Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cross Contamination

Why it is necessary to avoid cross contamination and why it is so hard to make others understand.
The issues created in celiac disease are at the molecular level, and it is the proteins of gluten causing the problem. Since it is an immune response, the smallest of particles can set off the reaction like in an allergic reaction. That is why some doctors will even refer to this as a gluten allergy. It is allergy-like in the cascade mechanism, but it is mediated through different pathways, and cells.

In celiac disease, a specific problem within the immune system develops in which ingesting certain types of grain proteins, (gluten) cause your body’s immune system to behave abnormally, including making antibodies against some of your own tissues. For this reason, celiac disease is classified as an autoimmune disease, meaning that the immune system attacks one’s own body.
The difference between Gluten reactions and allergies

THE ALLERGY CASCADE
• Allergies are an overreaction of the body's natural defense system that helps fight infections. The immune system normally protects the body from viruses and bacteria by producing antibodies to fight them.

In an allergic reaction, the immune system starts fighting substances that are usually harmless (such dust, pollen, or a medicine) as though these substances were trying to attack the body.

Allergens - An antigen that is the substance causing the reaction. Any substance that provokes an immune response is called an antigen.
The body produces specific antibodies to combat this “threat” even though it may be a harmless substance.

• The allergic cascade refers to the chain of events that takes place when an allergen triggers an allergic response. The cascade includes the allergic response, the cellular and chemical interactions that follow, and the symptoms that usually result, such as rash, itchy eyes, a runny nose, difficulty breathing, nausea, and diarrhea.

The key players in an allergic cascade include:

Allergens: Substances that the body perceives to be a threat. In response, the immune system overreacts by producing antibodies. IgE: (immunoglobulin E, a specific type of antibody that attaches to mast cells and basophils. IgE antibodies are like fuses to mast cells and basophils waiting to be “lit” by a specific type of antigen

THE CELIAC CASCADE
In the case of celiac disease, gluten proteins are the specific protein to which the immune system abnormally responds and thus it is gluten that is the antigen, and triggers celiac response. Gluten proteins, which are present in certain foods, enter into the mucosal lining of the small intestine where they are then taken up by macrophages. Through antigen presentation, the macrophages present these foreign proteins to the T-cells. The T-cells generate an immune response to gluten that involves production of inflammatory substances called cytokines which in turn attack and damage the intestine.

The role of tissue transglutaminase TTG
With celiac disease, the intestine becomes more permeable and excess amounts of gluten enter into the lining of the intestine. The gluten then encounters an enzyme called TTG that has been released from intestinal cells that have already been damaged in the first place. This enzyme then clips off a small piece of the gluten protein in a process called deamidation, this elicits an even stronger reaction from the T-cells when confronted.

A vicious cycle is now created in which gluten enters the lining of your intestine, T-cells respond and release cytokines which cause damage, this damage leads to a more permeable membrane and more gluten uptake which in turn leads to deamidation which stimulates the T cells which causes more cytokines to be released, which causes more damage which … on and on. The only way to halt the cycle is to remove gluten from the diet.
Once your body starts the antibody reaction those antibodies are going to start a cascade throughout the entire system. As an autoimmune mediated disease, it only takes a very tiny amount to start the reaction again, especially during early healing when you still have large numbers of antibody in your system.

Autoimmune diseases cause chronic problems and other diseases. Food allergies are caused by a different problem within the immune system and can lead to immediate catastrophic situations such as tongue, lip and throat swelling, bronchial spasm and anaphylaxis.
The gluten reaction time to onset after consuming the triggering food can be days to months and include GI symptoms, skin rashes, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, and neurological symptoms, whereas classic food allergy reactions tend to be immediate and short lived.

Because the reaction occurs on the molecular level, minute amounts of gluten can continue to cause big problems. Continuing to stimulate the autoimmune process can lead to further autoimmune diseases such as thyroid problems (hyper or hypo), diabetes, sjogrens, arthritis, osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, neuropathy, asthma, and various dermatological problems.

