Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Start Gluten Free

So - here it is - My first 4 days of trial and error and trying to figure out how to be "Gluten Free".

  • Lesson number 1- I still don't know what gluten really is, I mean I kinda get it- but I do know this - that bastard is in EVERYTHING.
    •  I'm not exaggerating people - it's not just flour in your bread. It comes in all shapes and sizes and hidden forms and hidden places .
  • My first 2 days I went to all the grocery stores around me and checked out their specialty sections to see what was available - talk about overwhelming - but I think it was a good exercise to prepare me for food prep moving on.
  • I bought a few staples to get me started
    • New Cutting boards
    • New cooking utensils 
    • I threw out my wooden cooking spoons to avoid contamination just in case
    • Udi's Gluten Free White Bread (surprisingly I found this to be delicious) and had both a  PB & J sandwich (made with my personal peanut butter jar - it has MOMMY written all over it) AND a grilled cheese the next day
    • Tate's Glute Free Chocolate Chip cookies (note, not all Tates cookies are GF. I grabbed the double chocolate ones assuming they were GF and had to take them back for the Chocolate chip ones) These were also very good albeit - EXPENSIVE
    • Fruits and Vegetables - if you can grow it, it's gluten free so I even broke down and got celery to have with peanut butter as snacks
    • Gluten free crackers (and cheddar cheese for protein-ish) snacks
    • Pamela's GF Flour (thank you dear Anastasia for the reccomendation)
    • Kind Bars - The Dark Chocolate Chunk with Quinoa are my current go to
    • Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, raising and Ghirardlli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate to make my own trail mix (it took about 5 minutes this morning to confirm that this chocolate was in fact, Gluten Free)
    • Gluten Free Pancake Mix
    • Various types of gluten free rice (quinoa, rice based)

I survived a day at the beach with my nut/raisin mix, apples, and PB&J on gluten free bread. On the way home, my family had McDonalds and I just drank my water.(grumble) For dinner that night, we had tacos made with Gluten Free Seasoning mix and corn tortillas that were deemed Gluten Free after looking it up during my trip to the grocery store. All in all, it was a fine day.

Day 2 was a little harder because I was unusually hungry - so I went to the store and did more research and stocked up on MORE fruits and veggies.
  • Here are things I found Gluten in over the weekend that surprised me
    • Gatorade
    • Oatmeal (unless it's certified Gluten Free)
    • Oikos cucumber and dill dip
    • Onion dip
    • Some corn chips
    • Flavorings - like all flavorings (more on that later)
    • Anything that has Caramel coloring (adios Starbucks)
    • Spice mixes
    • Drink mixes (goodbye NesQuik)
    • Medicines & vitamins
    • Some flavored Ice Creams
    • Some flavored rice cakes
    • Some Microwave Popcorn
    • Things that say "What Free"
All in all, it hasn't been that bad to be honest. Yes, I have to cook more and prep more but I should be doing that anyway. My life for the next few weeks will be label reading and internet research and I will probably avoid eating out as there is no way to guarantee I won't get cross contamination (and during the first 2 months I want to make sure I can really test the Gluten Free/Thyroid connection completely so don't want to risk it) The bummer is that seriously, before I put anything in my mouth - I have to stop and google to see if it's gluten free (regular M&M's are) 

I now have to think about every single thing I eat. I was most surprised when I wanted to grab some pre-made Guacamole and pre-made veggie dips and realized I had to research some of the hard to pronounce ingredients. Boo to the fact that Gluten finds it's way into everything. I mean, Gatorade and Nesquik? REALLY?? Veggie dips made with yogurt? Sigh - it'll be plain carrots for me until I can find a way to make safe onion dip.

It's ok - it's forcing me to be in control and I am kind of excited at the prospect of eliminating all this crap from my body. I mean, the fact that there is potentially some sort of wheat in drinks and dips makes it hit home for me how UN-foody the food we eat really is.

I wish you luck is you are starting this adventure too and hope that some of my lessons will help you get started as I find it incredibly overwhelming at first. Lucky for me I have a FB family that's helping me along! Anyone have favorite snacks they'd like to add to my list - comment below of FB me:)

Also - I highly suggest you DON'T take your kids with you to the grocery store when you are trying to figure this all out at first. Although adorable - it was tough to read labels with them asking me every 5 seconds if everything they could see had gluten in it.  It was funny however to see how when things they love to eat came up in conversation - they clarified that they still can, in fact, eat gluten - therefore Oreo's and goldfish are not off limits for them. It's sweet! And so far they are pretty supportive because I'm not forcing them into it too.


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