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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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