Refractory Celiac - as many as one third of celiac patients may have refractory disease where the intestinal mucosa won’t heal. We don’t know how many of these people are simply being continually stimulated by cross contamination.

Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer – lymphoma, adenocarcinoma.

HOW MUCH GLUTEN IS TOO MUCH?
In general, research suggests that a daily gluten intake of less than 10 milligrams is unlikely to cause significant damage to the intestines in most people with celiac disease. Some gluten intolerant people will not be able to tolerate that much without having symptoms, as some people are more sensitive than others.

To understand how small an amount that is, think of medications. A very small pill can contain hundreds of milligrams and still be mostly filler material. A one-ounce piece of bread has approximately 3,515 mg of gluten, or 351 times the maximum daily amount that is safe for celiacs. This is how we get to the idea that even a crumb is too much.

Additionally, you have to consider the fact that even the strictest guidelines for gluten-free foods calls for them to be 20 ppm (parts per million) or less. So even if you are following the strictest of diets, you still can be getting a small amount of gluten per day. And there is a cumulative effect.

Even naturally gluten free foods often have cross contamination somewhere along the line. Certainly anything manufactured in a plant is subject to contamination and that contamination risk goes up if anything containing wheat, rye, barley or oats is manufactured in that same plant, or even worse, on shared lines.

In order for a product to be truly gluten-free, special handling is required at each step of the process—the growing, harvesting, milling, and processing of non-gluten grains. Shared equipment results in gluten contamination in the field, a manufacturing facility, a restaurant, or a home kitchen.
It is because of the low level of tolerance for gluten combined with the high risk for contamination that we admonish all gluten intolerants to be vigil about cross contamination. You are going to ingest some gluten every day. It is important to try to keep that level as low as possible to avoid disease progression.

CROSS CONTAMINATION RISKS
Family -why doesn’t my family get it?
There are many reasons family members are reluctant to get on board for you.
Lack of knowledge, what would you have thought about someone else having this disease before you ever heard of it. Most people had never heard of this disease until recently. It sounds crazy if you aren’t familiar with it and you never heard of such a thing while growing up. Wheat is the staple of our diet how weird is it that someone can’t eat wheat.
Try not to get defensive with your family and friends, remember, you had to take a crash course in gluten for survival and found it hard. Imagine how hard it is to learn, when you can’t even relate to the symptoms. They will never be as careful as you are, no matter how badly they want to protect you; they just are not used to living with it. Even if they made you a perfectly gluten-free meal, it is likely to get contaminated by someone if there is any gluten around.

Denial - They don’t want this to be real for you for many reasons. For parents it can be a defensive mechanism – not wanting to believe they gave such a disease to their child, or because if it is real for you, it might be real for them. This can apply to siblings and extended family. Food has strong emotional links, as you are probably well aware.
When a family member cannot eat the traditional family fare, it can feel like a form of rejection to the rest of the family.

Friends – Friends will often be willing to jump in with both feet. Proceed with caution here. Keep in mind how long it took you to learn the gluten free diet. Your friends, although very well meaning, are not likely to learn enough to keep you safe. You would really need to be involved while they learn how to cook for you. The few friends I now allow to cook for me will regularly call me to check on an ingredient. I had to cook side by side with them in order to teach them the intricacies of the diet.
You must take your disease seriously first. No cheating, be scrupulous about cross contamination yourself. Set a good example and your friends and family will hopefully come around.

Eating out-Try to eat at restaurants that have a gluten free menu. Judge the knowledge level of your server and proceed accordingly. Go through a list of reminders, even if they act like they know all about gluten intolerance.
No bread, no croutons, no crackers, dressing on the side or mix salad in a clean bowl. Clean the grill, no seasonings or sauces that are not gluten free.
Buffets – I recommend you avoid these if at all possible. Even if the food item is naturally gluten-free, the odds that another patron has contaminated it with the wrong serving utensil are high. I usually try to order from the menu, or get items that are served or made to order, such as an individually made omelet or carved roast beef.
It is always a risk to eat away from your own home, whether that is at a restaurant, family, or friend’s house. Try to limit your exposure.
Events - eat before you go or take something with you unless you know for sure there is something safe for you to eat.

