So, it turns out this gluten-free thing is not so bad after all. I never dreamed I’d say those words, having grown up on bread and pasta!
The benefits have been so great for us that it’s hard to deny its worth. We started cutting gluten for Lilly in early September and these past 6 months she has not had any episodes. Before that, she was sick at least once every month and sometimes more often than that. These days, the only times she feels yucky is after she cheats and eats something that she knows she probably shouldn’t. Her reactions vary but usually include upset tummy, headache, dizziness, and fatigue. Depending on what she eats, these issues may last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.
I personally have cut way back on my gluten intake as well and when I splurge, ouch. I’m working on switching the whole family over to the GF life but I’m still working out the details of the cost and work involved. I have been pleasantly surprised with the way things have gone so far.
Things look a little different around our kitchen these days but I am loving the changes.
My granola recipe makes 2 full pans and is full of goodies like honey, coconut oil, flax seed, nuts, coconut, chia seeds, and whatever else I feel like throwing in. This is a favorite breakfast option for us now with some milk, kefir, or yogurt over it. We haven’t bought a box of cereal in years so breakfast is either this, eggs, or oatmeal.
After finding some bread mixes that we like, I feel really good about those times when I do bake something bread related. A big part of this journey has been totally cutting back on those things but when we do want pancakes, waffles, pizza, muffins, bread, cookies, etc. we have some easy options. I buy the Pamela’s brand mixes from Azure Standard, the Krusteez brand from Sam’s, and the LiveGfree line from Aldi. I really don’t feel like any of it has put me over budget either.
The overall look of my pantry has changed quite a bit. I have to laugh at the container of Vital Wheat Gluten hiding behind the liquid aminos though! I do have to say that even though it is nice to have the GFree types of products available, gluten free processed foods are still processed foods. I would love to say that we will stop eating them all together but I’m a realist and I know better. On a rare occasion we will splurge and have a treat but looking back at the amount of treats we used to have regularly we have made great strides.
I have actually really enjoyed finding new recipes to try out these new options. Wellness Mama has been a great resource for gluten free recipes. Many of them are even easier and have less ingredients than their popular counterparts. I don’t feel intimidated anymore with the idea of coconut or almond flour and so far I haven’t had any complaints.
Some other tricks we have found:
Romaine lettuce makes a great sandwich in place of bread. The kids often have a lettuce wrap with lunch meat, cheese, and honey mustard for lunch.
Fruits and vegetables that are cleaned and easily accessible will get eaten!
Nuts, dried fruit, and GF crackers have replaced all other crackers and are much better snack options. I have found that the kids are actually snacking less throughout the day than they used to because of what they are snacking on. Back in our Cheese-It days, I felt like they were constantly hungry, all day long. Now there are days when no one snacks between meals because of the protein in the meal that sustains them longer.
Eggs, peanut butter, and cheese have always been well-liked but now they are a daily staple for most of us. Thankfully, the hens are laying a dozen or more eggs every day now so we have no problem getting in lots of protein.
Eating the same things more often is really not so bad and makes life easier! Variety may be the spice of life but when we are hungry, we’ll eat what we have. I used to stress about cooking something new and different and not the same things over and over again. Why? How many people in the world eat beans and rice or potatoes day after day and are just happy to eat?
WildTree freezer meals have been a huge help for me in preparing dinners. Their ingredients are free of additives, and preservatives, organic, affordable, and really good!
Do you have any tips for gluten-free living? I’d love to hear from you!