How To Start Gluten-free Living

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I'm wondering if people would be willing to share some tips and ideas on how to begin a gluten-free life. I am brand spanking new to this and am truly at a loss. I have a gluten-free cookbook and have been researching online but it all seems so complicated.

I am unsure as to how my pantry should change and if there are some easy transition ideas that could be shared.

Any information would be wonderful.

Thank you in advance

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I was diagnosed in feb and was at a loss as well. I cant believe how many foods are naturally gluten-free. Here is what I eat...

home made french fries

boarshead meat rooled up with cheese

any veggie

any REAL meat from the butcher


a lot of candy

edys ice cream

I have a whole mess of stuff i could send you. I thought I was going to die when I had to do this but it is really easy. You will get used to it. I havent made any thing out of a gluten-free cook book and dont plan on it. If you need any more help please just ask


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I thought it was complicated at first as well, but then I realized the cookbooks I was looking at were trying to duplicate complicated casseroles (requiring a white sauce, pasta, et cetera), cookies, and cakes. All of those require special flours and things like xanthan gum.

I was stymied by not only the complicated recipes but the cost of the alternative flours. Then I decided to just focus on foods that were alreayd gluten free to start with. It's much easier to seek out naturally gluten free recipes. Want chocolate cake? Google "Flourless chocolate cake recipe", and there ya go. No flour at all. And sooo good.

Meals like burgers (sans bun), homemade french fries (cut potatoes into wedges, toss with olive oil and seasonings, roast at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, flipping once), coleslaw, are all gluten free naturally.

Or roasted chicken legs, mashed potatoes, and veggies. My family loves these meals and they dont' require exotic ingredients or expensive gluten free alternatives.

When I make meatballs for pasta, I don't use breadcrumbs, i use instant potato flakes. No need to seek out gluten free bread or make it.

There are lots of foods that are naturally gluten free, that don't require tweaking. For those sauces that might require flour for thickening, you can use half the amount of cornstarch, or sometimes I keep on hand Gluten Free Pantry's All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.

www.glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com is a good site; she celebrates naturally gluten free food and has a few special gluten free cookie recipes as well.

Basically, get a regular cookbook like Joy of Cooking, and search for recipes that already don't call for flour or pasta. You'll be surprised! Seek out ethnic recipes that have rice as a base (but be aware that most soy sauces have gluten, LaChoy is gluten free).

I do keep on hand some gluten free snacks for myself. Rice Chex is gluten free, and I make Chex mix with it for those times i want something crunchy. Mary's Gone Crackers makes great crackers. Larabars are gluten free.

After a while you build a list of foods you know are safe and healthy and delicious, and it gets easier.

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Hi Valeriek,

Yes, I would LOVE for you to send me any info that you possibly have on this! It's nice to see that I don't have to give up things I would normally eat. I think that is what I am so afraid of. If I do make something out of the cookbook, I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for your help!

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Hi SamCarter,

Thank you so much for this information as well!! This is an absolute great start! Yes, it is an expensive lifestyle change, but from the way you explained it, it appears it doesn't have to be :)

These are great tips and you have given me such a great starting point! Maybe this won't be so bad after all! I'm looking forward to all the great things I might find!

Thanks again! You have made my day :)

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hello & welcome

Here's some of the things I tell my newbies ...

Take a deep breath. It is natural to go through grieving & get angry.

Do not ever cheat ( you will never stop once you start)

Start out with foods that are naturally gluten-free. Ie: plain (naked) meats, fruits & veggies

no sauces , marinades, or coatings. You can add flavor yourself. McCormick spices are clearly labled.

If you are a sweet eater buy a couple of mixes for a while until you feel comfortable baking. This is much easier than trying to learn to navigate this new lifestyle & having to learn the new flours for making tasty treats.

123 Gluten Free

Pamela's----both have great mixes

Glutino has wonderful pretzels & crackers.

When in doubt do without is a good rule of thumb

Kraft clearly labels

Hormel clearly labels

Many companies clearly label

Many thigs can still be used from your mainstream grocery:

heinz vinegar all except no malt vinegar

heinz ketsup

french mustard

contadina tomato products


cheese whiz

philly cream cheese

cool whip

lea & perkins worchestire sauce

LaChoy soy sauce

Wal-Mart brand soy sauce ( gluten is hidden in malt & soy )


philly swirls

herb-ox boullion

Doritos are clearly labled as well as chips

oberto beef jerky ( several flavors)


miracle whip


ore ida frozen fries

Inland valley fries are labeled

delimex taquitos

pam cooking spray

bush baked reg beans

b&m baked beans

dinty moore beef stew ( not chicken stew)

Rumsford baking powder

arm & hammer baking soda

know gelatin


General Mills has several flavors of rice chexs clearly labled

kozy shack puddings

Yoplait yogurt

progresso soups: creamy mushroom, lentil, chik rice, chik & wild rice, chik vegetable,clam chowder, corn chowder.