Shared kitchens – This is the hardest situation of all. Fortunately, for me, my husband eats primarily gluten free with me. He does have some of his own cereal, bread and frozen dinners. However, everything I cook is gluten free. If a meal involves bread, it is gluten free bread for both of us. It is always my recommendation that the home be kept primarily gluten free. It is hard to go through life with this disease and not have a safe zone. My home is my safe zone. It is a rare exception for us to have other than a totally gluten-free meal in my house.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fast food

I found it best to choose just a few things to memorize so I would know what I could eat in a pinch on the run. For me Wendy’s is my go to place. It has many healthy choices. I learned my favorites and stick to them. It is always good to periodically do a web search for your favorite stop’s gluten-free menu.

Pick a few items and know them well, so when you suddenly find yourself needing food quick, you won’t panic. It is usually when you least expect it, that you find yourself in need of grabbing a quick fast food meal.

Wendy’s- chili, baked potatoes, frosty, hamburger patty or chicken breast, Caesar salad without croutons, SW taco salad, Baja salad, and lots of dressing choices such as: Avocado ranch, classic ranch, creamy red jalapeno, lemon garlic Caesar.

Taco bell- tostado, cheesy nachos, nachos, pintos n' cheese, mexican rice, guacomole.

Subway - several salads are available, most dressings (except the Atkins), plain chicken strips, eggs, omelets, ham and cold cuts, all cheese. Subway is testing a gluten-free roll and brownie in select Texas markets.

Chick-fil-a - grilled chicken salad (no sunflower seeds or croutons, but you can get the tortilla strips instead), and waffle fries.

McDonald’s – Eggs, bacon, hamburger patty, maybe Hashbrowns and fries*. Caesar salad without the chicken.

*Fries – Burger King Fries are fine if cooked in a dedicated fryer. It is still a controversy as to whether or not McDonald’s fries are gluten-free. Many celiacs eat them without a problem even though there is supposedly a very small amount of wheat protein used during processing. McDonald’s fries have been tested and found to be gluten-free.

Eating out is always risky, especially at a fast food restaurant. Don't expect the workers to have any clue what gluten is, not even the managers. If you're careful and only order things that are gluten-free you have a decent chance of not getting sick.

Ask the workers to change gloves before touching your food, and request that they clean the area of the grill they will be using for your food.

Periodically check to make sure ingredients have not changed.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The best of the gluten-free specialty products

This is a list of my favorite gluten-free products plus a few that were voted as best by other celiacs. Tastes are different, so you might find others you like better, but these are tried and true by me or other celiac patients.

Ener G pretzels

Glutino pretzels

Tinkyada pasta

Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers Gluten Free – They have these in big boxes at Sam’s

Gluten Free Pantry French bread Mix

Bakery on main granola

Udi's bread, muffins and cinnamon rolls- forget even trying the other breads. The bagel makes a pretty nice hamburger bun, too.

Pocono Cream of Buckwheat – we love this as a replacement for cream of wheat and oatmeal in the mornings.

Corn Grits Polenta – this is another morning hot cereal that we love.

Isabella's Best Gourmet Gluten Free Pizza - found at Sam’s club in Oklahoma – can’t get it in Texas I don’t know about other areas. Contact your Sam’s and ask for it.

Glutino pizza at whole foods

Gillian’s French Rolls

Mission Brand tortilla chips - widely available at most grocery stores and Wal-Mart.

Xochitl tortilla chips – my family and I love these chips.

Kinnikinnick donuts – I love the yellow donut with chocolate icing, and the cinnamon sugar.

Trader Joe’s Frozen Pancakes – we don’t have a trader Joes here, but a friend used to mail them to me.

Trader Joe’s Waffles

Amy’s Mac and Cheese – ok, not my favorite – see below, but lots of people like it.

