Going Gluten Free: What Exactly Can You Eat?!

So, I’ve concluded from my experience with eating a donut last weekend that this gluten free thing is really making a difference. I wasn’t so sure at first. I had days that I really doubted that I was feeling any different. The changes were small and gradual. [I have fibromyalgia and migraines and have been eating gluten free to see if that helped my symptoms.] But last Saturday I ate a donut at Kathryne’s birthday party, and I saw a significant difference this week. My body pain was worse. I kept an almost week long headache.

One of the first things people ask me when I say I eat gluten free is “So, what can you eat?” My answer- I’m still figuring it out. I have the disadvantage of having always been a picky eater. I’m also a routine eater. Once I have a routine meal in place for breakfast and lunch especially, I eat it every day. Supper may vary. Snacks may vary. But breakfast and lunch stay pretty routine. Unfortunately my routine meals were full of gluten.

I do have the advantage of having a sister who has been eating this way for many years. My sister has true Celiac disease. For years I’ve watched her carefully choose foods with no gluten. So at least I had some ideas of where to begin.

Gluten free foods

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So far, I’ve come up with a few things that are my go to foods:

1. KIND Bars. I stumbled on to these extremely tasty bars on a trip to Discovery Place- a local science museum. I was looking for something gluten free in the little cafeteria and found these. They are gluten free, have nothing artificial, and are full of protein to really fill me up. There are quite a few flavors. I love the Apricot and Almonds and any of the chocolate varieties. I eat one for lunch every day.

 2. Cheese. I especially like any sharp cheddar. I usually eat cheese with my lunch also.

 3. Fruit. I’ve always loved apples, but I’m not an adventurous fruit eater. I’m trying to expand my fruity horizons. I love applesauce still, and that has made it’s way into my lunch routine.

4. Vans Crackers. There are several versions of these. I love the Multigrain. Combined with the cheese mentioned above, they make a nice night time snack.

5. Pasta Alternatives. We are big pasta eaters, so I looked for a non-wheat version to use in family dinners. We already knew we liked Quinoa pasta. I also like the pastas that are a combination of corn and rice. The rice pastas are okay for being cooked in something, but the rice noodles dissolve and get mushy, so I don’t like them for spaghetti.

6. Peanut butter. I love peanut butter, and it makes me feel full. We use the all natural peanut butter, and I can still eat it on gluten free bread or crackers.

7. Udis foods. Udis makes all sorts of yummy gluten free things- pizzas, bread, muffins, and more. I love their bread. And the frozen pizzas are very convenient.

8. Baked goods I can bake from gluten free flour. So far my favorite all purpose flour substitute has been either King Arthur gluten free flour or Glutino. With both of those I can follow recipes and just substitute the gluten free flour equally for the flour called for.

9. Homemade pizzas. A good pizza has been one of those hard to find gluten free products. Udis probably has the best, but even it isn’t always my favorite. I have found ways to make a pretty good homemade pizza though. Udis has a premade crust that is pretty yummy topped with my own toppings. And Krusteaz makes a good pizza dough mix for homemade pizza.

10. Popcorn. Popcorn is actually a healthy snack- unless it’s smothered in butter and salt. Plain popcorn with a little salt or kettle corn with a salty/sweet mix is a good and gluten free way to satisfy the urge to snack.

Gluten free snack ideas

It is true that gluten alternative foods are more expensive. I eat “my” food for breakfast and lunch, and for supper I make something for the whole family that is gluten free. It helps that some of the other family members are eating gluten free also. I try to use a combination of things that are just naturally gluten free and not that expensive- ground beef, rice, veggies, fruits- and gluten free substitutes.

I’m having an easier and easier time finding things that I like that are gluten free. I know it is much easier now than years ago when my sister began eating this way, and I’m thankful for that. Knowing the benefits of eating this way is a helpful motivator also!

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