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As we’ve discussed before, a gluten free diet involves excluding foods that contain the protein gluten, which can be found in wheat, rye and barley.
Thousands of consumers have come to Mom’s Place Gluten Free to learn how to transition to a delicious & healthy gluten free lifestyle and really it all comes down to four (4) keys.
If you’re serious about being gluten free, you need to be serious about becoming an expert food label reader! When you review items in your fridge or pantry, use the opportunity to get good at label terminology.
Get familiar with some of the many names for potential gluten sources with our article on hidden gluten sources. NOTE: If these ingredients are wheat-based, wheat must be noted on the ingredient label; however, if they are barley or rye-based, they are not specifically required to be called out as such on the label.
So why do we advocate “fewest ingredients”? Well, because your body likes things simple. Simple is the key. If you are reading a food label & you can’t pronounce some ingredients… likely… beware. One of the reasons we at Mom’s Place Gluten Free keep our labels simple is because if you use high quality ingredients and no preservatives, then the ingredients ARE simple.
For example, we all know you may eat a potato chip now and then, right? Well, when making that decision, do you think your body would likely prefer to digest plain Lay’s Natural Potato chips with just 3 ingredients – Potatoes, Oil and Salt or Lay’s BBQ Potato Chips with 19 ingredients – 5 of which are hidden glutens? Yikes! The obvious choice is the one with the fewest ingredients.
Your body likes pure & simple. So when making food choices, take into account the ingredients. Keep it simple.
Be it COVID-19, snow storms, hurricanes, power outages or some other impending disaster of unknown scale, it seems a good time to remind everyone that you MUST plan ahead for emergencies… especially when eating gluten free. No one relishes the thought of natural disasters or unforeseen emergencies, but they are a reality we cannot ignore.
Let’s talk about how to prepare for an emergency when you layer on the added complication that you or your family is gluten free or has food allergies. There are definitely some added complications, but nothing that you can’t handle! Don’t focus on deprivation — focus on making sure you have what you need so there’s no deprivation!
It’s just a good rule of thumb to have a back up plan and always have extra on hand. When COVID hit, our website was going crazy, yet ingredients were scarce and shipping supplies almost impossible to get. Our shipping carriers were also bogged down, and therefore very slow to deliver to our customers. We hated the thought of any gluten free consumer being without! So let’s learn from the past and make some preparation decisions today! For example… buy extra shelf-stable staples. Whether you stash them in the garage, a box in the basement, your freezer or under your bed … always have extra gluten free staples like flour, oats and pasta. Also have some canned goods, rice and other nutritious, shelf-stable foods your family enjoys. Think about aseptic containers (things that don’t need to be refrigerated) of milk and other “dairy” type items, as well as powdered eggs. You can buy cases of these to keep on hand.
The best, safest and most versatile gluten free products are often NOT available at your neighborhood grocery store. So order on-line, buy extra and buy in advance if you can! Also keep in mind that whether you are the one experiencing the emergency or not, if the products you rely on are manufactured elsewhere, a natural disaster or serious storm there could affect you as well.
In the wintertime, weather can cause serious delays in shipping times that can affect people all over the country. Additionally, package & shipment volumes increase significantly around the holidays, so sometimes customers find themselves waiting much longer than they had planned to receive their shipments of gluten-free products. It goes without saying that those who ordered extra not only saved on shipping, but they never had to go without their favorite products!
COVID also reminded us that restaurants certainly are not the answer. Because when eating gluten free, running to fast food places and grabbing a sandwich or a burger really isn’t an option. So you must be prepared.
Homemade soups have long been called “staples” because they feed many for not much. We have several soup options that are shelf-stable, inexpensive & easy to make. If you have our gf cornbread mix stocked in your pantry then you’re really set, as this mix is so easy it can be made with a bowl and fork, and cooked in a cast iron skillet in the oven or over a fire. It goes wonderfully with any soup or just by itself.
Our soups can be made on a grill or gas stove, or if you have power, in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. Soups can even be cooked down a few days later and used as sauce for pasta, for something different.
A double batch of our Gluten Free Blueberry, Banana or Poppy seed Muffins will hold our family for several days. Our gluten free muffins are always a go-to for us when we travel because they stay so soft and fresh for several days without needing to be reheated – bonus!
We also always have homemade gluten free cookie dough and even homemade bread and rolls (already cooked) in my freezer at all times. It doesn’t take much advance warning to bake the dough and warm up the rolls.
Gluten free snacks and pre-packaged items like cookies, pretzels, chips, bars, cereals and the like are NOT the solution. These DO often contain more sugar and/or fat than their wheat-based counterparts because most manufacturers opt for cheaper gluten-free flours with odd flavors or grittiness that needs to be masked by extra sugar or oils.
So just because it says gluten free doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. You still need to balance your consumption. Just make sure to eat plenty of whole, single-ingredient foods like fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. They will keep your stomach happy and promote optimal health.
A good example is one of our dearest gluten free customers. We will call her Alene. Alene was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was 85 years old. She came into Mom’s Place Gluten Free and literally bought at least one of everything. She was especially excited about our Gluten Free Carrot Cake and Lemon Bars. Well, Alene came in the very next day, so excited. She’d made the Gluten Free Carrot Cake and eaten the ENTIRE thing! Ummm… wow! Now, Alene is 85 & frankly she can eat whatever she wants! Ha! But as a general rule, please remember to balance your food groups and consume all things in moderation.
Eating gluten free does NOT mean grain free. There are many healthy grains including Quinoa, Tapioca Flour, Sorghum Flour, Bean Flours, Rice Flours (White & Brown), Corn Flour, Oat Flours & Oats (when Certified GF), and many others that are excellent when used correctly! You still need to consume grains in a gluten free diet.
In conclusion, remember to be careful with the amount of ingredients in your food. Always plan ahead and stock your pantry. All things in moderation and balance your food groups. Lastly, choose healthy grains as part of your gluten free eating regimen.
And know we TRULY value each and every one of our wonderful gluten free consumers!