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Lunabell

How Hard Is It?

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How hard is it to cook gluten free? We have decided that our home is going to become essentially gluten free after my daughter's endo/biopsy. There are a few snacks that my middle daughter loves that I don't see making her give up easily. Luckily the youngest daughter doesn't like those so we can work something out to keep that separate. My middle daughter is very aware of celiac and what to do because her best friend has it. Otherwise though, I am not a short order cook, so I don't feel like making separate meals, nor do I want to stress about cross contamination.

I cook mostly from scratch, using whole foods. I don't even use spice packets...I prefer to mix my own flavors. I am not a big fan of baking, so that makes life easier. I have already learned about Udi's bread for those of us that insist on sandwiches...ironically that would not be the kid who can't eat the wheat bread. She hates bread. It looks like with careful ingredient reading, that cooking for the family shouldn't be too hard, once we clean the kitchen, get rid of some stuff and replace a few pots and pans(yay! they are old as dirt anyway).

It seems like cooking will be manageable, but it is the travelling, socializing and eating out that can be sheer hell. Am I being over confident about the cooking aspect?


Jo

Rai-10-epilepsy, cortical dysplasia, hemispherectomy, cognitive and physical delays, negative celiac bloodwork

Mira-6- no known health issues

Laura-5-celiac (12/10)

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No, I don't think you're overconfident. If you're already cooking from scratch and aren't a baker, you will have few difficulties switching to gluten-free cooking. My husband and I love to cook so switching over wasn't a big deal. I always tell people that 95% of the time the gluten-free diet isn't a problem, and the other 5% is when I'm not in control of my food (eating at restaurants, other peoples' houses, etc.). These boards are a great resource so don't hesitate to ask questions.

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I agree- cooking at home is not that tough. It is time consuming though!

Socializing is hard. I don't eat anything that anyone else cooks. I don't trust them to know about cross contamination, etc. I bring my own food to people's houses. People understand and usually feel badly for me.

I have found the the gluten free menus at restaurants are doable. Ask for the manager! I have found that some waitresses are not educated about gluten free foods, but the managers seem to be.

Traveling is something I haven't encountered yet, but my fiance and I are going to Miami for his son's wedding in January. I will be getting a gluten free meal at the wedding, but other than that, I am not sure what I'll be eating. It is scary to be far from home and be in danger of being glutened!

Good luck with this new adventure!

Diane

How hard is it to cook gluten free? We have decided that our home is going to become essentially gluten free after my daughter's endo/biopsy. There are a few snacks that my middle daughter loves that I don't see making her give up easily. Luckily the youngest daughter doesn't like those so we can work something out to keep that separate. My middle daughter is very aware of celiac and what to do because her best friend has it. Otherwise though, I am not a short order cook, so I don't feel like making separate meals, nor do I want to stress about cross contamination.

I cook mostly from scratch, using whole foods. I don't even use spice packets...I prefer to mix my own flavors. I am not a big fan of baking, so that makes life easier. I have already learned about Udi's bread for those of us that insist on sandwiches...ironically that would not be the kid who can't eat the wheat bread. She hates bread. It looks like with careful ingredient reading, that cooking for the family shouldn't be too hard, once we clean the kitchen, get rid of some stuff and replace a few pots and pans(yay! they are old as dirt anyway).

It seems like cooking will be manageable, but it is the travelling, socializing and eating out that can be sheer hell. Am I being over confident about the cooking aspect?

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Cooking is really easy. It's baking that's not as easy although I've made it easy on myself.

You can use rice flour to thicken any sauces just like wheat flour. I make my roux with rice flour and it turns out great. If something calls for soy sauce buy the wheat free tamari style soy sauce and you're fine.

For bread I found something WAY better than Udi's and half the price. Gluten Free Pantry Basic White Bread mix. You have to make it but it's super easy. Buy a bread loaf size pan online because the little banana bread style pans are too small. I order it on that banned website for about $4 a box which makes a normal size loaf of bread.

Bisquick and Arrowhead Mills both have gluten free baking mixes. Betty Crocker has great gluten free cookies, cakes and brownies. Love anything Gluten Free Pantry I've tried.

I also use a flour mix that I make and sub it out for white flour and so far everything has turned out great. I mix 2 parts sweet rice flour to one part potato starch and add 3/4 tsp of xanthan gum. I've used it in pumpkin spice muffins, pancakes and the Libby's pumpkin roll recipe with great success. Going to try some other recipes with it soon. I got the idea from reading ingredients on some of the cake mixes I've bought.

