No More Worry You’re Doing it Wrong: Gluten Freedom in 5 Simple Steps

You’ve made the decision to go gluten free. And I have to commend you because it’s a great decision. If you’re going to start quieting your Crohn’s or colitis symptoms with food, glorious food, then eliminating gluten really is your perfect starting place.

But now that you’ve made the decision to eat gluten free, how do you get started? That’s what this episode of The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD is all about.

If gluten free is your destination, I’ve got you covered.

We’re talking about:

  • Three, must know, facts about how the FDA treats gluten in the United States
  • Your #1 resource for finding hidden gluten
  • The ideal length of time to give your new gluten free life before deciding if it’s working
  • What are your next steps if eating gluten free doesn’t work

And so much more!

After this episode, you’ll have everything you need to get started on your gluten free journey with the confidence and perseverance you need to make it work for you.

Episode at a Glance:

  • [08:55] Beware of these whole foods that you might not think contain gluten
  • [11:14] Three, must know, facts about how the FDA treats gluten in the United States
  • [13:10] Why looking for the word “gluten” on food products doesn’t help
  • [14:56] How ignoring the Nutrition Facts Panel is the key to gluten free food shopping
  • [17:30] Your #1 resource for finding hidden gluten
  • [19:55] Where all the naturally gluten free foods hang out in the grocery store
  • [25:16] How meal planning can save you time and money as you start your new gluten free life
  • [28:47] Picking your gluten free date is the best way to ensure you get started
  • [30:20] The ideal length of time to give your new gluten free life before deciding if it’s working
  • [31:58] What are your next steps if eating gluten free doesn’t work
  • [27:47] The best way to take your gut healing journey to the next level

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Mentioned in This Episode


Workshop going on LIVE July 22, 2021

DM me on Facebook for Your Hidden Gluten Ingredients List

The Gut Love Community

Episode 34: Who Else is Confused About Gluten?

Episode Transcript:

You’ve made the decision to go gluten free. And I have to commend you because it’s a great decision. If you’re going to start quieting your Crohn’s or colitis symptoms with food, glorious food, then eliminating gluten really is your perfect starting place.

But now that you’ve made the decision to eat gluten free, how do you get started? That’s what this episode is all about.

If gluten free is your destination, I’ve got you covered.

Gluten freedom in 5 simple steps, here we go!


INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.


[01:26] Welcome dear one, we meet again. I’m so happy that we’re sharing this time together. Crohn’s and colitis can be a monster, and here we are lifting each other up, talking about this invisible disease no one seems to really gets but us. I don’t know about you, but in my life, it’s rare that I find someone who gets what my life is like as a mom with IBD. I’m so grateful that we have this opportunity to connect today. Let’s use our time together to take big, bold IBD action steps!

Sound good?

So, something I know, when you make a decision as big as trying a gluten free diet, I know that you’ve given this a lot of thought. You’re sick and tired of being on the medication merry-go-round with little to no results. You’re IBD isn’t getting better. Toxic medication after toxic medication is offered to you as a cover up for your symptoms. All of the diarrhea, the abdominal pain, the bloating and gas after you eat, the soul sucking fatigue, and the treatments that give you with nasty side effects, leave you feeling that you’re never going to be the mom you know you can be and deserve to be.

And I know something about the way you’re feeling because I felt exactly that way back in 2007 when I started planning my gluten free journey. Man was it tough back then. No one knew what gluten meant, I didn’t know what gluten meant. I had never heard of it before. It was rough navigating this new world.

In this episode, our focus is on how to get started when you already know what gluten is and why it’s a good idea to remove it from your diet. But if you’re still thinking about the what and why of gluten, I highly recommend you go back to episode 34: Who Else is Confused About Gluten? That’s the episode where I start at the beginning and lay out exactly what gluten is and why you want to avoid it. You can think of that episode as part I and this episode as part II on your way to gluten freedom. Both episodes do stand alone, but together they are golden.

Before we move into my 5 step plan, the “how” on your road to gluten freedom, let me give the gluten free 10 cent tor. You’ll want to go back and take a full listen to episode 34, but this is at least the gist.


The biggest thing I want you to know about gluten before we get to your 5 steps is that gluten and IBD just don’t mix. I’m not going to sugar coat it. You know I’m a straight shooter so I’m telling you straight, no cap. Out of the hundreds of IBDer’s I’ve had the pleasure to meet and chat with in the gut love community, I’ve rarely met someone who’s rockin’ their IBD remission on gluten.

