When my boss was diagnosed with a wheat allergy she started reading a book called Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. She kindly lent it to me and I found it to be a real eye opener. It does get quite technical but worth the read if you are thinking of going gluten-free (GF). For those of you who do not want to read the entire book and are looking for the Coles notes, here is a great article from Macleans.
Instead of going cold turkey I decided to make small changes that I knew I could stick with. First one was bread. I am not a big sandwich person so this one was pretty easy for me. I really only eat toast on the weekends. I’m not going to lie; GF bread is not for everyone. It is quite dense, but therefore more filling so you really only need one slice. There are many, many different kinds of GF bread and they are available in most grocery stores (check your freezer section). I’d advise you to still read the labels though because some still have additives and junk in them. Make sure there is not a long list of ingredients and you can pronounce them all. I have tried Rudi’s, Silver Hills and Kinnikinnick as well as some local bread. Because I don’t eat bread very often I keep it in the freezer and pop a slice in the toaster when I want one. Rudi’s also makes pretty decent wraps too, but recently I tried the flaxseed wrap recipe from the Wheat Belly book (did I mention it comes with a bunch of recipes at the back of the book!) I made mine in the frying pan and it turned out great!
The next step was pasta. I was never a big pasta eater but would occasionally have it. I started buying Tinkyada brown rice pasta, which honestly cooks and tastes just like regular pasta! Wayne didn’t even notice a difference and that’s saying a lot! The only thing it does not work well in is cold pasta salad, it gets pretty crunchy. I also use spaghetti squash and quinoa for pasta dishes. Quinoa is great and cooks the same as rice. Just make sure you rinse it first! It helps get rid of the residue that may give it a bitter taste.
I used to be a big cereal person, now, not so much. When I do eat cereal, my go-to favoutite is Nature’s Path Honey’d Corn Flakes. Four ingredients. Boom. Tastes good too. They make other kinds as well so check it out.
The next iffy topic is oatmeal, which I eat for breakfast often. Pure oatmeal is gluten-free. Quaker oats and other commercial brands are not. They cannot guarantee there is no cross-contamination during processing, since they process gluten products in the same milling machine it would be too timely and costly to have separate machines. So make sure you are buying pure oats or products that are certified gluten-free. Bob’s Red Mill is a good brand to look for. I’m not going to lie, I still have Quaker oats in my cupboard but will be switching those out soon!
When it comes to baking, I simply purchased GF flour, or use almond flour. Bob’s Red Mill brand also carries a variety of GF flour. I found that instead of just substituting cup for cup for regular to GF flour you might want to search for recipes that already use GF flour and avoid a baking disaster.
I used to be a fan of granola bars and have gone away with these completely as the packaged ones are not good for you anyway. Here is a really great recipe for homemade larabars that I recently tried and loved. Also, Jamie Eason makes a great pumpkin protein bar that is delish and makes a great snack.
The last step that I found difficult was my pitas and homemade pita chips. I would bake these up and use them to dip with hummus or guacamole or even use them for nachos. I also use a half one as a burger bun. I have yet to find a gluten free pita anywhere! So if you know of one, please let me know. I might just start making them so stay tuned!
Finally, if you are a cracker fan, try Mary’s. They are really good!
So there you have it! That is how I switched out most of my items to be gluten-free. I’m not perfect and still have gluten every now and then. I luckily do not have an allergy to it so if I slip up it’s not a big deal.
Next time I’ll fill you in on how I went dairy-free (almost!)
Have you gone gluten-free or are you thinking about it?