By CC Bonaduce of CCglutenfreed.com (Originally published in Celebrate Gluten-Free, 2014)
Since going gluten-free I have experienced ever improving health. This year I wanted to pick a New Year’s Resolution that supports the gluten-free lifestyle that’s made such a difference for me. If you too would like to make gluten-free themed resolutions this year, read on for some ideas to get you going.
When thinking of a resolution or change you want to make, you want to pick something that is doable, measurable and enjoyable. Don’t pick a resolution that you know you probably can’t keep, like a resolution containing the word “never“ or “always” or something you can’t control like “never getting gluten-ed again” (since as careful as you may be, things like cross-contamination are sometimes out of your control).
Next, picking something measurable is critical to a successful resolution. If you say that your goal is to “cook more” you have no real way of holding yourself accountable. Instead, try picking measurable goals like “I will cook 2 meals per week at home.”
Finally, make sure your resolution is enjoyable! So many people assume a resolution has to be something related to discipline or sacrifice. You don’t have to force yourself into the gym if that won’t be enjoyable for you. Pick a resolution that you will look forward to committing to!
Here are my top 3 Gluten-Free New Year’s Resolutions:
- Convert one family recipe to be gluten-free friendly at each holiday this year. One of the most challenging aspects of living gluten-free is having to change family traditions because of your new diet. As an Italian-American it took years for my family to adjust our traditions and recipes to the gluten-free lifestyle. If you have traditions that are not gluten-free then commit to converting one family recipe to its gluten-free counterpart at each big holiday this year. Keep in mind that some recipes are easier to convert than others. In some cases you may simply need to opt for gluten-free all-purpose flour and the recipe will be good to go. In other circumstances, you may need to be a bit more creative. For example, my family struggled to make gluten-free ravioli from scratch. The gluten-free dough simply wasn’t pliable enough for us to form the traditional ravioli shape and when put in boiling water, they fell apart almost immediately. What we ended up doing is making lasagna using brown rice lasagna noodles and all of the same components and ingredients as our traditional ravioli. Same great taste, same ingredients just a different presentation! I hated feeling excluded from my family traditions once I started living gluten-free. By taking the time to brainstorm and test out new recipes, I was able to recreate these family dishes, honoring the tradition but eliminating the gluten, so that I could participate once more.
- Get involved with the gluten-free community. There are so many fun ways to get involved with the gluten-free community! For example, try committing to posting 1 or 2 gluten-free restaurant reviews on Yelp or on apps like Find Me Gluten Free per month for one year. By posting restaurant reviews you are supporting other people living gluten-free by getting helpful information out there. Don’t feel like writing? Try going to at least one gluten-free event during 2015. You can try out a local support group or attend one of the large national gluten-free conferences. These events expose you to new gluten-free products, the most up to date information about the gluten-free diet and introduce you to other members of the gluten-free community.
- Cook more. Try cooking one more meal per week at home during 2015. Cooking is a great way to bond with family, eat more consciously and take ownership of your diet. You can try out gluten-free products like gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free pizza crust to make foods that you normally cannot order at restaurants. You can also use this as a way to connect with your family and teach them more about the gluten-free diet. By teaching a loved one how to cook and explaining why you choose certain ingredients over others you have a great opportunity to teach your family about the gluten-free diet, which may come in handy if they want to cook for you or dine out with you in the future. Don’t know how to cook? Then I guess your gluten-free resolution is even more clear: learn to cook! Spend one night a week trying to make something new, test out recipes and learn kitchen basics using free tools like phone apps, Google and YouTube.
No matter what you decide to do this year for your New Year’s Resolution make sure it is a commitment that will ultimately make your year happier and healthier than 2014!