Kraft Cheddar cheese powder for Mac and cheese – I prefer this to Amy’s. I use Kinnikinnick pasta and this cheese powder and make it like kraft mac n cheese.

Lara Bars

Lundberg Rice chips

Joan's gluten-free Great Bakes – I have not personally tried these, as we don’t have it here.

Nut Thins (Almond)Cracker – not my favorite, but is good. Lots of people find this their favorite cracker.

Enjoy Life snicker doodles

Vann’s Waffles - glutenfree regular or blueberry – these are widely available in many mainstream grocery stores. Keep in mind that Vann's makes a gluten containing waffle as well, so make sure you are getting the gluten free.

Foods by George pizzas/pizza dough – the dough is frozen and comes in a ball. You have to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours prior to use.

Notta pasta – rice noodles – good for Chinese or Italian dishes.

Ian’s Popcorn Turkey Corn Dog Meal and Chicken Nugget Meat - great for kids.

Food Tec – These are great convenience foods. I take them with me traveling. I was not expecting much when I first tried them, as they are made by the easy bake oven mix people. You can order them directly through Food Tec, or through Amazon.com. There were two things that were not my favorites – the corn bread, which I find too sweet, and the frostings which I don’t like at all.
Hamburger buns – you must lightly toast these, but they make a great quick bun. I also use them for sandwiches, too.
Chocolate cake – great little quick cake
Spice cake or coffee cake – another great little cake

Chebe mixes – for rolls, pizza crust, cinnamon rolls. This is very easy to use and make.

Betty Crocker mixes – Chocolate cake, yellow cake, choc. Chip cookies, brownies. These are all very good, although some people have reported reactions possibly from cross contamination.

Pamela’s chocolate cake – I love, love, love this cake mix. It satisfies my hostess cupcake cravings too, I make them myself out of the cake mix. Did I say I love this mix?

Mainstream Gluten-Free food list (found in most grocery stores)

Here is a handy list of common items that are gluten-free and can be found in most local grocery stores. This is not an all inclusive list. There are other brands available that are gluten-free, but this list will get you started. You can research your favorite brands to see if they are gluten-free.

Keep in mind that formulas constantly change, so always read the label to make sure the item is still gluten-free.

Bacon― Oscar Meyer or Hormel

Baked Beans― B & M, Bush’s Ranch Style

Baking Choc. Chips― NestlĂ©, Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – Caution – carmel and butterscotch chips are not gluten-free.

Baking Powder― Calumet, Rumford

Barbecue Sauce― Sweet Baby Rays (all), KC Masterpiece (some flavors), cattleman’s

Beans― Bush’s (not chili beans or chili starter), Ranch style

Beef Stew― Dinty Moore

Broth/Soup Base― Kitchen Basics, Progresso, Swanson’s

Cold Cuts (packaged) ― Boar’s Head (Bologna, Ham, Roast Beef, Turkey), Buddig Sandwich Meats, Oscar Mayer, Hormel Natural Choice Deli meats

Bouillon Cubes― Herb-Ox

Candy Bars― Snickers, Almond Joy, Mounds, Payday, M & M’s – plain & peanut, Baby Ruth, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (except when in holiday shapes), Hershey Kisses, Butterfinger

Carnation Instant Breakfast – except malt flavor

Catsup― Heinz & Del Monte

Cheese― Most cheese is gluten free. You have to be careful with cheese spreads

Chili― Hormel with Beans - only the one with beans is gluten free, stagg chili

Chips― Cheetos, Cool Ranch Doritos, Corn Tostitos, Fritos (except Chili Cheese), Ruffles, Lundgren, mission, Xochitl tortilla chips , Fungyuns, Lays or ruffles regular potato chips (not flavored, not baked)

Coffee & Tea― flavored may contain gluten, otherwise it is gluten free

Cottage Cheese― most all plain cottage cheese

Crab― Leg-A-Sea Imitation avoid other imitation crab, fresh crab is fine

Cream Cheese― Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Cream Style Corn― Green Giant, Del Monte canned.

