What has gluten in it?
My answer: Everything! Ok, not true. All natural, non wheat, non rye, and non barley foods, are of course gluten free. You know- fruits, vegetables, dairy products… However, everything else has gluten. Or, at least, seems to. Check the food labels and aside from the obvious wheat, rye and barley to avoid, steer clear of a super long list of ingredients that you can find by clicking, here: Unsafe Ingredients Yea, print it out. Take it with you the next time you shop. I promise it gets easier. We’re a gluten free household and I don’t even have to think twice about it when I shop. Guess it kind of became second nature for me, and in a minute I’m going to share some tips I’ve learned along the way that really make my life easier.
Who benefits from a gluten free diet?
Those who have celiac disease, or are gluten intolerant, obviously benefit from a gluten free diet. However, they are not the only ones- and you just might too! Actually, you may even have a gluten sensitivity since it is estimated that 33% of Americas population does and they just don’t know it! But, even if you don’t have this issue you can still vastly improve your health by avoiding gluten, or even just wheat! Take my husband for example. He has arthritis in his back. Did you know that wheat causes inflammation, which makes his back hurt like heck? Yep- avoid the wheat, avoid the back pain. Also, he gives up wheat, and BAM!- Looses five pounds. Indulges in a wheat filled treat, instantly gains five pounds. I’m talking like five pounds in two to three days. Something in his belly doesn’t like the wheat! And, lots of people have been making the same discovery. Dr. William David, cardiologist, describes himself as having the “audacity to write such an against-the-grain book exposing “healthy whole grains” for the incredibly destructive genetic monsters they’ve become.” His book, Wheat Belly, apparently explores this topic. I, however, am much more familiar with his blog and suggest you check it out to see how cutting wheat from your diet may benefit you in these ways, “weight loss of 25 to 30 lbs over several months, marked improvement or total relief from arthritis, improvement in asthma sufficient to chuck 2 or 3 inhalers, complete relief from acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, disappearance of leg swelling and numbness. Most reported increased mental clarity, deeper sleep, and more stable moods and emotions” http://www.wheatbellyblog.com
What are symptoms of gluten sensitivity?
3 Cups tapioca flour
4. Stick to the products you know and trust! Some of my favorites are: Wishbone ranch and Italian salad dressings. Progresso Chicken Enchilada Soup and Mushroom soup (both excellent in croc pot recipes and casseroles) And, Chex cereals including corn, rice, honey, cinnamon, and chocolate! (Great for that bowl of cereal in the morning, or to use as bread crumbs in your favorite recipe like breaded chicken and meat loaf.)
5. Check out this MUST HAVE book: Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Nardone. No, she doesn’t pay me to advertise her book (but, wouldn’t it be cool if she did?) I just sincerely love this cookbook and cook from it on a weekly basis. You can sample some of her recipes, here: Silvanas Kitchen
6. Know what ingredients to avoid. While some products are clearly labeled Gluten Free, not all products that aren't labeled as such are off limits. Gluten is a protein found within food and is not in itself an ingredient that you will find listed in the ingredient list. Common ingredients that contain gluten and that I often see are wheat, food- starch, (corn and potato starch are fine.) malt, barley, rye... I mentioned the complete list above, but here is that link again: Unsafe Ingredients.
7. Eat your whole grains! Incorporate brown rice and quinoa into your diet. They are delicious, especially when cooked in gluten free chicken broth, and healthy! Experiment with gluten free bread recipes. I myself love Silvana's corn bread, banana bread, and I use her bialy bread slabs for hamburger buns. Below I mention the best sandwich bread recipe I have found yet.
1. Make bread. Save 1.70 per loaf! We eat a loaf of bread a week, bringing our savings to $6.80 a month!
I did the math and baking this recipe of gluten free bread by the baking beauties saves me 1.70/ per loaf compared to Udis Flax and Fiber bread- their only bread that also has the uber healthy ground flax seed in it. Besides, fresh, soft, straight from the oven bread always tastes better than store bought frozen bread whose main ingredient happens to be starch- ick. So do yourself a favor: Save money, and eat healthier, tastier bread!
2. Make all purpose flour. Save $3 a batch! We use a batch a month, so we save $3.00 a month!
Not only have I had incredible results cooking with my gluten free all purpose flour, but saving 3 dollars a batch is huge! Especially considering it takes all of five minutes to mix up.
3. Know your brands, find your savings! Save $10 a month!
Buying store brand foods is often the cheapest way to go, but often times this is no longer an option on a gluten free diet. Learn what brands ARE safe to eat and stick to those! This not only makes shopping easier since you don't have to read labels each and every time you shop, but it also gives you something to keep in mind when browsing local ads and coupons. I refuse to devote a lot of time to couponing, but I like to spend a few minutes before each shopping trip browsing online coupon sites. On average, I save $10 a month this way. The sites I use are: www.swagbucks.com (my favorite as each redeemed coupon credits my account with 10 points; points add up and can be cashed in for gift cards to places like amazon.com!) www.coupons.com and www.couponmom.com