5 Essential Steps For Going Gluten-Free

1.  Communicate your intended change to your loved ones.  Some may already be gluten-free, but others may need time to understand what you are doing.  Letting them know and explaining your reasons is more likely to result in their support sooner rather than later. 

2.  Obtain and familiarize yourself with the list of gluten-y ingredients.  Keep it with you so that you can refer to it while grocery shopping. http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html

3.  Learn with which foods are naturally gluten-free.  There are way more foods that are gluten-free than there are otherwise! http://www.celiac.com/articles/181/1/Safe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Safe-Ingredients/Page1.html

4.  Create a simple gluten-free menu or meal plan to prevent accidental “poisoning.”  Once you have an idea of what foods you should and should not eat, planning a simple menu won’t be too difficult.  At first, you may just want to keep your diet based on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, rice, lean white meats, and fish.  You may also begin to sample gluten-free products if they are readily available in your area.  If they aren’t, no worries, you can live quite well without ever buying gluten-free bread, cookies, or gravy mix.  Homemade is best whether or not you are gluten-free.

Know that eating in restaurants that aren’t certified gluten-free is always a huge risk.  Even eating establishments that claim to serve gluten-free food do not tend to understand the importance of keeping foods, work surfaces, and tools separate. If you must eat out, opt for Mexican if possible.   Mexican food requires the least amount of gluten when compared to other styles.  Always double-check to make sure that there is no flour used in the enchilada sauce, rice, or corn chips, and be sure and ask for corn tortillas rather than flour.  In my experience, the restaurants that taste best don’t generally use flour as thickeners or fillers anyway.  In case you were wondering, the word for “(wheat) flour” in Spanish is “trigo” (pronounced: tree-go) and the word for gluten is “gluten.”

 5. Decontaminate your kitchen as soon as possible.  If others in your home are still eating gluten, establish a system to keep foods separate.  You cannot see or feel it, but gluten is sticky and can mess your day up if it gets on your food.  Your kitchen wares will need to be thoroughly washed in hot soapy water and run through the dishwasher.  If you do not have a dishwasher, you should boil what you can to ensure that all traces of gluten have been removed.  Some people are more sensitive than others.  You may be just fine washing your dishes the same way you always have or you may require more.  Your gut will be sure and let you know ;).

Cutting boards used for slicing bread, toasters, bread boxes, bread machines, colanders, pots and pans, wooden items, and virtually anything that has been used to prepare gluten will need to be addressed.  You will need to decide whether you will try to scour the gluten off of your kitchen wares, or if you will just replace them.  The bottom line is that if you want to keep yourself safe, you must keep gluten and anything it comes in contact with separate from your gluten-free food.  If your kitchen will still house some gluten, be sure to stay on top of the crumb situation.  Wipe surfaces with hot soapy water and disinfectant immediately after preparing anything with gluten in it.

Initially, I overhauled the contents of my kitchen only because my reaction to gluten was so severe.  However, I have since received my grandmother’s flat, dinner, and glass wares and was safe simply washing them and running them though the dishwasher.  You just have to do your best with your own situation. 

Remember!!  Be patient and kind with yourself!  Know that you will conquer gluten and that this will all be second nature soon.


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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Christine Thornton
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 18:59:55

    Another great blog Patrice…I’m slowly talking to my husband about them & I know he’ll be reading them before too long…
    When I was singing your praises he said “you know a lot of books start out by someone writing a blog!”. He fondly remembers the book “sh*t my dad says” which he says started in ‘blog form’. Dwayne (my hub) and I love that book- it’s halarious… U should read it if u haven’t…a little light humor. Very witty.
    Have a great gluten free day!


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