The Basics

My aunt called me a couple of days ago to say that her neighbor’s son has discovered he has Celiac Disease and needs to go on a gluten-free diet. He, and his family, were in a panic about what he was going to eat and about how expensive the diet would be. My aunt knew exactly who to call. Me. So, I wrote her a nice, detailed e-mail plus links to trusted resources. I feel that this is actually the beginning of a nice future page of basic information for those looking at a gluten free blog in their future.

Basic Information on Going Gluten Free

A couple of notes:

Gluten free flours can be expensive, and so can the substitute products (pasta, bread, cereal, etc.). Thankfully the gluten free market is opening up and more companies are offering products for lower prices. With more people buying the products we are encouraged and hopeful that the prices of gluten free products will continue to lower, however they will never be as low as gluten containing products. The average gluten free product will cost roughly 3 times more than what you’re used to. Don’t fret, as you do not need these flours or substitutes regularly.

Open up your diet to more grains like rice, millet and quinoa.

Look at baked goods as a treat, and not only will you feel healthier you may also lose weight by eating fewer refined carbohydrates and by eating more vegetables.

Read the labels on EVERYTHING! I still have to do this after 2 years, because when I don’t I sometimes find myself in a bad way. I forgot to read the ingredients on a bar of chocolate and discovered it contained barley malt after I’d already had a couple of bites.

Soy sauce is not your friend, unless you buy Wheat Free Tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. Malt vinegar is also out, as well as anything malt (unless it is brown rice malt, but most things aren’t, read carefully).

Always ask about the ingredients when you dine out. Don’t be shy. You might even ask to speak with the chef or to read an ingredients list. Working, now, in the kitchen I have learned that things like “chicken base” (a concentrated chicken stock) contains wheat. Unless the establishment you’re dining in has the manpower, skills, and time to make chicken stock from scratch, they’re probably using bases (beef, chicken, pork, ham, clam, etc.).

In your own home you will want to replace wooden utensils, your bread board, and maybe your pots and pans (especially teflon).

Don’t share a sponge for your cookware or dishes with ones that have been contaminated by gluten.

If your family is willing, then eliminate gluten from your kitchen entirely. This will help immensely with cross contamination (a serious issue). If not, mark things as yours and theirs. Devin likes to mark things that are his with skull and crossbones or the word DOOM!

Names of ingredients to become familiar with:

Whatever you’re told, SPELT is NOT gluten free, however, buckwheat is gluten free. Buckwheat is not wheat at all.

Beer is off limits, but there are gluten free beers on the market. Budweiser makes one called Redbridge. It is a darker ale and has a delightful taste and is quite filling.

All DISTILLED alcohols are gluten free. Beer is not distilled.

If you’re ever unsure about a product, call the manufacturer or check their website. There is a lot of conflicting information on the web, so be wary of who you trust. I’ve posted links below to websites and bloggers I trust.

If there are any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask. A support group in your area may also be helpful in finding places to dine out and places to shop. These people already know the game where you are, so let them help you!

-Amanda on Maui

Celiac Support Groups: (best cookbook by far, and best flour blend)

Cheap Eats: (Karina is a fantastic woman with food that makes me envious of her abilities) (not all gluten free, but there are many, and substitutes with gluten free flour blends, pastas, etc. could be used) (all recipes are made in the crockpot and are gluten free, she has a book out now called “Make it Fast, Cook it Slow”) (a classic resource with beautiful food, and updated regularly) (a really nice guy, like his food ideas) (a lovely Southern woman)

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