Gluten-Free How To

Where to start can be the most difficult place...

You know you have to stop eating the gluten, but it is in everything. Well, at least it seems that way.

You have to decide you are going to do this, and no cheating, and no turning back.

If you want to see results, then you have to give it your all...

So, where to start, how to begin?

I will share with you some of my tips and how I got started. What I find successful and what I feel is some of the best snacks, travel ideas and health boosters when first starting out.

First, if you are tempted by foods in your house, you may need to do a pantry cleanse/detox. So, this means you have to purge all the unnecessary or gluten-filled items out of the fridge and pantry. The gluten list is: wheat, oats, barley, malt, refined flour, conventional flour, bread crumbs, rye, and the obvious processed cookies, cereal, cakes, donuts, breads, crackers, chips, pretzels, and the list goes on.

You don't need those things laying around. Get rid of them, so you don't find yourself drooling over them in the middle of the night. If you need help with me, we can set up a pantry makeover. If you have other family members food in your kitchen, maybe setting up a place for GF foods and non-GF foods would be wise as well.

Second, you have to rebuild and replenish your pantry. Go to my Pantry Detox List or make a list of your own of the foods you CAN eat.... like fill those shelves with dried rice, quinoa, lentils, beans, GF flours, nuts and seeds. Think of eating from scratch and choose the best options. If you are trying to heal your body, and food is your medicine, wouldn't you want to choose the best options available?

I focus on fresh produce as the center piece to my meal. It is God's beautiful way of telling us to eat fresh and beautiful things like, greens, fruits and vegetables. You can buy any fresh vegetable and it will be gluten-free, I promise. So, when I started, I centered each meal or snack around something fresh. If you are new to eating fruits and veggies, then, make it an adventure and pick out a new one at the market each week and see if you like it.

If you are looking to stay on a grocery budget while trying to stick with gluten-free. See my post on 10 tips for eating GF on a budget. Eating fresh and healthy doesn't have to be super expensive if you are buying from scratch and eating the basics. I always think that eating processed packaged foods can get more expensive than eating fresh. There is less packaging and advertising. A bag of spinach and potatoes and a dozen eggs can get you a through a few meals and that is under 10 dollars.

Whole grain rice in bulk is always a bargain! Buy in bulk because you can always save it on the shelf for months and its always there as a back up. Try quinoa as a variation to rice, and it's a complete protein to boot. Try organic cornmeal and polenta, these are all naturally gluten-free and are simple, inexpensive whole grains to set as a base to your meals and diet. You can make a soup, stir-fry or salad with almost any veggie/whole grain combo. So have your grains on hand, and pick out your veggies to go with it...

When it comes to GF breads, cereals, and specialties.... I have tried my fair share of varieties. That is why I stick to making granola, quick breads and treats from scratch because it a fresher, usually healthier and most of the time less money. When it comes to a sandwich bread, I buy a loaf of Sami's Millet Flax Bread (from my local health store) when I am in need of a good sliced loaf bread. It is simple and relatively cheap. It also yeast free and freezes well. I also love that it is very versatile and a quick fix bread option.

Some hidden places for gluten include:
flavored herbal teas (barley malt), salad dressings (malted vinegar), malted wine coolers or mixed drinks. Soy sauce contains wheat most of the time, so be careful of added seasoning. Also always check the labels of processed foods because they may add additional ingredients occasionally to chips, cereals, ect.  It is always best to stick with the simple ingredients of whole foods when starting out, there is no questions about apples, almonds and rice. They are just safe.

When starting out, keep it simple. Have fresh ingredients laying around to snack on:
Brown rice cake with almond butter and banana. Sliced apples with nut butter. Yogurt with fruit and granola. Trail mix of dried fruits and nuts and seeds, non-GMO organic popcorn with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh fruits sliced with drizzle of honey or with some dark chocolate. Apple butter on rice cakes or crackers. Homemade hummus or salsa with freshly sliced veggies. These snacks are what got me started on having gluten-free finger foods in and around the kitchen. Don't starve yourself sweetheart, just find new treats and find joy in the simplicity.

Traveling can be hard, especially when you have a "special" diet to attend too. So friend, take the snack ideas above and take it with you. Make packable snacks and take them along if you are going on a trip or vacation. I even traveled to Africa on a newly-found GF friendly restaurants all over America. Google your destination and you may be surprised at what you find. It just might make your trip that much more fun. I have found GF Italian restaurants, raw smoothie bars, and GF sandwich shops in unlikely places. It always adds a touch of adventure to your life as well...

Some restaurants that you can look to find that have many GF items readily available: Mexican restaurants, Thai restaurants, and most places that you can get a baked potato with a side of meat or salad might have to do as well. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and always clarify. Don't worry about bothering anyone, this is your life and you can have control over what goes in your body. I know this takes time... so if it is easiest to stay home and make a fabulous homemade meal, then that may be less stressful and more enjoyable option versus going out.

The key is to say YES, to what you can eat and get rid of all the baggage of the "no" foods. Try new vegetables and grains, and don't be afraid. Take a step forward into the life of a gluten-free person and start reaping the benefits of a healthier, cleaner, simpler life. Don't fret friend, that is why people like me are here to help you. If you need some support or help along the way, email me, or set up a consult via phone or email. I would love to help you if I can.

Much love to you today!