Gluten Free Facts, Part 2

1.  When you first stop eating gluten, your body will be very confused.  You will likely get hungry all the time.  My suggestion is, for the first week or so (listen to your body!), really up your protein intake.  Don’t immediately move to gluten-free substitutions unless you have to because your body will grab hold of them and immediately slow down its processing.  I carried around turkey jerky in my handbag.  Yes, it was super-classy.

2.  Your energy levels will probably hit an all-time low for the first couple of days after leaving behind gluten.  I don’t suggest moving to a gluten-free diet when you have a big meeting or when your kids have a weekend full of baseball practices.  That being said, if you look at your calendar and find yourself making excuses for every few days, JUST DO IT.  After the low comes the best all-time energy high you have probably experienced in your entire life.  I swear, I think my eyes were even bigger!  Everyone began complimenting me — did I lose weight? did I change my hair?  I just took the things my body saw as poisons out of my body!

3.  As far as pasta is concerned, brown rice pastas are the best.  They hold their texture and really hold up to overcooking.  The first time I made baked macaroni without wheat pasta, I tried a mostly-corn pasta.  I cooked it according to the directions, and it was a little soggy.  However, once I added the rest of the ingredients, it didn’t hold up.  I was left with a wet pasta mush at the bottom of the dish with too-thick sauce along the top.  It was gross.  I eventually tried again with a brown rice pasta, and it was perfect.  I couldn’t tell the difference between it and the wheat version.

4.  In the first part of my gluten-free facts, I mentioned that it’s better to make your own sauces.  Honestly, if you have the time, it will always pay off to make any of your own gluten-free foods than to buy them.  I’d say the exception is probably bread because baking bread is not something everyone enjoys or can do.  I don’t say that to be offensive.  My first loaf of gluten-free bread was a gluey mess. It made me not want to try again.

5.  Gluten affects everyone differently, not just those with gluten allergies/intolerances and not.  I need things to be handled carefully, using different utensils for my food and to make sure they don’t touch.  I need precautions with things that you might never even consider — even though the crumbs fall through a toaster, all those gluteny crumbs are heating up all over your gluten-free bread!  If you’re less sensitive, please be understanding to people who take more precautions than you do.  If you’re more sensitive, please be understanding that not everyone has to jump through all the same hoops as you do.  Neither one is doing it to be belligerent, so please don’t act as though you know what’s best for someone else.

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