Help! It’s Gluten-Free For Me…

I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but after just a hint of a thought last night, I started going through my blog posts from last year…and was dismayed to find that I had noted, on three different occasions, how much better I was feeling after eliminating gluten from my diet.

I’m pretty sure it was Karen McFarland who told me about Udi’s bread products, which turned out to be a lifesaver for me.  Toast is almost always my go-to food when I’m hungry and nothing sounds good.  But the loaves from the rice flour recipes I was trying out left a whole lot to be desired.

Over the course of the two and a half or three months I did this, I found some fairly acceptable substitutions for foods I missed.  While they weren’t quite as good, I got used to them…and even got to the place where I could enjoy them.  Except the gluten-free lasagna noodles.  Those are awful and I’ll have to keep looking.  I never found a good substitute for dumplings, which I love with my chicken stew.  And what about tender, flaky pie crust?

So I’m appealing to you for help.

What do those of you who are gluten-free do to make it easier to adhere to the diet?  Do you ever cheat?  How long did it take you to adjust to it, and the fact that if you wanted to feel good, you couldn’t eat your favorite foods anymore?  Obviously almost three months wasn’t long enough for me.  Of course I wasn’t convinced that I was sensitive to gluten either.  I am now.

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Help! It’s Gluten-Free For Me…

  1. Katrina

    I’m not sensitive to gluten but eat gluten free for other reasons, have you tried sorghum flour? I find it comes the closest to regular flour and its great for your skin. Also, William doesn’t do ‘healthy’ ever, he told me once if I wanted him to eat it, not to tell him its healthy. He has never noticed when I used sorghum flour as a substitute for regular. And, you’ll probably always miss the gluten, if you’re like me you grew up on it and it almost feels as though its encoded in your DNA, I still miss my aunts biscuits she made with fresh lard. Sorry, you’re going through this, its an adjustment no matter how you approach it.
    Check out this website: http://www.bobsredmill.com/

    • Kristy, there are many many flours – give them a try. they all seem to need a little something extra. but they work. after much experimentation I discovered using potato flour for gravy. it takes a lot of potato flour, but no one can tell it’s not regular gravy. I keep rice, potato, sorghum, chickpea etc etc. in the house. I did have to experiment but I’ve learned. and my daughter has become a whiz at gluten free cooking – way better than I am. LOL

      watch for hidden sources of gluten (Toothpaste) and eat clean and you’ll start feeling better. the wheat we get today is not our grandma’s wheat – and i think this new stuff is killing us. good luck

      • I already have the flours on hand (most of them, don’t think chickpea is one of them though). Now I’m glad I didn’t have any takers on the offer to get rid of them. And I will be experimenting as soon as some of this fatigue is gone. Right now making the loaf of bread from the Pamela’s bread mix…in my bread machine…is making me tired. But it’s getting done tomorrow so I have bread for the week.

        And I know what you mean about the wheat available to us today. Between the depleted soil conditions and over processing it’s not even a little healthy.

    • I actually have sorghum (and lots of other kinds of) flour in my pantry. I picked up a bunch of it at an Amish market but never got around to using it. It’s stored in brand new Mason jars so hopefully it’s still good. Time to experiment, I guess.

      That’s funny about William. My son is a lot like that. Healthy to him is potato chips, lol.

      I know what you mean about the gluten feeling like it’s encoded in your DNA…because, while pasta isn’t one of my favorite things, homemade breads, pie crusts, biscuits, etc… are HUGE favorites.

      Hopefully I’ll not miss gluten too much because I finally accept the fact that I’m going to have to make changes in order to experience the life I want to live. And I want to live it, not snooze through it.

  2. Shelly Immel

    Kristy, I’ve been gluten-free for years now. Undeniable experience that gluten makes you feel bad is the best reinforcement I know to stick with the diet. When you’d do ANYTHING to feel better, eliminating gluten stops feeling like a trial and starts to feel like a way to take control.

    That said, most gluten-free products that are trying to mimic gluten-full products don’t do a very good job. My favorite toast is Whole Foods’ Prairie bread, or their sun-dried tomato & garlic bread. Other than that, I avoid bread. I don’t eat pasta much anymore, but I’ve had better luck w/ corn-based pasta than w/ rice-based pasta.

    My best advice is to find new things you like that aren’t pretending to be your old favorites, because pretenders don’t measure up.

    My doc talks about shopping on the perimeter of the grocery store: veggies, fruit, meat, eggs, yogurt. Basically anything that comes straight from a living things instead of being processed to death will have a much better chance of not having hidden gluten. I would add beans and legumes to the list, whatever aisle your store puts them on.

    When you learn to cook w/o looking through the lens of old favorites, you’ll play to the strengths of the new foods.

    For me, the longer I have been away from gluten, the easier it gets. It’s difficult at first when you have to figure out everything at once, but once you’ve got some new staples in your pantry, things will start looking up.

    XOXO

    • I’m definitely taking control of this. When I think of some of the things I did last year, compared to sitting around at a family gathering tonight, wanting to lay my head on the table and nap, it’s even more reinforcement that this is the right decision for me.

