I spent some time yesterday looking around the internet for information on how to become Gluten Free due to my decision to give this a go.
I knew right away that since we do not suspect that Heidi actually has Celiac Disease we should go Gluten Lite, not totally free. At least to start with.
Here is what I learned...
Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (cross between wheat and rye). Wikipedia also says it's used as a food additive in the form of flavoring, stabilizing, or thickening agents called Dextrin.
Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines - this is Celiac Disease
Foods that are always gluten free:
- Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
- Fresh eggs
- Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Most dairy products
- Corn and cornmeal
- Chia Seed
- Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
- Hominy (corn)
- Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
- Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
- Durum flour
- Graham flour
- Cakes and pies
- Cookies and crackers
- French fries
- Imitation meat or seafood
- Processed luncheon meats
- Salad dressings
- Sauces, including soy sauce
- Seasoned rice mixes
- Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
- Self-basting poultry
- Soups and soup bases
- Vegetables in sauce
On Celiac.com I found a link to Gluten-Free Recipes but even more importantly I found an article on how to substitute a mix of Gluten Free flours for standard wheat flour. This means I can still make homemade soup and sauces since the roux would be made from this "safe" mix.
I mentioned this experiment to a co-worker who has had Celiac for her entire adult life. She was one of the people who gently nudged me to this decision. She offered her shoulder to lean on and then casually mentioned that Lactose intolerance goes hand in hand with Gluten intolerance. Well, who knew?! It just happens that I do have a Lactose intolerance.
I walked away from this research with a better understanding of what I am up against. I need to find a weeks worth of recipes and make a good shopping list. I am almost tempted to do my shopping for the week at Whole Foods in on Lake Calhoun instead of my local Cub but if I want this to work I should learn what my Cub Foods has on hand right out of the gate. I am also not going to be crazy and start baking Gluten free brownies or anything like that. We will start with the basics, normal meals that do not have any of the forbidden ingredients listed above. We can save swaps for next month.
Wish us luck!