Seven years ago I got the news that my son was allergic to wheat. It turned out to be a false positive, but for three weeks he was gluten-free. I remember the struggle of trying to figure out what to feed him as his usual favorites were now mostly off limits. It was a big wake-up call for me and was the beginning for this blog … learning a little and living a bit better because of new information.
I was nearly in tears trying to find him bread. He wanted toast or English muffins for breakfast and I didn’t know how to cook very well then, so I scoured local grocers looking for a gluten-free alternative. I drove about 40 minutes out of town to find a frozen loaf that tasted pretty awful when we thawed it out and cooked it.
Luckily, gluten-free foods and the GF lifestyle has come a long, long way in seven years. There are a myriad of blogs, recipes, cookbooks, and communities that help people to transfer over to gluten-free living. While it’s still not an easy process to go through, it’s a lot easier than it was.
If you were like me and not a great cook, prepared foods become critical. It seems like most prepared foods have wheat in them! While you’re transitioning to more whole food choices, you need a little help. Here are some ideas.
Take a hard look at your current diet
What do you like that you can keep? Start with the list of food items that are still okay to eat. Corn on the cob, a great steak, a healthy salad, yep, they’re all still good. Just hold the croutons on that salad.
Now take a look at what you can’t eat anymore. I bet quite a bit of it is convenience food and stuff that you won’t really miss anyway. Now whittle that list down to the “NO! Not that!” list. Pizza or a hamburger might make you want to cry at the thought of never eating it again. Now head to the grocery store.
Look for gluten-free substitutes
At the grocery store, especially a more alternative one like Whole Foods, you’ll find a good supply of gluten-free options. Yes, even pizza crusts and hamburger rolls. In fact, my family was recently sent a care package of items from Udi’s Gluten Free and was surprised at just how good their products were. We couldn’t tell the difference from the gluten version on most items and we really liked their snacks (the snickerdoodles were gone in seconds).
Now learn a few new recipes
Maybe you were a microwave king and now you need to learn how to scratch cook. Don’t think of it as a big overwhelming task. Just add a recipe or two into your repertoire and once you’ve got them down, add a few more.
You’ll find a few things as you become a scratch cook …
1) you’ll likely lose weight as you focus on wholesome foods
2) you’ll probably notice an energy surge as your body gets better nutrients and starts to heal from the gluten issues
3) you’ll realize it’s not that hard to cook and you totally should have done this years ago!
At least that’s what I went through when I was cooking that way. While we were able to add gluten back into our diets when we realized that wheat wasn’t the issue, it started me on my journey to start living a more healthy life, including what was in my kitchen.
As Oprah says, when you learn better, you do better.