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New To This - And Frustrated!

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:31 AM

UGH! I'm new to gluten-free, as I was only diagnosed with celiac last week. But so far the food is frustrating me. I've found that (yeah) there are a lot of gluten-free products on the marketing and the (boo) they are all so different. What is everyone favorite pasta? I have tired corn and while the color is different, I didn't mind the taste and texture. I love rice noodles, but found them a little gummy when I had them last night. PLUS there is the thickening agent. I made something last night that would normally use a roux - I didn't have a gluten-free flour (since that's expensive and I want to make sure I buy one that I will like) so I had to go a different direction and used evaporated milk. Different taste. Not a good different taste. Any advice for the newbie?

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 08:40 AM

I use Trader Joe's gluten-free pastas.  The rice noodles don't contain a thickening agent.  That's just the rice starch breaking down (it does not cook the same as wheat pasta). 


To make a simple roux, I use cornstarch that's cheap and readily available (provided you don't have a corn intolerance). 


I'd recommend that you stick to whole foods and avoid the old wheat foods that you used to love for a few weeks.  Eventually, you'll "forget" what wheat pasta, bread, etc. used to taste like and you'll like the gluten-free versions better.  Although I hear UdI's frozen muffins are to "die for", I bake my own cupcakes/cookies which are much better than processed/packaged cookies.  Betty Crocker gluten-free mixes can be found in even regular grocery stores now.   They freeze well and I always keep a store of baked gluten-free goodies. 


Oh, and toast that frozen gluten-free bread......


Hope this helps.

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:13 AM

Thanks, Cyclinglady,


We do have a Trader Joe's close, I'll try that. I have rice noodles when I go to noodles or at restaurants and I love them. But at home were gluey. Guess I need to relax and get used to this. This sight and all the support is such a blessing. 

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:37 AM

We haven't tried the corn noodles yet and I probably won't. The rice noodles are working for us and made my son so very, very happy. I found I do have to put the timer on for the noodles as they take longer to cook but are definitely gummy if over cooked!

We're in WI too....but no Trader Joe's by us....kinda jealous! :)


Bob's Red Mill All Purpose flour isn't too horribly bad price wise. I used it to make a roux the other day and it thickens well. Actually it thickens better than regular wheat flour did! And more quickly. I found a 2lb bag @ Festival Foods on sale for $5.98.

It's definitely a learning process. I plan on trying my hand at baked goods soon but we're currently just eating whole/real food and trying to stay away from the baked goods for a little while. We do go to our local farmer's market every week and get a gluten free chocolate chip cookie, it fills a need for a cookie and chocolate and my little guy feels special that there is something there that is made just for someone like him.

Anyway...good luck! It's mind boggling at first but it does get better. :) We're pretty new to this too...and the initial OMG what do we eat?!!?! Panic has gone away.

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:31 AM

I made a yummy white sauce by using 1 can of coconut milk and about 2 Tbsp almond flour.  I also added between 1/3 tsp salt. It thickened and I added this to wild rice and chicken and it was excellent. 

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 11:53 AM

Corn starch is a good thickener. Mom always used it for gravies and stuff.
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gluten-free since June, 2011

It took 3 !/2 years but my intolerances to corn, soy, and everything else (except gluten) are gone!

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 12:01 PM

i bought a bunch of different flours (white rice, brown rice, sorghum, almond, etc) and some tapioca starch & potato starch and some xanthan gum and i mix my own depending on what i'm making - tried bob's at first but the blend is to 'beany' for me.  they make gluten-free bisquick but it costs a mint  :o  if i am making a roux, i use unsalted butter and some white rice flour and a little cornstarch.  if i am thickening a sauce, i mix some cornstarch with cold water and thicken ahoy!


we like the tinkyada pasta as 'italian' pasta sub - good for mac & cheese and they will hold up in cold salads but don't last that long as leftover pasta salad.   i use udi's and rudi's and scharr!  (oh, my!) for sandwich bread (and lolz, it's true, i can't eat anything without toasting it - the rudi's is an improved recipe and is softer and fluffier - so i toast it anyway  :lol: )  we use bragg's amino for a sub for soy sauce.  


it takes some getting used to, but you will do fine :)

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just as i was getting my affairs in order to die of malnutrition...
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Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:28 PM

Welcome to the Club Kim!


