As I wrote last week, going gluten free is a big change. It’s not super easy, but it’s definitely doable when you’ve prepared for it. Now, this post is not about replacing pasta with gluten free pasta, crackers with gluten free crackers, or bread with gluten free bread. It’s about transitioning from a Standard American Diet that makes you toxic and sick, to a healing, whole food based gluten free diet. Junk food is junk food, gluten or not. It was difficult for me to get my bearings when I gave up gluten because I wasn’t quite sure what to cook. I started by going to gluten free pastas, and it didn’t help with my chronic illness. It took me switching to whole foods to finally see healing, so I want to help you get to healing as quickly as possible!
6 Essentials for Going Gluten Free
- Rice and/or Quinoa: A huge part of the Standard American Diet is pasta-based meals. Spaghetti and meatballs, stir fry with egg noodles, pasta salad, chicken alfredo… I could go on, but I’m hungry so I won’t torture myself 😉 Quinoa and rice are fantastic subs for pasta in so many situations. Gluten free pasta is also an option, but it’s much pricier than just switching the side dish to rice. Plus rice and quinoa are whole foods, whereas gluten free pasta is processed.
- Vegetable Spiralizer: This makes for wonderful vegetable-based substitutions for pasta in dishes. Spiralized zucchini spaghetti is great, and adds a good serving of vegetables to your meal. Double bonus, right?!
- All-purpose Gluten Free Flour with Xantham Gum: This is the easiest gluten free flour (like this one) to use in baking recipes, because you can substitute it measure for measure in place of regular flour. Cakes, brownies, cookies, and other baked goods are wonderful (just slightly more dense) when you use all-purpose gluten free flour. However, do some research if you’re baking bread, you may need to tweak it a little there.
- Meat in Bulk: Buying meat in bulk just makes it so much easier to have the right things on hand for good, gluten free dinners. We buy our meat (chicken, mostly) from Zaycon, because they have great quality meat and it usually runs about $1.69/lb for chicken breast. So helpful because going gluten free often times costs more than regular food. Good for the diet and the budget 😉
- Vacuum Sealer: If you’re buying meat in bulk, a vacuum sealer will be a necessity. You can split up the chicken, vacuum seal it, and make sure it doesn’t go bad in the freezer before you can use it. Nothing will bum you out more than spending $70 on chicken and then having it get freezer burn and get all yuck.
- Coconut Oil: This one isn’t really an “essential”, but it really helps with cravings. When you’re going gluten free, your body will need help adjusting to the cravings for sugars and toxins that it’s used to. Coconut oil (I get mine at Costco) will help to balance your blood sugar while also helping to add some really good fats and minerals to your diet!
Bonus: Lemon water. Also helps with the cravings, trust me!
Next week, I’ll discuss what I have personally experienced with going gluten free, and also the things that I’ve found the most challenging.
Do you have anything that you think is an essential for gluten free living?