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It’s been nearly two weeks since Jared was diagnosed with celiac disease and I thought I would share a little bit about what we’ve learned.
First of all, the main offenders containing gluten are: wheat, barley and rye but they can hide in foods under other names like: starch, dextrose and glucose, maltodextrin, and malt extract -just to name a few.
The first couple days after the diagnosis we did a huge purge. All the foods with gluten that I figured Raeca and I would eat on our own we banished to the basement, anything I didn’t think we would eat we gave away; breaded chicken, beef stock, some cereals, crackers, etc, etc. We read every label -it is amazing what gluten is all in -did you know that some shampoos, lotions, make up and lip chap have gluten in them? Even some hand sanitizers! And then the mass of products that may contain wheat because they are processed in the same facility is another huge issue.
Once we got rid of our gluten I cleaned out every cupboard and drawer, washing all our dishes and wiping away every crumb I could find, reducing the chance of cross-contamination. We also got rid of many dishes and utensils -plastics that are cut are good places for gluten to get stuck in, so we tossed spatulas, strainers, cutting boards, loaf pans, sold our breadmaker (that one makes me sad), our toaster, the toaster oven . . .
We started looking for the gluten-free isle in grocery stores and Jared began checking his favorite chips for a gluten-free label (who am I kidding, chips and Pepsi were the first things he looked up after the doctor called to tell him -thankfully, those foods are safe 🙂 ). We’ve purchased corn spaghetti, rice spaghetti, white rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum and a whole host of other gluten-free flours and items. Right now I’m loving the Bulk Barn for gluten-free flours and they have a pretty good supply of gluten-free pre-packaged items, though you pay an arm and a leg for them. Yesterday I even found some gluten-free mac and cheese at Safeway, hopefully Raeca will like it.
A couple days into gluten-free eating Jared was realizing that dairy was also affecting him (I guess the thing needed to absorb lactose can be damaged when someone with celiac disease eats gluten -in very un-medical terms) so we are now also trying to go as dairy-free as possible, at least for the first while. We are currently using soy milk (definitely not my favorite) and just got some Almond Breeze chocolate milk -so far a pretty good replacement, we are definitely going to try almond milk yet as well. Does anyone else have any recommendations for lactose-free milk?
I actually think Jared’s diagnosis came at a pretty good time (minus the fact that I had just gone grocery shopping and stocked up on pasta -doh!) we were both feeling stuck in a rut meal wise and completely sick of all our regular meals. One thing that you have to understand about us is: we are possibly two of the pickiest eaters I’ve ever met (with the exception of Jared’s grandpa who won’t eat pizza and eats his chocolate pie without whipped cream). Our taste buds have expanded over the last few years but it’s still pretty pathetic -like now I order spinach or lettuce on my sandwich at Subway (but still no sauce, I’m not a sauce-y person) and awhile ago Jared admitting to liking a dessert that had cream cheese in it (gasp!). So, while we don’t like a whole lot of of foods, I think we will be pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones a bit, and that’s a good thing!
I bought this Company’s Coming GF cookbook for some meal ideas and I was bit disappointed because contrary to what the cover implies, there is not a single pizza recipe in the book. Though, I have to give it some props because I made the chicken tenders from their recipe and we all agreed that they were even better than regular chicken tenders (well, except Raeca, but she hates any food that is “crunchy”, I can’t even make her actual toast for fear of it being too crunchy).
I’ve also gotten a ton of GF cookbooks out from the library. Some of which I have just glanced at and some I’ve been pouring over the pages of. I might do a bit of a review of the ones I like in a while but right now as a bit of an overview:
I’m disappointed that I’m not really a big fan of Deliciously G-Free, I’ve been a big fan of Elisabeth Hasslebeck since she was on the third season of Survivor and really wanted to like her book but my first instinct is telling me that there aren’t enough pictures in it for me to actually make most of the recipes.
The book that I have really been loving is Cooking for Isaiah, possibly for a couple of reasons, the author, Silvanna Nordone used to own an Italian bakery so she’s got to know what she’s doing, and also because her son has gluten and dairy intolerances so in order for the food to get in the book he has to like it, and I’ve already been over the fact that I have the eating tendencies of a kid so it kind of makes sense to me (and bonus: Silvana also has a blog where she shares a lot of her recipes as well).
Sorry this got so long winded! Gluten-free eating has really taken over our lives right now (it’s even in my dreams) and I thought I’d share all this information in case it is useful for anyone else. I am contemplating sharing some successful recipes we make if I can manage to figure out how to take good food photos (something I currently have zero knowledge of).
Anyone have any GF resources/cookbooks/recipes they would like to share?