Our journey into gluten free living began three months ago, and it is hasn’t been easy. When my daughter’s test came back positive for a gluten allergy, we were told to have her stay off gluten for 6 months then come back for a follow up. That was all the instructions we were given! Thank goodness for the internet, which has been an invaluable source of information. I have looked up recipes, lists of ingredients to watch out for, restaurants that have gluten free menu items, and so much more.
One difficulty is finding packaged gluten free foods that taste good. Many of the items we have tried did not get a good rating at home. So I keep trying out the health food sections at various grocery stores to see what else is available. It is nice to see that some stores, such as Safeway, have labels throughout the store that indicate the item is gluten free. Other stores have a separate section that is labeled gluten free.
One of the most basic items that has been hard to get is good tasting bread. So far only one brand, Udi’s, has passed the taste test. All of the other ones taste like sand, according to my daughter. I also had success with a bread recipe in one of our new gluten free cookbooks. It calls for several special ingredients, like Xanthan gum and guar gum, that took me a while to track down in a store. It was worth the effort, though, to make fresh bread for my daughter.
Since I would rather cook one meal instead of one that’s gluten free and one for the rest of the family, I am trying to focus on fresh foods that are naturally gluten free. Some good choices are fruits and vegetables, eggs, cheese, chicken, rice and more. We will probably all eat healthier now as a result of these changes we have had to make.
While away from home, it can be challenging to eat gluten free. So I bought some gluten free protein bars for my daughter to keep with her in case she can’t find any safe choices at a friend’s house or at a restaurant.
Though this adjustment has been a bit overwhelming, we are grateful to have found out that gluten was the source of the problem. With time, it will probably get easier. More stores and restaurants will offer gluten free items as the demand increases. There is a large group of people who are switching to gluten free diets not because they have to, but because they feel it is a healthier way to live. Having a gluten allergy is a problem, but at least there is a manageable solution.