The initial shock of having to go gluten free will wear off after a while. But, then what? Whether its for celiac, an intolerance, an allergy or for any other reason having to go gluten free isn’t going to be an easy transition. That doesn’t mean it will be an impossible one.
There is so many things you need to learn and figure out, it can be overwhelming. To help with your transition I’m going to list some hopefully helpful tips and things to ease the transition along. At the bottom of this post I have a little infographic photo to help break it down so you can carry it with you on your phone or in your pocket as a little guide to make this all easier.
First what is gluten?
Well according to the dictionary its:
gluten |ˈglo͞otn| –noun – a substance present in cereal grains, esp. wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease.
But in reality, its the magical protein that makes things fluffy or thick and is hidden in everything.
Where can you find it?
In a nutshell – everywhere!
But more specifically you will need to stay way from wheat, barley, rye, spelt, bran, flour, graham flour, farina, durum, semolina and any kind of variation of extracts, or anything that has those words in it such as whole wheat or hydrolyzed wheat protein. They are all bad.
In Canada and the United States companies legally have to state whether food products have wheat or gluten in them whether in the ingredients or as a warning which makes things a lot easier but you still need to check everything. Even if one flavour is gluten free the next one might not be.
You can also find gluten in normal everyday products such as makeup, toothpaste, deodorant, cleaners, shampoo and even in medicines. My suggestion is to start with one section at a time. First work with food and anything you use on a daily basis and then move outward. One of the last things I went through was my nail polish because yes it had it too. This pesky protein can be found anywhere! Even tea bags and alcohol! Oh and don’t forget to check any feminine hygiene products even those can have it hidden within it.
Is there anything I can have?
There are plenty of things that you can have. Fruits, vegetables, most meat (as long as they aren’t grain fed… I know ridiculous but it does make a difference depending on your sensitivity.), dairy, rice and oats (as long as they are certified gluten free, a lot of oats are grown beside wheat fields) and plenty of other things. While gluten is in a lot of grains it doesn’t take away everything that is delicious and it also doesn’t take away things with grains there are substitutes that work just as well and sometimes better!
Cross contamination and its frustration
Cross contamination is one of the things I struggled with most. At the beginning I would make two meals one for me and one for my husband. If I was tired I would accidentally mix up a spoon and would ruin my entire meal in a split second. There were many meltdowns and crying fits until I got it under control. Now I only make one meal and it is a lot easier. There are still things we have that are separate. He can’t get used to gluten free bread or bagels so he has normal ones. Because of that he has his own toaster and his own butter and jams and anything else he puts on his death breads.
When it comes to having a gluten free kitchen or at least a section there are things you need to remember.
- Just one crumb can be a pest, just one tiny speck and i break out in hives and get itchy.
- Wash everything thoroughly and don’t use the same towels afterwords because they will be contaminated with gluten
- Don’t use the same toaster or anything else that can trap crumbs. Even the microwave needs to be washed and if there is residue try putting a paper towel over your bowl to save it from getting invaded by gluten specs.
- If you are sharing a home with others make sure they know what is yours and not to touch it or they might accidentally contaminate it.
- Just breathe – accidents happen especially in the beginning. Just relax and start again, its better then the alternative.
Where can I find information?
There are plenty of places you can go to get help or information about gluten and its dangers and hiding places. Here are a couple to help you out:
If you have any other questions or I left anything else out please feel free to email me or comment on the post. I love hearing from you. And please remember life can still be wonderful and full while being gluten free.