I don’t have celiac disease, an immune disease that causes damage to the small intestine. But, I do have gluten sensitivity which causes many of the same symptoms but stops short of damaging the small intestine. When the doctor told me I should limit or completely eliminate gluten from my life I had a bit of a temper tantrum. I LOVED breads, baked goods, and pasta. Rather than curl up in a corner and admit defeat, I embraced the challenge and created an adventure. How did I do it? It’s mostly attitude.
Accept that some things will never be the same. Gluten-free flours and pasta have some limitations. Once you learn them, you can work around it and still enjoy baked goods and pasta.
Be aware that gluten lurks everywhere. It’s like high fructose corn syrup. When the world realized all the ways it can enhance flavor it added it to everything! As someone who only has a sensitivity, accidentally eating gluten will be more of a nuisance than a life-threatening experience. However, when I have been “glutened” accidentally, headaches, bloating, and general tiredness are usually right around the corner. Learn the “nicknames” for gluten. Read labels. And, get over asking for ingredient lists at restaurants or at people’s homes. Your health is important and, generally, people don’t mind. Trust me.
Embrace discovering new recipes and new types of grains and seeds. I had no idea before going gluten-free the number of amazing grains and seeds available for consumption. God truly is bountiful and creative. Some of these have amazing earthy or nutty flavors that make plain old recipes exotic and exciting. A few I have come to love are teff, amaranth, millet, and quinoa.
Document what works. If you find a flour or brand of pasta or packaged baked good document it. More importantly, if you find a recipe that works keep it handy and play with it. I would have never described myself as an experimenter in the kitchen, but going gluten-free forces you to face kitchen failure head-on. You will fail. Numerous times. But, when you finally get the win, it feels like you won an Olympic gold!
I have lots of gluten-free favorites, but one of my go-to recipes is a fabulous almond flour chocolate chip cookie. Not only is it packed with protein, but you can also freeze them without baking for a ready-to-go warm from the oven snack without the time and mess of mixing from scratch. Click below for our free downloadable recipe!
Contributed by Liz
Medline Plus. (n.d.). Celiac Disease. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/celiacdisease.html
Medline Plus. (n.d.). Gluten Sensitivity. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/glutensensitivity.html