Contamination, G/F Foods

Getting Started

2 Comments 08 August 2011

Getting Started

Having been diagnosed with a severe gluten intolerance and a casein (milk protein) intolerance a few years ago now, I often take for granted just how overwhelming the process can be for those who are just starting out.

And these days it seems I meet a new gluten-free convert almost every day! Still some “experts” stand by their uber-conservative estimations of just how many people can benefit from a gluten-free diet, but the numbers seem to quickly be proving the blatant accuracy of esteemed author and forerunner in the field of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, Dr. Vikki Petersen whose estimations are closer to 40%.

People ask me all the time what my symptoms were, “I had to take Protonix every day for acid stomach, I couldn’t go to the bathroom, these problems went on for years, and then awful acne on my back and chest cropped up, no doctor, aesthetician or acupuncturist could cure it. And then the migraines began, those were the worst,” I tell them. And while my back and chest were covered in painful and embarrassing acne, my face wasn’t very balanced either.

For the most part, over the past few years I’ve figured things out. Sure I occasionally get antsy for a new recipe or two to cycle in, but week to week, I know what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, travel, restaurants, weddings and even which shampoos and hair care products to buy.

But for those of you who are just starting out, where’s the list? Sure there are plenty of amazing books and magazines out there, but chances are, you’re not going to cook three meals a day (plus snacks) for yourself every day of the week. So the real question is, how do you live like you did before, only this time do so gluten-freely?

So I’ll be blogging my recommendations, because gluten-free foods aren’t the cheapest, so you certainly don’t want to waste your money one the ones that don’t taste good!

For starters, here are my favs for breakfast and lunch:

  • Gluten-Free Breakfast Foods: Chances are you already have a breakfast routine that will pretty easily adapt to your new gluten-free diet. If cereal is your food, even mainstream groceries now carry gluten-free options. Rice Chex has been great about advertising their gluten-free status, if you like a lighter, rice based cereal (they also have corn, honey nut, chocolate, cinnamon), if you prefer a crunchier, healthier cereal Enjoy Life’s Crunchy Flax or Rice remind me of Grapenuts (only not AS yummy, so I usually add some tiny Enjoy Life chocolate chips or nuts), and for granola Hail Merry makes an AMAZING Grawnola. But is you’re more of a sausage kind of person, my favorites are AppleGate Farms breakfast sausages and Al Fresco’s breakfast or Chicken Apple sausage (the latter I butterfly, peel off the casing and brown in my cast iron skillet). Some sausages can contain or be contaminated with gluten, but these two I’ve always had luck with, plus neither has lactic acid from dairy which is in most processed meats. For those of you who go the toasted waffle route, a few minutes per side under the broiler turns Van’s gluten-free waffles into pure magic! (I broil them because we’ve never bought a toaster after going gluten-free, so this you can even do when visiting friends, just place it on a baking sheet and broil 2 minutes per side, or until browned.) Or if you’re more of an English muffin kind of person, Food for Life makes amazing Wheat and Gluten-Free Brown Rice and Multi Seed ones, which again, I’d just toast under the broiler. And finally, for those health aficionados, there are several gluten-free protein powders available, I’ve heard that NutriBiotic’s is good. Or for protein bars, I like the Daily Mocha Mantra and Nut Butter Buddha Crunch, both are free of gluten and dairy, and neither is loaded with sugar (plus they’re covered in chocolate!).
  • Gluten-Free Lunch Options: What’s available to you for lunch will definitely depend on your job. For those lucky enough to eat at home, leftovers are always a great option, or gluten-free sausages like Al Fresco, or even hot dogs like Hebrew National (we like the 97% fat free) along with the side of your choice. But if you’re toting your lunch with you or forced to eat out, what are you to do? Chances are, whatever you’ve been bringing for lunch can be made gluten-free, whether it’s a salad, pasta dish, sandwich–my favorite gluten-free breads by the way are Kinnikinnick’s Candadi Yeast-Free if toasted or Udi’s Whole Grain or White Sandwich Bread which are great even if they’re not toasted. And for a side of chips, look to Kettle for an array of flavorful options, all of their potato chips are gluten-free, as are their new TIAS, but the TIAS are processed in a facility with gluten, though extra precautions are taken to avoid contamination. Sushi is also a wonderful option, but look out for those packets of soy sauce and opt instead to bring your own (you can order travel packs online by San-J) and avoid imitation crab which often contains wheat. Look for sashimi or rolls that contain real fish and veggies, no sauces or spices. If you must do fast food, most restaurants have a gluten-free menu online. In a pinch our favorite is Chick-fil-a whose charbroiled chicken sandwich can be ordered as a filet without a bun, plus their amazing waffle fries are gluten-free (they’re cooked in a separate fryer from the chicken). But if you’re eating out with co-workers and sushi’s not an option, ask your waiter to ask the chef what he or she recommends. I don’t do salads so my go-to is usually a bunless burger. Or at a Mexican restaurant I stick to fajitas and specify no sour cream since I can’t have dairy, but I also usually ask whether there’s dairy in the guacamole, sometimes their is, but do avoid the tortillas, even if they’re corn, as they’re all heated before serving on the same tortilla warmer.

- who has written 87 posts on Gluten Free Fox.

When Kristen and Taylor created The Gluten-Free Search Engine years ago, they never dreamed that just a few years later they would be sharing their lives with a beautiful, gluten-allergic dog named Waylon. Not too long after adopting their new "dog child," they headed closer to home and found themselves in the mountains of North Carolina. It was here that Kristen realized her lifelong dream of creating healthier, gluten-free beauty products and launched Gluten Free Beauty. Having shared her finds for the safest and best natural, g/f beauty products via her first-ever website,, she is thrilled now to be putting out products that she can enjoy and that she knows are safer than alternatives!

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2 Comments so far

  1. Gladys says:

    “but do avoid the tortillas, even if they’re corn, as they’re all heated before serving on the same tortilla warmer”
    that is not necessarily the case….I go to a Mexican Restaurant and it has a Celiac menu, and the corn tortillas are heated in their own server. I’ve not as yet had a problem eating there, and purchasing corn tortillas in Arizona, in the store, in bags of 80 or whatever, they are fine for me too. I think you have to decide for yourself.

    • I definitely agree! There are corn tortillas that you can buy at the store that are not contaminated with gluten. And that is AWESOME that you have a local Mexican restaurant that has a celiac menu and warms the corn tortillas separately! Unfortunately that’s not the case about about 90% of the others out there. Things like tortillas being warmed on the same surface is one of the many little areas that can too easily slip through the cracks at restaurants that are less informed. What’s the name of this restaurant, everyone should eat there!!

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