Wheat-Free Diet and Special Situations - dummies

Wheat-Free Diet and Special Situations

By Rusty Gregory, Alan Chasen

After you gather all the information you need to get started on your wheat- and grain-free adventure, you can apply it to your daily routine. But sometimes situations pop up that challenge your new lifestyle. For example, dining out can make you feel like you’ve lost control. Here are a few situations where you may have to put a little more thought into eating wheat-free.

Eating wheat-free away from home

Even though specific challenges arise when you’re eating out, keeping your focus on your commitment to good health can help you weather the storm. The evolution of restaurants to meet the needs of patrons with food sensitivities has grown tremendously since 2000.

Restaurants are increasingly offering gluten-free menus and are often more receptive to special ordering (at least in mainstream places). However, the cost of providing items such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken and produce, and wild-caught fish is still prohibitive for a lot of restaurants. If all else fails, just shoot for the best possible alternative so you can focus on enjoying gatherings with family and friends.

Know what restaurants and international cuisines suit your wheat-free lifestyle. Doing so prevents you from showing up at a restaurant and being disappointed by the menu. Although they’re not known for their contributions to good health, even some fast food restaurants offer gluten-free items on their menu, so do some research.

If you don’t know what ingredients are in a dish, ask. By doing your homework before you get to the restaurant, you can better enjoy those you’re dining with. But if you don’t have the opportunity to check things out ahead of time — maybe the restaurant was a last-minute choice — don’t be shy. Speak to the chef and the manager and tell them what your needs are.

In due time, you’re sure to face the challenge of staying wheat-free while traveling, which requires some careful planning on your part. Having a clear understanding of your trip’s itinerary will help determine whether you can grocery shop before or while you’re on the trip and what kinds of restaurants and hotel food you’ll have access to.

Wheat-free plan for special occasions

Outlasting the holidays or a special occasion on a wheat-free diet can seem like pure drudgery. With all the foods you no longer eat easily within your reach, you must draw upon your new energy and good health to pull you through.

Even the most well-intentioned wheat-avoiders face the challenges of how to eat healthfully when special occasions arise. That’s why you need to think ahead about how (and how much) you’re going to stick to your guns when celebrations come calling.

The pressures to give in and the inconvenience of having an alternate plan can be overwhelming. If that’s you, just be sure to keep a tight rein on your minor indulgences so they don’t become a full-fledged backslide.

If you prefer to follow a stricter wheat-free plan (or you must because of a condition such as celiac disease), you can help your cause by establishing strategies such as bringing a wheat-free dish or two, eating the healthiest wheat-free foods first, or hosting the celebration yourself.

Take care when alcohol enters the gathering. Overindulging can cloud your thinking and inhibit your decision-making process when it comes to food consumption.

Business dinners and work functions can be just as difficult to remain wheat-free at, whether it’s a corporate seminar or an office baby shower.

When you eliminate wheat and other grains, sugar, and vegetable oils from your diet, you experience weight loss, feel an increase in energy, and see an improvement in your general health. So much so that you’ll probably want to tell the whole world about it. But be sensitive to the fact that some people are skeptical or downright unaccepting of the wheat-free lifestyle.