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"special" Foods And A Celiac Mindset
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In writing a response to someone's question, I realized that I was talking about preparing non-gluten-free foods as "special" (instead of gluten-free foods as "special").

I do most of the cooking in our house, which is just my husband and I (well, and our dog, but I don't cook his food!).

I used to think of the gluten-free food I'd buy as the special food in the house.

Now I think of the rare wheat-containing food (if he wants biscuits, which he'll bake on his cookie sheet, or a non-gluten-free pizza) as the special food.

We are fortunate to be able to afford to feed the both of us with gluten-free foods, and he'll still eat whatever he wants when we eat out (and he eats out a lot at lunch!), plus we try not to eat much processed food anyway.

But I realized that I'd had a little internal shift in my thinking, and was wondering if anyone else had, too?

He still sees some of my gluten-free food as special - on the rare occasion I buy gluten-free cookies or something, he'll leave them for me.

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Yes. I though my foods were special and all that jazz until I stopped to think only three items at my house have gluten in them. Everything I eat is not "special", it's normal. Only that I can't eat other things also considered normal.

I feel a lot more alien about my diet when I am at school (because I don't eat at all there) and people are always eating cookies and foods with gluten and/or dairy, but it doesn't bother me. My diet keeps me healthy, so people can mock me all they want. :P

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I started going down that road, but my husband, like yours, started going out to eat very frequently at lunch time. Then I caught him sneaking out to get fast food late at night, and for breakfast too. He was getting sick of the lack of gluten products in the house, and was having serious cravings. He didn't want to complain, but it just wasn't fair to him. Now we have all the gluten products he used to enjoy, so we can make lunches at home - his with gluten, mine without. We also have a couple of nights per week where we eat different meals, so he doesn't feel deprived of gluten.

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We evolved - at first we put little green dots on everything that was gluten-free. We had always cooked the majority of our food so as time went on we had replaced almost every glutenous item with a gluten-free version. We still had glutenous bread and cereal for my hubby and one teen that hadn't gone gluten-free. I had serious reactions to many foods and our children needed to go gluten-free - so my hubby decided to move any gluten containing items to his office to simplify our kitchen - he keeps cereal and crackers there, but makes his lunch with the gluten-free items from our kitchen. I'd say from diagnosis it took about a year and a half to transition to a completely gluten-free kitchen. There really is not much of a difference now than our kitchen before my diagnosis - except a few less processed foods -- my kid's friends eat over often and all they notice is the bread is different -- and they like Udi's - I wish they didn't - teen boys can mow thru a loaf like nothing you have ever seen :blink:

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It's interesting how our thinking changes as we progress through the months/years as gluten free. What seemed like a 'special diet" isn't really, it's just good solid healthy eating. First our home was mixed (my son lived with us), then we were totally gluten free but now we have hit at a happy compromise. (It's only taken 2 years!) The home is good solid healthy gluten free foods with a few of the gluten frozen meals that my partner likes occassionaly. It works for us.

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My idea of eating gluten free has definitely changed over the last 18 months (since I was diagonosed with Celiac). I started off spending a fortune on processed "gluten free" products - I just gained weight, was always constipated and was always hungry - probably from the lack of fiber in "gluten free" processed foods.

Now I eat a plant based diet and I exclude grains with gluten, eating mainly oats (which I seem to tolerate just fine and quinoa). I very rarely eat rice because it is caloric with almost no fiber and now I have learned probably full of arsenic. I eat fresh, local organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, limited grains, beans and legumes. I eat no animal products and I add no oil to my diet and I am the healthiest I've been in years and without any symptoms of Celiac for the first time in ages.

The good thing is my husband basically eats the same diet that I do except he once in a while eats high fiber wheat bread and cereals. Life became so much simpler when we decided to pretty much eat the same foods.

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A lot of fuss is being made over this arsenic in rice scare, but it's not anything new. This is the same rice that we've all been eating for years. And all of the worst offenders were brown rice, and not so much white rice that has had the germ removed.

The way I look at it, rice is the main staple of the Japanese diet, and the Japanese are some of the healthiest and longest-living people in the world.

If we took every food scare (true or not) to heart there literally wouldn't be anything left to eat. With BSC in beef, mercury in fish, salmonella in greens, solanine in potatoes, giant spiders hiding in bananas...

