I picked up the Wheat Belly book awhile back and was totally committed at the time to move to a wheat/gluten free diet but then I got side tracked, namely I felt healthy again and thus the motivation to change was lost. Right now I am fighting some asthma issues which is preventing me from running and London has also been battling some ongoing issues so I have picked up the book again and I am determined to implement the ‘diet’ change once and for all.
To implement change successfully, I remind myself of what it takes and use a popular change methodology as an example (Kotter’s 8-Step change model). In summary here are the eight steps for leading change:
#1 – Create urgency – well I have done that with not feeling up to part and truthfully miserable
#2 – Form a Powerful Coalition – I have asked that my husband read the Wheat Belly book and also his commitment to support this change. He has agreed to do so. In his words, if he doesn’t then there is no point in living in the house, so in other words, yes he is completely on board. Of course I would have preferred him to word his support a little differently like ‘absolutely, if this will make the family healthier then I will do whatever it takes, when I can start reading the book?’. Okay back to the real world of couples, I will take his well intended words of support and run with them.
Step #3 – Create a vision for change – “When the family is following a gluten free diet, we will be healthier overall, experience fewer illnesses, and have more energy to engage in the activities we enjoy” – check!
Step #4 – Communicate the Vision – I started to do prep London this morning about the food changes that we are going to take in order to feel better. Normally she has cereal or a bagel and wouldn’t touch anything else but a small miracle happened where she accepted the scrambled eggs I made without any resistance. I attempted to explain the benefits of having a protein based breakfast but I think that went past the 5 year old. Doesn’t hurt to start this young, does it? Of course, additional and frequent communication will be warranted with London but the next big challenge is trying to educate our nanny. This will be an interesting exercise.
Step #5 – Remove Obstacles – one major component to this is keeping a gluten free kitchen. Last night I cleaned out two shelves and got rid of some gluten products. There was a couple of unopened boxes of Couscous so I put those aside to give to the Food Bank. I don’t want to throw everything due to the money invested and will phase some things out over time and simply not bring any gluten free items into the house. There are more obstacles to address but this is a good place to start.
Step #6 – Create Short Term Wins – I will need to think about this one further but my instinct will be pausing at times to recognize the changes that we have been able to make and compare those against how we feel. I will also set out the goal of trying a new recipe or two a week and creating a binder of tried and true meals that work and are tasty.
Step #7 – Build on the Change – There will be plenty of opportunities to build on the change given all the social events that occur that will challenge us and force us to be creative in how to handle them (i.e. dinner at friends, eating out, birthday parties, family gatherings, etc.). After each event we will need to reflect on how we could have approached the event differently and learn from the experience so we are better prepared or have great solutions that don’t make anyone feel deprived. The other aspect of this is to politely educate immediate family, children’s classes and close friends about what we are doing and how they can support us. The good thing is that more and more people are going gluten free and it is no longer considered a ‘weird’ thing to do.
Step # 8 – Anchor the changes in ‘Family’ Culture – This comes down to educating everyone in the family why we are doing this, explain the health benefits and the effects of gluten and processed foods. In the end, I believe that are meal experiences will be more enriched for we will have a better understanding and appreciation of what we are putting into our mouths.
To purchase the Wheat Belly book, check out Amazon: