Several years ago our daughter was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease an auto-immune disease that affects the thyroid. We were not on board with pumping her full of medication so we began to look for alternatives that could ease her symptoms without opening the medicine cabinet. One suggestion that seemed to be on every board, Facebook group, and blog was to remove gluten from her diet. So, we decided our entire family needed to make this change to show our support for our daughter. I have to admit our family is still a work in progress but I do recommend following these few simple steps below to get you started on your journey to gluten-free eating.
- Focus on the CANs not the CAN’Ts. Going gluten-free may feel stressful and overwhelming at first. It’s important to remain positive and stay dedicated. Remember, there are plenty of foods that are already gluten-free. Embrace those fruits and veggies! Spice up some roasted organic carrots with some red pepper flakes or garlic salt. Throw some grapes in the freezer with a little raw sugar and feed that sweet tooth. The possibilities are endless.
- Research Alternatives. Nowadays there are alternatives for everything out there. Trade in your noodles for rice, quinoa, or spaghetti squash. Try gluten-free granola in yogurt or gluten-free oatmeal in place of cereal in the morning (nature’s path or glutenfreeda are good brands to try). Use big leafy greens in place of flour tortillas as wraps. Your local grocery store most likely has a gluten-free section where you can find all kinds of alternative goodies including pastas, bread, cookies, and many other gluten-free items. Some great brands to try include Udi’s, So Delicious, Vans, and Glutino. If you don’t have a grocery store with enough of a selection, you can always order from an online store like ThriveMarket.
- Make Your Own! Going gluten-free is the perfect time to get crafty in the kitchen. If you have the time and the energy, you can do all kinds of experimenting. You can make your own biscuits, breads, brownies, cookies, or anything else you can think up. Most bakery type items can be made with alternative flours. You can make your own gluten-free flour mixes or you can buy pre-made mixes (brands like Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s Mixes). There are several gluten-free sites on the internet to help guide you on how to make all of favorite goodies gluten-free from scratch. No need to stop enjoying cookies fresh out of the oven!
- On a Tight Budget? Going gluten-free can get to be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be!
- Keep an eye out for sales, and buy pantry food items in bulk.
- Remember that it’s always more cost-effective (and typically healthier) to make your own snacks rather than buying those expensive gluten-free prepackaged treats. Dip some bananas in some melted chocolate and freeze for an easy on the go snack. If you own a food processor, make your own humus!
- If you have a local Aldi, then you are truly in luck. Aldi recently started selling their very own brand of gluten-free items, which are much more cost-effective than the name brands you find in a typical grocery store. The produce is not too shabby either. Aldi is a great place to shop if you’re trying not to break the bank with your dietary preferences.
- I am also a frequent shopper of Vitacost an online based grocery that carries tons of gluten-free items from foods to vitamins. Shipping is always free when you spend over $50 they often will send emails with coupons and discounts. (Every little bit helps)
I hope these simple tips have helped to get started moving over to the world of gluten-free eating.