And that might sound like really bad news to you, but I prefer to actually look at is as a positive. If you remain gluten free—and it’s so much easier today than ever before—look at the life you can have! Less gut pain, less trips to the bathroom, less bloating, less gas, less painful joints and skin rashes, etc, etc… Powerful stuff.

Remember that gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and other grains. Like I said, gluten and IBD don’t mix. Think of gluten as the wart-nosed witch. And it’s the food grade equivalent of white school gluten—all sticky, gooey, gelatinous, and generic. And the gluten of just 50 years ago, isn’t the gluten you’re ingesting today due to farming practices to yield more and grow faster crops. Wheat and other glutenous grains are not your friend.

[06:17] Gluten can create so much damage to our intestine that we flare up, and worse, it can then move into our bloodstream and inflame our joints, our skin, and even our brain. Gluten has been linked to brain fog, lack of focus, anxiety, depression, ADHD, headaches, even neurological challenges like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

OK, that’s really the reader’s digest version of your gluten free why not, but enough to catch you up so we can move on to the how. After listening to this episode, head over to 34 for the complete picture. You’ll be glad you did.


Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a system, a framework, a step-by-step guide, a tutorial. Just give me the steps so I can “have at it.”. Gluten freedom in 5 simple steps is a complete plug-in play system, so follow it to a T, and you’ll be moving on to gluten freedom in no time.

Step #1: Know what you’re looking for.

[07:34] Knowing what gluten is, doesn’t always hep you know how to look for it. And knowing what to look for is all about reading the food label. We’re going to get there, I’m going to get you all set up for what to look for on the food label, but I also want you to be able to find gluten if the food doesn’t have a food label so let’s start there. If there’s no label, the best thing to remember is that food in its whole and natural state doesn’t contain gluten.

We’re talking plain fruit, plain vegetables, plain protein (beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, and seafood). Eggs are gluten free, plain butter is gluten free, plain oils (without any seasonings) are gluten free. Plain milk and other dairy products are gluten free, plain unseasoned nuts and seeds are gluten free. And there are some grains that don’t contain gluten either like rice and quinoa. See a pattern here? Plain, unmarinated, unseasoned, unflavored whole foods are gluten free.


In some cases though, even with whole foods, I want to you be wary. Like yogurt, which is a dairy product, is gluten free, but topped with granola, not gluten free. Some yogurt flavorings contain gluten. Plain meat is gluten free, but pre-marinated or pre-seasoned meat may not necessarily be gluten free. Often times, it isn’t. A block of plain cheddar cheese, gluten free, but store bought shredded cheese in a package is often not gluten free because they add flour as an anti-caking agent to keep the shreds from sticking together. Veggies without dip or salad dressing is gluten free, but add the dip, and now you’re likely getting glutened.

See how adding in one ingredient to your plain, whole food can change everything. That doesn’t mean you have to eat everything plain. Hell to the no! It just means you either need to read the label and look for the words gluten free, or add your own seasonings at home. There’s amazing flavor you can add with your own seasonings. Eating GF can be amazingly flavorful and delish. In fact, I’m willing to bet a whole new world of flavor is just around the corner for you. Just you wait and see.

In step #1, we found out what to look for. In step 2, we go looking for it.


We look for it by knowing how to read food labels. We become a gluten free super sleuth. You already know how to look for gluten when there isn’t a label, now we tackle looking for gluten when there’s a label attached, and that label on our packaged, box, or canned food, unfortunately, that label is meant to confuse us.

When it comes to food labels and gluten, there’s three things that are most important for you to know to break through the confusion about what contains gluten and what doesn’t.

#1: In the United States, gluten-free food labeling is completely voluntary. This is not the case in every country, so if you don’t live in the U.S. you’ll want to check what your countries regulations are for transparency with gluten containing foods. But in the U.S., there is no FDA (food and drug administration) mandate that requires a product to say it’s gluten free. So just because a product doesn’t say gluten-free doesn’t mean that it isn’t. For example, you don’t typically see the words gluten free on a carton of eggs, but they are naturally gluten free. But, #2, if the product does say gluten-free you can be sure that it contains less than “20 ppm of gluten” and trust me when I tell you that’s pretty low. For most people who are gluten-free including Celiac’s, that is usually low enough.  #3: The last thing I want you to know about reading food labels is that the FDA does not require a front label of a product to say that it contains gluten.

