Thursday, May 14, 2009

Top Ten Things I've Learned in My First Few Weeks of Being a Gluten Free Mother

1.  If you need it, they will build it. Somewhat like Kevin Costner's famous line in Field of Dreams (if you build it they will come), I have discovered that there are gluten-free items of all kinds.  Trader Joe's and Safeway both have lists of items in their stores that are uncontaminated by gluten. Pages and pages of items.

2.  If you need to avoid it, don't rely on anyone but yourself.  Even though most stores will tell you their oats are gluten-free, if the label says they're processed in a facility that processes wheat, don't chance it. The stomach ache that will ensue is not worth it.

3.  No matter how much I have experimented and how many recipes I've found, baked goods will never taste like those made with wheat flour. The girls and I are beginning to come to the understanding that we'll just have to do without.  Although, they swear that the bread made with tapioca flour we can buy in our local co-op makes "awesome toast," the crumbly, dry texture of it hasn't convinced me to even try one bite yet.

4.  Salty snacks are easier to come by. Kettle Chips makes a terrific corn and black bean chip that doesn't have any gluten in it.  The company that makes Pirate's Booty also makes something called Tings that are crunchy and tasty and great for lunches.

5.  I don't mind doing without.  Somehow, once I stopped eating wheat flour and gluten, I don't miss it.  I miss the convenience of being able to slap together a PB&J for the lunchbox or order a pizza on Tuesday night after Tae Kwon Do, but when I walk into someone's kitchen and smell lasagne or brownies coming out of the oven, I really don't feel any tug. Honest.

6.  I now have a perfectly good excuse to leave bars of dark chocolate out on the kitchen counter. They're gluten-free.  The girls don't miss cookies or brownies (especially since the gluten-free ones we've tested so far all taste like they're made with cast-offs from the local sandbox) and are perfectly content with a square of deep, dark organic chocolate.

7.  Grocery shopping is actually easier now.  I only have to venture into the center of the store for a few select items and can stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, all the yogurt I want, and cheese.

8.  For Eve, giving up blue cheese is probably the most difficult part of all of this.  Apparently, the mold in blue cheese comes from bread (ick), so that's off the list.  Luckily, she loves all other kinds of smelly cheeses.

9.  I hate packing lunches and this was just the excuse I needed to delegate that task to the girls.  My job is to make sure there are enough things to choose from in the fridge and pantry. Their job is to clean out the lunchboxes after school and re-pack them the next morning, making sure they've got some carbs, protein, and fruits and vegetables in each one.  They love being in charge of their own unusual lunches and have rediscovered hard boiled eggs and apples dipped in peanut butter.

10.  There are some great recipes that I already had in my arsenal that never had gluten in them. Never. And those that I had have given me the excuse to de-clutter my cookbooks.

I'm really looking forward to this summer when we can harvest the vegetables from our garden and come up with new and exciting ways to use them to keep us all healthier.  


Anonymous said...

Angeline's GF bread is pretty good, but does have the crumblies. I tried one out of Salem from "Options Baking Co." that was pretty good, and moist. They also make muffins, cookies and pizza crusts. Kinnikinnick makes some pretty yummy chocolate-dipped GF donuts, and Bavaria Mills bakery in Vancouver, WA makes some good GF pie crusts, muffins, scones, pizza crusts, and breads. And rice milk in your latte isn't so awful... Good luck!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Even I, the worst cook in the world, am starting to get into it! I'll send you Michelle O'Neil's muffin recipe that is YUMMY - no flour substitute, that's the key!

Deb Shucka said...

I love how you're getting into the adventure of gluten free. I'm looking forward to summer so I can begin to add some new recipes.

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