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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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