What does gluten free mean?

Basically, it means avoiding any foods containing wheat, rye or barley or their derivatives.  So… anything with flour is out, or malt, or whole wheat, or any of the other weird forms of wheat.  Oats are also usually off-limits; even though they’re gluten free, they’re usually processed in plants that also process gluten-containing products.  Eventually, I’ll try adding oatmeal back to my diet & see what happens, but for now I’ve given it up. 

Luckily, corn, rice, and quinoa don’t contain gluten, so I still have some options.  Now there are also a lot of gluten free versions of breads & pastas, but they’re pretty expensive.  The tiny loaf of bread I bought last week cost $6 & dried out after 3 days in the fridge.  I also ordered 4 44 oz bags of a gluten free flour mixture for $28 from Amazon 😦

Since gluten acts like “glue” in foods, gluten free foods are made of a combination of safe flours- rice, soy, almond, quinoa, potato, sorghum, tapioca, fava or garbanzo beans… obviously there are lots of options.  The problem is that you need a mixture of these flours… so you have to buy multiple types.  Right now, I’m going with a pre-mixed option to cut down on the storage space and monetary requirements. 

I’ve spent hours reading about living gluten free, looking for replacement products, and searching for recipes.  So far, the hardest part is deciding what to eat- I can’t just eat any cereal or make a quick batch of pasta for dinner.  I’ve been meal planning for months now, but I’ve always had quick backup options- frozen pizza, burritos, grilled cheese.  Now, I can’t eat any of these cheaply.  Meal planning is going to be even more important.  Groceries are going to cost more- not just because of the gluten free replacements, but because I’ll eat more fruits & vegetables.  Luckily we don’t really have to buy meat (thanks to hunting & our generous families), so that helps.  Overall, avoiding gluten leads to better eating habits, as long as you don’t rely on gluten free replacements (plus you won’t go broke). 

I apologize to anyone who actually reads my blog & doesn’t want to hear about gluten free-ness.  But this is a big part of my life now, whether I like it or not.  So feel free to ignore these posts- I won’t be offended, but then maybe you’ll benefit from my research & new eating habits 🙂

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