The Gluten Battle

10 Jan

Is seems like it’s becoming a fad, isn’t it? Being Gluten Free, that is. For most, it’s a question of whether or not our bodies can handle the gluten. After a few years of pain, suffering, doctor’s appointments and skipped nights out, I’ve been told I’m one of the ones that can’t handle the gluten.

It’s been difficult since I was told I have a wheat sensitivity. Fortunately, I wasn’t diagnosed with Celiac, which I’ve learned a lot about over the years because of a close friend who was diagnosed in college. I’m very thankful for all of that knowledge that she so lovingly imparted to me. I actually knew what to look for when I went to the grocery store instead of being totally clueless and eating nothing but plain meat and veggies.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a ton to learn though. I received Gluten Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn for Christmas. Of course, she started out as a blog, but I hadn’t heard of it until I had the book in my hands. Her introduction is great and gives a lot of tips on couponing, using internet resources, and plain ole just knowing what’s in your food.

Nicole also talks about her struggles with being new to the GF arena. She wanted to cook her family wholesome, delicious food, but anything that required flour seemed to have about 15 different kinds of substitute flours and it seemed just so overwhelming. And that’s exactly how I felt. It turns out that there are a few manufacturers that make an all-purpose flour! Bob’s Red Mill is a great one, and you can find it at most major grocery stores. I picked up a bag at Safeway.

Unfortunately, Bob’s doesn’t include xanthan gum, which is the powder that binds non-gluten flours together. But, there is one that does! Better Batter can be found online (at their site or Amazon, of course) and it’s a truly all-in-one for GF bakers and cooks. I haven’t ordered it yet, but it definitely seems worth the price and time to wait for shipping. I don’t bake often but I do love to bake, and all-purpose flour is something I always have in the house.

So far, I’ve tried two recipes from Nicole’s book. They’re very easy to follow and I started off with recipes that were along the lines of my normal cooking repertoire. The first recipe was for GF Mac and Cheese. It was delicious, but way too rich for my taste. I used cheddar and mozzarella with a brown rice rotini and it was enough to feed me and Todd for two days, but I just couldn’t stomach all the cheese and butter.

The second recipe I made was GF Lo Mein. Her recipe was only for sauce and noodles, so I added veggies to give it a little more sustenance. It was one of the best tasting Asian noodle dishes I’ve made, and I’ve made quite a few. It was very easy, although it took awhile because the sauce had to boil down. I’m also bad at keeping enough noodles in the house so I had extra sauce that I plan on utilizing in the very near future.

The whole point of this post is to say that I want to keep sharing my battles with going Gluten Free. It’s been a very difficult few months, but there have been some upsides: I’ve been eating more fruits and vegetables and I’ve lost 5lbs (all while skipping out on the gym or running more often than I should be). But eating in restaurants has been difficult, since I love giant burgers. There’s just something about a pillowy-soft bun smothered in mayonnaise, atop a juicy all-beef patty and a pickle. Take away the bun and it’s just meat and veggies wrapped in lettuce. A lot of restaurants have started accommodating the GF crowd, though, which I’m eternally thankful for.

My plan is to continue sharing my trials and tribulations with going GF. Do any of you have some great recipes or tips you’d love to share? Leave them in the comments! I’d be grateful for any help or information you’ve got šŸ™‚

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