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You raise an interesting topic!

I think of all the food in my house as "normal" now. At first, it seemed like it was under so much scrutiny and I was so worried about everything being gluten-free. I was trying so hard to convert everything over (recipes, etc) and I was conscious of "my diet" and the grocery list listed things like "gluten-free bread" and "gluten-free brown rice flour" and "gluten-free soy sauce". I used "gluten-free "before everything I wrote or said at first.

Now, it's just flour, oats, bread, etc. --because of course, it would be gluten-free. What else would I eat, right?

Does that make sense? :D

Hubs went gluten-free with me (of his own accord) and we eat a wide variety of delicious foods. Neither of us feels deprived and he told me he has never once felt like he wanted to go grab something gluteny. He has baked our bread and he brews our beer.

I know he has found himself in the position (out somewhere without me) where he could have had a regular beer or a wheat sammy and he still chose a gluten-free option.

When people come to dinner here, no one notices there is no wheaty stuff being served. They just eat what we eat and they enjoy it very much. (I assume, since there is never anything left :lol: )

I guess it's our "new normal" and recently, I said to hubs, I hardly say "Gluten free" anymore. It's just food.

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Thanks for the responses!

It was interesting for me to notice the shift. Of course, I still have my bad moments - last night, very hungry and tired in the grocery store, looking for a quick and easy dinner to take to a friend's house (he was having pasta). Grabbed a "regular" pizza for my husband, and went to grab a gluten-free Amy's meal for me - and remembered my friend doesn't have a microwave. I couldn't justify running his oven an extra 30 minutes to cook my 300 calorie dinner, and didn't want to wait an hour to eat. Hungry and tired is never a good combination, but I nearly lost it.

Fortunately, a hearty salad, if not always the most exciting option, is always easy - and a can of refried beans, organic greens, guac, salsa, and some blue corn chips later, I was way happier. AND happy that I hadn't eaten a frozen dinner.

I also often feel more aware and "different" at work. A coworker's daughter was selling baked goods to raise money for band, through one of those mail order catalogs. Everyone else in the department ordered something, and there wasn't a single safe thing to order. So I ordered a cake that just has to be defrosted to eat - which will be my contribution (other than my own lunch) to our office Thanksgiving lunch. They're always bringing in cookies and banana pudding and still let me know it's there - which is nice, I know they are just offering, but I've stopped correcting them. They just don't get it!

So it's funny that even in a single day that I can shift from feeling like my food is the normal food to not - and back again. I guess it's all contextual. But thank goodness I now feel normal at home!!

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I still have my bad moments - last night, very hungry and tired in the grocery store, looking for a quick and easy dinner to take to a friend's house (he was having pasta). Grabbed a "regular" pizza for my husband, and went to grab a gluten-free Amy's meal for me - and remembered my friend doesn't have a microwave. I couldn't justify running his oven an extra 30 minutes to cook my 300 calorie dinner, and didn't want to wait an hour to eat.

Sorry if I am missing something, but I don't see the problem here. Most ovens have two racks.

Make sure that the gluten-free one is on the upper rack, so nothing from the other one can fall on it, and then cook both at the same time. You may need to allow an extra five minutes with both at the same time.

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I guess this mindset is dependent on the amount of other people in the household. For me, I have 2 young children, a husband, and my sister living with me. I am def the odd man out with the "special" foods. When I cook meals, I make the main part of the meal (meatballs for example) gluten free, and then 2 different types of pastas. My stuff is segregated in the cabinets and pantry, and I am the only one who eats them.

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I guess this mindset is dependent on the amount of other people in the household. For me, I have 2 young children, a husband, and my sister living with me. I am def the odd man out with the "special" foods. When I cook meals, I make the main part of the meal (meatballs for example) gluten free, and then 2 different types of pastas. My stuff is segregated in the cabinets and pantry, and I am the only one who eats them.

Since the burden of cooking seems to fall on you, if you were to make corn or rice pasta for the whole family, it would be easier, less chance of CC for you, less clean up time and they would not really know the difference. I have served corn flour pasta with a fresh alfredo sauce to my friends and they raved about it. I did not put the plates down and say "oh sorry, this is gluten free". I just said "mangia, mangia molto bene!"