We also use Corn Starch mixed with water to thicken sauces....as time goes on you'll learn the easiest ways to replicate everything that used to have gluten in it.  For now...do keep it simple - whole, non-processed foods are the best for a healing gut and are the least frustrating to prepare.


Rice pasta is great when done right -- corn pasta is a bit more forgiving -- with each we rinse with hot tap water while in the colandar -- makes a bit less sticky and add a bit of olive oil to the pot when boiling.  We find corn pasta usually needs a min or two more than directions and the rice sometimes needs a minute less -- also try different shapes of pasta...spaghetti noodles were the hardest to cook perfectly (rice) for us in the beginning.


In the beginning we used every flipping gluten-free flour out there which made cooking very complicated.  After several months I quit looking for gluten-free recipes and just used all our old favorites or googled regular recipes...most of the time replacing the flour or maybe one other ingredient is all that was needed.  Keep it simple with All Purpose Flour for now.  Corn Starch for thickening and maybe rice flour if you like to bread porkchops or other meats.


Hang in there :)

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Undiagnosed Celiac Disease ~ 43 years

3/26/09 gluten-free - dignosed celiac - blood 3/3/09, biopsy 3/26/09, double DQ2 / single DQ8 positive

10/25/13 - MCAD

Health history since celiac diagnosis became too long -- moved to the "about me" section of my profile

My children and I all have multiple copies of the genes for Celiac Disease, along with large variety of symptoms/resolution gluten-free

Current tally from me, three kids and two grands: 4 diagnosed with Celiac Disease, 2 NCGS


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Posted 02 August 2013 - 02:37 PM

When it comes to thickening agents, I've been using potato starch, and though you do have add it in tiny amounts while stirring to avoid clumps, perhaps a bit more so than we used to have to do with wheat flour, you don't have to wait for it to cook at all! So as soon as you have it to the thickness you want, it is ready to serve. It also doesn't seem to impart any of its own flavor, which to me is a good thing. Wheat flour and I never really got along that well and I messed up plenty of attempts at sauces/gravies because of it - so being forced to try something new was actually a good thing for me.

When it comes to pasta, they are all over the map. I personally don't care for the brown rice-only pastas. They seem to have a grittiness to them. That said, I did just buy another to try.

I've tried some quinoa/corn mixes and they have similar problems, but they also aren't great for leftovers, absorbing all of the moisture out of your sauce/dressing and yet still feeling dry when you eat them.

So far, my favorite for taste remains the rice/potato/soy pastas made by bionaturae. I try to avoid soy in general which is why I've been trying the others, but I keep going back to it. Yes, when it is done you end up with a soft pasta and plenty of white goop that has cooked out of it ... but that gets drained off. I do like that brand for allowing the sauce to win out and not have the flavor or the texture of the pasta interfere with my enjoyment of the meal.

And though the flavor of any of these is going to be different than wheat pasta, after a few months you probably won't notice any more. If we hadn't grown up on wheat pasta, it would probably be the pasta that tasted funny.

I've also thrown away quite a few pre-made gluten-free foods after one bite. Some are awful, others are okay, but some are pretty darned tasty. For pre-made baked goods, udi's brand is quite tasty so I'd start there. I've also been satisfied with just about anything that Glutino makes. 

But I think the other tip I might give you is to try to use this as an opportunity to try new foods rather than replace old ones. I think sometimes when they try too hard to duplicate a gluten-based product, not only for flavor, but for shape and coloring, we have too high an expectation for what it is "supposed" to taste like. Trying to get a gluten-free version of an old standby is sure to be a disappointment, especially if it looks right, but tastes wrong. But if there are no connections in the brain to some previous memory and experience, you can just enjoy the flavors for what they are.

The first couple weeks are definitely the toughest and you can expect to accidentally gluten yourself multiple times until you track down sources of accidental glutenings. It does get a ton easier and you're already on the right track if you've found this forum. There is so much information here to help avoid pitfalls and understand problems that I really don't think I'd be successful without it.

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:32 PM

Oh you guys are wonderful!!! Can't thank everyone enough for the all the help! I honesly don't know how anyone would deal with this damn disease without all the help!!


thank you thank you thank you!!

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 08:53 AM

My family likes Ancient Harvest's corn & quinoa spaghetti best, followed by corn pasta.  As for the roux, I've always used cornstarch to thicken sauces and gravies, even before celiac.  Good luck!

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Blood test positive for celiac May 2012
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