Dips― Tostitoes - Creamy Salsa, Creamy Spinach Dip, Creamy Southwestern Ranch Dip,
Monterey Jack Queso, Salsa Con Queso, Spicy Nacho Cheese Dip, Spicy Queso Supreme, Lays bean dip.

Dry Cereal― Erewhon’ s Crispy Brown Rice, Health Valley Rice Crunch Ems, Corn Crunch Ems; General Mills Rice Chex , Nature’s Path Cornflakes, Amaranth Flakes, Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, Amazon Frosted Flakes, Koala Crisp, Gorilla Munch; Perky O’s, fruity pebbles, trix, honey nut chex and other new chex cereals, Cocoa Pebbles

Dry Soup Mix― Lipton Dry Onion original only

Eggs – all fresh eggs are gluten-free, as are eggbeaters

Fruit― canned and fresh

Gelatin― Jell-O, Knox

Frozen Dinners
Amy’s- frozen Cheese Enchilada dinner

Smart Ones-Broccoli & Cheddar Potatoes, Lemon Herb Chicken Piccata, Fiesta Chicken, Santa Fe Rice & Beans, Creamy Tuscan Chicken, Grilled Chicken in Garlic Herb Sauce, Home-Style Chicken, Chicken Santa Fe.

DELIMEX PRODUCTS: Delimex Chicken & Cheese Tamales, 6 ct. Beef Taquitos, Chicken Taquitos, Chicken Tamales, Costco Beef Tamales, 20 ct. Costco Delimex Beef Taquitos, Sam's Club Delimex Beef Taquitos, Delimex 3-Cheese Tamales, 20 ct. Beef, Sam's Club Taquitos, Costco Delimex Chicken Taquitos, Delimex Chicken Taquitos, Delimex Chicken Grande Taquitos, Delimex Beef Grande Taquitos.

TGI Fridays - potato skins,

Jennie-O frozen or refrigerated - Oven Ready Turkey Breast (the gravy packet does contain gluten), Oven Ready Turkey: Homestyle, Garlic & Herb, Pan Roasts with Gravy: White, White/Dark Combo, Prime Young Turkey including Turkey Breasts; fresh or frozen (the gravy packet does contain gluten), Refrigerated Honey Cured Turkey Ham, Refrigerated Qtr Turkey Breasts: Oven Roasted, Honey Cured, Hickory Smoked, Cracked Pepper, Cajun-Style, Sun-Dried Tomato, Refrigerated Turkey Ham, Smoked Turkey Wings and Drumsticks, Slow Roasted Turkey Breast

Ground Beef ― 100% Pure – be careful with patties. Wal-Mart angus beef plain patties are gluten-free

Ham Slices― Cook’s, Oscar Meyer

Hot Dogs― Nathan’s, Hillshire, Oscar Meyer

Ice Cream (no cookie dough) ― (most vanilla ice cream is gluten free) Blue Bunny, Edy’s, Breyers, blue bell

Jams, Jellies & Preserves― Smucker’s, Welch’s

Ketchup- Heinz , Delmonte

Mayonnaise― Hellmann's Real, Kraft real, Kraft miracle whip and Duke’s squeeze bottles if others in house eat gluten

Mustard― French’s, Gulden’s, Grey Poupon country Dijon

Nuts― Plain/ salted, no flavors

Oil― Olive, Peanut, Canola, Safflower, Corn, coconut (unflavored oils)

Olives – plain olives are gluten free - stuffed olives may vary

Pam spray – regular, not baking pam

Pasta― Tinkyada, Notta Pasta, De Boles, Lundgren, schar

Peanut Butter― Jif, Peter Pan, Skippy

Pepperoni― Hormel

Potatoes – all fresh - plus the following frozen: Oreida potatoes – French fries, tater tots, Golden Patties, Golden Fries, Golden Crinkles, Pixie Crinkles , Cottage Fries, Southern Style Hash Browns, Country Style Steak Fries, Zesty Twirls, Potatoes O'Brien, French Fries, Country Style Hashbrowns, Steam N' Mash Cut Russets, Steam N' Mash Cut Sweet Potatoes, Steam N' Mash Garlic Seasoned Potatoes, Golden Twirls, Zesties, Steak Fries, Shoestrings, Country Style Hashbrowns, Crispers, Waffle Fries, Extra Crispy Crinkle Cut, Extra Crispy Seasoned Crinkle Cut, Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries, Country Fries, Fast Food Fries, Sweet Potato Fries.

Instant mashed potatoes from Sam’s – big red box (Idahoan)

Some walmart great value au gratin potatoes are gluten free and marked as such on the back of the box.

Powdered Drink Mixes― Country Time, Crystal Light

Pudding― Jell-O Instant, Cook & Serve

Pasta Sauces― all Classico, Prego, Ragu, & Pace - Check labels.

Pickles and olives― all are gluten free as far as I know just check the label

Pie Fillings― Comstock & Wilderness

Pizza Sauce― I use pasta sauce(Classico) and just cook it to thicken a bit - Contadina, Dei Fratelli

Popcorn― Plain – you can add popcorn salt such as Kraft cheese powder

Raisins― Dole, Sun Maid

Ranch style beans

Rice― Plain rice is gluten free flavored rice may or may not be gluten free - Basmati, Jasmine, white, brown, wild, Uncle Bens converted – not all the flavored but some.
Rice Cakes― Lundgren – avoid Quakers – popcorn cakes are an alternative - Orville Redenbacher's Sour Cream & Onion Popcorn Mini Cakes

Rice Noodles― Thai Kitchen Instant, Notta Pasta

Salad Dressings― Most ranch and Caesar dressings are gluten-free. Ken’s, Kraft, Light house, T Marzetti, Maries.

Sausage – Jimmy dean regular, Italian, or country. Williams patties, JC Potter Hormel little sizzlers breakfast sausages (original)

Salads in a Bag― I don’t buy it if there are croutons, even in a separate pouch, otherwise, they are fine.

Seasoned Salt― Lawry’s, Mrs. Dash

Seasoning Packet― Williams’s chili, McCormick’s Tex-mex chili and Original Taco seasoning.

Soda― Most mainstream soda pop is gluten free. Rootbeer can be the exception along with specialty drinks. Coke & Pepsi Products, sprite, 7-up, Barq’s Root Beer, A&W rootbeer, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew are all good.

Soft Serve Ice Cream (in a cup no cone) ― McDonald’s (all flavors), Dairy Queen (vanilla and chocolate) Frosty from Wendy’s all flavors

Soups― Progresso (many are gluten-free. Ingredient label will state allergens), Thai Kitchen Soups, Hormel® Microwaveable Cup Bean & Ham Soup, Hormel® Microwaveable Cup Chicken With Vegetables & Rice Soup

Sour Cream― Daisy, Morning Glory

Soy Sauce― La Choy

Spam

Spices― McCormick’s Pure read labels on mixed spices they will clearly list any gluten.

Spreads― most Butter and margarines, Blue Bonnet, I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Country Crock, Fleischmann’s, Imperial margarines

Summer Sausage― Johnsonville, Old Wisconsin, Hillshire

Syrups― pure maple syrup, Karo , log cabin country kitchen – this is the only safe log cabin.

Taco Sauce― Chi Chi’s , taco bell

Taco Shells and corn tortillas― Ortega Tostada, White Corn, mission

Tomato Products― most all canned tomatoes, stewed tomatoes– hunts, Heinz, Contadina. Not tomato soup

Tuna― Chicken of the Sea, Star-Kist
Underwood Deviled ham spread

Vegetables― Fresh, canned, frozen (plain) – be careful- some frozen and canned vegetables with sauces (butter sauce included) are not gluten free

Waffles― Van’s Gluten-Free Frozen – they make both gluten free and gluten containing so be careful.

