Regular Contributor, Deborah Ward, shares her thoughts on Going Gluten Free.
Going Gluten Free
Practical Tips for the Lost Shopper
In recent weeks, we have started taking my son to a new psychologist. Finally we have found someone that knows how to work with children! In our former home, my son’s therapist had an office so geared towards middle age men that I held my breathe every time we went. The dude had so many World War 2 model airplanes that I felt like I was in a history museum. Can you guess what my little one went straight for every time we were there? Yep…Not a great scenario.
So, when we walked into this new doctor’s office, it didn’t take us long to feel right at home. She likes to focus on play therapy and as many natural solutions as possible when treating children. So, it came as no surprise when she suggested putting my sweetie on a gluten free diet.
The idea of using a gluten free diet as part of the treatment regime for Autism and ADHD is not new to me. I’ve read about it in the past and even played around with the idea of trying it. However, laziness always got the better of me. When a doctor tells you to do something though, it seems to carry more weight, at least in my mind. SO….let the GF journey begin.
Alright, I’m ready. Where should I start? I know! I’ll run to the store and see what they have! Okay, I’m back from the store. What a waste of time! They had an eight foot section filled with GF items, and I did get a few things, but for the most part…it was junk food. So now, I’m gonna do what I do best, research the internet tirelessly.
I posted a question to my Facebook friends asking for their best tips. I know quite a few of them have had to cut out gluten for various reasons. My favorite suggestions came from my niece. She suggested that I take my son to the store and turn him loose in the produce section. Let him pick the fruits and veggie he loves. Second, she said to let him pick out his favorite ingredients for trail mix. Then let him put everything together. He’d be more likely to eat it if it was his project from start to finish. Lastly, she said to learn to make my own corn tortillas and whip up some PB&J quesadillas. Thankfully, we are so close to Mexico that finding fresh corn tortillas is not a problem.
Another amazing resource I found was the Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation. Through some playing around on their website, I found a handy little diet guide. It is geared towards children that have been newly diagnosed with celiac disease. However, gluten free is gluten free. You can find their GF eating guide here.
Here are some basic tips to help you get started on your own journey without gluten.
1) There are some obvious things to avoid, so avoid them. This includes wheat, barley, semolina, bran, and couscous, just to name a few.
2) And, there’s some not so obvious things to avoid. These were my main concerns. Everyone fears the unknown, right? These include communion wafers, candy, lunch meat, store bought pasta sauces, soy sauce, lip balm, and play dough.
3) There are still tons of grains and starches that are good! Things like quinoa, potato flour, arrowroot, and corn.
4) As part of their GF diet guide, the CDHNF has added an extremely helpful shopping list. One of the things I worried most about taking gluten off the list was the expense. And, yes, if I choose to buy the bulk of my groceries off of that small eight foot section at our super market, our grocery budget would skyrocket. But, this list is a great reassurance that a GF diet is totally doable. They issue some words of caution though. Be very careful when buying processed cheeses and flavored chips.
5) When shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store. This is great advice for anyone trying to eat healthier. Start with produce, then meat, and lastly dairy. Most dairy and meat is safe. Just remember to avoid processed products or products that have been pre-flavored.
6) When shopping the interior aisles remember to stick with items made from rice or corn. This is helpful when buying tortillas and noodles. Get some yummy corn tortillas! And, no need to buy pricey noodles from the gluten free section, get some rice noodle from the Asian section.
Going GF is going to take more planning, and definitely more prep for meals, but it doesn’t look nearly as daunting as it did when I first learned it was our future. Do you have some great suggestions? Feel free to comment below or hit me up on Facebook!
Visit Deborah at her blog, Kentucky to Cali!
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