About 4 weeks ago I made the leap to a gluten free diet. I don’t have Celiac (updated: Erica pointed out that Celiac is an autoimmune disorder, not an allergy as I originally said), but I seem to have a sensitivity to gluten, and when I am eating it I feel I rely too heavily on it in my diet. I have been toying with going off gluten for awhile, but it was very difficult to find a time to do it between traveling, vacation, and our crazy busy summer.
We’ve been gluten free before so I know it’s not entirely impossible, but when I talk to people about it online or in real life I often get the same questions.
What is gluten?
By definition gluten is “the composite of a prolamin and a glutelin. These exist, conjoined with starch, in the endosperm of some grass-related grains, notably wheat, rye, and barley.
Sounds appealing right? Basically it’s a building block of wheat.
What do you replace baked products with? Don’t you need wheat for a healthy diet?
I was a vegan and vegetarian for many years, so I’m used to this question. 😉 You don’t need to replace bread with gluten-free bread or similar products. You can, if you want to make your own gluten free bread or buy it (which is crazy expensive), but gluten is not a necessary part of your diet. We eat other grains like rice and oats (which is controversial but we do ok with them).
Why give up gluten?
While I don’t have Celiac, or a diagnosed allergy, I have what I consider a sensitivity to gluten. When I have it in my diet I rely on it way too heavily, the same way I eat all the cookies if we keep them in the house. It also limits our family’s ability to get takeout food, which means I’m spending less overall on feeding our family. On the flip side a gluten free diet requires me to plan ahead for meals, snacks, and outings so that I have food on hand I can eat. This is not only money saving, but it helps us eat healthier since toast can’t be dinner.
Do you feel better without gluten?
Absolutely! I have more energy, feel more “clear” in my thinking, and have more focus. I’ve also lost about 8 pounds so that’s great motivation as well.
Does the whole family eat gluten free?
No. I started, and since then my husband has also gone gluten free. We plan to give it a test run for the kids in a few weeks once we get rid of the supply of gluten in the house.
Do you avoid other foods?
Yes. We avoid eating soy since my oldest daughter had it as an infant and it’s recommended that if your child was on soy formula you avoid it as they get older. We also avoid corn that is genetically modified, meaning the additives that are in snack foods, and processed foods.
I also recently gave up dairy to see if that would help my energy level even more, so far it seems to be helping, though I do dearly miss cheese.
What are some of your favorite gluten free recipes?
I’m planning on posting recipes I have created, or gotten from other people that I use regularly. The important thing though when cooking gluten free is to just ignore wheat. That means for dinners we focus on vegetables, fruit, other grains, and protein. Most of our meals are really simple since we have several picky eaters in the family, and I’m a reformed picky eater, so I try to be sensitive to their preferences to a point.
Here are a few gluten-free recipes to get you started:
Wisebread has a writer, Sonja, who writes about gluten free frugal living. LOVE her recipes, and pantry list.
Google: Seriously if I’m looking for info I will just google “Gluten free restaurants New York City,” a search I used on my phone when I was in NYC last week.
There are dozens of gluten free blogs, and websites, but when I first took the leap I found it was easiest to talk to other people in real life who were living a gluten free life already and learned their tips, tricks and tried and true recipes.
Have more questions about my diet-hit me up in the questions.