Worcestershire Sauce― French’s, lea and perrin’s – avoid Heinz

Yogurt― Yoplait, Stonyfield Farms, Dannon (plain) some Yoplait flavored yogurts are gluten free and say so on container if it doesn’t say so, it isn’t gluten free in the Yoplait brand.

Wal-Mart Great Value brand items produced in a gluten-free facility will be labeled gluten free.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The easy way to start living gluten-free.

The gluten-free lifestyle will seem overwhelming initially. It may seem impossible to learn everything you need to know in order to prepare and eat safe meals. The truth is, there will come a time that it will all be second nature and you will appreciate all you have learned about good food and nutrition.

I will break this down step by step for you, to help ease the first few days and weeks of panic. I want you to know there are things you can eat right now. I will teach you how to buy from the regular grocery store even on a limited budget and eat healthy nutritious meals.

The first several months of gluten free living are the hardest, because there is so much to learn. It is also hard because your body and mind will likely go through a gluten grieving time. Going gluten free is a drastic lifestyle change for most people. We have all become dependent on fast food and prepackaged foods to some degree. Gluten free living requires that you cook your own foods if you want to have the best tasting safe foods to eat.

This lifestyle change will be hardest on foodies - people that really love food. It will be absolutely necessary for you to learn to cook if you are a real foodie. Those that just eat to live will find gluten free living a little more tolerable, as there are many premade items available to satisfy the easily satisfied palate.
Starting with an enthusiastic search for substitutes for favorite food items is a normal reaction; however, it is not the easiest or most efficient way to go gluten free.

It is best to eliminate all prepackaged foods, preparing simple home cooked meals from all fresh products. Keep it simple initially and then add slowly over time. You will have a lot of label reading to do, and learning the diet can take months. Eliminate the hassles and start feeling better fast, by just going to simple whole foods cooked at home.
It can feel overwhelming when you first try to learn the diet and do the meal preparation. The real key to successful gluten free living is to keep it simple, be organized, and prepared.

Cleaning out the gluten

The first thing you need to do is thoroughly clean your kitchen and eliminate all gluten sources. Check all your pans and remove any scratched Teflon pans, as these can harbor gluten. Plastic storage dishes can harbor gluten if scratched as well. Colanders need to be replaced as you can never get all the gluten out of the holes.
Wooden cutting boards, utensils and salad bowels also harbor gluten and should not be used.

Most glass, Pyrex and stainless steel is fine to use, just do a thorough cleaning to be certain all traces of gluten have been removed.

Go through your refrigerator and remove or isolate all gluten containing items. Do the same with your freezer.

If you are keeping some gluten containing items, designate a specific spot for those items. All open condiments are likely to be contaminated and should be replaced or reserved for household gluten eaters. This includes mayo, butter, mustard, etc. Anything in a pour spout is less likely to be contaminated; you need to use your own judgment with those.

The pantry should be separated into things that are gluten containing and those that are gluten free if you are not eliminating all the gluten from your house, as in a trial of gluten free, or in the case that some family members will continue eating gluten.

Do not rely on your memory to keep the items sorted. Read all the labels and sort and separate and make sure everyone knows which shelves are to stay dedicated to gluten free items.

Once you have cleaned the kitchen, refrigerator, and pantry, you are almost ready to go shopping.

Prepare for your shopping trip

The key to successful gluten free transition and living is preparation. Even though you may never have been a Girl Scout or Boy Scout, it is time to adopt the motto “be prepared”.

Figure out what meals you want to prepare and what ingredients you need. Forget anything that requires a lot of ingredients, sauces, condiments etc. Don’t complicate things right now. Let’s keep this simple for now and get you something you can safely eat. Think about what you need for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Some celiacs are temporarily sensitive to dairy, but this can resolve once the body has recovered from the gluten. It may be necessary to eliminate dairy for a period of time if not getting better after eliminating gluten. Some people prefer to eliminate the dairy right away along with the gluten, then add it back later.