If this doesn’t clear things up for you yet for guaranteed gluten free shopping, don’t worry, we’ll get there. Understanding gluten and food labeling is a tricky task. That’s why knowing how to read a food label is about the most important thing for us to talk about. You just can’t go 100% gluten free unless you understand food labeling.


So right about now, you might be thinking, can I just look for the word gluten. Well, no, because remember, food manufactures aren’t required to tell us that their product contains gluten. In fact, they pretty much never do. The ingredients, though, never lie. That’s why it’s up to us to be gluten free super sleuths to know if an ingredient has gluten in it. For example, ingredients like Brewer’s yeast, semolina, spelt, and dextrimaltose all contain gluten. When you know which words = gluten, you’re living the life of gluten freedom.

Let’s talk about how we do this.

[14:57] It all starts with food labels. We need to understand that a food label has three parts. And when I’m talking about “food labels” I’m talking about the nutrition facts panel. That’s the food label I’m talking about. It might be on the side of the product, it might be on the back of the packaging… it’s there somewhere because the nutrition facts is required by the FDA (the food and drug administration) so just move the box or package or can around until you find the nutrition facts.

There three distinct parts of a food label and they include the nutrition facts panel, the ingredient statement, and the Allergan statement. Most of us are taught to read the nutrition facts panel where you see how much fat or carbohydrate, salt or sugar a product contains, but when it comes to gluten, I’m going to tell you to ignore that part. The two parts we are most interested in are the ingredient statement and the Allergan statement.

The first place you’ll always go to look for gluten is the Allergan statement. It is at the bottom of the nutrition facts panel. One of the allergens that the FDA requires be listed there is wheat. If you see the word wheat in the allergens statement you know that this product contains gluten. And you’re going to step away from the package.


Now I wish that this was a full proof way to avoid all gluten but unfortunately, as we’ve learned, gluten comes in many forms. It’s not just found in wheat. So after you look at the allergens statement, it’s time to look at the ingredient list. Check for obvious sources of gluten like wheat and barley and rye, but also look for that hidden gluten that I just mentioned. Those words that don’t say gluten, but they mean that there’s a gluten in the product. Now there are way too many hidden gluten words for me to tell you all of them on this episode, but I do have a complete list. If you want a copy of my Hidden Gluten “Never Eat” Unsafe Ingredient List, feel free to DM me on Facebook and I will send a copy your way. On Facebook I am @TheIBDHealthCoach.

I love chatting with you over there on my new Facebook page so hit me up and I will be happy to send it your way. @TheIBDHealthCoach.

Now that you know how to read the food label to check for the obvious and the not so obvious gluten, it’s kick step 2 (looking for gluten) into high gear. It’s time to put your newfound knowledge into practice. Let’s start with your pantry. Look at all of your boxed, packaged, and canned foods. Check out their labels and see what contains gluten. You’re going to be really surprised at all of the pantry foods that contain gluten. Ones you never even suspected.

Soy sauce? Yep, contains gluten. Most salad dressings? Yep, contains gluten. Teriyaki sauce? Yep, contains gluten. Now that’s not to say that we can’t find gluten-free version of these foods. There is gluten free soy sauce, it’s called tamari. There’s lots of gluten-free salad dressings out there, you just have to know where to find them. When we start to look for gluten free alternatives, we see that they are everywhere. We just have to know where to look.

Once you accomplish a pantry clean out, it’s time to go to the grocery store. Step #2 is all about going out and looking for it, gluten free food that is, so go for it, take a trip to the grocery store and start checking out different foods. You don’t have to buy anything during this trip, this is more of a reconnaissance to see if you can find foods that don’t contain gluten. Remember, your best bet is going to be looking for foods that are naturally gluten-free. And those are the foods that I mentioned earlier. The vegetables, meats, fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs, and yogurt. Food that’s in his whole and natural, plain state is usually gluten-free.


[19:55] This is the kind of food that doesn’t come in a can, a package, or a box. This is the kind of food you find on the perimeter of the grocery store. Try to stay here as much as possible and there will be no second-guessing whether a food has gluten in it or not.

When it comes to the grocery store isles, the boxes, the cans, the packaging, always look at your food label. You now know how to read it. So, look to see if it contains gluten. If it does, you know it’s time to step away from the package and move on to something else.

I want you to come back from your reconnaissance mission with a sense of pride because you did it mama. You took an amazing step, the knowledge building step. What’s that they say about knowledge and insight? It’s half the battle.

