I have promised you this post, so it’s about time I delivered!
Being Gluten-Free has been a way of life for me since 2002. It may seem strange to some of my readers, but these days, most of the general population has at least somewhat of an interest in the topic. Whether or not you yourself are trying to eliminate gluten from your diet, most of us at least know someone who is.
In this post, I attempt to not only give you some recommended products, but a few small tips on how you can accomplish this lifestyle, or graciously accommodate those who already do.
When I first found out about celiac disease, I had never heard of it, much less knew how to eat a diet totally free of gluten. And what the heck was gluten, anyway?
But I am one of those people who will research the dickens out of a subject, so it didn’t take me too long to become very educated on the gluten-free lifestyle. I learned that there is a difference between gluten-sensitivity, a wheat allergy, and celiac disease.
With my physician being 99.9% certain that I had celiac disease, I learned that even a small amount of gluten is dangerous for me to ingest, but that it wouldn’t manifest itself in a systemic ‘reaction’ the way a wheat allergy would. The danger is not even an immediate one, although I do have ‘gut’ pain when I accidentally get ‘glutened’. The danger in celiac disease is that the villi in the small intestine are damaged or destroyed, causing malabsorption of food. The failure to absorb nutrients can lead to other, more severe problems, such as various types of cancer, malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, even depression and other ‘mental’ symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate.
Here a couple of the best resources to educate oneself on the subject:
Living Gluten Free for Dummies by Danna Korn
Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic by Green/Jones
Now for a few tips on eating gluten-free or supporting someone who does.
- Do your research. Learn as much as you can, both about the gluten-free lifestyle and about whatever reason you have for adopting it! If you have a positive diagnosis for celiac disease, learn everything you can about what it is, how it affects your body, and what foods contain gluten. If you just want to eliminate gluten for a healthier lifestyle, read about that too. Athletes have been doing it for years in order to improve their energy levels and physical performance!
- Try new things. OK, this one sounds simple enough! When I first found out that I could no longer eat any flour-based food, I thought that I would ever again enjoy the likes of pasta, pizza or even a simple sandwich. Well, fortunately for so many, there are now many of these products to choose from, and many tasty recipes to try! There is no need to mourn your favorite foods… you just have to modify them!
- Do some prep-work. I sat beside a nice lady at a professional luncheon once, and we struck up a conversation. She asked me why I wasn’t eating, and I began to explain to her that I must eat ‘gluten-free’. ‘Oh, me too!’ she said, while enjoying a plate of beef stroganoff with noodles. I politely responded that since I wasn’t sure, that I’d better not. But, bless her heart, gluten was all in it… the noodles, the sauce, and the rolls served alongside. You want to be able to size up a plate and pretty much determine what’s in something. If it looks like gravy, it probably is! I have been known to contact an establishment beforehand and speak with kitchen staff to alert them that I will need a gluten-free offering. If I can’t contact them prior, I will ask on the spot. I have found most chefs/wait staff to be very helpful. (I even alerted the staff of the cruise ship before our cruise, and they were extremely accommodating! I always had a gluten-free meal, including GF bread!!)
- Carry a healthy GF snack with you. This I learned the hard way! If you’re attending an event that you just cannot control what might be served, eat a little something beforehand and bring a snack with you, if possible. Or if you are asked to bring a dish, bring something substantial that you can eat and everyone else can enjoy as well!
- Be understanding and accommodating of others who are gluten-free. I realize the need for tactfulness here, but I am seeing things from the GF person’s vantage point! If you are hosting a gluten free person, make an effort to accommodate them! Even though I always tell friends and family not to plan a meal around my dietary requirements, I am always SO grateful when they attempt to include something that I can enjoy! When my mom was still with us and preparing meals, she made the effort to adapt the bulk of her cooking to gluten-free. Now, I know that was my mother, but it isn’t really that hard to do! If you’re making a casserole that has a soup in it, buy the GF version! If it has crushed crackers on top… the same, or leave them off. Strawberry pretzel salad? Use GF pretzels. If a thickened sauce, use corn starch instead of flour. You don’t have to go so far as bake a GF cake, but just try to make sure you have something that your GF guest can enjoy, without having a mere serving of green beans on their plate!
Now, some of my favorite products that have helped me thrive, gluten-free:
- Nature’s Path Organic Corn Flakes
- Nature’s Path Organic Mesa Sunrise Cereal
- bionaturae Organic Elbow Pasta
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Homemade Wonderful Bread Mix
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix
- Pamela’s Products Cake Mix
- Pamela’s Simplebites Mini Cookies
- Udis Gluten Free Plain Bagel
- Udi’s – White Sandwich Bread Loaf
- Chex Rice Cereal
- Health Valley Cream Of Chicken Soup
The best way to go gluten-free is to eliminate most processed foods. You’re good sticking with foods in their purest forms… fruits and veggies, grilled meats and so forth. But most of us have the occasional hankering for something ‘bread-y’, whether it be pasta or a slice of cake! The foods above have helped me so much!
In the coming weeks, I will share more of the recipes and tips that help me maintain my health through a gluten-free lifestyle. Stay Tuned!
Explore something new today!
Some links on this page are affiliate links… meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support in this way!