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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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