LET'S START WITH....
WHAT YOU CAN EAT!
Lots of things! While it is true that a lot of food will now be off limits, it is also true that there is a lot of food in the world~ and many things are still perfectly safe to eat! Getting back to basics is a good way to start.
You can still eat:
Nuts and Seeds
Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt (if not casein or lactose intolerant)
Please rest assured that you can buy or make your own gluten free baked goods~ bread, cakes, cookies, muffins, and more!
There are several brands of gluten free beer on the market now, and an endless supply of gluten free snack foods like popcorn, peanuts, gf pretzels, gf crackers, corn chips, etc. Many restaurants offer gluten free menus.
It really is best to begin with a basic whole foods diet and it is also important to focus on what you CAN HAVE rather than dwell on what you can't have. It's that whole positive thinking thing.
Whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth are acceptable on the diet as long as you are not sensitive to them.. It can be fun to explore new foods, and you may find with the new focus on food you will actually increase the variety of healthy foods in your diet; most of us do!
“Back to basics” eating is just easier while on the gluten free diet learning curve. Reading labels at the grocery store can be daunting in the beginning. That gets easier over time as you eventually learn which foods and ingredients are acceptable.
You will eventually get back to a regular shopping list~ it will just be a little different than it was before. Eating unadulterated whole foods over processed foods really cuts down on label reading.... a big help when beginning this overwhelming task of re-evaluating everything you eat!
Whole foods, unprocessed foods, are just healthier for you all the way around, and are easier on your intestinal system while it is healing. You will be reducing the risk of inadvertent gluten errors by avoiding processed foods, and giving your body a better chance to heal quickly.
It is not uncommon for those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease to suffer from other food intolerances as well. In fact, studies tell us up to 50% of those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity also have problems with cow's milk. Corn and soy sensitivity are commonly a problem as well.
Sticking to whole foods, and keeping a food and symptom journal, can help to identify additional sensitivities if you continue to have symptoms. Many people find they do much better without any grains at all in their diet.
DO I HAVE TO BUY EXPENSIVE SPECIALTY FOODS?
No! In fact, you can live quite nicely and healthfully without any of the specialty food products. Many opt to eat only naturally gluten free whole foods and find this simple way of eating very satisfying.
There are also many mainstream processed foods that are gluten free and safe for you to eat. Some mainstream products are even beginning to clearly label products as gluten free... which makes our job of label reading a lot easier.
Allergy and Contains Statements on products are also very helpful, but beware because they won't necessarily include barley or rye ingredients. Wheat is one of the eight major allergens covered under labeling laws. When you see wheat in a Contains: statement, or highlighted in the ingredient list, it shortens the label reading task as you quickly return the product to its store shelf.
SPECIALTY FOODS GALORE IF YOU WANT THEM!
There are many specialty gluten free foods on the market and the market is growing like wild fire. More products are making their way to your very own local grocery store... be sure to check the health and specialty aisles! Most health food stores will carry a wide variety of gluten free products.
The GF Mall is a one stop directory of websites offering foods in the gluten free specialty market. There is a searchable data base of GF products at GF Overflow
One caution about specialty foods... though. They are not necessarily HEALTHY foods. Once you begin to read labels of everything you eat, out of necessity, you will gain an acute awareness of exactly what you are eating. Many of us end up cleaning up our diets overall and doing without much of the processed foods, but for some of us who still like to splurge on occasion with a little junk food... it is still all available! No shortages there....
This list geared with children in mind:
Can I make my own baked goods?
Yes, you can!
It is simple to purchase various gluten free flours and make your own baked goods. You can buy pre-blended gluten free flours, or blend your own... usually a combination of rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch flour. The healthiest flours to bake with are almond flour and coconut flour and recipes can be found on elanaspantry.com. There are many gluten free recipe books on the market if you look for them. According to Amazon.com there are 276 of them, and counting!
Online and local support groups are also very helpful in supplying gluten free recipes and baking tips.