Gotta go gluten free?
A friend of mine was told she has irritable bowl syndrome. She wanted to try the gluten free diet to see if it relieves her symptoms. I’m no expert but I have had a five+ year struggle making gluten free, family friendly and PICKY eater friendly. 🙂 So here are some of my tips that don’t involve running out to the health food store and laying down a small fortune for a mini cart full of cardboard food. Though, I will say there are some things there I definitely splurge on from time to time that are delicious!
First things first. Write out your regular “go to” foods. What do you eat under stress? That’s a biggie because going gluten free is stressful… then replace them with something productive that actually sounds good so if for the time being it needs to be something not so good for you, give yourself some slack and go ahead and eat the ice cream! Girl, you know what I talking about. Just go easy and in time you will find a more suitable alternative. Don’t get all crazy on me now.
So, for example you eat a lot of meat and casseroles.
- Find casseroles with tortilla ingredients and tomato base instead of cream base.
- Meats are great, grill them in minimal marinade something like salt and lime instead of basting.
- Use hummus in place of creamy dressings if you need to cut out milk with gluten.
- Tempted to go for soups? Buy Amy’s broth and tomato soup in the box at Costco and use it to make home delightful home made soups.
- Are you in a time crunch? Pre-make a big batch of trail mix. Again, Costco has all kinds of nuts, berries and such. Most commercial trail mix has a large chance of being cross contaminated but if you make it yourself you can read every label.
- Chips get you into trouble? Go for corn chips or potato chips (carefully read the label for teriyaki or BBQ flavorings that might contain wheat)
- Crackers? There are some decent rice crackers available.
Having trouble reading labels? EDITED TO ADD… Here is a great post by one of my favorite Gluten Free Bloggers on this subject. Read the comments, there is a really helpful discussion going on over at Gluten Free Homemaker!
- Look first for the bold GLUTEN FREE usually located at the bottom of the ingredients box or sometimes scrolled across the front of the item near the title.
- Next check the allergen warning under the NUTRITION FACTS box. It usually says CONTAINS: egg, milk, gluten
- If that still checks out then scour the ingredients looking for hidden sources of gluten like malt or malt flavor, whole grain, spelt, barley, soy sauce, oats etc.
- Does the label say “processed in a facility that also processes wheat”? Skip it then, it’s not worth the chance.
- Remember Wheat Free is not Gluten Free
Do you have any other blind spots like… “I always cheat with a piece of toast in the morning.”
I’d say splurge on a box of gluten free frozen waffles at the health food store.
What else? I needed to remind myself of these simple ideas and get back to the “What CAN I eat” mentality instead of focusing on what I can’t eat. Thanks to my friend for this reminder.
Post those blind spots and we’ll brain storm!