      Hopefully I’ll get to the place you’re at soon because I know that just accepting this as the way it’s going to be is a priority…because I need to ‘get a life’ again. This is one key. Starting back at the pool on Monday is another (oh I dread that, lol…I’m so tired, Shelly, I can hardly bear the thought of it, but I’m going).

      • Shelly Immel

        Go easy on the exercise at first, Kristy. You have been through serious rehab, so I know you know that. But I knew it, too, and just didn’t want to acknowledge how “in the hole” I was when I started exercising again–and that cost me. Wanting SO much to get your life back is a great driver, but it can drive you past your limits, too. I’ll be thinking of you!

        • LOL…yeah, I remember overdoing it last year and thought I broke a rib. I’m going to be really careful. No six days a week at the pool to start off this time…three or four days at the most. Some stretching and starting off at a reasonable pace (and time) on the treadmill on the days I don’t go to the pool.

          Hopefully I won’t get stupid again and think that I’m not working out hard enough. It helps to have read that with hypo, you should NOT shoot for major workouts, just keep it moderate. And since everything is about feeling better now, maybe that will be enough to keep me in line.

          Thanks for the reminder though. If you want to throw out the occasional reminder as I start getting some energy back, feel free. LOL…that’s what happened last year. Didn’t take much to remind me that it takes a little longer than I like to get to where I want to be. 🙂

  3. My mother has been gluten free for years. She likes to order from the gluten free pantry and make her own bread. There are many places where you can get pastas and breads in order to satisfy your cravings these days. It has become more common than when my mom was first diagnosed. Good luck!

    • If your mom has any recipes she’d like to share, I wouldn’t say no. I did find Tinkyada pasta last year. I didn’t care for their lasagna noodles, but their shell macaroni was really good for mac and cheese. I don’t have anything from the GF Pantry, but did pick up a bread mix by Pamela’s that I’ll be making tomorrow.

      And thanks. I expect to be feeling a lot better within a few weeks. I think it took three last year, and I’m really looking forward to feeling like a normal human being again. 🙂

  4. Hi Kristy,

    I’ve been gluten free for almost five years now. Knowing what will happen if I eat gluten keeps me from cheating. The misery is not worth it. The two things I missed the most when I stopped eating wheat were pizza and chocolate chip cookies. Udi’s makes a good pre-packaged chocolate chip cookie. Betty Crocker now makes a good gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix that is easy. I use Pamela’s for waffles and pancakes. If there is a Whole Foods anywhere near you, they make a good gluten-free pie crust.

  5. Wow…five years! Do you still miss foods containing gluten? Apparently I don’t experience any intestinal issues when I have ‘regular’ foods, but the fatigue is multiplied because of the hypo. And I found a notation somewhere that I was feeling less pain when I was gluten-free. Looking forward to an improvement there, too.

    Yay on the waffles. I LOVE waffles, but guess I didn’t realize you could make them from the Pamela’s mix. No Whole Foods in this area that I’m aware of, but there was at least one comment on Amazon that the Pamela’s bread mix (minus yeast) made really flaky pie crust. I’ll have to check out the cookies though. Sometimes you just gotta have cookies. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  6. I’ve been gluten free for almost a year. I haven’t found a bread I really like, but I do love Van’s GF waffles. And I recently made a lasagne noodle that my son thought tasted almost like the “real” thing. I can’t remember if it was made with corn or rice. I do like corn pasta though!
    Betty Crocker’s GF brownie mix is pretty good too. 🙂

    • I didn’t have a whole lot of luck with rice flour when I was experimenting. Where do you find corn flour? Or was it corn meal, if you remember.

      Now for the important question…have you noticed a big difference in how you feel now, as opposed to a year ago? If so, do you continue to feel better, or do you think you got to a place where you felt as good as it’s possible to feel and you just kind of stay there?

      I’m just curious because I think I must have leveled off or something (in order to convince myself that it really wasn’t working).

      • The corn pasta is premade–and I’ve only experimented a little with flours. I know I don’t like chickpea and quinoa as flours because they make my baked goods taste “beany” if that makes sense. The Bob’s red mill corn bread mix makes great corn bread.
        I do feel better digestively speaking :). However I got tested for gluten issues because I’ve been having neurological problems. Those problems have not gone away though. My dr did say last November that my positive gluten test might have been a false positive so for the month of December I went back to glorious pizza and bread. By January I felt terrible again (digestively).. So I will stick with GF and dairy free ( b/c that also messes me up).
        It may help to keep a symptom diary? I did that for a while.
        🙂

  7. I’m sorry to hear about the neurological problems (did you blog about that recently?). I hope that gets resolved soon!

    I’ll do a search on corn pasta. I would love to have lasagna with noodles that taste good. If I can’t find one, though, I’ll just do the meat, sauce and cheeses. Those are what gives it the great flavor anyway.

    I may think about a symptom diary, but the only real symptom I have is the fatigue. Maybe some pain, but I’m never sure if it’s from that, or from some of the problems that aren’t entirely better from the accident. 🙂

    • Thanks Kristy (yea I blogged about it a little–almost nothing is safe from being blog material ha ha). The next time I buy those lasagna noodles I will tell you the brand–maybe it’s one you haven’t tried yet. 🙂

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