For pasta dishes, I use Tinkyada brand brown rice pasta. It's really good and I'm a picky Italian girl!


Lots of doctors diagnosed me with lots of things including IBS, lactose intolerance, wheat intolerance, and quite a few of them threw up their hands in total confusion.

Had GI symptoms, allergy symptoms and unexplained illness my whole life.

Jan. 2010 Diagnosed celiac at the age of 40.

Ready to get well and get on with my life!

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I agree with everything said so far. Cooking gluten-free is really quite easy--just be sure to toss out the soy sauce and replace it with gluten-free Tamari sauce. To find processed foods that are gluten-free, you can find a great list here:

http://homepage.mac.com/sholland/celiac/GFfoodlist.pdf

With regard to baking, all you really need is Bob's Red Mill gluten-free Flour and some xanthan gum. I use all of my standard baking recipes and simply use the gluten-free flour and 2-4 teaspoons of xanthan gum, and I can barely tell the difference. Sometimes it comes out better than the wheat version. I also use this flour for thickening gravies.

At parties, potlucks, and picnics, I bring all of my own food. Luckily, a number of relatives also have celiac, so family get-togethers are not very stressful--the hosts usually accommodate by preparing gluten-free dishes (and, yes, we have them well trained!).

You are wise to go with a completely gluten-free kitchen--not only with it be safe for your daughter, but you will all eat a more healthful diet. Good luck!

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I don't find it hard at all to cook gluten free.


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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I don't find it hard at all to cook gluten free.

Nor do I. Granted, it's a pain in the a$$ sometimes and baking is a challenge but it definitely gets easier with time. My first gluten free shopping trip took forever but I think that's to be expected. Also, lots of good recipes have been posted on this site.


Sylvia

Positive Celiac Blood Panel - Dec., 2009

Endoscopy with Positive Biopsy - April 9, 2010

Gluten Free - April 9, 2010

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No, I don't think you're overconfident. If you're already cooking from scratch and aren't a baker, you will have few difficulties switching to gluten-free cooking. My husband and I love to cook so switching over wasn't a big deal. I always tell people that 95% of the time the gluten-free diet isn't a problem, and the other 5% is when I'm not in control of my food (eating at restaurants, other peoples' houses, etc.). These boards are a great resource so don't hesitate to ask questions.

Thanks! It is that 5% that I am worried about. I am just so glad that her preschool already knows how to handle this. They already have another student with celiac. They did a total makeover in that classroom since baking is a big part of Montessori.

Traveling is something I haven't encountered yet, but my fiance and I are going to Miami for his son's wedding in January. I will be getting a gluten free meal at the wedding, but other than that, I am not sure what I'll be eating. It is scary to be far from home and be in danger of being glutened!

Good luck with this new adventure!

Diane

Good luck in Miami! It sounds like a fabulous place to have a wedding. I am worried about travel too. We are a serious road tripping family and usually end up going to national parks that are not near big cities. We already take a lot of equipment for my oldest daughter. I'm thinking we might have to upgrade to a suburban or something if I need to travel with a gluten free kitchen as well.lol Either that or camp more since we will be able to completely control our food. I can see how not having control over the situation would be very scary!

Cooking is really easy. It's baking that's not as easy although I've made it easy on myself.

You can use rice flour to thicken any sauces just like wheat flour. I make my roux with rice flour and it turns out great. If something calls for soy sauce buy the wheat free tamari style soy sauce and you're fine.

For bread I found something WAY better than Udi's and half the price. Gluten Free Pantry Basic White Bread mix. You have to make it but it's super easy. Buy a bread loaf size pan online because the little banana bread style pans are too small. I order it on that banned website for about $4 a box which makes a normal size loaf of bread.

Bisquick and Arrowhead Mills both have gluten free baking mixes. Betty Crocker has great gluten free cookies, cakes and brownies. Love anything Gluten Free Pantry I've tried.

I also use a flour mix that I make and sub it out for white flour and so far everything has turned out great. I mix 2 parts sweet rice flour to one part potato starch and add 3/4 tsp of xanthan gum. I've used it in pumpkin spice muffins, pancakes and the Libby's pumpkin roll recipe with great success. Going to try some other recipes with it soon. I got the idea from reading ingredients on some of the cake mixes I've bought.

