THE GLUTEN-FREE LIFE
After the first rounds of allergy testing, my diet was bereft of wheat, eggs, milk, beef, pork, and a whole slew of fruits and veggies.For a while, my 3-times-daily eating consisted of:
· broiled chicken
· steamed broccoli
· fresh or frozen blueberries
· steamed white rice
Sounds good, right? Healthful? Great for weight loss?Yes, to all the above, but the weight loss was drastic.
Slowly I added back a few of the foods previously verboten by my allergist. Gained weight. Looked less like a third world refugee.That went on for a few years, but eventually I wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t keep my weight down to a manageable number.
In the meantime—one of my daughters began reading about the effects of gluten, especially as it occurs in many of the grains and flours we use on a regular basis: wheat, barley, and rye being the major ones. She found recipes for gluten-free cooking and read a small library full of books.I’m so grateful she shared them with me.
Gluten-free living isn’t the purgatory I thought it was going to be. And as more and more people are diagnosed with problems with gluten in their diets, doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and just plain old folks like us have a lot of information to share.Somebody tipped off the food companies, and you can now buy brand-name cake mixes, cereals (hot and cold), ready-to-bake cookies, bread machine mixes, plus already prepared foods like cookies, breads, rolls, pizzas, and…well, just take a peek in your freezer and refrigerator sections.
Fortunately, a lot of foods are naturally gluten-free. Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats that are not marinated or cooked/canned/processed, fresh or frozen fish and seafood, and many canned items, such as pasta sauce, vegetables and fruits. Reading labels is a must.For those of us who rely on Internet information, there are a ton of sites about gluten-free living, complete with recipes, also free.
And if you’re not online a lot, check your library—the late Bette Hagman wrote cookbooks in a series called The Gluten Free Gourmet. I have a book on baking by Rebecca Reilly, who was an experienced chef before she learned she would have to go gluten-free. You’ll be drooling while you scan the list of contents, or the index.Next week I’ll post some of our family’s holiday recipes. If you’re part of the turkey-sweet potato casserole-pumpkin pie crowd, you can still eat the yummies and stay on your gluten-free diet. If you’re into other kinds of traditions, there’ll be something for you as well.
Don’t forget—you may be all right with gluten, but somebody in your family might appreciate having a chance to enjoy holiday treats without unpleasant consequences.