The Great Gluten-Free Adventure

gluten free allergen free expo

GFAF Expo

Well about two weeks ago, my family received some interesting information.  My 9-year-old is gluten sensitive.  We have been dealing with “weird” symptoms for about a year now. It has actually been all her life, thinking back on it, but her worst symptoms have been in the last year.  She is my bad eater.  She is very limited to what she likes.  She loves hot dogs, chicken nuggets, bread, pasta; you know, the bad stuff.  I have fought with her her many times to eat vegetables, fruits, fish, etc.  But, we all know that game.  I sneak veggies in here and there but not enough.

So now, I have to try and explain to her what needs to happen in  9-year-old layman terms.   The gluten free term is pretty new to me also.  So this whole family is going to use less gluten all together.  Maybe with all of us cutting down the amount we eat will encourage my youngest to not feel alone.

Allowed foods:

Many healthy and yummy foods are naturally gluten-free:

  • Beans, seeds, nuts (in natural, unprocessed form)
  • Eggs
  • Meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Most dairy products

It’s important to make sure that they are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives.  This is where many foods can come in contact with gluten through the preservatives/additives.  Grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet:

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn and cornmeal
  • Flax
  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
  • Hominy (corn)
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca
  • Teff

Avoid:
Avoid all food and drinks containing:

  • Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Wheat

Additives/Preservatives:

  • Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others
  • Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent
  • Play dough

Watch for Cross-Contamination:

Keep in mind that you must clean up after preparing a non-gluten free food item before starting on a gluten free item.

So far this is what I have found.  It starts getting a little less intimidating.  My family and I went to the Gluten Free Expo where there were a ton of companies who were more than willing to inform people on the gluten free lifestyle.   Not to mention, we tried so many yummy foods.  I can say, if you have a chance to go to a Gluten Free Expo, you should.  It has shown me that cutting down or cutting out gluten in our family will not be that hard.