For pasta dishes, I use Tinkyada brand brown rice pasta. It's really good and I'm a picky Italian girl!

Thanks so much for the baking tips! There are a few times a year that will be very handy. I have started a notebook of tips and products so I won't have to rely on my memory when I am at the store.

I agree with everything said so far. Cooking gluten-free is really quite easy--just be sure to toss out the soy sauce and replace it with gluten-free Tamari sauce. To find processed foods that are gluten-free, you can find a great list here:

http://homepage.mac..../GFfoodlist.pdf

With regard to baking, all you really need is Bob's Red Mill gluten-free Flour and some xanthan gum. I use all of my standard baking recipes and simply use the gluten-free flour and 2-4 teaspoons of xanthan gum, and I can barely tell the difference. Sometimes it comes out better than the wheat version. I also use this flour for thickening gravies.

At parties, potlucks, and picnics, I bring all of my own food. Luckily, a number of relatives also have celiac, so family get-togethers are not very stressful--the hosts usually accommodate by preparing gluten-free dishes (and, yes, we have them well trained!).

You are wise to go with a completely gluten-free kitchen--not only with it be safe for your daughter, but you will all eat a more healthful diet. Good luck!

Thank you so much for the food list! It is definitely going in my notebook! So far we have lucked out with her favorite treats/snacks

(rice chex, tea, and fruit snacks). I wonder if she chose them intuitively because they didn't bother her.


Jo

Rai-10-epilepsy, cortical dysplasia, hemispherectomy, cognitive and physical delays, negative celiac bloodwork

Mira-6- no known health issues

Laura-5-celiac (12/10)

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Gluten free cooking is easy. Gluten free baking, I think can take some time to master depending on the flour you use. I found bean flour works wonders. Some local bakeries use it and it doesn't crumble.

The hardest part I found was giving up things I grew up with, like my favourite cereals, as well as convenience. It's not easy to find something to eat when you're in a rush. Being a college student, I'm always in a rush.


Diagnosed by a Naturopath by an elimination diet, gluten free 2 years, finally able to live again after years of suffering.

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Gluten free cooking is easy. Gluten free baking, I think can take some time to master depending on the flour you use.

The hardest part I found was giving up things I grew up with, like my favorite cereals, as well as convenience. It's not easy to find something to eat when you're in a rush.

This is also true for me,

Gluten free cooking is easy, once you clear all the things with gluten in them from your kitchen .

Gluten free cooking is time consuming,cooking from scratch is more time consuming than using pre-packaged foods.

The hardest part of going gluten free was the loss of convenience ,,, but now I pre -plan my meals and cook extras and freeze in individual servings for those time i need something in a hurry .

my daughter is a stay at home mom, and she can bake ,I mean she CAN bake!!! :D and she has had great luck with rice flour

As for the traveling part,,, that is very scary for me still,,,,but the camping option sounds like a great idea

the shopping part still takes FOREVER,,,but that to gets easier with time and experience and a GREAT shopping list :)


Gluten free Oct/09
Soy free Nov/10

 

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I'd suggest getting a rice cooker if you're at all likely to eat rice often. Sooo much easier in terms of thought level and also cleaning. I just bought one a few weeks ago and use it two or three times a week. A couple of varieties of rice help mix it up. I wish I had bought it back in June. If you're more likely to do more potatoes and corn, maybe not... but...

I've found "cooking" to be pretty easy. I already had a long list of things that I normally made that could be eaten as is or converted by using gluten-free pasta or soy sauce. Snacks, especially finding something if I'm away from home, and the sort of emergency quick meals are much harder. Where I would have made a sandwich, I now have to take the time to throw together rice noodles and tuna, or something else. (Not a fan of any gluten-free bread I've bought, even Udi's.)

I'd suggest going through your recipe cards, or cookbooks, and making a list of carbohydrate substitutes that you would eat. Then make a list of "one-pot" meals. Once you have those, it's easy to think of making polenta or roasted sweet potatoes to go with baked chicken instead of garlic bread.


2/2010 Malabsorption becomes dramatically noticable

3/2010 Negative IgA EMA; negative IgA TTG

4/2010 Negative biopsy

5/2010 Elimination diet; symptoms begin to resolve on gluten-free diet round two (10 days)

5/2010 Diagnosed gluten sensitive based on weakly positive repeat IgA & IgG TTGs and dietary response; decline capsule endoscopy.