You will need new condiments, so look on the list of approved foods and pick out the brand you want to buy. Write the condiment and the brand or choice of brands on your list. An example list would be:

Mayonnaise –Kraft or Hellman’s
Canned chili – Hormel with beans
Syrup – pure maple syrup or log cabin country kitchen
Canned beef stew – Dinty Moore

Be sure that any special instructions about a brand are clearly noted on your list. For instance, not all log cabin syrups are gluten free. Just as not all Hormel chili is gluten free. You must also double check your label to make sure the ingredients have not changed. This will be a lifelong issue, so start the habit now. The good news is that you will get much faster at this process and it will become second nature after a while.

It is much better to make most of your decisions in the comfort of your home, rather than in the isle of the grocery store while reading label after label and finding the whole world is full of gluten and you have nothing to eat.

Keep in mind that you are going to need something to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most people find they must take their food for lunch. Many of us found that we start eating some pretty untraditional foods for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Food must be healing and nourishing foremost; later we will turn it into culinary delight.

Shopping

You will want to shop in the meat, vegetable and dairy areas primarily. Fresh meat should be gluten free. However, sometimes chicken or turkey can contain chicken broth that contains gluten, so be sure to read the label. Pre-formed hamburger patties can have gluten in them, so be sure to check the label. A ham can be gluten-free, but have a glazing packet that contains gluten. Usually, the company will specify that the packet contains wheat.

Pork chops, steaks, ground beef, etc., are all safe if not in any prepared form. All FRESH vegetables are safe, all fruits are safe, eggs, and most cheese (not cheese spread), milk, and butter are gluten free. Avoid anything that is pre-seasoned or precooked unless you carefully read the label. Frozen vegetables can contain wheat, be sure to read the label.

Eggs can be your best friend when going gluten free. There are so many meals you can make for anytime of the day. Eggs can be boiled to have a convenient take along meal or snack. Omelets are easy to make and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Quiche is another easy fulfilling entre for anytime. Scrambled or fried eggs are good anytime.

Cheese is another best friend for the gluten intolerant. This is an easy take along snack that goes well with veggies and fruit.

Peanut butter works great for getting through the early tough times while you learn the finer points of gluten free eating. Put it on an apple, celery, gluten-free cracker or gluten-free bread.

Salads with meat, eggs, and cheese can be very satisfying. Most ranch and Caesar dressings are gluten free, but read the labels. Kraft and Ken’s dressings are very reliable for labeling any gluten ingredients.

Chicken can be a handy meal. Frozen breasts are easy and fast to take from the freezer to the table. Add a potato or rice, and vegetable for quick easy and healthy meals. Be sure to buy the plain unseasoned breasts or make sure the seasoning does not have gluten.

Roasted whole chicken or beef will give you multiple easy meals. Roast it in the oven with the onions, potatoes, or rice, and vegetables. The next day you can convert the meal to a great soup. Do not buy the already roasted chickens in the grocery store, as most of these have gluten.

Pork chops can go from frozen to the table in fairly short order. I cook them in a skillet with onions. Brown them on both sides cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add a mashed or baked potato and a veggie.

Hamburger patties with or without cheese, beans, veggie, fries or fried potatoes are a good easy meal.

Ore-Ida has lots of gluten free potatoes to help out for a quick dinner. I cook the fries in the oven while I prepare the rest of the meal on the stove. Be sure to check the label, because they also make some that contain gluten.

You will probably be anxious to try some gluten free specialty items. I would not recommend starting with bread products, for you will likely be disappointed in them at this early stage. (Udi’s products may be an exception to this)

Some things that are really good and won’t break the bank are gluten free crackers, Laura bars, pretzels, Betty Crocker desert mixes, and Chex gluten free cereals.
I have compiled two lists to help with shopping. The first list contains gluten-free foods that can be found in most mainstream grocery stores.

The second list contains the best specialty gluten-free that I or people I know have found. There is a general consensus that these are the best. However, everyone’s taste is different, and you may find other products you like better. At least this list will give you better odds of liking the product.