Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A gluten free lifestyle

I have not always been gluten free (GF). After the birth of my daughter I was tired of feeling bad. My mom had been GF for a while and suggested I try it. I would get really bad migraines, stomach cramping, so bad I would become bloated and it hurt to stand up straight. I am a huge carb person and I really did eat a lot of wheat. I didnt really understand what gluten is and that is really is in SO much! Wikipedia defines gluten as : "Wheat gluten, also called wheat meat, mock duck, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat. It is made by washing wheatflour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten." You can delivep an allergy to gluten as well, it is not always something you are born with. Gluten is very overused in America with all of the processed food we eat. To be very honest, Jered and I were not extremely healthy eaters. We didnt eat much fast food at all but we did love going out to eat to nicer places. After I had Ela and we started researching what we wanted to feed her as an infant it really opened my eyes to what is really in our food and we decided to be completely GF and eat mostly organic. A very common misconception is eating GF and organic is extremely expensive.  It is more expensive then eating McD's or a processed frozen dinner. We are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. I keep my grocery bill to $70.00 a week for the three of us.  

I do the majority of my shopping at Kroger because they have the best prices. Since we travel so much we can also save money on gas. The one near my house has a very nice organic section that offers GF options. Kroger has digital coupons you can load to your plus card that helps save some money without the hassle of paper coupons. Kroger just started carrying Udi's which offers GF hamburger bungs, cinnamon rolls etc. I have found I prefer to make things due to the texture and differences in GF premade food. Plus, it is SO expensive! I found Bob's Red Mill ( makes great pizza dough mix, bread mix and flours. I use their products a lot. For produce, I only buy organic unless it is in a hard shell like an avocado etc. Kroger does not have a good selection of organic produce so I  typically make a trip to Harry's Farmers market (Whole Foods). I really dont find their produce prices overly expensive. I only buy what is in season and that keeps prices down. Harry's also has a HUGE selection of GF products. And  they have the cheapest free range organic eggs I have ever found! 

Ever since going GF I have felt like a new person. My migraines are few and far between and I feel normal. Even my acid reflux has gone down. I will also tell you, after Ela was born, I was nursing her. I found out she couldnt handle the dairy I was eating so I had to go dairy free as well. Trust me, if a carb loving, sweet addict who eats a lot of ice cream can do it- so can you! Right now is a great time to try it because there is a huge awareness of the issue and it is really easy to find products. Many  restaurants offer a GF menu to make it easy. Mellow Mushroom has a GF pizza  that is YUMMY. When I go out to eat, I inform the waiter that I am allergic to gluten before we order. Eating gluten for me wont kill me, so I would say I am more gluten sensitive than allergic but it also takes 6-weeks to cleanse your system of all gluten so to insure I dont get any I always tell them I am allergic. I think the idea that I may keel over and break out in hives scares them into doing the research! It is crazy what has gluten in it as well. We wanted to order spinach artichoke dip at Cheesecake Factory and it was full of gluten. So is my favorite dish at Marlow's Tavern, Shirmp and Grits and their Black Bean Burger too. When I find a dish I cant eat anymore I will find a recipe similar and modify it to be GF. I'll post pictures and recipes of the dishes we've done. 

I will also focus on keeping kids, especially toddlers, GF as well. It can be hard! I will really try to give you all the tips I've learned over this past year. A lot of it I have learned from my mom who also has a blog I'll give you the link for. Enjoy eating the good stuff and stay away from all the processed foods. If I can do it, you most certainly can! 

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