Now, what to do about my cookbook in progress? Make it gluten-free?

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Uh oh...I am going to have finally figure out my rice cooker. My brother and his wife gave us one a few years ago. We tried it once and definitely did something wrong because what came out was not edible. Corn is out because I can't eat it, so it would make life easier if we knew how to use it.

It occurred to me this weekend that ordering delivery after a long day will also be a thing of the past. Our lives can get so hectic that I think I'd better spend a day a month preparing freezer meals for those inevitable times that something happens to throw the day out of whack.

Thank you all so much for the suggestions and encouragement!


Jo

Rai-10-epilepsy, cortical dysplasia, hemispherectomy, cognitive and physical delays, negative celiac bloodwork

Mira-6- no known health issues

Laura-5-celiac (12/10)

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We're a gluten-free household for our son as well. I was a terrible cook pre-diagnosis. If I can say it can be done, it definitely can! It's really not hard once you get past the first couple months of learning curve. We just hosted another Thanksgiving entirely gluten-free - stuffing, cornbread pudding, oatmeal bread (that everyone raved about and couldn't believe was gluten-free), pies, cake, green bean casserole, well you get the picture - LOADS of gluten-free (that's Great Food)! :)

As for outside the house, we are the cooler people. I take pizza, lasagnas, tuna salad, you name it for travelling. For out and about town, we frequently take tuna salad and potato chips and have car picnics. It we happen to be by the one Wendy's we add in a Frosty and life is good.

Life's what you make it. Make it good!

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Spending one full day cooking is the best way to go. A freezer full of meals makes me feel less stressed on those don't want to cook days. A frozen meal does the trick!

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I am the celiac in a house of 5. I do all the cooking and 99% of it is gluten free. It can be done, and easily. I too just did an entire gluten free Thanksgiving. The only thing that wasn't gluten-free was the gravy. I dont eat it anyway, so I bought premade for the gravy eaters :P I love to cook, so in the beginning (its been a few years) I just researched and researched. There is so much information and recipes out there. I use Pamela's baking mix. I just tried Better Batter for rolls I made for Thanksgiving. They were awesome! You will get the hang of it and it will become easy for you. I remember the first few months after my diagnosis. It sucked and I was so frustrated. I promise it gets easier!


Female,37

Diagnosed by biopsy first, then bloodwork

Gluten free since 7/08

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One thing we're still looking for, but that would seem to be very useful, is a cookware set for an RV - a little set of pots/pans/plates that stack together easily. Then, these can be brought along on road trips and such so you always have a clean set of gluten-free pans for cooking.

There are also these 'mini-microwaves' that you can find, some that even plug into a car cigarette lighter, if you are more of the hotel type road tripper. Very useful for the celiac foods.

coming up with a homemade 'granola' bar is nice too. Basically, if you've got a grain or two, a gooey sweetener like honey or agave or corn syrup, and dried fruit or nuts, you can make your own energy bar. Nice easy snack. Uncooked amaranth in small amounts is good to add to something like this, as well as cacao nibs, gluten-free oats, or quinoa flakes. :-)

One thing that it can be helpful to remember when starting out is that 'gluten free' legally means 'really low gluten.' (below a certain ppm) So just like too many low calorie foods can make us fat, too many 'really low gluten' foods can sometimes push us over our gluten threshold. This isn't typically a problem, but for some of the kiddoes, if they get in one of those modes where they just wanna pig out on a cereal or cracker all day long, that can sometimes be a little too much for them.

We ran into this more when it came to travelling, because that's when we tended to pack more ready-made foods that were crackers or cereals, you know? And then the kids would eat more of them and be crankier the whole trip. Took us a while to figure it out.


T.H.

Gluten free since August 10, 2009.
21 years with undiagnosed Celiac Disease

23 years with undiagnosed sulfite sensitivity

25 years with undiagnosed mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) 

 

Daughter: celiac and MCAD positive

Son: gluten intolerant
Father, brother: celiac positive

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One thing that it can be helpful to remember when starting out is that 'gluten free' legally means 'really low gluten.' (below a certain ppm)

I just wanted to point out that at least in the U.S. there still is no "legal" definition of gluten free. Still waiting on that.

Also, some things really can be totally gluten free. Different testing will show that something is "less than 5 PPM" or "less than 20 PPM." They can still be zero in reality, but the test only shows that they are less than a certain threshold.

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