But life still rolls along and you gotta eat! And in our case, that means eating gluten free. (thankfully Marc is back on dairy, though he limits it by drinking coconut or almond milk with his cereal in the mornings)
Some people have asked us recently about starting a gluten free diet, or how to cook for a friend that's gluten free & coming over, so I thought I'd share a few pointers. Hopefully some of these "Hands of Loves" blog entries have given you ideas along the way, and hopefully it has shown that it's not as crazy of a diet as everyone seems to think initially. (like I did!!)
BUT! If you are attempting a gluten free diet (or thinking about it for various health ailments-- it's amazing how many of our family members have been greatly helped and will never go back!), there's a few SUPER important things worth mentioning.
1. The main thing is that there can be NO (absolutely NO) cheating. It's not a diet like that. If you cheat even once, it negates any improvements you might have had in your gut, even if you don't feel it right away. Some people say they are helped by limiting gluten & not eliminating it altogether, but if your body has any sensitivity to it/intolerance, with continual digestion of gluten, you are potentially looking at major health issues in the future. (gluten intolerance is currently being linked to all types of major diseases---not just celiac-- and doctors are finally starting to screen for it more often-- most of the time it goes undiagnosed as IBS or it's already surfaced as asthma or migraines or other chronic conditions...)
I say-- if you're thinking about trying GF-- why not try it for 2 weeks and see if any of your symptoms are improved? For Marc, I remember he actually felt WORSE the first 2 days, but by day 3 it began an amazing improvement in his energy, gastro stuff, attentiveness, and mood. Of course, he's dropped over 40 pounds, too, but that was never our intentions in doing this diet-- just a nice side-effect!)
2. The second most important thing! To truly get the benefit of a gluten free diet to see if it works for you, you MUST avoid any possibility of cross contamination. This is a biggie that often gets overlooked because it seems extreme at first, but if you are sensitive to gluten, it only takes a TRACE of the darn thing to get in & wreak havoc on your system.
If you're cooking gluten free in your kitchen, some of the things you HAVE to do:
- NEVER put gluten free bread in your toaster. Think about it- there are TONS of crumbs in there. Gluten free means it's never TOUCHED anything with gluten. We have 2 toasters. We bought a cheapie and labelled it GF for Marc's bread.
- Use a new stick of butter when you're cooking for your gluten free buddies. Your old stick of butter (and the plate that it rests on) has likely been in contact with bread or crumbs.
- Get new condiments-- especially peanut butter or jelly that you have spread onto bread and then put it back into the jar. Ketchup, mustard, etc. also apply.
- Make sure your pots and pans are washed WELL to avoid any cross contamination possibilities.
- Check all your medications, your spices, every last food or sauce in your cabinets to ensure there is no gluten in them. Learn which brands of soy sauce, for example, don't have gluten in them.
- Cross contamination is HIGHLY likely in any restaurant, but probably less likely in those with a specific gluten free menu. (Outback Steakhouse is extremely accommodating and they have a gluten free dessert that is to die for!! You can also eat GF on-the-go at Chick Fil A & Wendy's if you know what to get.)
Sorry for that rabbit trail! Don't know if that stuff is helpful or not.
Now to the food. With the cold weather upon us, we've been craving more of the warm, comfort foods...
Shrimp and grits with broccoli. YUMMMMMM...
Gluten free macaroni. (this recipe is from Jerry Seinfeld's wife's cookbook called "Deceptively Delicious" because there's also pureed butternut squash in here, too! You'd never know...plus you're adding a veggie in there!)
Pasta with sausage.
Chicken quesadillas with more butternut squash snuck in! (also from "Deceptively Delicious")
Creamy potato soup.
Sweet and sour drumsticks.
APPLE PIE!!! This was my biggest gluten free accomplishment yet, folks! I need to try a different crust recipe next time b/c this one wasn't THE one, but when I find it, I'll be sure to share with you. The filling was DELISH! My gluten free hubby, who NEVER gets to eat pie anymore, (b/c I don't bake!!) was in heaven anyways. :)
I'm also convinced that to go gluten free, it's a team effort. It takes a support system for someone to do it, especially if you're not the one who usually cooks in your family. It's a commitment from me (who is NOT gluten free) to help my loved one that must be.
I originally took on the gluten-free challenge to see if it helped the health of my daughter, but the Lord was really preparing me to help my sweet husband. That blows my mind.
These hands, though they're uninspired, have still got lots of love. :)