The gradual shift towards minimalism and simple living was key in helping me heal holistically as a someone embarking on a gluten free journey with celiac disease. When I first adopted the gluten-free diet after a celiac disease diagnosis, I was overwhelmed. A new way of eating became a new way of living with a total lifestyle overhaul. Replacing kitchen cookware and appliances is required when adopting a strict gluten free diet with Celiac -- getting rid of most things in my kitchen was the accidental beginning of my gluten free minimalist journey.
In this post you'll find:
- What is Minimalism?
- What I enjoy most about Minimalism as a Gluten-Free eater
- Tips I wish I knew when I started my Minimalist gluten-free journey
- A note on Audible, my favorite catalyst for lifestyle change!
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism is a movement that means simplifying your life. Whether it’s paring down your possessions, obligations, or other aspects of life, it’s about “living with less”. For me, it means knowing what’s essential to my happiness while simplifying the rest.
Minimalism is one small word but it tends to be very polarizing. On one hand, the movement has many logical benefits. But like all things, there are enough people taking it to extremes that it seems unattainable.
You may notice that my recipes are simple, I’m not on all social media platforms, and I’m currently living in a tiny home (on wheels). At this point, you could even argue that I sit on the extreme side of minimalism. But you don’t need to take it to extremes or adopt hard and fast rules to get the benefits as a gluten free eater!
What I enjoy most about Minimalism as a Gluten-Free Eater:
To me, gluten free minimalism was a two step process where both added unexpected joys and made gluten free living more manageable. The first was accidental: simplify your life to cope with the added burden of gluten free and chronic illness. The second was realizing I could simplify my life further to focus on things that truly make me happy.
Step 1: Simplify to Cope
With less kitchen appliances, dishes, and ingredients I could eat, I accidentally adopted a minimalist kitchen. While I grieved the loss of some items, I immediately noticed that my kitchen chores shortened to 10 minutes per day. Clean up was so much faster and recipes were made with less ingredients, though they were admittedly less flavorful in the beginning.
As my partner and I gradually increased the number of plates, dishes, and foods in the cupboards, we noticed a greater strain on our time and we became yo-yo gluten free eaters: we ate really great meals one day and then scrounged around for days after.
We struggled with this for years. Honestly, we struggled with yo-yo gluten free eating until I started recording recipes on the blog. Back when no one was reading VgF but me and my partner, I began recording very simple recipes with 3 ingredients, 5 ingredients, 8 ingredients max. Then we experimented with new hands-off methods for "stir-fry" baked in the oven and ther favorites.
The transformation was amazing! We ate better, cooked in big simple batches, and curbed our tendency to spend forever in the kitchen one night only to burn out for the rest of the week.
Fun fact: When we switched to van life a few months ago, we went through the same yo-yo struggle and it took time to readjust to a new sustainable normal. I’d say two months in, we’re nearly there 😉
Occasionally we cook more involved meals for special occasions, but we generally find that flavorful and simple meals are the best way to happy and sustainable gluten free living.
Step 2: Simplify for Joy
I was not initially captivated by the “does it bring you joy” aspect of minimalism and would joke that if I followed this rule literally, I would have no pants. I was finally won over by the impact of a simplified kitchen: more time spent over good gluten free meals and less time worrying about my gluten free diet!
With the kitchen blueprint, I simplified my wardrobe, my activities, and even who I spent time with. You can see earlier stages of my transformation by reading my Stress Relief post — it was written when I was just beginning to adopt these ideas.
By simplifying these other areas of my life, I made time for the following:
- starting Vibrantly g-Free
- planning for a year of travel
- and celebrating more with friends and family
Occasionally, I do miss my old ways and possessions, but what I gained is far more valuable than what I lost.
Tips I’d give my younger self when adopting a more Minimalist Lifestyle:
1. Be steadfastedly YOU in any lifestyle change!
You can choose to be a minimalist in one area like your gluten free kitchen or allow it to slowly (or intentionally) meander into other areas of your life.
You can own 100 scarves, hats, and shoes, but only three pairs of pants. In our book of minimalism, anything goes! Don’t let anyone deter you by saying otherwise.
2. Minimalism is a journey, not a destination.
That means you’re always refining what works for you.
Here are two examples along my journey to show what I mean:
- After setting my mug collection aside, I missed reminiscing on the stories behind each one in the morning. I gave away a few, but still have the eight mugs that I appreciate most.
- I cut down on time spent with a friend. In a few weeks, I missed their support and camaraderie. I now make more time for this person and have a greater appreciation for our friendship.
3. Learn more to understand the core of the Minimalist movement.
I wish I knew that there are a million ways to be a minimalist, and hearing others’ stories sparked inspiration for my minimalist style!
My personal favorite teachers are:
The Joy of Less, by Francine Jay
I appreciated her down-to-earth, approachable voice as the first book I read on Minimalism. I wasn’t asked to find joy in my socks and the advice is very practical.
The Art of Decluttering, by Marie Kondo
Once I saw the benefits of Minimalism in my life, I was ready to enjoy the playful teachings of Marie Kondo. Her passion for organization is both whimsical and inspiring -- but with fierce dedication to her decluttering art.
Whichever flavor you choose, you can get a free listen through Audible, an Audiobook app for your phone. I use Audible while commuting to work, waiting in a parking lot, walking my dog, chopping veggies, or shopping at the supermarket.
Using Audible as a Catalyst for Lifestyle change
I first discovered Audible when I considered blogging. The first book I read was Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. As a busy teacher, soccer coach, and semi-maximalist hoping to be a blogger also, I did not feel that reading was a high priority unless it was for enjoyment or relaxation.
But Audible was nothing like I expected. The Audiobooks are read to you in soothing voices and my library includes favorite novels (like The Alchemist) in addition to books on self education (and business).
Audible fuels me with inspiration and motivation and is my most valuable tool for self development. And thanks to our partnership on this post, you can score a free month (which includes a free book of your choice + two free audible originals) and an additional free book of your choice (that's two - woo!). No commitment needed to give it a try!
- Minimalism played a big part in saving my happiness as a gluten free eater with Celiac Disease.
- A more minimalist mindset can be adopted slowly with great benefit.
- Our recipes and gluten free lifestyle posts reflect my favorite aspects of minimalism and can take you on the journey with me.
- Audible is an excellent tool to learn more about minimalism without adding stress to your life.
I hope you enjoyed my latest perspective piece. Let me know if you want more like it by commenting below or reaching out on social media!
More popular gluten-free reads:
- Why I Quit my Job after a Celiac Diagnosis
- 10 Things I wish my Friends knew about Celiac Disease
- Gluten Free Shampoo and Conditioner
- Gluten Free Grocery List + 10 Shopping Tips!
Check out our Recipe Index for loads of delicious (minimalist) Gluten Free recipes! All recipes are also dairy-free or include an easy dairy-free option.
With love and gratitude,
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