Transitioning your entire family to something new and different can be a challenge. Imagine transitioning your entire family to a gluten-free diet. Seems like a daunting task right? Wrong!! It’s really not that bad.
But I will tell you that as I started on this journey, I had no idea what to expect. I’m not a nutritionist or a dietician. I’m just a mom trying to help my family.
Through a lot of reading I’ve learned quite a bit about going gluten-free. Most important of all, you MUST read labels very carefully!! You can’t eat anything containing wheat, barley or rye – period. In the past oats were thought to contain some gluten, but it was discovered that the oats were being processed on machines that also processed wheat. Most manufactures don’t do this anymore, but you may want to contact them just to be sure.
I did learn that you can eat corn, potatoes, rice, soybeans, buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa (oh how we LOVE quinoa!) in ANY amount!! This was really exciting news for me! I realized we could have well rounded dinners every night. Protein, veggies and the occasional starch.
I also learned that there are numerous “hidden” names for gluten. If you see “hydrolyzed vegetable protein”, malt, modified starch, stabilizer, flavoring, emulsifier, or “plant protein” on the label, then it probably has gluten.
With this new knowledge, we decided to add more veggies into our diet and less processed foods. But the issue that I ran into right away was packing the kids’ lunches for school. I had no idea how much gluten they were really consuming. We found some snacks they can have … rice chips, gushers and rice cakes are all gluten-free. And cheese is naturally a gluten-free food.
A friend suggested that I use a UPC-scanning app (for iPhone and Android) to help me out. The title is “ShopWell – Diet & Food Scanner”, and it’s completely free! You can choose “Gluten Intolerance” (and/or any number of other health-conscious options like “High Blood Pressure”). Then you set your “allergies and intolerances” to your specific needs … and just scan items at the store. The app will tell you how healthy each item is. And if the item isn’t found in the database, it allows you to choose from detailed categories and sub-categories to help you balance your meals.
From my experience so far, there are actually quite a lot of gluten-free foods: evaporated or condensed milk, buttermilk, meat (with no additives), peanut butter, eggs, dried beans or peas, cream of rice, cornmeal, wild rice, corn tortillas, butter, fresh and frozen fruit, canned or dried fruit, canned or frozen veggies, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, brown and white sugar, jelly, pure cocoa, tea, coffee, wine, distilled white vinegar, pickles, ketchup, olives … and the list goes on. But this is a good base to help in creating meal plans.
As we continue on our journey, I plan to create recipes and share my grocery store finds. If you are new to this world of gluten-free choices and have any questions or insight for me, please share! I definitely need all the help I can get!