that are whole and or minimally processed are ideal. The majority of the time you don’t falter from this routine but sometimes that’s not completely feasible. There are times when using more processed food items may be necessary. That’s when your newly acquired knowledge of gluten/gliadin really comes into play!  When you purchase packaged foods, read the labels carefully. Learn to decipher the names of ingredients that could potentially contain gluten. Substances such as MSG, natural flavorings, food coloring, emulsifiers, lecithins, and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins potentially contain gluten.  Take note of where and how the foods are processed. Nuts are naturally gluten-free, but are often processed in facilities that also process wheat products.

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3. When in Doubt Go Without

Social gatherings such as mixers and parties can present some unique, but surmountable challenges.  In a social gathering no one wants to be a rude guest. If your host has made a divine looking dish it’s not impolite to inquire about its ingredients.  If you’re uncertain about any food, politely decline to eat it. Use the opportunity of turning down the items to spark an informative and entertaining dialogue about gluten.  Regardless, it’s still a party and you shouldn’t really have to go without eating something. So, be proactive and bring your own food! Better yet, when the opportunity makes itself available, always offer to bring a gluten-free dish or two. Just remember to be civil and engage the host who invited you to the gathering and you’ll be successful.

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4. Watch for Cross-Contamination

Within a few months, learning what ingredients to avoid in your food becomes second nature. Being vigilant about separate cooking vessels, surfaces and utensils requires a bit more diligence. Sharing rice on the same plate as spaghetti is an obvious mistake, but the potential mistake of putting pickles on your meat patty may come as a surprise.  Pickles are often processed using malted vinegar or beer. When at home and especially when dining out, make certain you reinforce the necessity of keeping gluten-free dishes separate.

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5. Scout Ahead

Before eating at a new or unknown establishment, do a little research. Both word of mouth and online queries are a great start. Check out online directories, independent reviews and blogs. You should also contact the establishment. Ask them what protocols are in place regarding gluten. Be civil and thankful. Most staff and servers are receptive and helpful when it comes to food restrictions. When appropriate, be certain to give them a generous gratuity. Killing them with kindness as you inquire about gluten helps ensure that gluten won’t put a damper on your lifestyle.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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