Step 2 to gluten freedom, done.

In step #1 we found out what we were looking for, and step #2 we went looking for it, now in step #3 it’s time to make a plan for gluten freedom.


Will you go all in or maybe dip a tow in and go gluten-free meal by meal? Maybe this week you’ll try breakfast, and next week you’ll add lunch and so on. There’s no perfect way to do this and going all in doesn’t necessarily mean you’re more committed than the folks who take the dip a toe in approach. Remember when it comes to healing our IBD, we have to match our symptoms and our lifestyle. Keep your lifestyle in mind when you’re deciding what you want to commit to and how long you want to take to commit.

The planning step will also involve your family. Is it just you going gluten-free or is the whole family going for it as well? Going gluten free is healthy for everyone so there’s no reason why everyone in the family can’t go gluten-free with you. It’s really a personal choice and of course it involves that lifestyle component again. Do you have time to cook separate meals for different family members? Will you feel more supported if family members are doing the gluten-free life with you?

I know what you’re going through here because I remember not that long ago trying to make this decision for my family as well. Most of the food we have in our house is gluten-free, but occasionally some pasta or bread with gluten in it will make its way into our house. I don’t intentionally make things that have gluten in it, but I also don’t want to make everyone feel resentful of my diet. I try to walk a fine line and stick with things that are naturally gluten-free. That way no one feels like they’re missing out.

I remember my client Penny telling me that when she decided to go gluten-free, they had a big family meeting to talk about it. Penny had teenagers and she really wanted to get their opinion before she brought all gluten-free food home. To her surprise, Penny’s teenagers said they really wanted to support her. Plus, they were really into sports and being physically fit so they thought that it might be a good idea for them to try as well. That’s what worked for Penny’s family. Everyone’s family is different but it’s good to take some time in the planning phase to figure out what works best for your family situation.


Once you decide whether you’re going to go all in on day one or take the escalator approach down to the finish line, and you decide whether your family will eat gluten-free with you or if it’ll just be you riding the gluten-free train, it’s time for some meal planning. It’s time to figure out what you’ll be eating and when for at least the first week I’d say. Deciding on the meals you’ll eat, the ingredients you’ll need for the meals you want to make, making a list for the grocery store, heading to the grocery store to buy what you need (you already did the reconnaissance so this should be fairly easy), and then coming home and meal prepping those meals because that’s what’s going to save you time and money in this whole gut healing adventure that you’re a part of now.

[25:16] Don’t let the whole meal planning part of your new eating plan overwhelm you. This is the place I see many moms stop, but it can be done. If you’re completely new to meal planning on an IBD eating plan and if you want to get a jump start on the meal planning part of eating gluten free (the deciding what to eat, figuring out the ingredients, meal prepping it all)… if you want some help figuring this out just a little bit faster (and you’re listening to this episode in real time), I want you to know that I have a brand-new live training all about Crohn’s and colitis meal planning made easy.

And it’s all going down tonight. July 22, 2021, at 5 PM EST. If you want to join me live for my meal planning workshop, all you have to do is go to That’s A replay will be available so if you aren’t able to join us live, still sign up and I will send a replay your way. I hope you’ll join me live though because there’s just a wonderful energy that happens in the live exchange and you’ll also be able to get your questions answered in real time. And one last reason to join live is that today is my birthday, so I am giving away some extra special bonuses for everyone who shows up live. The Crohn’s and Colitis Meal Planning workshop happening tonight. Hope to see you there.

OK, so you gluten-free goddess, you know what you’re looking for when it comes to gluten and you have gone to look for it. You’ve also made an amazing plan that includes how you go about it, will the family join you, and you’ve done all the meal planning and meal prep and you’re ready to start eating gluten free. What’s next?


Step #4 is next. And Step #4 on your gluten-freedom plan is to go for it, dive in. Whatever diving means for you. So many people that I see start a gut healing diet like gluten-free with gusto, only to quit a few days later when they don’t see results. We know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your gut health. Going gluten free isn’t the kind of thing where you wake up after a week and say oh my goodness I am healed! So, when you dive in, dive in for the long-haul.

When you follow the steps that I’ve laid out for you today, you’ll be prepared to start your gluten-free life. And preparation is really the name of the game when it comes to sticking with a gut healing diet. Those who go in knowing exactly what gluten is and where to find it, those who prepare their weekly menu ahead of time, and meal prep ahead of time are much more likely to be successful in the long run.

