If you’ve made the decision to start eating a gluten-free diet (or if you’ve been advised to do so by your doctor) it can seem daunting to try to figure out where to start out on your journey. The important thing is to educate yourself, be diligent and learn to read labels.
First, it’s important to understand exactly what gluten is. Essentially, gluten is a protein found in things like wheat, barley, and rye. It is the substance that give things like pizza dough its elastic or stretchy consistency, thereby causing air to be trapped in the dough which helps it to rise. Gluten is also present in lots of processed foods, because often flour is used as a thickener and bread crumbs are used as coatings and fillers. So, the first order of business is to learn how to read labels and to understand what you are looking for. From there, follow these tips to help you on you road to enjoying a gluten-free lifestyle.
Change your mindset
Instead of turning the focus on what you can’t eat, focus on the world of foods that you can eat. Look for gluten-free alternatives and enjoy eating a variety of naturally gluten-free foods, such as meats, produce and nuts.
Buy speciality convenience products
One of the biggest challenges of following a gluten-free diet can be finding the fact that lots of convenience products contain gluten. Fortunately, it’s easier now than ever to find GF convenience products such as cake mixes, pancake mix, coating mixtures, etc. Make the transition to a GF lifestyle easier on yourself by taking advantage of these products. You can also make your own convenience foods by going online to find recipes for things like baking mixes. That way, you will have them on hand when you need them.
Stock your baking pantry with GF ingredients
Baking is the biggest challenge for those who are trying to eat gluten free. The best strategy is to stock your pantry with gluten-free substitutes that you can easily reach for when the urge to bake strikes. Things like gluten-free flours, xanthan gum, and gluten-free baking soda are great things to have on hand for your baking purposes.
Compile some recipes
Whether can go the route of buying a few gluten-free cookbooks or go online to find gluten-free recipes from websites such as onlyglutenfreerecipes.com, it’s a good idea to start collecting some recipes that you can make for your family. Keep track of how your family rates the recipes, so you can easily refer to your new family favorites when it comes time to make dinner.
Eating gluten free doesn’t have to be a challenge that leaves you grudgingly heading to the kitchen at meal time. Gluten-free food can be delicious! All it takes is some planning, some creativity and some education on how to avoid gluten and make substitutions for it, and you will enjoy some delicious meals that won’t leave you uncomfortable.