Knowledge, Motivation, Feedback. Daily habits, like our snacks, meals, and exercise routines, are engrained in our daily actions, like what it is we eat and how its is we exercise. Meaning, changing habits requires a lot: of persistence, of dedication…these are things we do every day! So, first off, know that changing your diet comes incrementally, as part of a process.
When you’re going gluten-free, it may be little something like this:
1. Knowing what our goals are and how to pursue them:
“I want to rid my diet of gluten, so I will need to understand what gluten is exactly, and the products to avoid.”
2. Feeling a desire to change, and sense of value and worth in the pursuit:
“This will contribute to my health and make me feel good”
3. Being continuously rewarded for each choice we make in the direction of change:
“This meal has no gluten and is very tasty! My indigestion seems to be getting better!”
Then be optimistic! There’s a lot of tools out there to support the change, and specifically, a lot of phone apps to add mindfulness, accountability, and measurable success in switching to a gluten-free (or plant-based, or whatever!) diet. Here’s a few of the handy, mobile programs:
Fooducate – demystifies labels. When you’re at the grocery store, you can scan product codes with this app to “analyze information found in each product’s nutrition panel and ingredient list, [including]: excessive sugar, tricky trans fats, additives and preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, controversial food colorings, confusing serving sizes, [and] calories per actual serving size.”
Gluten Detector Tool (Just released June 2012!) – More than a database of manufacturer-claimed “gluten-free!” items, this app scans product bar codes to identify ingredients that contain gluten, as well as analyze official FDA and USDA standards (they’re different!) of its gluten containing status. The app also has various utilities for the gluten sensitive, including frequently asked questions and a list of reliable resources for people with Celiac Disease. It also provides information on cross-contamination of foods, tips on nutrition and safe food storage, as well as products, like grains and flours, that are reliably gluten-free.
ShopWell– simplifies grocery shopping! Use this app before you go to the store. It sorts your grocery list to help you find gluten-free products, as well as it suggests “healthy upgrades:” alternative products, similar to those you currently consume to provide healthier-for-you eating options.
My Plate – An app provided by Livestrong.com. It’s an online food diary and calorie counter that helps you keep track of your daily diet and intake. Just adding that level of consciousness to what you’re eating may help inform the choices you make each day. Each meal!
Bowel Mover Pro – Ignore the name! By providing this app with information on your daily routine (how much sleep you had, the amount of water you drank, your level of stress, etc), it looks for patterns to help shed light on what might be causing digestion issues – often indicator of something gone awry – so you can make changes in the appropriate area.
Commitment. Forgiveness. Resilience. These are the characteristics of enduring through change. Even for a seemingly simple change of diet. Some day, you’ll eat a bakery-fresh chocolate chip cookie. Another, you’ll have the pasta salad at a friend’s potluck dinner. It’s ok! Temptation is great. And if it makes you feel sick (because you’re gluten intolerant), it serves as all the more reminder that you have to honor yourself and your personal needs. Tomorrow, you can have the apple for breakfast instead of the toast. At lunch, you can choose the salad instead of the roast beef plate. There is always another chance for change. You are always able to choose it.