When will you dive into gluten freedom? Go head, think about it right now while we’re chatting. Tomorrow? In one week? In one month? When will the time be right for you? And don’t just say a season or a month, I want you to pick the day out. August 1 has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? Or maybe you feel like the kids need to be back in school before you can commit, that’s OK. How about September 1st?

Are the wheels turning? Did you pick a day? Awesome, now put that date on your calendar. All you need to do to make that your reality is go through steps 1, 2 and 3 before that date. You can do it, remember get in touch if you want some help. That’s what I’m here for.

OK, last step, step #5.

You’re rocking that gluten-free life. You’re all in. You’re not cheating, you’re giving it your all, the kinks have been worked out and you are feeling really confident about planning, cooking, and eating gluten-free.

It’s time to assess.

[30:20] Ideally, you’ll give gluten freedom a minimum of three months before you take a look at how it’s going. Now, I wouldn’t expect miracles in three months, but hopefully you will see some improvement in how you feel. Researchers tell us that gluten can stay in the body for up to six months, but the three-month mark is a great place to just step back and ask yourself, how’s it going?

Do I have any less diarrhea?

Do I have less bloating and gas after mealtime?

Do I have more energy, less headaches or brain fog?

Did the skin rashes clear up?

The answers to these questions or questions like these will help you determine if gluten-free is worth continuing to help keep your gut symptoms and you’re beyond the gut symptoms in check.


You might say yes, I feel fantastic. I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life! If that’s the case, you’re going to keep rocking your gluten-free life. You’re going to feel really grateful that you stumbled onto something that can really protect your health and ensure your gut loving future.

Or, although it’s highly unlikely, you might say nope, this didn’t really help me at all. I gave it a fair shot, I didn’t cheat, not even once, but it just didn’t help me. Know that this is not the end of the line for you. There’s so many healing mechanisms when it comes to Crohn’s and colitis. Keep searching and keep trying new things within the food, lifestyle, mindset realm because I know that there is a path out there for you.

And if you’re like many of my clients, you’ll say to yourself wow, this gluten-free life is helping me. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I do see some benefit. I wonder what else I could do to help me feel even better. What can I combine with living gluten-free to help me feel even better?


I’m not gonna lie to you mama, Crohn’s and colitis are both a complicated beast. There isn’t usually one healing fix. Using a gluten-free diet can be life-changing, but it usually is one spoke in your wheel of wellness. I’ve talked about your wheel of wellness before on this podcast, but we all have this invisible wheel rolling along beside us as we move about our life. This wheel has many spokes on it, just like a bike wheel. One of those spokes might be eating gluten free, another might be some type of daily movement, another might be you’re a doctor, another for meditation or another spiritual practice, and another might be a health coach like me. Healing takes a village and your wheel of wellness gives you a village of health.

Step five in your gluten freedom plan gives you the power to assess where you’re at with your wheel of wellness, to add spokes when you need them and change out the spokes that are no longer serving you.

Step #5, assessing where you’re at is a step you’ll come back to over and over on your IBD journey. I’ve had Crohn’s for 34 years and I’m constantly coming back to step 5, making tweaks and moving forward again.

I wish I could tell you that going gluten free is the cure for Crohn’s and Colitis. The truth is, it’s not a cure, but it definitely can be a game changer. Let it be a game changer for you when you follow these 5 steps.

[34:38] Let’s go over them one last time.

Step #1 Know what you’re looking for (know what gluten is and where it hides).

Step #2 Go looking for it (in your pantry and in the grocery store) and that all starts with knowing how to read your food label.

Step #3 Make a plan (a plan that includes not just your symptoms but your lifestyle, one that takes your family into account, and one that includes meal planning)

Step #4 Dive in with gusto and give it your all, no cheats

Step #5 Asses (not after 3 days, not after 1 week, but after a minimum of 3 months of consistently being gluten free- not cheats). Make tweaks to your wheel of wellness and keep moving forward to keep IBD in its place.

Remember my dear friend, if you want to join me live tonight to learn more about how you can take your gluten free diet to the next level and get results faster with meal planning, there’s still time to register for my Crohn’s and Colitis Meal Planning Made Easy Workshop. It all starts at 5pm EST. The link to register is in the show notes or you can go to

Hope to see you there.

Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.

Chat soon!

Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.

[36:52] One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.

My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.

Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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