You made it to part 3 of going gluten free and have learned about ninja gluten, preparing yourself for the world not to be gluten free when you are and now you’ve got a fab app to help you find GF diet-friendly restaurants on the go. If you missed parts 1 and 2 follow the links at the bottom of this page. If you’re really serious about making the lifestyle change, read on, as I give you the stark realities.
What is funny about gluten intolerance is that most human beings have varying degrees of sensitivity to gluten and they don’t even know it. It’s one of those things that you don’t know what you don’t know, as in, if you’ve never been off gluten or had a hugely adverse reaction to it, how would you know if you’re sensitive? See, the humans of long, long ago didn’t enjoy fresh baked bread and pancakes because wheat wasn’t grown and consumed then. As we humans figured out how to grow hearty crops in huge fields, we started eating food that prominently featured wheat. Sure, we adapted, but residual sensitivity is still pretty common. It’s actually a cool experiment if you’re trying to figure out if a gluten free lifestyle is for you. Try eliminating gluten for one week and pay close attention to levels of puffiness in the face, darker circles around the eyes fading, water weight disappearance and a rise in energy levels. Believe me, I was skeptic numero uno when it came to this diet at first, but I thought I’d give it a fair shake and I haven’t gone back for a reason. Well, not entirely.
I have what my friend Lindsey calls “Gluten Intolerance Prevention Days.” This was her own creation for me so that once a month I can enjoy the gluten-y deliciousness that abounds, but mostly she was worried I’d actually become completely intolerant and then she’d have no one to eat deep dish pizza with. Interestingly enough, when I have my Free of Gluten Free holidays, I’d say I get half way through the day of indulgence and I start to notice my gut getting a little angry with me. OK, so I may have taught my body to fight gluten a bit, but I’ll tell you it’s worth it. My training improved, I feel better than when I am eating gluten and it forces me to think a lot more about what I eat, which is a good thing. Except for the increased cost of grocery shopping.
As many healthy eaters do, I used to go to the grocery store about once a week and load up on the necessary good for the week, get to the register and roll out. Well, remember when I said you need to find substitutions for gluten filled snacks and foods you eat each day? It’s going to cost you, both in price and calories, if you’re not careful.
Because wheat is so bountiful, it’s relatively inexpensive to make wheat flour, but flour of the non-wheat variety definitely gets spendy and any processed foods will reflect that in their price. I try and take a look at grocery store flyers (many have GF or simply “Natural Foods” sections these days) to see what might be on sale that week and if I can stock up. Also, Sprouts, a natural foods store here in AZ, has the quarterly “Gluten Free Jubilee” where all GF items are 25% off. Score!
Just because a food item doesn’t have wheat flour doesn’t mean it has a lower calorie count. In fact, it’s usually the opposite. Brown rice flours, sorghum flour, bean flours and pea flours all tend to be more dense, and, thus, pack a higher caloric punch. Oh, and have you ever tried baking gluten free? If you don’t use a pre-blended flour baking mix, you’re in for one messy experiment because there are usually 5-7 different powdery substances needed to make a flour blend that will behave somewhat like wheat flour when baked. I’m a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill GF products and Pamela’s mixes (oh, that cornbread!). Easy to use in almost any recipe and a tasty outcome.
Now that I’ve been living this lifestyle for over 3 years, I’m equipped to answer those questions that people have who are interested in what I do, why I do it and if I can eat potatoes. Seriously. I feel for those who have been diagnosed with Celiac because I don’t know their constant struggle of checking, double checking and triple checking that food they did not cook themselves is not contaminated. And I feel fortunate. For a person who thought she’d never find delicious baked goods again, this lifestyle has afforded me a new outlook, which outweighs all of the cream cheese slathered Einstein’s everything bagels. OK, maybe not, but that’s what Gluten Intolerance Prevention Days are for, right?