Lipton cup of soup (cream of chicken)

Smart ones has five gluten-free meals

pepsi , coke products

Breyers or Edys ice cream except ones that have crunchies.

Just a get started list , there are many more products that you can use & also different brands than i mentioned.

Remember that if a product states no wheat - that does not mean that it is gluten-free.

A wonderful cookbook is Annalise Roberts baking Classics

There are many gluten-free flour blends these days. Here is a couple of the best ones.

www.betterbatter.org plus she has many great recipes on her site.

Domato Living FLour

Tom Sawyer flour

Mr Ritts flour blend

Authenic brand super fine rice flours

Ready made gluten-free goodies that are the best of the best!

joans gluten-free great bakes ( bagels, eng muffins, pizza)

everybody eats ( baguettes & ficeille rolls)

Conte's ravioli, pierogi's. gnocchi)

Against the Grain (rolls' )


bristol baking


Depending where you live you may have to do mailorder....

Find a support group in your area. there are GiG & CSA groups across the country...

If you find your self craving a food please ask us before going off the deep end.. Us oldies can help you find your cravings without cheating......

You will need to become a label reader as what is gluten-free today may not be gluten-free tommorrow. Mainstream food suppliers change their ingredient list often. If they find a cheaper price for a sub then the product changes & may no longer be gluten-free........

You may experience ups & downs..... not get discouraged. Your body has to heal & adapt. Some get instant relief & others it has taken up to a year or two to see & feel better....

Another thing is once you start the lifestyle you may see more things that you react to: ie: nightshade vegetables, dairy, soy. Many find out they have allergeries to other things. Again this is common & don't get alarmed. You will just need to adjust to these products as well.

Eating out:( National Chains)

Red Robin


Smokey Bones

PF Chang's

Pei Wei

Mitchell Fish House

Lornhorn Steakhouse


Uno's Chicago Grill

many more plus there may be some local places in your area.

I think this will get you off to a good start. Only move on to the next phase once you are comfortable with what you are doing. When you ar ready to start baking there are great recipes in the recipe section.

You also will need to remove any scratches pots, pans, utensils ( wooden or plastic) ANything that is porous needs to be replaced as they will hold gluten from prior wheat use. Toaster, mixer, bread maker, cutting boards, spatulas.

If I can help you in any way please send me a messsage.



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Hello Mamaw,

I cannot begin to thank you for this wonderful list! I actually am crying because it seems like I can now start with some information under my belt and not feel so completly overwhelmed. You cannot begin to understand what it means to someone like me who is so new and scared to have someone like you extend a hand.

I will never forget this and will look at this everyday. Thank you, thank you!!

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You are so welcome! When I started gluten-free years ago I had no one to help me so I do understand. That is why I run a gluten-free ministry in my area.

I do a lot of gluten-free marketing for companies & gluten-free taste testing... I only eat the cream of the crop... there is still really bad tasting foods out there so I can lead you to the best of the best! If I pay big bucks for food it has to be the best...

I feed several in my family gluten-free...I have wonderful recipes as well.

I will send you my personal e-mail addy so if you have other questions you can just ask..



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When I started gluten free, it was for my daughter, who was 4 1/2 at the time. She ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. So, I was on a mission for a good gluten free bread. I've lost count of how many mixes and recipes I've tried. The best I have found is "gluten free sandwich bread" from www.glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com. My husband, who is not gluten free, loves it and digs in as soon as it comes out of the oven. I've served it to non-gluten-free friends for sandwiches and toast, and they are all surprised to learn that it is gluten free. If you can't find the recipe on the website, let me know and I would be happy to post it. (Note that there are a lot of ingredients and it looks a bit intimidating at first. After making it 2 or 3 times it has become routine. I usually make a double batch, slice up the loaves, and freeze them so I have sandwich bread available for my daughter all the time.)

Also, I second the recommendation of Pamela's mixes. I have served Pamela's pancakes and waffles to non-gluten-free friends and family - they all want the recipe after tasting them.

Finally, the best cookbook I have found is Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annelise Roberts. Again, gluten eaters have no idea that they are eating gluten free. (This is where I found a pizza crust that passes muster for my Italian husband!)

Try not to get too frustrated when you start baking. There is a learning curve, but it becomes routine if you experiment enough. (Lucky for me, I liked cooking/baking before I started down this road.)

Good luck!

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