gluten free and me

a major pet peeve of mine right above football fans in the south, is healthy/exercising people feeling the need to tell everyone, everywhere, all over the place, every 30 minutes about how healthy they live... or appear to live.  enough already! why the need to shout it from the roof tops, brag, post all over facebook... in your face kinda stuff? so many times i have resisted the urge to comment:  good for you. could you please not tell me about it 24/7? 

sooooo.... when i was diagnosed with celiac disease and forced to go gluten free, i was scared i would morph into my own pet peeve!  obviously i am talking about it a little too much, because i have received several emails with questions about being gluten free.  

so before i slip into my tree hugging hippie clothes (i borrowed from my sister) and start talking about the gluten trend, i would like to say for the record, i do not think all gluten is bad or unhealthy. except to a person with celiac. then gluten is poison. not a trend or a fad, our immune system will attack. foreverand there's nothing cool or trendy about that!

 this post is for my friends who have asked how i avoid gluten without using my super hero powers :) because i must save those for laundry.
 this post is what works for me. 
how i personally live gluten free. 
it is not necessarily based on nutrition as much as taste and my own trial and error.

after realizing my issues were linked to gluten, i was depressed. seriously, the majority of my diet was bread/wheat based. even feeling awful and looking worse, i could not wrap my mind around life without bread. this would be impossible. until my doctor mentioned the risks and side effects... which included a 40-100% greater risk of intestinal cancer? mm-ok, you have my attention.  the only treatment was a strict 100% gluten-free diet...forever. 

this book made my transition much easier.  after reading it cover to cover, i quickly went from the depths of gluten despair to feeling as if 'this won't be so bad after all.' 
my mother was also a gluten free God send! she found more gluten free recipes and resources than i ever would have on my own. she subscribed to this magazine. another life saver!

sliced bread was my biggest obstacle. i experimented with the concoctions of flours,  bread machines and store brands. nothing was working for me. then someone suggested rudi's. this bread has a hippie waving fan club, because it is that good! our freezer is rarely without a loaf or two. and $5 a loaf is a bargain in the gluten free world.

 saying farewell to some of my favorite (baked) recipes made me so sad! the flour concoctions were too complicated, time consuming and expensive. then my mother discovered. C4C A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. one bag carries a price tag of $20, but money well spent. it tastes like real flour and measures 'cup for cup'. this flour is the best! 
my mom bought a cake mix by the same company.
  my taste buds have high expectations!

i real-ly mourned pancakes. the food that will be waiting for me in heaven.  especially pecan pancakes. my taste buds will never forget you! my friend carolyn splurged on a bag of pamela's pancake mix. anything from pamela's is great! the splurge, like the C4C is worth every cent! i picked up maple syrup from the cracker barrel and angels started singing. thank you carolyn!

another (less expensive) favorite is the new gluten free bisquick.  

gluten free pasta... my taste buds went on strike! even the gf pasta at the olive garden was disgusting! either hard or gooey / flavorless or nasty. no thank you. i would learn to live without. until my mother's friend suggested heartland...they carry it at walmart! hello! once you get the boil time perfected, it is a good alternative.
oatmeal. it helps me survive :) oats are naturally gf, but where they are packaged may not be. i am able to tolerate the quaker brand.  a bowl filled with fresh fruit and brown sugar... ahh, my taste buds can be fooled into thinking i'm eating a krispy kreme! 

almonds sliced, whole, roasted are now a staple.
salads, snacks, grass smoothies ... so good!
(i'm joking about the grass in my smoothie)
this huge bag is $8 at costco.
popcorn... thank goodness for good old corn that is popped. another naturally gf staple! i can tolerate many brands except 'real' movie popcorn. and marshmallows, we melt and mix a lot of gf things in marsh mellows. i buy only kraft brand.

 amazon is my friend. my taste buds give bob's red mill a thumbs up.
my mother hit the clearance jackpot on the GF isle in the mountains.
my mom filled my pantry... thank you mom!

i learned to read labels very carefully and be mindful of hidden ingredients.
while rice is naturally gf... 
but malt is gluten. which obviously is a major flavor enhancer and it is found in regular rice krispies. so we opt for the gf version that are slightly less tasty.
i am very  thankful my sister loves to hug trees ;)
her produce co-op is the best.
$20 for a huge box of in season fruit and veggies.

and these... $1 a bag from wal-mart in three flavors!
dip the plain guys in nutella and oh my!
my youngest suffers from my same issues. she has not had the official celiac diagnosis, but her problems began before i was diagnosed. celiac is hereditary and it is very likely she is. but to get an accurate diagnosis we would have to reintroduce gluten for two weeks and get the antibodies back in her system. and right now, this is something we want to do.

 her tummy aches were bad. she threw up almost every single day and being gluten free has changed this little lady's life. every once in awhile, she can't resist a cupcake and her stomach hurts.

more on her later. because when your child suffers, the ballgame changes :)

eating on the go is the pits! 
maybe more on that later. there are terrific gf aps for fast food.
i have learned to plan ahead.

 this resturant is called restaurant :)  they are known for their incredible burgers.

i packed mary claire rudi's bread and i used a fork and no bread :)

feeling great made it easier.  you learn as you go and i hope i am not obnoxious about being gluten free. if it were up to me, i would still be enjoying my 'glutenated' favorites! but now my diet is polar opposite from the days of doughnuts. thankfully taste buds are crazy creatures and they  learn to adjust and embrace new foods. 

maybe more later :)

DawnW said...

No worries Heidi! You are not AT ALL obnoxious about your gf lifestyle. There is a big difference between talking about it when it is just a fact of life for you vs. when it's something that you are trying out and want attention for. You are nothing but sweet and kind about sharing your life on this blog and it's been so informative to see what you've gone through and how you cope with it. I love all your new gf finds!! I think I told you before that we might have to go gf for my little Davis but so far it seems that dairy was his big issue and so we're dairy free now and it's really helped A LOT!! It's also quite the learning process to figure out what he can and can't eat and where hidden sources of dairy are. And you're so right about planning ahead! It's a good thing this mama is already a type A-planner because I'm all over it, but hopefully one day it will become second-nature to him.
I would love it if you did a post about how it's been with Mary Claire going gf because you are SO right about the game changing when something like this effects your kids! I hope you and she both continue to do well and that it becomes easier and easier.
Your blog is so much fun and your pictures are still fabulous!! XX Dawn

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