But after, I told them it was BiAglut pasta. She bought some herself after that dinner. Same thing with Crunchmaster Crackers. They are very popular with WEs. (wheat eaters)

Honestly, part of this "mindset" is everyone --the celiac AND the rest of the family--- must get past the idea that gluten free food is "special, different or crappy tasting" :)

Corn and rice pastas are just as good as (if not better than)

wheat pasta if cooked properly and has a tasty sauce on it.

I promise you, the sooner you guys get past thinking that you are a "burden", different or special, the easier it becomes to embrace the new normal.

Often, newly diagnosed people find themselves apologizing for being a burden or worrying that they are "inflicting" their diet on others ( I did it, too) but the truth is, the way we eat is far more healthy than the way the majority of the American population eats. My GI doctor says his celiac patients are the ones who have the healthiest diets because we choose more whole foods instead of packaged junk. He's right.

Post diagnosis, my diet is actually healthier than it ever was.

Just some thoughts! Cheers all, IH

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Great point IH!

We have many guests over for completely gluten free dinners...in the beginning family were amazed that what they were eating was all gluten free, now they don't ask if it is gluten-free, they simple ask how to make it -- there is a gluten-free way to make all of your favorites, it just takes time to transition.

One additional thing I noticed as time went on -- folks were eating just as large of meals at our table, but were never getting that overfull feeling - everyone has room for dessert now, those that previously always said "oh just a little piece or I'm just too full" - even thanksgiving - I find it very interesting and have not mentioned it to my extended family yet, but believe that the poor turkey and tryptophan have been getting a bad wrap all these years - it was eating a large meal of gluten that was making everyone tired!

Serve a nice roast with oven roasted asparagus sprinkled with almond slices and gluten-free pasta with lots of parmesean, butter and garlic - followed by a sinful chocolate cake or blueberry cheesecake for dessert - I promise no one will ask if it is gluten-free or turn their nose up because it is "special" - they will just feel special. It really is much more work to make two meals than one tasty gluten-free one and it goes along way to making you feel included again.

Give yourself time - pull out your favorite recipes and consider what needs to be altered to make it gluten-free - often you'll just need to change pastas, flour or cakemix. I stopped looking up gluten-free recipes after some time and simply use regular recipes - unless there is something you can't figure out. I had always made cheesecake for my father and sister - thought I wouldn't be able to make the crust, googled gluten-free cheesecake and bingo a way to make the crust and everyone loves it and can't believe it is gluten-free.

Hang in there - it does get much easier :)

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Hang in there - it does get much easier :)

Truer words were never spoken. :)

Not to stray too far off topic, (or I'll have to warn myself :lol:) but you guys should get some Kinninnick or Against the Grain grahams and make these sometime. I have always made an entire cheesecake too, but these were fun (I served a raspberry coulis drizzled on the side) and the 6 WEs who were here for dinner last week went Gaga over them:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/vanilla-bean-cheesecake-bars-recipe

Not one of them even thought to ask what was in them. Their mouths were too full of yummy goodness.

And they also ate pieces of this:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/flourless-chocolate-cake-recipe

( you can skip the espresso and use the vanilla).

They had room for dessert because even though they ate filet mignon roast, twice baked potatoes, carrots, sherried mushrooms and appetizers, they were not stuffed with bread.

To quote a famous movie line "Gluten? we don't need no stinkin' gluten!" :D

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Sorry if I am missing something, but I don't see the problem here. Most ovens have two racks.

Make sure that the gluten-free one is on the upper rack, so nothing from the other one can fall on it, and then cook both at the same time. You may need to allow an extra five minutes with both at the same time.

The problem was the lack of a microwave - I didn't mind sharing the oven, but didn't want to run the oven for an extra half hour (frozen meals take a long time in the oven, much longer than a frozen pizza) and cost my friend that energy for a small meal.

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I'll have you know that my food is "special" because I have to cook every damn bite of it! Hahaha

If I had a family at home, you can bet your sweet bippy that every meal would be gluten-free or they'd think I had PMS 365 days a year. laugh.gif

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I'll have you know that my food is "special" because I have to cook every damn bite of it! Hahaha

If I had a family at home, you can bet your sweet bippy that every meal would be gluten-free or they'd think I had PMS 365 days a year. laugh.gif

Amen, sister! :lol:

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