People on a gluten-free diet are likely to make a few mistakes that can risk their chances of getting the full benefits of their lifestyle change. The decision to go gluten-free is a tough one to make, but sticking to that decision is tougher. 

The diet gets easier with time, but it will still come with challenges. Going gluten-free is life-changing. For people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, going gluten-free can help get rid of painful bloating, gassiness, tongue sores, and unexplained fatigue or exhaustion. 

However, a gluten-free diet isn’t for the fainthearted. You must be persistent and serious about it if you want it to work. You can’t afford to make a mistake, let alone cheat, on a gluten-free diet. Below is a list of the common mistakes you should avoid when you’re on a gluten-free diet.

Not Learning About the Gluten-Free Diet

Ditching bread and wheat-based cereal and cookies can sound pretty simple. However, a strict gluten-free diet entails more than just cutting back on those types of food. For instance, you might know that gluten is present in many canned soups and soy sauce brands. It may also surprise you that most beers are made with barley, which is considered a gluten grain.

Not doing your homework before deciding to switch to a gluten-free diet is a common mistake most people make when they find out they have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Sadly, making this major mistake can be harmful to your health. If you’ve already made the lifestyle switch, it’s not yet too late to learn about the gluten-free diet! Read up, and make sure to understand how you can ensure that your food is totally gluten-free. 

Failing to Recognize Gluten Ingredients

Many people who are new to the gluten-free diet usually look for “wheat” or “gluten” on the labels of their favorite foods and ditch those that contain it. However, that strategy is not good enough to ensure that the processed food you eat doesn’t contain gluten.

Food manufacturers are not legally required to list all ingredients that contain gluten; only those that contain wheat, which is considered a common allergen. They are also not legally bound to disclose whether the product was produced in a shared facility, which makes it likely to be cross-contaminated. 

The best thing you can do is to stick to products that have a gluten-free label. But, if you decide to venture out of the safe zone, you’ll need to quickly learn the names of ingredients that indicate gluten content.

Bingeing on Gluten-Free Junk Food

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If you’re just starting with the gluten-free diet, it can be tempting to replace all your junk food favorites with gluten-free junk food, but don’t give in.

It’s fairly easy nowadays to find gluten-free candies and cookies on the shelves of grocery stores. You can even find gluten-free options in fast food. But if you decided to ditch the gluten because of your celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you should give more attention to your health. 

Most people who have celiac disease tend to be a little malnourished. So, if you’ve already started your gluten-free diet, take it as an opportunity to fill your meals with healthy and nutritious foods, not with new gluten-free junk foods. 

While it’s not bad to indulge in some gluten-free snack foods from time to time, your body will thank you more if you strive to eat healthier. 

Relying Too Much on Convenience Foods

Once you decide to go gluten-free, expect to spend more time in the kitchen. Sticking to a gluten-free diet will entail a lot of cooking. 

If you regularly ate convenience foods before you started with your gluten-free diet, it may come as a shock to find out that you won’t be able to simply order your favorite pizza. While some pizza companies, like Domino’s, offer gluten-free pizzas, these are prepared in the same area as the regular pizzas, so they may also pose a risk for cross-contamination, which can be dangerous especially for those with celiac disease. 

Fortunately, some pizza companies offer frozen gluten-free frozen options. However, they are not widely available, and they can be pretty expensive, too. So when you switch to the gluten-free diet, be prepared to make your own food most of the time. It may be tedious, but remember that cooking with fresh and nutritious ingredients is still better for your health. 

Not Speaking Up When Ordering in Restaurants

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It’s good to see that many chain restaurants now offer gluten-free options on their menus. Local eateries also offer to make gluten-free meals upon customers’ request. But this shouldn’t make you let your guard down.

The gluten-free diet has become so popular that a lot of people who don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have started eating gluten-free. In restaurants, it’s not unusual to see customers demanding a gluten-free meal, but also ordering a gluten-y cake for dessert, or a beer. Unfortunately, this has had a bad effect on everyone who truly needs to eat gluten-free for because of their health conditions. 

If you are someone who is on a strict gluten-free diet, make sure that your server (or any concerned restaurant staff) understands your need to have a gluten-free meal so you don’t get sick. Clearly communicate with them that having a gluten-free meal is crucial to your health, so they will take extra precautions in preparing your meal.

This reasoning also goes for food made by family and friends. If you’re unsure whether the food is entirely gluten-free, it’s best to steer clear.

Having a ‘Cheat Day’

If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you won’t need expensive medications or procedures because the right diet can treat your condition. But unlike other diets, a gluten-free diet doesn’t allow cheat days as it can lead to some significant health issues. Still, many people with celiac disease still try to sneak in cheat days and suffer complications like vitamin deficiencies, and even cancer. There are so many delicious gluten-free options on the market these days, so you don’t have a reason to put your health at risk.

Believing That the Gluten-Free Diet Can Cure All Your Illnesses

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If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, a gluten-free diet can help you feel better. It will improve your digestion, lessen your headaches, and make you feel more energetic.  However, don’t expect the gluten-free diet to solve all your existing health issues. For instance, many people expect to lose weight when they go gluten-free but experience the opposite. 

And while celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have several symptoms, don’t assume that any new health problem you experience is related to the disease. Not every stomach ache means you were glutened, because they can also be caused by other reasons, like food poisoning. If you have a persistent health problem despite being on a strict gluten-free diet, talk to your doctor about it to rule out any other illnesses. 

If you’re just starting with your gluten-free journey, make sure to avoid these mistakes. And if you’re looking for certified gluten-free meals, bread, cakes, and pastries in the Denver-metro area, make sure to drop by Wave the Grain! We are located at 8172 South Holly Street Centennial, CO 80122. For customized orders, you may call us at (303) 721-7547, or send us a message at kristin@wavethegrain.com.