Pasta, Bread, Cookies, Pizza…
Why would you ever say goodbye to these wonderful LIFE staples!? Well, how about you find you’re allergic to gluten and they’re basically Krypontine to you?
When I first discovered as a teen that I was lactose-intolerant it was awful trying to navigate the lifestyle changes. Finding alternatives for my beloved milk, cheese and ice-cream were the least of my worries. Eating out became a nightmare, explaining that “it’s an allergy, not a preference” while fiercely praying that the kitchen might understand that I wasn’t TRYING To be high-maintenance and serve up my meal without any “special” presents from the kitchen. From helping a waitress to understand that yes that butter slathered on my toast might be delicious but it is still “diary” to learning how to navigate the hidden dairy in menus…food intolerance was frustrating and embarrassing to the extreme.
I state all of this only to lend validity to my statement, “gluten-intolerant friends… I UNDERSTAND your pain!” Whether it’s a choice to minimize gluten in your diet to an allergic necessity, the initial stages of gluten-free living will take work! I promise you though that like lactose intolerance you will learn what to look for and what to stay away from while embracing your choices as such and not as an ailment or your own personal “freak” button.
The may clinic has a GREAT article that lists gluten/gluten-free foods and what to generally avoid. Typically, you’ll need to avoid wheat, oats (unless specifically listed gluten-free), barley, rye, spelt and other flours. Gluten can reside in VERY obscure places so you will have to learn to navigate food labels. For example, beer and soy sauce contain gluten. As do many gravies, dressings and sauces. The Mayo Clinic Gluten-Free Article gives you a few great lists to read up on where you’ll find gluten and what to avoid.
Basic List of Gluten Free Foods
- Beans, seeds, nuts
- Eggs, Soy and most dairy products
- Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
- Fruits, vegetables
- Rice, Corn/Corn Meal, Flax, Quinoa
- Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean), Hominy (corn), Amaranth, Arrowroot, Buckwheat, Tapioca, Millet, Teff, Sorghum
So, now that you have a basic list of what your new best friend foods are, let’s dig into the FUN part!! Thankfully the now mainstream nature of food allergies has done wonders for the food industry. No longer does gluten-free mean “taste and texture of cardboard”. I LOVE giving my family and friends treats that are gluten-free and/or vegan only to tell them afterward that the cookie they just ate was in fact gluten AND diary free! I have to give a little humor here and share a name with you that you may here now that you are on a gluten-free path: glutard. Pronounced glue-tard. Definition: one who can not process gluten. I have my version also: lactard. Pronounced lack-tard. Definition: one who can not process lactose. (if you can’t laugh at yourself what’s this world coming t0!)
Here I have to pause and give a shout out to my wonderful local Flying Apron Cafe who has been helping glutards and lactards like ourselves enjoy cakes, cookies, muffins and savory dishes for years now! Their commitment to quality and TASTEFUL food paved the way for much of Seattle’s gluten-free progress and I’m forever grateful! If you’re not located in Seattle you can STILL enjoy their amazing food thanks to the new recipe book Flying Aprons Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book.
Our Tried and True Recipes
There have been quite a few requests for gluten-free recipes on the blog and we’ve been enjoying some wonderful gluten-free recipes that I’ve been posting on the Gluten-Free page as we try them! Also I wanted to highlight a few great sites for you. If you have any that you discover on your gluten-free journey that you’re loving PLEASE write and let me know so I can include them in this list! This is a journey for ALL of us to share and I’m happy to update this list as more resources that you find to be “tried and true” surface!
Update: I’ve also created a page dedicated to living gluten-free which you can view here: Gluten-Free Living
- elana’s pantry includes many gluten-free as well as paelo recipes for everyday foods that you may have thought were “off-limits” due to dietary restrictions or lifestyle changes. She also includes substitution’s for making recipes gluten-free which I found incredibly helpful! There truly is a science to baking and keeping the right ratios of ingredients to retain the right consistency and taste.
- cannelle et vanille has a long list of some really wonderful looking gluten-free goodies from sweets to savories, breakfast to dinners and everything in between you’ll find some great inspiration for gourmet gluten-free cooking
- one of my go-to sites for natural and healthy living is Whole Life Nutrition which contains a plethora of recipes for not only gluten-free living, but also cleanses and natural living recipes, tips tricks and plans (they also have a section of the elimination diet which might be helpful for you to read up on if you’re newly gluten-intolerant)
- gluten-free goddess is an EXCELLENT blog about all things gluten-free and some lovely food photography as well!
- gluten-free girl and the chef is a fun site with recipes and videos for a gluten-free lifestyle
- another site i love, 101 cookbooks, has some great gluten-free recipes that you can take a look at and their photos are truly inspiriting!
- Whole Foods is my go-to market for gluten-free baking and cooking. They also have awesome recipes and menu ideas posted online!
- PCC Natural Markets also has online recipes, tips for gluten-free living as well as aisles stocked with products and friendly staff that can help you on your journey! Go wander for a few hours and you’ll find some treats!
- Search Results for Pintrest Boards titled Gluten-Free Living (I have not clicked through and verified that all recipes listed are gluten-free. I’m merely providing a way for 4 more hours of you day to dispensary while you get lost in Pintrest!)
And there you have it wonderful friends! A VERY swift gluten-free 101 guide! PLEASE contact me if you have specific questions, need recipe help, have a recipe or resource to share!!!
Cheers to delicious living!!!