- Start SimpleGo back to the good ole days way of eating. For example, for dinner have a meat, vegetable and potato or rice and skip the bread. Replace breakfast cereals with the gluten free/casein free cereal and phase in the new milk quickly if it is for children. You’d be surprised how kids don’t mind rice or almond milk when it’s in cereal. If you as an adult are changing then just do it.
- Get to know your new way of life.Familiarize yourself with the ingredients to be on the lookout for. It’s a long list, so you may want to keep one with you at first. Understand the affects of the switching to the gfcf diet, this is not a diet that you can “take a day off.” This is it, under no circumstance should you knowingly have something on the avoidance list. There’s a lot of information out there, just remember to keep it simple for you and your family.
- Don’t throw everything away at once; it is too traumatizing.One of the first things that come to mind is all the food you have already spent your money on. Take a deep breath, go back to step number 1. Ultimately, you will end up throwing out some food, but A LOT of it can be donated. What better way to feel good about not using the food yourself. Any dry or canned goods can be donated http://www.feedingamerica.org/zip_code.jsp
- Give up dairy first.It seems to have the quickest results because it leaves your system much faster than gluten does. We do calcium enriched Almond or Rice milk. We try to keep the soy replacements to a minimum. Don’t replace the cheese right away because none of the replacements even come close to the real thing. We just skippped it all together in the beginning and then brought the replacements in later and it didn’t seem so bad.
- Start with Breakfast.There are LOTS of great tasting cereal replacements available at almost any grocery store now. Even Rice Chex is gfcf now. Gfcf frozen waffles are in most grocery stores now. I’ve even spotted them in Super Targets. Switch to real maple syrup, the best deal I’ve come across is Costco which also has some great gfcf snacks as well. Every Sunday I make breakfast with a gfcf pancake mix, gfcf bacon or sausage and eggs.
- Begin with easy food.Costco rotisserie chicken is gfcf. When I found that out, we had it at least twice a week, (we did before gfcf so imagine my excitement.) Slice up some gfcf hotdogs and serve it with ketchup and mustard. Replace your pasta with brown rice pasta and use a jar of gfcf spaghetti sauce. Keep it simple! Especially in the beginning.
- Pay attention to your budget.One way to get discouraged is to triple your grocery bill. Be mindful of your shopping. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in all the fancy packaging that boasts gluten free/casein free. Plan your shopping trips. We do our shopping at three different stores regularly, strategically of course because I don’t want to spend the money I’ve saved on gas.
- Get in the habit of label reading.Even if it is in bold purple type smack dab in the center of the package, gluten free/casein free, read the label. This will also help you with Step 2. Just because something is gfcf, doesn’t mean you should have it.
- Transition your non-food items.After you have spent a few weeks transitioning your diet, it’s time to take a look efforts, sunscreen, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, medicine, chapstick, playdough, stickers and need to be replaced as well. Read Step 3!
- Enjoy your new life.Once you and your doctor decide to go this route, enjoy it. Don’t look at it as a chore. We feel like it is something that makes our family special. Our kids are also very aware of what they put in their bodies, which gives us a sense of pride in and of itself. It’s the little accomplishments in life that we keep score of in our little head. I smile every time I think of my cheesecake recipes.