When we first start a keto diet we are so busy with adjustments that we often overlook that the ketogenic diet and gluten free living go hand in hand together to lead us to our success. Don’t get scared, there is times when, if you can eat gluten that you may allow a little into your diet but chances are once you are in ketosis you really won’t want to. You do not need to give up all your favorite foods such as pizza but you will need to make some adjustments to what you eat to avoid gluten.
You need to “De-Glutenize” Your Kitchen
When you decide to go gluten-free as part of your keto lifestyle you have to prepare yourself for a bit of a learning curve. Don’t expect to figure it all out overnight. Most of the recipes on this blog are gluten free and I will work to give you more as we go along. Your first step now that you are going keto is to allocate an appropriate amount of time to go through your cupboards and pantry. Check all condiment labels and salad dressings. Carefully inspect ingredient labels on prepackaged soups, rice and pasta dishes.
You will need to go through your freezer and refrigerator as well. Many frozen vegetable and meat mixtures have gluten in their sauces and gravies. This can seem like an overwhelming task. Break it down to one cupboard or fridge shelf at a time to keep it manageable.
Once you start reading labels, you will find that many of the faithful foods you have been buying on auto-pilot every trip to the grocery store no longer fit within your new diet parameters. If these foods are still unopened and “brand new,” consider making a donation to your local food bank. Have an empty box or Rubbermaid container handy at every “inspection” and pass on what you can no longer use.
Getting Back to Basics
Vegetables, lean meats and pure dairy products are free from gluten. Unfortunately, the majority of our snack foods and prepared meals are highly processed. If you eliminate processed foods and go back to cooking from fresh ingredients, you will naturally be avoiding gluten. Try incorporating more salads, vegetables and homemade dips, homemade hummus and delicious soups into your weekly meals. You will find recipes on this site to help you as you progress.
Be Aware of Your Own Body Signals
Simply relying on food labels may leave you vulnerable from time to time and your goal is to eat fresh whole foods as much as possible. So many of the processed foods have starchy fillers and are cross-contaminated. Make a comprehensive list of all of the names gluten and gluten related ingredients as well as sugars that may masquerade as something other than what they are. Keep the list on your cell phone or in your wallet for easy reference if you must by processed foods for any reason and yes, most fast foods are processed foods. Premade hamburgers and hot dogs come to mind. Do you have any idea what is inside them? I don’t so they are not part of my keto lifestyle. In time, you will memorize certain ingredients and know which to avoid.
Read up on Nutrition
It is wise to spend a little time reading up on nutrition to help you with this huge lifestyle change. You will want to be reassured that you are still getting all of your minerals, vitamins and necessary nutrition from your new diet. Educating yourself about healthy, complex carbohydrates that are gluten-free can be exciting as well as a little challenging.
Learning some new ways to cook your old favorites and how you can make healthier substitutions will help you feel empowered. Since some grains are either enriched or natural sources of many vitamins and minerals, it is important to ensure that you are still getting these once you eliminate those grains.
The reality is that with a little care you will lose little nutrient value in letting go of gluten-based foods as part of your keto success. Of more importance is to make sure the foods you take up as replacements are wholesome and healthy. Good choices will add to your vitality; poor ones will mean simply changing one set of problems for another.
Eating Out in Restaurants
Many menus are now incorporating gluten-free/keto options since celiac disease and the ketogenic diet for weight loss has gained increased public awareness. As well, many exceptional eateries will be happy to accommodate your dietary needs if you give them enough advance warning. It can be nice to have some safe restaurants to visit when you want a break from preparing your own meals. I have found that most restaurants are willing to change the starch on the entree for a small salad or half of an avocado. It makes things so much easier and I will visit those restaurants often.
If you are following the ketogenic lifestyle, I invite you to sign up for our news letter. You will find the form to sign up at the top right of this article. I would love to have you join our family of Whole Food Low-Carb Enthusiasts..
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