It's been years since our family went gluten free because of my oldest daughters allergy. Now it is so natural for all of us that I forget how difficult it was at first. I remember feeling lost. Not knowing exactly what I was going to feed my family and the stress that came along with a complete diet overhaul. The countless sandwiches I made from Brown Rice Bread that completely disintegrated in my babies hands. Then there was the comments from outsiders. Someone actually suggested that our daughter may have this allergy because she was never exposed to junk food and we sheltered her too much. Imagine that!
Here are some tips I wish someone would have given me:
- Read ALL food labels: Thankfully in the US companies are now required to list whether their product contains wheat or not.
- Learn what grains to avoid: Wheat (this encompasses a bunch of other grains like spelt, kamut, etc.), Rye and Barley.
- Eat more fresh foods and less processed. You can't go wrong loading up on fruits and veggies.
- Find another family or friend that's gluten free. I didn't have this type of support system and most people on a regular diet really don't understand what you are going through.
- Have patience. This change will not happen overnight.
- Realize you don't have to give up pasta, bread, muffins or pancakes!! My favorite pasta is Tinkyada or Trader Joe's brown rice pasta, my favorite sandwich bread is either Udi's or Rudi's but lightly toasted the bread holds up better, as for muffins and pancakes ... make your own. I have found the best GF flour to be Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose flour. You can use it just like you would regular wheat flour.
Ingredients (makes 16 pancakes)
- 2 1/2 cups of flour (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups of milk (I use almond milk)
- 1 cup butternut squash puree (you can also use sweet potatoes)
- 1/2 apple sauce
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Next add all wet ingredients except milk and whisk together.
- Begin adding milk until you reach the consistency of pancake batter. This may require less or more milk than listed.
- Once desired consistency is reached scoop out 1/4 cups of batter on to a greased pan over med-low heat.
- Cook for a few minutes on each side.